Month: November 2020

The renovation of the Esplanade Hotel in Crikvenica, worth 35 million kuna, has begun

first_imgThe tourist company Jadran dd from Crikvenica, which owns 8 hotels, 2 auto-camps and a tourist resort on the Crikvenica Riviera, has started work on the renovation of the Esplanade Hotel in Crikvenica.The investment worth over 35 million kuna, for which a building permit has already been secured, envisages a complete reconstruction of the hotel, ie the old and new part of the building. After the renovation, Hotel Esplanade will have 38 accommodation units and additional facilities such as wellness, outdoor pool and conference hall, and will be positioned as a family holiday hotel of high category 4+ stars, with a highly individualized service for guests of higher purchasing power.”We are extremely glad that with this reconstruction we will return the old shine to the Adriatic pearl. A hotel with a long tradition located in an exclusive location will be an indicator of the highest standards that we in the Adriatic are ready to offer to the most demanding guests. According to our projections, the hotel will operate for a minimum of eight months a year, and we will attract guests with additional facilities such as wellness, which will enrich the offer of the destination itself. The strategic business plan envisages that the Esplanade Hotel will be the best hotel in the group, and with its size of accommodation units and equipment, it will meet the requirements for 5 stars. However, at the moment we are focused on stabilizing the 4-star market, and after further investments in raising the category, and thus raising the entire destination, we will consider the option of raising the Esplanade to 5 stars.” said Dino Manestar, President of the Management Board of Jadran ddThe reconstruction envisages the demolition of the connecting part between the old and the new part of the building, the laundry room, auxiliary spaces with an open terrace, the canopy in front of the south entrance and the restaurant and the construction of a new connecting part between the two parts. The arrangement of the old part of the hotel damaged in the fire is planned in the existing dimensions, with the addition of a fire escape and an elevator. Above the existing kitchen, an extension of the space is planned wellness which will connect the reception area with the outdoor pool area to be built on the existing terrace. Special attention will be paid to the interior design of the hotel with interior design that will also contain elements of Crikvenica’s history, from the Roman period to the present day. In addition, almost every room will be uniquely designed and decorated in accordance with the modern design in the new part of the hotel.Hotel Esplanade is located on the central part of the Crikvenica promenade, and with its historical heritage and business development potential represents a significant challenge in raising the quality of business, not only Jadran dd, but also Crikvenica as a destination as a whole. The old part of the hotel was built in 1929, and the new part was added in 1960. At the beginning of 2011, the hotel caught fire, after which a new part of the hotel with 64 rooms was put into operation, while the old part of the hotel remained out of order. Hotel Esplanade has so far been categorized as a three-star hotel, but due to the dilapidation of the building, it was threatened by a decline in categorization, which is the main reason for launching the investment a year before the deadline set by Jadran’s Strategic Business Plan.last_img read more

