light sense [keywords]
- Illusion of arm movement evoked by tendon vibration in patients with spinal cord injury. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Restor Neurol Neurosci 2016 Aug 19.
Studies in healthy people show that stimulation of muscle spindles through frequency-specific tendon vibration (TV) induces the illusory perception of movement. Following spinal cord injury (SCI), motor and sensory connections between the brain and parts of the body below-the-lesion level are partially or totally impaired.The present investigation is a descriptive study aimed to investigate whether people living with SCI may experience movement illusions comparable to a control group.Healthy and people with SCI were asked to report on three illusion-related features (Vividness, Duration, Illusory Extension) after receiving 70 Hz TV on the biceps brachii tendon of both arms. Two different forces of stimulation were applied: 2.4 N and 4.2 N.Both patients and controls were susceptible to the kinesthetic illusion. However patients presented lower sensitivity to TV than healthy subjects. Participants rated stronger illusions of movement after 4.2 N than 2.4 N stimulation in all the three illusion-related features. Further, patients reported atypical illusory experiences of movement (e.g. as if the arm wanted to extend, or a sensation of pushing against something) that may reflect different reorganization processes following spinal cord injury.The study provides a preliminary evidence of the possible use of the proprioceptive stimulation in the upper limbs of people living with SCI. Results are discussed in the light of recent advancements of brain-computer applications based on motor imagery for the control of neuroprosthetic and robotic devices in patients with severe sensorimotor deficits.
- Biomacromolecular stereostructure mediates mode hybridization in chiral plasmonic nanostructures. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Nano Lett 2016 Aug 22.
The refractive index sensitivity of plasmonic fields has been exploited for over 20 years in analytical technologies. While this sensitivity can be used to achieve attomole detection levels, they are in essence binary measurements which sense the presence / absence of a pre-determined analyte. Using plasmonic fields, not to sense effective refractive indices, but to provide more "granular" information about the structural characteristics of a medium, provides a more information rich output, which affords opportunities to create new powerful and flexible sensing technologies not limited by the need to synthesize chemical recognition elements. Here we report a new plasmonic phenomenon that is sensitive to the biomacromolecular structure without relying on measuring effective refractive indices. Chiral biomaterials mediate the hybridization of electric and magnetic modes of a chiral solid-inverse plasmonic structure, resulting in a measureable change in both reflectivity and chiroptical properties. The phenomenon originates from the electric-dipole - magnetic-dipole response of the biomaterial and is hence sensitive to biomacromolecular secondary structure providing unique fingerprints of -helical, -sheet and disordered motifs. The phenomenon can be observed for sub-chiral plasmonic fields (i.e. fields with a lower chiral asymmetry than circularly polarized light) hence lifting constraints to engineer structures that produce fields with enhanced chirality, thus providing greater flexibility in nanostructure design. To demonstrate the efficacy of the phenomenon we have detected and characterized picogram quantities of simple model helical biopolymers and more complex real proteins.
- Electrically excited Plasmonic Nanoruler for Biomolecule Detection. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Nano Lett 2016 Aug 22.
Plasmon based sensors are excellent tools for a label free detection of small biomolecules. An interesting group of such sensors are plasmonic nanorulers which rely on the plasmon hybridization upon modification of their morphology in order to sense nanoscale distances. Sensor geometries based on interaction of plasmons in a flat metallic layer together with metal nanoparticles inherit unique advantages, but need a special optical excitation configuration not easy to miniaturize. Herein we introduce the concept of nanoruler excitation by direct, electrically induced generation of surface plasmons based on the quantum shot noise of tunneling currents. An electron tunneling junction consisting of a metal-dielectric-semiconductor hetero-structure is directly incorporated into the nanorulers basic geometry. By applying voltage on this modified nanoruler, the plasmon modes are directly excited without any additional optical component as a light source. We demonstrate by several experiments that this electrically driven nanoruler possesses similar properties as an optically exited one and confirm its sensing capabilities by the detection of the binding of small biomolecules such as antibodies. This new sensing principle could open the way to a new platform of highly miniaturized, integrated plasmonic sensors compatible to monolithic integrated circuits.
- Faith Moves Mountains-Mountains Move Faith: Two Opposite Epidemiological Forces in Research on Religion and Health. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- J Relig Health 2016 Aug 19.
Research suggests opposite epidemiological forces in religion and health: (1). Faith seems to move mountains in the sense that religion is associated with positive health outcomes. (2). Mountains of bad health seem to move faith. We reflected on these forces in a population of 3000 young Danish twins in which all religiosity measures were associated with severe disease. We believe the reason for this novel finding is that the sample presents as a particularly secular population-based study and that the second epidemiological force has gained the upper hand in this sample. We suggest that all cross-sectional research on religion and health should be interpreted in light of such opposite epidemiological forces potentially diluting each other.
