Health tourism needs stronger promotion outside Croatia

first_imgA session of the Council of the Community of Health Tourism at the Croatian Chamber of Commerce was held, where it was concluded that health tourism needs stronger promotion outside the borders of Croatia, and that Croatia should be put on the medical map of the world.”We are still not on the medical map of the world. We have made some development strides, but insufficient for significant participation in the medical tourism market, whose annual turnover is estimated at more than 100 billion US dollars, with a projection of future annual growth of 15 to 20 percent”, Said Ognjen Bagatin, director of the Bagatin Polyclinic at the session of the Council of the Community of Health Tourism (ZZT) at the Croatian Chamber of Commerce.Although there are about 1.100 medical tourism service providers in Croatia, only five percent of tourists (patients) come from foreign markets, primarily from Italy, Slovenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. “This is extremely small, but the potential for the development of health tourism in Croatia, as a year-round tourism product, is very large, and research tells us that foreign tourists in this segment spend 2,5 times more than domestic”, Bagatin emphasized.At the session of the ZZT Council, speaking about the activities achieved in 2016, Leila Krešić-Jurić, director of the HGK Tourism Sector, commented on the HGK’s membership in Espa (European Spas Association), which is a lobbying body for health tourism at the European level. She drew attention to the need for a clearer definition of the parameters that need to be statistically monitored, then to the tax policy for wellness, to the EU Health Care Directive and more.The ZZT Council has adopted a work plan for next year in which the emphasis is on promotion in foreign markets through joint appearances at fairs and through education on how to do business with foreign markets and the menu according to the requirements of legislation and markets. It is also proposed to introduce a systematic survey of medical and wellness tourism entities, for which indicators at the assessment level have been presented to date. In addition, standard projects and activities of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce will be announced, such as benchmarking analysis of health resorts and special hospitals, Tourist Flower for spas and wellness hotels, Buy Croatian-Croatian product for Croatian tourism, HTI health tourism conferences, lobbying for amendments to relevant laws and membership in the Espa.”Health tourism must be part of the integrated Croatian tourist offer. ” pointed out Marcel Medak, President of the Health Tourism Association at the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, while at the session Ingrid Badurina Danielsson presented Taste the Mediterranean Festival which will be held with the next HTI conference, from February 28 to March 2, 2017 in Rovinj. “Mediterranean cuisine has been included in the list of cultural heritage by UNESCO as the healthiest cuisine in the world, which should be used to enrich the offer of health tourism.”. The final conclusion is that it is necessary to move in the direction of gathering a critical mass of health tourism service providers in order to attract more agents at a stronger performance at the identified key fairs and to gain the support of the Croatian National Tourist Board.last_img read more


20 years of the “Buy Croatian” campaign marked

first_imgYesterday, Split marked the 20th anniversary of the “Buy Croatian” campaign, at which over 130 producers presented themselves. Citizens on the Riva have the opportunity to taste the best of domestic products and buy products at affordable prices, among them the holders of the Croatian Quality and Original Croatian signs, which the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, as part of the Action, has been awarding for 20 years.”Croatian products flooded Split’s Riva and this is another proof that the action was a success. We have been talking for twenty years about how important it is to buy local and emphasize Croatian quality. Support for our manufacturer has never been more necessary than today because they are the ones who create a quality product and enable the creation of new jobs”, Said the President of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce Luka Burilović, opening this year’s season of the action Buy Croatian, today, May 26, in Split on the waterfront where, organized by the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, 130 Croatian companies are represented with a special program. “This idea should become a lifestyle all 365 days a yearand “, added Burilović.”Trust me that foreign guests know about our products. We have a great season ahead of us and in order for it not to be just the sun and the sea, we need to promote and bring our products closer to tourists.”, Said the Minister of Tourism Gary Cappelli, emphasizing that the Croatian quality is known and that we are competitive with such quality.Split-Dalmatia County Prefect Zlatko Ževrnja said that this was a great event because buying a Croatian product strengthens the economy, while Croatian Government Commissioner Andro Krstulović Opara pointed out that the most important people are behind the Croatian product, and thus the Croatian economy.We are pleased that the anniversary has left our city. The domestic product resists competition with top quality, and consumers always return to it faithfully and loyally.”, Said the Commissioner of the Government of the Republic of Croatia for the City of Split Branka Ramljak and added that by buying Croatian we are doing multiple benefits to our economy.The right to use the marks “Croatian Quality” and “Originally Croatian” is granted to products and services that have above-average quality, at least as products or services at the level of “Croatian Quality”, and produced in the Republic of Croatia or created as a result of Croatian traditions, research and development, innovation and invention.According to the research of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, on the Croatian market 84% population decides to buy a product of Croatian quality, and a product that bears one of the signs of quality 63% has a better chance of ending up in the consumer basket.If you want to acquire the right to use the mark, see the conditions herelast_img read more