Complete your guests’ summer experience with hundreds of free TV programs

first_imgDepending on their preferences, viewers can choose between informative, sports, educational, documentary, music, children’s and cultural TV programs such as ZDF HD, Arte, Eurosport, Sport 1, CNN, CNBS, BBC World News Europe HD, Bloomberg TV Europe , Sky News International, Sky Sport News HD, RTL Deutschland, KIKA, Disney Channel Deutschland, ARD Alpha, 3 sat, TV 5 Monde Europe, Fashion 4K, (UHD) and many othersThe peak of the summer season is slowly but surely approaching, and some tourists are already packing their holiday bags in Croatia, which will surely include swimming in the sea, relaxing on the beach, sightseeing or tasting delicious local specialties. While on vacation, guests may want to keep up to date with the latest news and events, enjoy some of their favorite TV shows or music and sports programs while relaxing after a long day full of various activities. Offering the best picture quality and the largest selection of TV programs, it will satisfy even the most demanding viewers and give them the feeling of being at home, and those who provide these services will certainly stand out from the competition. This is exactly why satellite TV is a great option when it comes to providing added value to tourists.For more than 20 years, the ASTRA satellite network has been providing a reliable and cost-effective TV, radio and multimedia distribution service to audiences across Europe, including Croatia. The transmission techniques and technology used on ASTRA satellites are specifically designed for direct-to-home (DTH) reception to ensure that the picture and sound quality of the TV is of the highest quality.Furthermore, viewers can benefit from a rich program offer, and in addition reception from different orbital positions using the same antenna increases the available offer. Due to its almost unlimited capacity, the satellite offers high flexibility in instantly adding new channels of the highest quality. The undeniable advantages of satellite distribution make it an excellent complementary solution to terrestrial transmission – the satellite signal can be delivered to terrestrial transmitters or used to further illuminate uncovered areas.Thanks to ASTRA satellites, viewers across Europe, including Croatia, can enjoy watching hundreds of TV programs, including HD and Ultra HD, completely free of charge. Depending on their preferences, viewers can choose from the best news, sports, educational, documentary, music, children’s and cultural programs such as ZDF HD, Arte, Eurosport, Sport 1, CNN, CNBS, BBC World News Europe HD, Bloomberg TV Europe , Sky News International, Sky Sport News HD, RTL Deutschland, KIKA, Disney Channel Deutschland, ARD Alpha, 3 sat, TV 5 Monde Europe, Fashion 4K, (UHD) and many moreTo receive a signal via ASTRA satellite, you need a small satellite dish and a receiver connected to the TV. The satellite antenna pointing towards the ASTRA orbital position 19.2E allows you to watch hundreds of free international programs as mentioned above. A constantly updated list of programs is available at, and appropriate equipment can be purchased at satellite equipment outlets throughout Croatia.last_img read more

Study connects low-cost building improvement with decreased crime

first_imgPinterest “City-wide, we found significant reductions in total crimes, assaults, gun assaults, robberies and nuisance crimes associated with ordinance compliance,” said Michelle Kondo, a research hydrologist with the Northern Research Station’s Philadelphia Field Station. “This could be the ‘broken windows theory’ in action, with new doors and windows and a newly cleaned building facade signaling to potential offenders that a property is occupied and crime is not tolerated.”Additional research is needed to determine whether other factors may have influenced the decrease in crime around abandoned buildings. The Doors and Windows Ordinance applies only to buildings on blocks that are 80 percent occupied; the effect of installing functional doors and windows may be less in location have less human occupation. Geographical variation in policing practices, which change over time, may also influence crime occurrences. Share on Twitter In the first research demonstrating the effects of abandoned building remediation on changes in surrounding crime, a team of scientists from the USDA Forest Service, University of Pennsylvania and Yale School of Public Health found that low-cost improvements such as new windows and doors may be effective in deterring criminal activity. The study was published today in the journal PLOS ONE and is available online.“Vacant and abandoned buildings pose significant challenges to the health and safety of communities,” said Michael T. Rains, Director of the Forest Service’s Northern Research Station and the Forest Products Laboratory. “Forest Service research is examining all aspects of the urban ecosystem and developing knowledge and tools that cities can use to promote health and sustainability.”Enacted in 2011, the Doors and Windows Ordinance requires landowners to have functional doors and windows on abandoned buildings located on blocks that are more than 80 percent occupied unless they have applied for a renovation permit for improvements beyond replacing windows and doors. Researchers compared differences in incidents of crime for buildings that were either improved through the ordinance or were permitted for renovation with incidents of crime at randomly-matched control buildings that were not remediated or permitted for renovation. In areas around buildings in which functional doors and windows were installed, there were an estimated 8 fewer assaults, 10 fewer gun assaults and 5 fewer nuisance crimes over a 2-year period. Sharecenter_img Share on Facebook LinkedIn Emaillast_img read more

Scientists watch rats string memories together: Study shows neurons firing as rats thinks

