222 research outputs found

    Somatosensory attentional modulations during pain-related movement execution

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    Pain serves to protect against bodily threat, and therefore initiates protective responses such as attending toward threat-relevant information. Since pain is often exacerbated by executing movements, these motor actions may serve as cues for pain. Up to date, however, pain-related attention during movement remains largely unexplored. While it has been shown that the preparation of a pain-related movement leads to enhanced processing of somatosensory information, it is unclear how the actual execution of a movement interacts with somatosensory attention. In the current study, we examined whether somatosensory processing is enhanced at a moving body part when the movement is expected to be associated with pain. Participants were asked to execute hand movements which were occasionally followed by a pain stimulus. To measure somatosensory attention, a task-irrelevant, innocuous tactile probe was presented on either hand to evoke a somatosensory evoked potential (SEP). The results showed an elevation of the N120 SEP at the hand performing a potentially painful movement, indicating heightened attention toward tactile information at the threatened moving hand compared to the non-threatened hand. Additionally, the P200 SEP also showed enlarged responses when performing a pain-related movement compared to a no-pain-related movement. These results show that not only the anticipation, but also the execution of pain-related movements, may modulate the processing of somatosensory input, driven by attentional processes

    A comparison of the LPIM-COSMIC F2 peak parameters determinations against the IRI(CCIR)

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    During the last decade the amount of ionosphere measurements, from ground and space born sources, has substantially increased along with the development of high end processing systems. This constitutes a perfect scenario for the International Reference Ionosphere (IRI) to assimilate this huge new database and to satisfy the new needs of the aeronomic community: an IRI with meteorological capability. The first step before the implementation of an assimilative procedure is to validate the new data. This work intends to contribute in this direction by studying the differences (systematic and statistical) between the F2 peak parameters (hmF2 and NmF2) predicted by the IRI(CCIR) and those obtained from the electron density profiles computed with LPIM-COSMIC/Formosat3 (LPIM-C/F3) technique. The analyzed period extends from January 2007 to October 2012, thus covering all the different seasonal Sun‚ÄďEarth configurations and a range of solar activity going from low to mid-high level. The analysis shows that there is no significant systematic bias between the IRI and LPIM-C/F3 values on both parameters. The obtained differences are comparable to those found between IRI and other models and data sources. In addition a correlation with the solar activity level is observed. The analysis performed is also helpful to study and asses the potentiality of the meteorological information contained in the LPIM-C/F3 by analyzing the standard deviation of the differences. This extra information could represent the key element to improve the IRI predicting capabilities.Facultad de Ciencias Astron√≥micas y Geof√≠sica

    AIM (Artery in microgravity): Design and development of an ice cubes mission

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    The Artery In Microgravity (AIM) project is the first experiment to be selected for the ‚ÄúOrbit Your Thesis!‚ÄĚ programme of ESA Academy. It is a 2U experiment cube designed for the ICE Cubes facility on board of the International Space Station. The experiment is expected to be launched on SpaceX-20 in early 2020. The project is being developed by an international group of students from ISAE-SUPAERO and Politecnico di Torino, under the supervision of the ISAE-SUPAERO and Politecnico di Torino staff. The experiment is a test-bench for investigating haemodynamics in microgravity focusing on coronary heart disease, the most common form of cardiovascular disease and the cause of approximately 9 million deaths every year. Coronary heart disease is caused by stenosis of the coronary artery due to the build-up of plaque. While the development of atherosclerosis is not fully understood, the primary event seems to be subtle and repeated injury to the artery walls through various mechanisms including physical stresses from flow disturbances as well as from systemic and biological risk factors. In the presence of severe stenosis, patients are treated with the implantation of one or more coronary stents, which are tubular scaffolds devoted to restore and maintain myocardial perfusion. The coronary stenting procedure is largely applied (e.g., 1.8 million stents per year implanted in USA) In view of the impact that coronary artery disease has on humans, as well as of the increasing number of people that will be involved in space flights in the future, the way astronauts in space coronary hemodynamics is affected by the absence of gravity in the presence of stenosis or of stenting needs to be investigated in depth. In addition, as most stents are metallic objects, the radiation exposure in space might interact with their surface, altering blood flow, inducing particles release and ultimately leading to stent failure. Therefore, the aim of AIM is to start studying the vascular haemodynamics in a stented and a stenosed coronary artery on Earth and in microgravity and the stent-radiation coupling. This will allow to learn about the effect gravity plays on coronary artery haemodynamics, the effects of microgravity and radiation on the performance of implantable devices and ultimately the risks of myocardial infarction to astronauts on long-distance spaceflight. The experimental setup consists of a closed hydraulic loop containing two models of a coronary artery in series. An electric pump and reservoir will control the flow of a blood-mimicking fluid through the system. One model of the coronary artery will contain a coronary stent. The pressure of the fluid will be studied along its path using a series of pressure sensors and a camera will visualise the flow. The same experiments will be repeated on the ground with the same conditions as the in-flight model for comparison. The paper will outline in detail the design and development of the AIM experiment cube and the results of testing. The full data and results will be available after the completion of the mission which is expected to be between March and June 2020