Strategy found for safely prescribing antidepressants to children and adolescents

first_imgA multidisciplinary team of Johns Hopkins researchers has developed two new strategies to treat depression in young people using the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) class of medications. These strategies, published May 5 in the journal Translational Psychiatry, incorporate a new understanding of how to mitigate the risk of suicide while on SSRI treatment.“These medications have to be dosed in a careful way,” says senior investigator Adam Kaplin, M.D., Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychiatry and neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Just as with medications for high blood pressure, diabetes and anti-coagulation therapy, Kaplin says careful dosing of SSRIs is “exactly what psychiatrists have been doing for a long time in adults” to mitigate the negative effects of the medications.For children and adolescents, however, treatment regimens have tended to be more intense in order to treat depression quickly. Kaplin says that’s because “it is excruciatingly painful to wait for kids to respond when they are often already at the end of their ropes before meeting with a medical professional.” Young people rarely seek treatment for depression on their own, and it may take a while before parents become aware of their child’s depression, he says. Once aware, parents may try other means of treatment before seeking medical attention. Share on Facebook Pinterest Share on Twitter Sharecenter_img Email SSRI treatment, however, has proved to increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior (“suicidality”) in children and adolescents. In 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a black box warning for SSRIs — the most serious warning a prescription medicine can receive — because in a summary examination of all drug company-sponsored studies, the drugs increased suicidal thoughts and action by 2 to 4 percent, compared with a placebo during the initial weeks after starting the medications.With over 10 percent of all children and adolescents in the U.S. suffering from major depressive disorder, however, the black box warning had an unintended effect. “The suicide rate has gone up,” says Kaplin, apparently because clinicians hesitate to prescribe SSRIs even though there’s greater risk of suicide from leaving major depressive disorder untreated.In their study, Kaplin and his team asked whether these early negative effects shortly after starting SSRIs could be mitigated either by the same kind of careful dosing done in adults with anxiety disorders or by combining SSRI treatment with another medication previously shown to hasten SSRIs’ therapeutic effects in adults.The team began by analyzing the same data the FDA used in 2004 to issue its black box warning. They found that SSRIs made young patients more impulsive, particularly during the first month of treatment, but don’t create suicidal thoughts where there were none before, Kaplin says.The researchers then performed a computer simulation to find optimal dosing for the faster-acting SSRIs — paroxetine, citalopram, sertraline, venlafaxine and fluvoxamine — in kids so that these other SSRIs would act in a similar way to fluoxetine, says Kaplin. Currently, fluoxetine, the slowest-acting SSRI, is the only SSRI that is FDA-approved for children 8 to 12. It can take several weeks or months for fluoxetine to reach therapeutic levels in the blood and begin to have an effect.When they tested their model, the researchers found that it generated the same kinds of dosing regimens psychiatrists use for dosing adults experiencing SSRIs’ negative effects. Those regimens often start with half the normal initial dose and slowly increase it to achieve therapeutic levels.The newly proposed dosing guidelines likely would improve safety, but they would also slow how long it takes before patients receive relief, even from the faster-acting SSRIs. “One of the hardest parts of our jobs is to get people through that delayed period of time when we all wish our medicines worked faster,” says Kaplin. So the researchers also looked for a way to completely block SSRIs’ negative effects.Working with mice, the researchers found that adding a molecule called WAY-100635 — used in adult human research studies — produced “a synergistic effect when given with an SSRI,” says Kristen Rahn, Ph.D., an instructor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and of neurology. “And it completely alleviated the anxiety the animals had.”Given by itself, though, WAY-100635 had no significant effect on anxiety levels. The compound helps the brain get serotonin, a neurotransmitter. Long-term exposure to SSRIs eventually increases serotonin levels — the goal of treatment — but the initial exposure reduces serotonin. Researchers think it’s this stop-start mechanism that explains why SSRIs cause adults’ anxiety and increase children’s impulsivity. Coupling SSRI treatment with WAY-100635 eliminates the stop-start and creates a smoother transition.“Now that we have uncovered this effect and worked out this mechanism,” says Kaplin, “we are in the process of communicating with pharmaceutical companies to see which of them might have tested a drug similar to WAY-100635 that didn’t do anything by itself and therefore was abandoned.” LinkedInlast_img read more