first_imgShare on Twitter Share Email By using electrode implants to track nerve cells firing in the brains of rats as they plan where to go next, Johns Hopkins scientists say they have learned that the mammalian brain likely reconstructs memories in a way more like jumping across stepping stones than walking across a bridge. A summary of their experiments, published in the journal Science on July 10, sheds light on what memories are and how they form, and gives clues about how the system can fail.“My own introspective experience of memory tends to be one of discrete snapshots strung together, as opposed to a continuous video recording,” says David Foster, Ph.D., an assistant professor of neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “Our data from rats suggest that our memories are actually organized that way, with one network of neurons responsible for the snapshots and another responsible for the string that connects them.”Foster and his team focused their experiments on a group of nerve cells in the hippocampus of the brain known — in animals and people — for creating a mental “map” of experiences, or memories. The cells are called place cells because they each develop a preferred place in an environment and mainly fire only when the animal is in that place. LinkedIncenter_img Pinterest Share on Facebook In previous experiments, Foster’s group learned that when a rat wants to get from point A to point D, it maps out its route mentally before starting on its journey. They could “see” this happen by implanting many tiny wires in the brains of the rats so that they could monitor the activity of more than 200 place cells at a time. By doing so, they found that the place cells representing point A would fire first, followed by those for point B, then C and D.Their latest work, says Foster, is essentially a higher resolution “map” of the same process, which revealed gaps in between points A, B, C and D — not because they weren’t capturing enough place cell activity, but because there are actual “gaps” between discrete “memories” in the rats’ brains.“The trajectories that the rats reconstructed weren’t smooth,” says Foster. “We were able to see that neural activity ‘hovers’ in one place for about 20 milliseconds before ‘jumping’ to another place, where it hovers again before moving on to the next point.”He says that what seems to be happening during the hovering phase is an individual memory is being strengthened or focused. “At first, you get a ‘blurry’ representation of point A because a bunch of place cells all around point A fire, but, as time passes, the activity becomes more focused on A,” he explains. Then the activity jumps to a “blurry” version of B, which then gets focused.“We think that there is a whole network of cells dedicated to this process of fine-tuning and jumping,” says Foster. “Without it, memory retrieval would be even messier than it is.”In the future, the group plans to see what happens when certain memories within a path go missing, hoping to learn more about what memories are and how we can preserve them in those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive disorders.last_img read more