- Endocannabinoids in the gut. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol 2016 Aug 18.:ajpgi.00294.2015.
The endocannabinoid system mainly consists of endogenously produced cannabinoids (endocannabinoids) and two G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), cannabinoid receptors 1 and 2 (CB1 and CB2). This system also includes enzymes responsible for the synthesis and degradation of endocannabinoids and molecules required for the uptake and transport of endocannabinoids. In addition, endocannabinoid-related lipid mediators and other putative endocannabinoid receptors, such as transient receptor potential channels and other GPCRs have been identified. Accumulating evidence indicates that the endocannabinoid system is a key modulator of gastrointestinal physiology, influencing satiety, emesis, immune function, mucosal integrity, motility, secretion, and visceral sensation. In light of therapeutic benefits of herbal and synthetic cannabinoids, the vast potential of the endocannabinoid system for the treatment of gastrointestinal diseases has been demonstrated. This review focuses on the role of the endocannabinoid system in gut homeostasis and in the pathogenesis of intestinal disorders associated with intestinal motility, inflammation and cancer. Finally, links between gut microorganisms and the endocannabinoid system are briefly discussed.
- Echolocation in humans: an overview. [REVIEW, JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Wiley Interdiscip Rev Cogn Sci 2016 Aug 19.
Bats and dolphins are known for their ability to use echolocation. They emit bursts of sounds and listen to the echoes that bounce back to detect the objects in their environment. What is not as well-known is that some blind people have learned to do the same thing, making mouth clicks, for example, and using the returning echoes from those clicks to sense obstacles and objects of interest in their surroundings. The current review explores some of the research that has examined human echolocation and the changes that have been observed in the brains of echolocation experts. We also discuss potential applications and assistive technology based on echolocation. Blind echolocation experts can sense small differences in the location of objects, differentiate between objects of various sizes and shapes, and even between objects made of different materials, just by listening to the reflected echoes from mouth clicks. It is clear that echolocation may enable some blind people to do things that are otherwise thought to be impossible without vision, potentially providing them with a high degree of independence in their daily lives and demonstrating that echolocation can serve as an effective mobility strategy in the blind. Neuroimaging has shown that the processing of echoes activates brain regions in blind echolocators that would normally support vision in the sighted brain, and that the patterns of these activations are modulated by the information carried by the echoes. This work is shedding new light on just how plastic the human brain is. For further resources related to this article, please visit the WIREs website.
- Development and psychometric evaluation of the Decisional Engagement Scale (DES-10): A patient-reported psychosocial survey for quality cancer care. [Journal Article]
- Psychol Assess 2016 Sep; 28(9):1087-100.
In light of recent health care reforms, we have provided an illustrative example of new opportunities available for psychologists to develop patient-reported measures related to health care quality. Patient engagement in health care decision making has been increasingly acknowledged as a vital component of quality cancer care. We developed the 10-item Decisional Engagement Scale (DES-10), a patient-reported measure of engagement in decision making in cancer care that assesses patients' awareness of their diagnosis, sense of empowerment and involvement, and level of information seeking and planning. The National Institutes of Health's ResearchMatch recruitment tool was used to facilitate Internet-mediated data collection from 376 patients with cancer. DES-10 scores demonstrated good internal consistency reliability (α = .80), and the hypothesized unidimensional factor structure fit the data well. The reliability and factor structure were supported across subgroups based on demographic, socioeconomic, and health characteristics. Higher DES-10 scores were associated with better health-related quality of life (r = .31). In concurrent validity analyses controlling for age, socioeconomic status, and health-related quality of life, higher DES-10 scores were associated with higher scores on quality-of-care indices, including greater awareness of one's treatments, greater preferences for shared decision making, and clearer preferences about end-of-life care. A mini-measure, the DES-3, also performed well psychometrically. In conclusion, DES-10 and DES-3 scores showed evidence of reliability and validity, and these brief patient-reported measures can be used by researchers, clinicians, nonprofits, hospitals, insurers, and policymakers interested in evaluating and improving the quality of cancer care. (PsycINFO Database Record
- A new transcriptome and transcriptome profiling of adult and larval tissue in the box jellyfish Alatina alata: an emerging model for studying venom, vision and sex. [Journal Article]
- BMC Genomics 2016.:650.