How a schizophrenia risk gene affects the brain

first_imgShare on Twitter Share Pinterest Share on Facebook LinkedIncenter_img Scientists have for the first time shown how the disruption of a key gene involved in mental illness impacts on the brain.The discovery could be used in the future to help develop psychiatric drugs.The DISC1 gene is a risk factor for a number of major mental illnesses, including schizophrenia, depression and bipolar disorder. Email Brain imaging studies have already revealed that these illnesses involve alterations in both the structure and connectivity of the brain.Genetic studies of several generations of one Scottish family affected by these psychiatric illnesses have revealed these are connected to the disruption of the DISC1 gene, though it is not clear how.For the first time, neuroscientists have shown that the disruption of this key risk gene significantly modifies the organisation of functional brain networks.Lead researcher Dr Neil Dawson from Lancaster University said: “Our data strongly suggest that disruption of DISC1 is a key molecular event that can contribute to the emergence of disease-relevant alterations in brain function”.“Through these studies we have been able to define deficits in brain function and functional connectivity that result from the disruption of DISC1 and are relevant to a range of psychiatric disorders.”He said these included schizophrenia-related alterations in brain function, functional brain network connectivity and the functioning of the glutamate neurotransmitter system.These findings parallel alterations seen in the brains of schizophrenia patients and could pave the way towards the development of new drug treatments.The research is published in Nature’s Translational Psychiatry.last_img read more


The psychological origins of procrastination – and how we can stop putting things off

first_imgShare Share on Twitter Email “I love deadlines,” English author Douglas Adams once wrote. “I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.”We’ve all had the experience of wanting to get a project done but putting it off for later. Sometimes we wait because we just don’t care enough about the project, but other times we care a lot – and still end up doing something else. I, for one, end up cleaning my house when I have a lot of papers to grade, even though I know I need to grade them.So why do we procrastinate? Are we built to operate this way at some times? Or is there something wrong with the way we’re approaching work? LinkedIncenter_img Pinterest Share on Facebook These questions are central to my research on goal pursuit, which could offer some clues from neuroscience about why we procrastinate – and how to overcome this tendency.To do, or not to doIt all starts with a simple choice between working now on a given project and doing anything else: working on a different project, doing something fun or doing nothing at all.The decision to work on something is driven by how much we value accomplishing the project in that moment – what psychologists call its subjective value. And procrastination, in psychological terms, is what happens when the value of doing something else outweighs the value of working now.This way of thinking suggests a simple trick to defeat procrastination: find a way to boost the subjective value of working now, relative to the value of other things. You could increase the value of the project, decrease the value of the distraction, or some combination of the two.For example, instead of cleaning my house, I might try to focus on why grading is personally important to me. Or I could think about how unpleasant cleaning can actually be – especially when sharing a house with a toddler.It’s simple advice, but adhering to this strategy can be quite difficult, mainly because there are so many forces that diminish the value of working in the present.The distant deadlinePeople are not entirely rational in the way they value things. For example, a dollar bill is worth exactly the same today as it is a week from now, but its subjective value – roughly how good it would feel to own a dollar – depends on other factors besides its face value, such as when we receive it.The tendency for people to devalue money and other goods based on time is called delay discounting. For example, one study showed that, on average, receiving $100 three months from now is worth the same to people as receiving $83 right now. People would rather lose $17 than wait a few months to get a larger reward.Other factors also influence subjective value, such as how much money someone has recently gained or lost. The key point is that there is not a perfect match between objective value and subjective value.Delay discounting is a factor in procrastination because the completion of the project happens in the future. Getting something done is a delayed reward, so its value in the present is reduced: the further away the deadline is, the less attractive it seems to work on the project right now.Studies have repeatedly shown that the tendency to procrastinate closely follows economic models of delay discounting. Furthermore, people who characterize themselves as procrastinators show an exaggerated effect. They discount the value of getting something done ahead of time even more than other people.One way to increase the value of completing a task is to make the finish line seem closer. For example, vividly imagining a future reward reduces delay discounting.No work is ‘effortless’Not only can completing a project be devalued because it happens in the future, but working on a project can also be unattractive due to the simple fact that work takes effort.New research supports the idea that mental effort is intrinsically costly; for this reason, people generally choose to work on an easier task rather than a harder task. Furthermore, there are greater subjective costs for work that feels harder (though these costs can be offset by experience with the task at hand).This leads to the interesting prediction that people would procrastinate more the harder they expect the work to be. That’s because the more effort a task requires, the more someone stands to gain by putting the same amount of effort into something else (a phenomenon economists call opportunity costs). Opportunity costs make working on something that seems hard feels like a loss.Sure enough, a group of studies shows that people procrastinate more on unpleasant tasks. These results suggest that reducing the pain of working on a project, for example by breaking it down into more familiar and manageable pieces, would be an effective way to reduce procrastination.Your work, your identityWhen we write that procrastination is a side effect of the way we value things, it frames task completion as a product of motivation, rather than ability.In other words, you can be really good at something, whether it’s cooking a gourmet meal or writing a story, but if you don’t possess the motivation, or sense of importance, to complete the task, it’ll likely be put off.It was for this reason that the writer Robert Hanks, in a recent essay for the London Review of Books, described procrastination as “a failure of appetites.”The source of this “appetite” can be a bit tricky. But one could argue that, like our (real) appetite for food, it’s something that’s closely intertwined with our daily lives, our culture and our sense of who we are.So how does one increase the subjective value of a project? A powerful way – one that my graduate students and I have written about in detail – is to connect the project to your self-concept. Our hypothesis is that projects seen as important to a person’s self-concept will hold more subjective value for that person.It’s for this reason that Hanks also wrote that procrastination seems to stem from a failure to “identify sufficiently with your future self” – in other words, the self for whom the goal is most relevant.Because people are motivated to maintain a positive self-concept, goals connected closely to one’s sense of self or identity take on much more value.Connecting the project to more immediate sources of value, such as life goals or core values, can fill the deficit in subjective value that underlies procrastination.By Elliot Berkman, Assistant Professor, Psychology, University of Oregon and Jordan Miller-Ziegler, PhD Candidate in Psychology, University of OregonThis article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.last_img read more