How can a family function better? Get outside together

first_imgShare LinkedIn Getting out in nature, even for just a 20-minute walk, can go a long way toward restoring your attention. But does it have the same effect when you make it a family activity?Family studies researchers at the University of Illinois have looked at the benefits of spending time in nature as a family, and theorize that families who regularly get outside together tend to function better.“When your attention is restored, you’re able to pick up on social cues more easily, you feel less irritable, and you have more self-control. All of these are variables that can help you get along better with others,” explains Dina Izenstark, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at U of I, and lead author of a recent study published in the Journal of Family Theory and Review. Share on Facebook Share on Twittercenter_img Email Pinterest Although research has already shown that exposure to natural environments can improve attention, Izenstark says the research is limited in that it is primarily focused on individuals and very short-term nature exposures.“Our research adds to that by asking, ‘what happens if you’re in nature and not alone, but you’re with a family member?’ We’re asking because we know that time spent in nature is often with one’s family, especially for children,” Izenstark says. “Our research takes into consideration the family unit, and if and how improved attention from being in nature transfers to family outcomes. We theorize that when your attention is restored, it transfers to your family relationships and allows you to get along better with your family members.”Izenstark and co-author Aaron Ebata, an associate professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at U of I, reviewed existing studies on how families use natural environments under the frameworks of attention restoration theory and family routines and rituals perspective. Attention restoration theory, first developed by Rachel and Stephen Kaplan, describes how interaction with natural environments can reduce mental fatigue and restore attentional functioning. Izenstark and Ebata’s goal was to develop a new theoretical approach to studying the benefits of family-based nature activities.Izenstark explains, “There is a growing body of literature that utilizes attention restoration theory to show how exposure to nature can restore attentional functioning. Kaplan and Kaplan propose that the natural environment is a unique context because it often has the four characteristics that encourage restored attention: being away, fascination, extent, and compatibility.“Everyone only has a finite amount of attention. Especially in today’s society where we are constantly looking at our cellphones or working on our computers and our email keeps popping up; we are constantly fatiguing our directed attention, but we’re not always aware that we’re doing it. It’s so important that we incorporate moments into our everyday lives that we can look into nature and experience soft fascination to restore our attention. When you’re at an amusement park or watching a sporting event, you’re using your hard fascination. Your brain does not have the opportunity to relax or restore itself. Even though you enjoy the activity, it’s still fatiguing you.”Ebata agrees, “There’s this notion that watching TV is relaxing. All the research we know shows that in fact it may not be as restorative as other things that might be even more beneficial.”The concept of feeling like one is getting away from the day-to-day also benefits the family. “Coming from experience, when you are a parent, especially with young active children and you’re feeling a little stressed, there is something about going to a park and letting them run off and be able to take a breath and watching them have fun,” Ebata says. “When you’re home and still in charge, that doesn’t feel like being away. But when you’re out, there is something about natural places that almost releases parents from feeling like they are on duty in the same way they are at home. They are still on duty, maybe in a different way.”So in addition to nature’s ability to restore attention, which in turn helps family members get along better, the researchers see how important it is for families to have nature-based routines or rituals that they participate in regularly. A common example for families might be walking the dog together almost every evening. This might be a simple activity, but one that brings a sense of belonging and identity to family members, the researchers say.Ultimately, when the family can communicate “who we are” to each other, through their routines and rituals, it also helps with family functioning.“Say a family goes to a park every Sunday. If you look at the long-term effects of family-based nature activities, you will see over time that the experience can foster a sense of identity and belonging. Because they go regularly or repeatedly, it’s a family ritual, and in addition to the benefits of short-term exposure enjoyed during visits, they have a shared experience which helps make them who they are as a family, something that can be passed down through generations,” Izenstark explains. “Even if you have a bad day during a visit, say you get rained on and everyone gets soaked, the total benefit of that ritual for the family becomes larger than just individual, short term benefits. The whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts.”Ebata recognizes that some families just don’t like to be outside. “There is research that shows that families that spend time in joint activities tend to have better relationship later on. But people tend to lump any kind of activity together, including watching TV,” Ebata says. “We would argue that if you only watch TV together, that may not be as beneficial for the relationship as other kinds of more interactive activities. I have recommended watching TV together really as a stimulus for being able to talk to each other about different types of things. If that goes together, it can enhance relationships.”Izenstark agrees, “Many different types of leisure activities are associated with a variety of family functioning outcomes. We are saying we agree with that, but our study proposes that activities in nature have the potential to have greater positive outcomes than other leisure contexts. Leisure activities are one of the few contexts where families spend time together today. We want to encourage families, even if you only have 20 minutes to spend together and you want to maximize the benefit of that time for your family, go take a walk in nature together.”In a continuing study, Izenstark is testing their theory. For the experiment, moms and daughters are asked to take a 20-minute walk at the mall, as well as a 20-minute walk at the park. Izenstark is looking at whether attention restoration for the mom and daughter happened more after a walk at the park or a walk at the mall.last_img read more

For the first time, researchers see structure that allows brain cells to communicate

first_imgLinkedIn Share Share on Twitter Pinterest Emailcenter_img Share on Facebook For more than a century, neuroscientists have known that nerve cells talk to one another across the small gaps between them, a process known as synaptic transmission (synapses are the connections between neurons). Information is carried from one cell to the other by neurotransmitters such as glutamate, dopamine, and serotonin, which activate receptors on the receiving neuron to convey excitatory or inhibitory messages.But beyond this basic outline, the details of how this crucial aspect of brain function occurs have remained elusive. Now, new research by scientists at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UM SOM) has for the first time elucidated details about the architecture of this process. The paper was published today in the journal Nature.Synapses are very complicated molecular machines. They are also tiny: only a few millionths of an inch across. They have to be incredibly small, since we need a lot of them; the brain has around 100 trillion of them, and each is individually and precisely tuned to convey stronger or weaker signals between cells. To visualize features on this sub-microscopic scale, the researchers turned to an innovative technology known as single-molecule imaging, which can locate and track the movement of individual protein molecules within the confines of a single synapse, even in living cells. Using this approach, the scientists identified an unexpected and precise pattern in the process of neurotransmission. The researchers looked at cultured rat synapses, which in terms of overall structure are very similar to human synapses.“We are seeing things that have never been seen before. This is a totally new area of investigation,” said Thomas Blanpied, PhD, Associate Professor in the Department of Physiology, and leader of the group that performed the work. “For many years, we’ve had a list of the many types of molecules that are found at synapses, but that didn’t get us very far in understanding how these molecules fit together, or how the process really works structurally. Now by using single-molecule imaging to map where many of the key proteins are, we have finally been able to reveal the core architectural structure of the synapse.”In the paper, Blanpied describes an unexpected aspect to this architecture that may explain why synapses are so efficient, but also susceptible to disruption during disease: at each synapse, key proteins are organized very precisely across the gap between cells. “The neurons do a better job than we ever imagined of positioning the release of neurotransmitter molecules near their receptors,” Blanpied says. “The proteins in the two different neurons are aligned with incredible precision, almost forming a column stretching between the two cells.” This proximity optimizes the power of the transmission, and also suggests new ways that this transmission can be modified.Blanpied’s lab has created a video representation of the process:Understanding this architecture will help clarify how communication within the brain works, or, in the case of psychiatric or neurological disease, how it fails to work. Blanpied is also focusing on the activity of “adhesion molecules,” which stretch from one cell to the other and may be important pieces of the “nano-column.” He suspects that if adhesion molecules are not placed correctly at the synapse, synapse architecture will be disrupted, and neurotransmitters won’t be able to do their jobs. Blanpied hypothesizes that in at least some disorders, the issue may be that even though the brain has the right amount of neurotransmitter, the synapses don’t transmit these molecules efficiently.Blanpied says that this improved comprehension of synaptic architecture could lead to a better understanding of brain diseases such as depression, schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease, and perhaps suggest new ideas for treatments.Blanpied and his colleagues will next explore whether the synaptic architecture changes in certain disorders: they will begin by looking at a synapses in a mouse model of the pathology in schizophrenia.last_img read more