    Solar activity impact on the Earth’s upper atmosphere

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    The paper describes results of the studies devoted to the solar activity impact on the Earth‚Äôs upper atmosphere and ionosphere, conducted within the frame of COST ES0803 Action. Aim: The aim of the paper is to represent results coming from different research groups in a uniÔ¨Āed form, aligning their speciÔ¨Āc topics into the general context of the subject. Methods: The methods used in the paper are based on data-driven analysis. SpeciÔ¨Āc databases are used for spectrum analysis, empirical modeling, electron density proÔ¨Āle reconstruction, and forecasting techniques. Results: Results are grouped in three sections: Medium- and long-term ionospheric response to the changes in solar and geomag- netic activity, storm-time ionospheric response to the solar and geomagnetic forcing, and modeling and forecasting techniques. Section 1 contains Ô¨Āve subsections with results on 27-day response of low-latitude ionosphere to solar extreme-ultraviolet (EUV) radiation, response to the recurrent geomagnetic storms, long-term trends in the upper atmosphere, latitudinal dependence of total electron content on EUV changes, and statistical analysis of ionospheric behavior during prolonged period of solar activity. Section 2 contains a study of ionospheric variations induced by recurrent CIR-driven storm, a case-study of polar cap absorption due to an intense CME, and a statistical study of geographic distribution of so-called E-layer dominated ionosphere. Section 3 comprises empirical models for describing and forecasting TEC, the F-layer critical frequency foF2, and the height of maximum plasma density. A study evaluates the usefulness of effective sunspot number in specifying the ionosphere state. An original method is presented, which retrieves the basic thermospheric parameters from ionospheric sounding data

    Changes of bone turnover markers and serum PTH after night or morning administration of zoledronic acid in breast cancer patients with bone metastases

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    Persistent circadian rhythm of bone turnover in bone metastatic breast cancer suggests greater skeletal retention of bisphosphonates if administered in the night. We assessed differential effects of night vs morning administration of zoledronic acid (ZA) on bone turnover. Forty-four breast cancer patients with bone metastases were randomised to receive intravenous ZA (4‚ÄČmg) at 1100 or 2300 hours every 28 days for four times. Urinary concentration N-telopeptide of type-I collagen (NTX) and deoxypyridinolines, and serum C-telopeptide of type-I collagen (CTX), bone alkaline phosphatase (ALP), osteocalcin and Parathyroid hormone (PTH) was measured in the morning at baseline and after 4, 7, 14, 28, 56 and 84 days. Urinary ZA concentration was also measured. Zoledronic acid caused significant decreases of NTX and CTX (P<0.001), without any difference in percent changes between night and morning arms. Bone ALP and osteocalcin were also significantly affected by ZA (P=0.001), without any difference between arms. Parathyroid hormone significantly increased in both the arms; PTH increase was lower in the night arm (P=0.001). From the second administration onwards, urinary ZA level was significantly higher in the night arm (P<0.01). Administration of ZA at two opposite phases of the circadian cycle causes similar changes of bone-turnover marker levels, but has differential effects on the level of serum PTH

    A systematic review of attitudes, anxiety, acceptance, and trust towards social robots

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    As social robots become more common, there is a need to understand how people perceive and interact with such technology. This systematic review seeks to estimate people‚Äôs attitudes toward, trust in, anxiety associated with, and acceptance of social robots; as well as factors that are associated with these beliefs. Ninety-seven studies were identified with a combined sample of over 13,000 participants and a standardized score was computed for each in order to represent the valence (positive, negative, or neutral) and magnitude (on a scale from 1 to ‚ąí‚ÄČ1) of people‚Äôs beliefs about robots. Potential moderating factors such as the robots‚Äô domain of application and design, the type of exposure to the robot, and the characteristics of potential users were also investigated. The findings suggest that people generally have positive attitudes towards social robots and are willing to interact with them. This finding may challenge some of the existing doubt surrounding the adoption of robotics in social domains of application but more research is needed to fully understand the factors that influence attitudes

    Thoughts of Death Modulate Psychophysical and Cortical Responses to Threatening Stimuli

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    Existential social psychology studies show that awareness of one's eventual death profoundly influences human cognition and behaviour by inducing defensive reactions against end-of-life related anxiety. Much less is known about the impact of reminders of mortality on brain activity. Therefore we explored whether reminders of mortality influence subjective ratings of intensity and threat of auditory and painful thermal stimuli and the associated electroencephalographic activity. Moreover, we explored whether personality and demographics modulate psychophysical and neural changes related to mortality salience (MS). Following MS induction, a specific increase in ratings of intensity and threat was found for both nociceptive and auditory stimuli. While MS did not have any specific effect on nociceptive and auditory evoked potentials, larger amplitude of theta oscillatory activity related to thermal nociceptive activity was found after thoughts of death were induced. MS thus exerted a top-down modulation on theta electroencephalographic oscillatory amplitude, specifically for brain activity triggered by painful thermal stimuli. This effect was higher in participants reporting higher threat perception, suggesting that inducing a death-related mind-set may have an influence on body-defence related somatosensory representations
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