Too much folate in pregnant women increases risk for autism, study suggests

first_imgWomen who plan on becoming pregnant are told they need enough of the nutrient folate to ensure proper neurodevelopment of their babies, but new research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health suggests there could be serious risks in having far too much of the same nutrient.The researchers found that if a new mother has a very high level of folate right after giving birth – more than four times what is considered adequate – the risk that her child will develop an autism spectrum disorder doubles. Very high vitamin B12 levels in new moms are also potentially harmful, tripling the risk that her offspring will develop an autism spectrum disorder. If both levels are extremely high, the risk that a child develops the disorder increases 17.6 times. Folate, a B vitamin, is found naturally in fruits and vegetables, while the synthetic version, folic acid, is used to fortify cereals and breads in the United States and in vitamin supplements.The preliminary findings will be presented May 13 at the 2016 International Meeting for Autism Research in Baltimore. A press conference is scheduled for 10 a.m. on May 11 at the at the Baltimore Convention Center, Room 302-303. Share Email Pinterest LinkedIncenter_img Share on Twitter Share on Facebook “Adequate supplementation is protective: That’s still the story with folic acid,” says one of the study’s senior authors M. Daniele Fallin, PhD, director of the Bloomberg School’s Wendy Klag Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities. “We have long known that a folate deficiency in pregnant mothers is detrimental to her child’s development. But what this tells us is that excessive amounts may also cause harm. We must aim for optimal levels of this important nutrient.”Folate is essential in cell growth and promotes neurodevelopmental growth. Deficiencies early in pregnancy have been linked to birth defects and to an increased risk of developing an autism spectrum disorder. And despite this push to ensure women get adequate folate, some women still don’t get enough or their bodies aren’t properly absorbing it, leading to deficiencies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that one in four women of reproductive age in the U.S. have insufficient folate levels. Levels are not routinely monitored during pregnancy.Autism spectrum disorder is a neurodevelopmental condition characterized by social impairment, abnormal communication and repetitive or unusual behavior. One in 68 children in the U.S. have the disorder, with boys five times more likely than girls to have it. The causes remain unclear but research suggests the factors are a combination of genes and the environment.For the study, researchers analyzed data from 1,391 mother-child pairs in the Boston Birth Cohort, a predominantly low-income minority population.The mothers were recruited at the time of their child’s birth between 1998 and 2013 and followed for several years, with the mother’s blood folate levels checked once within the first one to three days of delivery. The researchers found that one in 10 of the women had what is considered an excess amount of folate (more than 59 nanomoles per liter) and six percent had an excess amount of vitamin B12 (more than 600 picomoles per liter).The World Health Organization says that between 13.5 and 45.3 nanomoles per liter is an adequate amount of folate for a woman in her first trimester of pregnancy. Unlike with folate, there are not well-established thresholds for adequate vitamin B12 levels.A large majority of the mothers in the study reported having taken multivitamins – which would include folic acid and vitamin B12 – throughout pregnancy. But the researchers say they don’t know exactly why some of the women had such high levels in their blood. It could be that they consumed too many folic acid-fortified foods or took too many supplements. Or, they say, it could be that some women are genetically predisposed to absorbing greater quantities of folate or metabolizing it slower, leading to the excess. Or it could be a combination of the two.More research is needed, the scientists say, in order to determine just how much folic acid a woman should consume during pregnancy to have the best chance that she will have optimal blood folate levels to ensure her offspring’s health.With many types of vitamin supplements, the conventional wisdom has been that too much is not harmful, that the body will flush out the excess. That may not be the case with folic acid and vitamin B12.“This research suggests that this could be the case of too much of a good thing,” says study lead author Ramkripa Raghavan, MPH, MSc, a DrPH candidate in the Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health at the Bloomberg School. “We tell women to be sure to get folate early in pregnancy. What we need to figure out now is whether there should be additional recommendations about just what an optimal dose is throughout pregnancy.”last_img read more