Perfectionists become more neurotic and less conscientious as time passes

first_imgShare Share on Facebook As a clinical psychologist in the department of psychology and neuroscience at Dalhousie University and a lecturer in research methods at York St John University, together we have extensive experience in understanding, assessing, treating and studying perfectionism.We are greatly troubled by what we see.We believe there is an urgent need for prevention efforts — to reduce the harsh and controlling parenting practices and socio-cultural influences, such as unrealistic media images, that contribute to perfectionism. Interventions for distressed perfectionists are also clearly needed.Millennials are sufferingTo gain a more complete understanding of perfectionism, we conducted a large-scale meta-analysis involving 77 studies and nearly 25,000 participants. Around two thirds of these participants were female and many were Caucasian university students from western nations (such as Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom). Our participants ranged in age from 15 to 49.We found today’s young people are more perfectionist than ever before. In fact, we found perfectionism has increased substantially since 1990. This means millennials struggle with perfectionism more than previous generations — a finding that mirrors past research.The causes of perfectionism are complex. Increases in perfectionism come, at least in part, from today’s dog-eat-dog world, where rank and performance count excessively and winning and self-interest are emphasized.Controlling and critical parents also hover too close in raising their children, which fosters perfectionism’s development. With social media posts showcasing unrealistically “perfect” lives and glossy advertisements depicting unobtainable standards of perfection, millennials are surrounded by too many yardsticks upon which to measure their success and failure. Keeping up with the Joneses has never been harder. Pinterest We recently conducted one of the largest-ever studies on perfectionism. We learned that perfectionism has increased substantially over the past 25 years and that it affects men and women equally.We also learned that perfectionists become more neurotic and less conscientious as time passes.Perfectionism involves striving for flawlessness and requiring perfection of oneself and others. Extremely negative reactions to mistakes, harsh self-criticism, nagging doubt about performance abilities and a strong sense that others are critical and demanding also define the trait. LinkedIncenter_img Email Share on Twitter Read more:Fairy-tale social media fantasies can demolish your confidence, but it’s not all bad This epidemic of perfectionism in modern western societies is a serious, even deadly, problem. Perfectionism is robustly linked in the research to anxiety, stress, depression, eating disorders and suicide.As perfectionists age, they unravelWe also found that, as perfectionists grow older, they appear to unravel. Their personalities become more neurotic (more prone to negative emotions like guilt, envy and anxiety) and less conscientious (less organized, efficient, reliable and disciplined).Pursuing perfection — a goal that is intangible, fleeting and rare — may result in a higher rate of failures and a lower rate of successes that leaves perfectionists more likely to neurotically stew about their imperfections and less likely to conscientiously pursue their goals.Overall, then, our results suggest life does not get easier for perfectionists. In a challenging, messy and imperfect world, perfectionists may burn out as they age, leaving them more unstable and less diligent.Our findings also revealed men and women report similar levels of perfectionism.This suggests modern western societies do not involve gender-specific pressure to be perfect. Gender roles appear to allow (or to encourage) both men and women to strive for perfection.Future research should test if men strive for perfection based more on achievement motives (such as competing for resources) and women strive for perfection based more on relationship motives (such as pleasing other people).Unconditional love is an antidotePerfectionism is a major, deadly epidemic in modern western societies that is seriously under-recognized, with many distressed perfectionists concealing their imperfections from those who might be able to help (such as psychologists, teachers or family doctors).We need to respond to the perfectionism epidemic at the parental and the cultural level.Parents need to be less controlling, critical and overprotective of their children — teaching their children to tolerate and to learn from their mistakes while emphasizing hard work and discipline over the unrealistic pursuit of perfection.Unconditional love — where parents value children for more than their performance, rank or appearance — seems as good an antidote to perfectionism as any.Perfectionism is a myth and social media is its storyteller. We need to teach a healthy skepticism toward the suspiciously “perfect” lives promoted through social media posts and mainstream media advertisements. Unrealistic images achieved through photo-shopping, airbrushing and filters are less compelling once you learn the game is rigged.By Simon Sherry, Professor, Clinical Psychologist, and Director of Clinical Training in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, Dalhousie University and Martin M. Smith, Lecturer in Research Methods, York St John UniversityThis article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.last_img read more