Cubozoans (box jellyfish) are cnidarians that have evolved a number of distinguishing features. Many cubozoans have a particularly potent sting, effected by stinging structures called nematocysts; cubozoans have well-developed light sensation, possessing both image-forming lens eyes and light-sensitive eye spots; and some cubozoans have complex mating behaviors, including aggregations, copulation and internal fertilization. The cubozoan Alatina alata is emerging as a cnidarian model because it forms predictable monthly nearshore breeding aggregations in tropical to subtropical waters worldwide, making both adult and larval material reliably accessible. To develop resources for A. alata, this study generated a functionally annotated transcriptome of adult and larval tissue, applying preliminary differential expression analyses to identify candidate genes involved in nematogenesis and venom production, vision and extraocular sensory perception, and sexual reproduction, which for brevity we refer to as "venom", "vision" and "sex".We assembled a transcriptome de novo from RNA-Seq data pooled from multiple body parts (gastric cirri, ovaries, tentacle (with pedalium base) and rhopalium) of an adult female A. alata medusa and larval planulae. Our transcriptome comprises ~32 K transcripts, after filtering, and provides a basis for analyzing patterns of gene expression in adult and larval box jellyfish tissues. Furthermore, we annotated a large set of candidate genes putatively involved in venom, vision and sex, providing an initial molecular characterization of these complex features in cubozoans. Expression profiles and gene tree reconstruction provided a number of preliminary insights into the putative sites of nematogenesis and venom production, regions of phototransduction activity and fertilization dynamics in A. alata.Our Alatina alata transcriptome significantly adds to the genomic resources for this emerging cubozoan model. This study provides the first annotated transcriptome from multiple tissues of a cubozoan focusing on both the adult and larvae. Our approach of using multiple body parts and life stages to generate this transcriptome effectively identified a broad range of candidate genes for the further study of coordinated processes associated with venom, vision and sex. This new genomic resource and the candidate gene dataset are valuable for further investigating the evolution of distinctive features of cubozoans, and of cnidarians more broadly.
- Absorption Characteristics of Vertebrate Non-Visual Opsin, Opn3. [Journal Article]
- PLoS One 2016; 11(8):e0161215.
Most animals possess multiple opsins which sense light for visual and non-visual functions. Here, we show spectral characteristics of non-visual opsins, vertebrate Opn3s, which are widely distributed among vertebrates. We successfully expressed zebrafish Opn3 in mammalian cultured cells and measured its absorption spectrum spectroscopically. When incubated with 11-cis retinal, zebrafish Opn3 formed a blue-sensitive photopigment with an absorption maximum around 465 nm. The Opn3 converts to an all-trans retinal-bearing photoproduct with an absorption spectrum similar to the dark state following brief blue-light irradiation. The photoproduct experienced a remarkable blue-shift, with changes in position of the isosbestic point, during further irradiation. We then used a cAMP-dependent luciferase reporter assay to investigate light-dependent cAMP responses in cultured cells expressing zebrafish, pufferfish, anole and chicken Opn3. The wild type opsins did not produce responses, but cells expressing chimera mutants (WT Opn3s in which the third intracellular loops were replaced with the third intracellular loop of a Gs-coupled jellyfish opsin) displayed light-dependent changes in cAMP. The results suggest that Opn3 is capable of activating G protein(s) in a light-dependent manner. Finally, we used this assay to measure the relative wavelength-dependent response of cells expressing Opn3 chimeras to multiple quantally-matched stimuli. The inferred spectral sensitivity curve of zebrafish Opn3 accurately matched the measured absorption spectrum. We were unable to estimate the spectral sensitivity curve of mouse or anole Opn3, but, like zebrafish Opn3, the chicken and pufferfish Opn3-JiL3 chimeras also formed blue-sensitive pigments. These findings suggest that vertebrate Opn3s may form blue-sensitive G protein-coupled pigments. Further, we suggest that the method described here, combining a cAMP-dependent luciferase reporter assay with chimeric opsins possessing the third intracellular loop of jellyfish opsin, is a versatile approach for estimating absorption spectra of opsins with unknown signaling cascades or for which absorption spectra are difficult to obtain.
- From 'sense of number' to 'sense of magnitude' - The role of continuous magnitudes in numerical cognition. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Behav Brain Sci 2016 Aug 17.:1-62.
In this review, we are pitting two theories against each other: the more accepted theory-the 'number sense' theory-suggesting that a sense of number is innate and non-symbolic numerosity is being processed independently of continuous magnitudes (e.g., size, area, density); and the newly emerging theory suggesting that (1) both numerosities and continuous magnitudes are processed holistically when comparing numerosities, and (2) a sense of number might not be innate. In the first part of this review, we discuss the 'number sense' theory. Against this background, we demonstrate how the natural correlation between numerosities and continuous magnitudes makes it nearly impossible to study non-symbolic numerosity processing in isolation from continuous magnitudes, and therefore the results of behavioral and imaging studies with infants, adults and animals can be explained, at least in part, by relying on continuous magnitudes. In the second part, we explain the 'sense of magnitude' theory and review studies that directly demonstrate that continuous magnitudes are more automatic and basic than numerosities. Finally, we present outstanding questions. Our conclusion is that there is not enough convincing evidence to support the number sense theory anymore. Therefore, we encourage researchers not to assume that number sense is simply innate, but to put this hypothesis to the test, and to consider if such an assumption is even testable in light of the correlation of numerosity and continuous magnitudes.