Religious fundamentalism could be associated with increased sensitivity to errors

first_imgShare on Twitter Email Scientists are beginning to investigate the relationship between religious fundamentalism and cognitive processes. A new preliminary study published in Frontiers in Psychology hints that religious fundamentalism is associated with more intense processing of error-related stimuli.“My research interests are focused on motivational processes underlying social knowledge formation and usage. Specifically, I am studying why people become closed-minded and dogmatic,” said Malgorzata Kossowska, a professor in the Institute of Psychology at the Jagiellonian University and the corresponding author of the study.“Closed-mindedness and dogmatism have important behavioral consequences such as prejudice, intolerance, injustice, and inequality. Religious fundamentalism is a very good example of closed minded, dogmatic beliefs. Besides, in Poland, where I am doing my research, almost everybody is religious, and nowadays most of them are religious fundamentalists. Thus, understanding closed-minded religious beliefs allowed me to better understand social processes in my country.” Pinterest LinkedIncenter_img Share on Facebook “In this particular piece we focused on the general sensitivity to error-related events as an important mechanism through which fundamentalism facilitates self-control,” Kossowska told PsyPost. “We observed this mechanism in brain activity. I believe that this approach allows for the integration of multiple levels of analysis and therefore refines and constrains psychological theories.”The researchers used electroencephalography (EEG) to examine the brain activity of 34 participants while they completed a Stroop task. During the task, the participants identified the color of various words related to error and uncertainty flashed on a screen. The researchers were particularly interested in the N400 response, a pattern of electrical brain activity that is associated with the processing of unexpected or inappropriate information.Kossowska and her colleagues observed significantly larger error-related brain activity among fundamentalist participants who were intolerant of uncertainty, but not among participants who were tolerant of uncertainty. In other words, for people who are intolerant of uncertainty, religious fundamentalism is associated with an increased N400 response on error-related words. “Our results are in line with the claim that religion acts like a meaning system that offers order and control, protecting people against anxiety and subjective pain of errors when faced with uncertainty,” Kossowska explained.“More specifically, we found that increased sensitivity to error-related words may be considered as a defensive mechanism of religious fundamentalists. Detecting errors may allow one to bring their behavior in line with fundamentalist rules and standards.”However, the study has important limitations and there is need for further research.“There are many major caveats. The study shows a correlation between religious fundamentalism and response-related brain activity; however, the causal direction of this relationship is unclear,” Kossowska said.“Further research is needed to determine whether a fundamentalist mindset causes overactive performance monitoring or, on the contrary, excessive behavioral monitoring leads to religious fundamentalism. In addition, fundamentalism was studied on quite a homogeneous sample of young Polish Catholics. Thus, studying this effect across religions and cultures will likely yield valuable insights.” “Next, although small, low-powered studies are endemic in neuroscience, they are also problematic,” Kossowska added. “It was recently recognized that low sample size of studies, small effects or both, lead to low statistical power that negatively affects the probability that a nominally statistically significant finding actually reflects a true effect. Therefore, the results should be treated with some caution and replications of the results would be of great value.”The study, “Religious Fundamentalism Modulates Neural Responses to Error-Related Words: The Role of Motivation Toward Closure“, was authored by Małgorzata Kossowska, Paulina Szwed, Miroslaw Wyczesany, Gabriela Czarnek and Eligiusz Wronka. Sharelast_img read more