Inflammation affects our decision-making patterns, study suggests

first_imgShare The researchers were specifically interested in the relationship between pro-inflammatory cytokines and delay discounting. Cytokines are proteins produced by the immune system, while delay discounting is the tendency to take a smaller reward that is available immediately rather than a larger reward that will be delivered in the future.“So, we predicted that inflammation may play a mechanistic role in increasing present focus. We also have a recent paper published in Scientific Reports, that outlines our theoretical model in more detail,” Gassen said.The study of 161 undergraduates experimentally-induced higher levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines by exposing the participants to either photographs of disease, threatening photographs, or sexually arousing photographs. To ensure that this manipulation worked, the researchers measured the participants’ levels of proinflammatory cytokines via saliva samples.After being exposed to the images, the participants completed a 30-question survey designed to measure delay discounting.The researchers found that higher levels of cytokines predicted greater temporal discounting. Participants who had higher levels of inflammatory markers after being exposed to the images were more likely to choose smaller, immediate rewards rather than larger, later rewards.“Although we still have a lot of research to do in this domain, I think that there are two important takeaways for the average person,” Gassen told PsyPost.“First, it’s that we need to abandon this idea that the brain and body/immune system are two separate entities. The immune system plays a key role in regulating the nervous system and behavior, not only when you’re sick, but also under normal day-to-day conditions.”“A great example of this is with the phenomenon of sickness behavior. When you feel terrible because you have the flu, a bacterial infection, or whatever, those symptoms of fatigue, lack of motivation, and aches don’t come from the infectious agent itself, but from your immune system! Your immune system – primarily through changes in inflammation – makes you feel sick so that you stay home, rest, and recover. This is just one of the many examples of your immune system impacting your brain,” Gassen explained.“The second takeaway follows from the first. Given that what goes on in your body and immune system can impact your behavior, what you put in your body and what you do to take care of your body may influence how you think, feel, and act. With impulsivity, things like poor diet, lack of exercise, stress, etc., may contribute to present-focused decision-making by increasing levels of inflammation.”“Similarly, we may be able to help individuals with impulse control issues by improving their health. Although we have only just begun testing these possibilities in our recent work, they are interesting to consider,” Gassen said.The researchers statistically controlled for factors known to influence inflammation, including age, gender, race, physical activity, sleep, body mass index (BMI), stress, recent illness, and socioeconomic status. But like all research, the study includes some limitations.“One major caveat of the study in question is our lack of a true control group whose inflammation was not expected to increase after the experimental manipulation. This would have allowed us to see if those in the control group were behaving differently from the three other groups who saw an uptick in inflammation,” Gassen explained“We are following up on this in multiple experiments right now, and also have longitudinal studies planned to help us really understand the causal direction of the relationship between inflammation and present-focused decision-making.”The study, “Experimentally-Induced Inflammation Predicts Present Focus“, was authored by Jeffrey Gassen, Anastasia Makhanova, Jon K. Maner, E. Ashby Plant, Lisa A. Eckel, Larissa Nikonova, Marjorie L. Prokosch, Gary W. Boehm, and Sarah E. Hill. Share on Twitter Pinterest LinkedIncenter_img Share on Facebook Email New research provides some of the first experimental evidence that inflammatory processes influence our decisions. The findings, which appear in the journal Adaptive Human Behavior and Physiology, suggest that factors that promote inflammation may also contribute to impulsivity.“We initially became interested in this topic after beginning to explore the role of the body’s condition (e.g., hunger, health, etc.) on decision-making in a variety of domains, like interpersonal processes, risk-taking, and impulsivity,” said study author Jeff Gassen, a doctoral candidate at Texas Christian University and member of Sarah Hill’s Evolutionary Social Psychology Lab.“We developed a hypothesis that the immune system may play an important role in calibrating individuals’ behavior to their bodily state, given that the immune system both monitors the state of the body and can communicate with the brain. Specifically, inflammation increases when the body is threatened or in poor condition, a time when an individual needs to invest in what’s going on right now (whether it be rewards, opportunities, or taking steps to recover) and think less about the future.”last_img read more

Clues elusive in Australian kids’ apparent reactions to flu vaccine

first_imgApr 27, 2010 (CIDRAP News) – In the latest developments surrounding suspected adverse reactions to the seasonal flu vaccine in Australian children, an autopsy revealed no clear link to immunization in the death of a 2-year-old, and vaccine maker CSL said it has found no evidence of a bad batch connected to cases reported so far.The adverse events that the country’s health officials are investigating involve CSL’s seasonal flu vaccine, which covers the pandemic H1N1 virus. So far most of the reports are concentrated in West Australia state, which unlike other states offers free seasonal flu vaccine for children under age 5.West Australian officials have received 250 reports of possible adverse reactions, the Australian Associated Press (AAP) reported today. Queensland has also received some adverse-event reports and is investigating the death of a 2-year-old Brisbane girl who died about 12 hours after receiving the vaccine.The events prompted Australian health officials on Apr 23 to ask health providers to stop giving children under age 5 the vaccine while it investigated fever and convulsions in some children who had received it. At the same time CSL said it stopped shipping the pediatric version of its Fluvax vaccine while it and health authorities investigate the events.Dr Jeanette Young, Queensland’s chief medical officer, said today that the initial autopsy on the Brisbane child revealed no evidence that her death was linked to the seasonal flu shot, but further tests are needed, the Brisbane Times reported today. “It’s too early at this stage to say that the vaccine caused this child’s death or indeed what did cause this child’s death,” she said. “But at this stage there’s nothing jumping out and saying this child died as a result of receiving the vaccine.”Meanwhile, CSL, which makes flu vaccine for Australia but is not the country’s sole provider, said today that a check of vaccine batch numbers on the adverse-event reports does not indicate that a single batch is responsible for the suspected reactions, the AAP reported today. CSL told the AAP that it was continuing to work with regulators and West Australian health officials to investigate the adverse-reaction reports.Today South Australia’s chief medical officer, Dr Paddy Phillips, said that despite the seasonal flu vaccine ban in children younger than 5, they can still receive the monovalent pandemic H1N1 vaccine, which has not been linked to increased adverse-event reports, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. (ABC) reported today. “Children over the age of five and adults should certainly continue to get the seasonal flu vaccines,” he told ABC. “If parents are worried then certainly get the H1N1-specific vaccine. That’s been given in millions of doses with no adverse effects including in under five-year-olds.”The adverse event reports have sparked a round of speculation among Australia infectious disease experts, the Sydney Morning Herald reported today. Dr Peter Collignon of Australian National University said children’s exposure to the pandemic flu virus last summer might be predisposing them to an aggressive response to a vaccine that contains the strain.However, Dr Terry Nolan, who was part of a research team that explored children’s reactions to the pandemic flu vaccine, countered that Collignon’s explanation seemed unlikely, because adverse reactions weren’t seen in children who received the second of two recommended pandemic H1N1 vaccine doses last season.Australia is currently in the midst of its seasonal flu vaccine campaign in advance of the winter flu season, which typically begins in May. Australia has had one wave of pandemic flu, which occurred during its normal flu season last year. Health officials fear Australia and other countries might experience a second pandemic flu wave, especially since the pandemic virus has become the dominant H1N1 strain across the globe.Last September the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended that the Southern Hemisphere’s seasonal flu vaccine cover the pandemic H1N1, a Perth-like strain of influenza A/H3N2, and a Brisbane-like influenza B strain. In February the WHO recommended similar strains for the Northern Hemisphere’s next flu season.See also:Apr 27 ABC storyApr 27 Brisbane Times storyApr 28 Sydney Morning Herald storyApr 23 CIDRAP News story “Australia probes seasonal flu vaccine reactions in children”last_img read more