A substantial proportion of men prefer women who are attracted to other women

first_imgLinkedIn Share on Facebook Share Share on Twitter Specifically, about one in four heterosexual Chinese men and two in three heterosexual UK men preferred mates who were not exclusively attracted to the opposite-sex. Most of these men preferred women who were mostly attracted to men but occasionally to women, rather than women who were attracted both sexes equally or women who were more attracted to women than men.“Across different cultures there are many heterosexual men who find same-sex attractions in women desirable,” Apostolou said.Participants who reported same-sex attraction were significantly more likely to also desire a partner with a similar orientation.However, men preferred same-sex attraction in a partner much more than women. The male participants were 6.49 times more likely than women to prefer a partner who was attracted to both sexes.“There are many limitations such as not using a representative sample,” Apostolou told PsyPost. “However, the effects found were very large which it means that it is relatively safe to say that there is a sex difference: Men find same-sex attraction in women much more desirable than women find same-sex attraction in men.”“I believe that same-sex attraction in heterosexual women constitutes a normal variation in sexual attraction, and it is not something abnormal that women should feel shame for or worry about,” Apostolou added. “Similarly, a male preference for same-sex attraction in women constitutes a normal variation of male sexual preferences and should not be considered abnormal. This preference is probably one of the reasons why many women have evolved same-sex attraction in the first place.”The study, “Do men prefer women who are attracted to women? A cross-cultural evolutionary investigation“, was authored by Menelaos Apostolou, Yan Wang, and Jiaqing O.center_img Many men prefer women who are occasionally attracted to other women, according to research that examined preferences for same-sex attraction across different cultures.“I am an evolutionary psychologist and same-sex attraction constitutes a major puzzle that remains to be solved by evolutionary-minded scholars,” said study author Menelaos Apostolou of the University of Nicosia.The study of 1,021 participants from China and 390 participants from the United Kingdom found that a substantial proportion of men prefered a partner who was attracted to both sexes. Email Pinterestlast_img read more


Melodic alarm clock sounds appear to counteract sleep inertia

first_imgPeople with melodic alarms experience reduced levels of morning grogginess, according to preliminary research published in PLOS One. The findings provide new insights into how to lessen the impairment in performance that is often experienced upon waking from sleep.“Through our research in auditory perception, cognition and sleep inertia (morning grogginess) it became apparent that although auditory alarms are a common method for awakening people, knowledge for the effectiveness of these stimuli on cognition post awakening was very slim,” explained Stuart McFarlane, the lead author of the study and a doctoral researcher at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.“Considering that sleep inertia inhibits human performance after waking, and that most digital devices today are capable of playing complex and easily accessible audio, we thought it was a particularly relevant topic that required more attention. In sum, this research is focused on the improvement of waking sound stimuli for the reduction of sleep inertia.” Pinterest Share on Facebook LinkedIn Share on Twittercenter_img Email Share In the study, 50 participants completed an online survey that allowed them to remotely log the type of sound they used to wake up, and then rated their grogginess and alertness levels.The researchers found that alarm sounds rated as melodic were associated with lower levels of sleep inertia compared to sounds rated as unmelodic, somewhat unmelodic, neither unmelodic nor melodic, and very melodic.“We think that a harsh ‘beep beep beep’ might work to disrupt or confuse our brain activity when waking, while a more melodic sound like the Beach Boys ‘Good Vibrations’ or The Cure’s ‘Close to Me’ may help us transition to a waking state in a more effective way,” said co-author Adrian Dyer.The findings could have important implications for anyone who needs to perform safety-critical tasks soon after waking.“People need to be aware of sleep inertia’s negative effects on human performance after waking up. The grogginess we may feel during this phase typically lasts for up to 30 minutes, however, periods from 2 to 4 hours have also been reported,” McFarlane told PsyPost.“Not everyone will experience the full impacts, but for those that do, care should be taken when performing tasks that require peak performance within this period. This may include emergency responders, aircraft pilots, or people that have to drive in unforeseen circumstances. If we can counteract the symptoms of sleep inertia by any measure through the alarm sounds we use, it would be a great benefit to many. In this first study, we have found evidence that alarms perceived as melodic may be a factor to consider in reducing symptoms of sleep inertia.”But there is still much to learn about the relationship between auditory alarms and sleep inertia.“This study is the initial stage of ongoing research in a very complex field. The current results should be considered as positive reference points that we are utilizing to focus our research efforts moving forward. Our primary goal at this stage is to research and report results that have been derived from ecological conditions. The ultimate goal would be to take what we find and perform larger scale, controlled laboratory studies to clarify our understandings of this research area,” McFarlane explained.“We are continuing to focus our research on the effects alarm sounds have on sleep inertia, and hope to share our results with the wider community in the near future.”The study, “Alarm tones, music and their elements: Analysis of reported waking sounds to counteract sleep inertia“, was authored by Stuart J. McFarlane, Jair E. Garcia, Darrin S. Verhagen, and Adrian G. Dyer.last_img read more


NEWS SCAN: Leftover H1N1 vaccine, tickborne infections

first_imgJul 21, 2010What to do with remaining H1N1 vaccine dosesWith millions of doses of H1N1 influenza vaccine still sitting in refrigerators at clinics around the country, a recent article in American Medical News offered guidance on what to do with them. Physicians had an opportunity in May and will have another one this fall to return expired doses, at no cost, to facilities designated by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the Central Vaccine Recovery Program, HHS spokesman Bill Hall said. But ancillary supplies such as needles and syringes should not be returned. States have their own recommendations about what to do with expired doses. Hall said physicians should keep unexpired vaccine doses until adequate supplies of seasonal flu vaccine are available locally. At that point doctors can dispose of the doses through the federal program or by following state guidelines. The seasonal flu vaccine will include a 2009 H1N1 virus. Hall said a total of about 162 million doses of pandemic vaccine were distributed and about 90 million were administered. Of the leftovers, an estimated 40 million doses expired Jun 30, he reported. The remaining 31 million to 32 million have varied expiration dates, most of them in 2011, he said. Infectious disease experts quoted in the story agreed that the amount of unused vaccine is disappointing but said the current number of expired doses is not outrageous, given that millions of doses of seasonal vaccine go unused each year.Jul 19 American Medical News storyResearchers find new clues in tickborne infectionsAmong new tick-related infectious disease findings presented at the International Conference on Emerging Infectious Disease (ICEID), which ended Jul 14 in Atlanta, were a report on the first zoonotic babesiosis case documented in Tennessee and a report on ehrlichiosis infections in Minnesota and Wisconsin involving a species that had not previously been identified in North America. In the first report, a group from the Tennessee Department of Health, Vanderbilt University, and the CDC diagnosed babesiosis in an immunosuppressed patient who began to have fever, fatigue, and headache. He had not traveled outside Tennessee in several years and had been exposed to ticks during hunting trips. Babesia parasites were noted on the man’s blood smear, and molecular analysis revealed that it was a novel species, but attempts to isolate it were unsuccessful. The man’s symptoms resolved after 10 days of treatment. The researchers said efforts to identify the animal host and tick vectors are ongoing and that the case serves as a reminder that patients can have babesiosis without exposure to known endemic areas and without testing positive to previously known species. In the second report, local health officials and CDC and Mayo Clinic experts described the identification of Ehrlichia DNA from Mayo Clinic blood samples of patients from the two states involving a species similar to E muris that had not been previously identified in North America. The organism was found in 2009 in the blood of 4 patients, 3 from Wisconsin and 1 from Minnesota. All had reported fever and headache, and all had lymphopenia. All recovered with doxycycline treatment. Serological studies also suggested 40 more probable cases among Wisconsin residents. A survey of the patients found dog contact in 91% and possible tick exposure in 85%. The group concluded that more studies are needed to identify the epidemiologic and clinical features of infections with the E muris–like organism and that better testing in the region could help identify the infections.Jul 14 ICEID abstracts (See Boards 310 and 324)last_img read more