NEWS SCAN: E coli in raw milk, emerging E coli strains, possible weapon against tularemia, plague

first_imgMay 27, 2010Minnesota reports E coli cases linked to raw milkMinnesota health officials have confirmed three Escherichia coli infections from consumption of raw (unpasteurized) milk bought from a dairy farm near Gibbon, Minn. The Minnesota Department of Health is urging anyone who bought milk or other dairy products from the Hartmann Dairy Farm, also known as MOMs (Minnesota Organic Milk), to discard the products. The milk may be labeled as organic, so consumers may be unaware the milk has not been pasteurized, the MDH said in a press release yesterday. An article today from the Minneapolis Star Tribune listed four cases (three confirmed as linked to the farm), in an elderly man, two schoolchildren, and a 2-year-old. The 2-year-old has developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, the story said, a complication of E coli infection that can cause kidney failure or even death. From 1998 through May 2005, nationwide 45 raw-milk-associated disease outbreaks were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), accounting for 1,007 illnesses, 104 hospitalizations, and 2 deaths.May 26 MDH press releaseSix E coli strains emerge as food safety threatAlthough much attention has focused on E coli O157:H7 as a leading cause of foodborne illness, other less common strains are emerging as threats, according to a New York Times story. One of these strains on romaine lettuce, O145, has sickened at least 26 people in five states, according to the CDC. Few food companies test for the six non-O157 strains, they are low on physicians’ radar, and only about 5% of medical labs are equipped to detect their presence in patients, partly because testing for them is more difficult and time-consuming than for O157:H7. “This is something that we really have to look at,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., who intends to introduce a bill that would define a broad range of disease-causing E coli strains to be illegal in ground beef and require the meat industry to test for them. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has been considering this move for 3 years, but the meat industry has resisted, saying the strains have not been a problem in beef and that current safety steps suffice to keep all strains at bay. The USDA has been reluctant to ban the additional strains of E coli in beef until it has tests that can rapidly detect them, which should be in place by the end of next year.May 26 New York Times reportNovel treatment may protect against tularemia, plague, other pathogensScientists have developed a novel treatment that may protect against tularemia, plague, and other bacteria, according to a study in mice, reported today in PLoS Pathogens. The study was a collaboration among researchers from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’s (NIAID’s) Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton, Mont., Colorado State University in Fort Collins, and Juvaris Biotherapeutics of Burlingame, Calif. Researchers combined components isolated from the membrane of a weakened strain of Francisella tularensis, the tularemia pathogen, with the Juvaris product CLDC (cationic liposome DNA complexes). The combination stimulates a natural immune mechanism that kills invading bacteria and prevents their replication and spread, according to an NIAID release. Of mice that were treated with the therapeutic agent and then given a usually lethal pulmonary dose of F tularensis 3 days later, 60% survived. No mice survived when given the CLDC alone. The treatment also protected human immune cells against plague, brucellosis, and melioidosis, as well as tularemia. “A therapeutic that protects against a wide array of bacterial pathogens would have enormous medical and public health implications for naturally occurring infections and potential agents of bioterrorism,” NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, MD, said in the news release.May 27 PLoS Pathog studylast_img read more