79,293 research outputs found

    Identification of Hindbrain Neural Substrates for Motor Initiation in the hatchling Xenopus laevis Tadpole

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    Animal survival profoundly depends on the ability to detect stimuli in the environment, process them and respond accordingly. In this respect, motor responses to a sensory stimulation evolved into a variety of coordinated movements, which involve the control of brain centres over spinal locomotor circuits. The hatchling Xenopus tadpole, even in its embryonic stage, is able to detect external sensory information and to swim away if the stimulus is considered noxious. To do so, the tadpole relies on well-known ascending sensory pathway, which carries the sensory information to the brain. When the stimulus is strong enough, descending interneurons are activated, leading to the excitation of spinal CPG neurons, which causes the undulatory movement of swimming. However, the activation of descending interneurons that marks the initiation of motor response appears after a long delay from the sensory stimulation. Furthermore, the long-latency response is variable in time, as observed in the slow-summating excitation measured in descending interneurons. These two features, i.e. long-latency and variability, cannot be explained by the firing time and pattern of the ascending sensory pathway of the Xenopus tadpole. Therefore, a novel neuronal population has been proposed to lie in the hindbrain of the tadpole, and being able to 'hold' the sensory information, thus accounting for the long and variable delay of swim initiation. In this work, the role of the hindbrain in the maintenance of the long and variable response to trunk skin stimulation is investigated in the Xenopustadpole at developmental stage 37/38. A multifaceted approach has been used to unravel the neuronal mechanisms underlying the delayed motor response, including behavioural experiments, electrophysiology analysis of fictive swimming, hindbrain extracellular recordings and imaging experiments. Two novel neuronal populations have been identified in the tadpole's hindbrain, which exhibit activation patterns compatible with the role of delaying the excitation of the spinal locomotor circuit. Future work on cellular properties and synaptic connections of these newly discovered populations might shed light on the mechanism of descending control active at embryonic stage. Identifying supraspinal neuronal populations in an embryonic organism could aid in understanding mechanisms of descending motor control in more complex vertebrates

    Interactive Sonic Environments: Sonic artwork via gameplay experience

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    The purpose of this study is to investigate the use of video-game technology in the design and implementation of interactive sonic centric artworks, the purpose of which is to create and contribute to the discourse and understanding of its effectiveness in electro-acoustic composition highlighting the creative process. Key research questions include: How can the language of electro-acoustic music be placed in a new framework derived from videogame aesthetics and technology? What new creative processes need to be considered when using this medium? Moreover, what aspects of 'play' should be considered when designing the systems? The findings of this study assert that composers and sonic art practitioners need little or no coding knowledge to create exciting applications and the myriad of options available to the composer when using video-game technology is limited only by imagination. Through a cyclic process of planning, building, testing and playing these applications the project revealed advantages and unique sonic opportunities in comparison to other sonic art installations. A portfolio of selected original compositions, both fixed and open are presented by the author to complement this study. The commentary serves to place the work in context with other practitioners in the field and to provide compositional approaches that have been taken

    Uso de las histonas circulantes y sus modificaciones post-traduccionales como biomarcadores en sepsis y shock s茅ptico

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    La sepsis es una afecci贸n potencialmente mortal causada por una respuesta anormal del hu茅sped a una infecci贸n, produciendo respuestas fisiol贸gicas alteradas que da帽an los propios tejidos del paciente y pueden provocar disfunci贸n org谩nica e incluso la muerte. Asimismo, algunos pacientes s茅pticos progresan a shock s茅ptico, caracterizado por alteraciones circulatorias, celulares y metab贸licas sustanciales que aumentan el riesgo de mortalidad. A pesar de que la sepsis se caracteriza por un mal funcionamiento del sistema inmunol贸gico, lo que a su vez conduce a una respuesta inmune alterada e inmunosupresi贸n, la alta complejidad de la fisiopatolog铆a de la sepsis requiere una mayor investigaci贸n para comprender las respuestas inmunes que ocurren durante la sepsis. Asimismo, las histonas extracelulares circulantes han ganado relevancia como mediadores citot贸xicos en la sepsis, ya que act煤an como patrones moleculares asociados a da帽o, que inducen estr茅s oxidativo y activan el inflamasoma NLRP3. Estos mecanismos median la activaci贸n de la piroptosis, un mecanismo de muerte celular programada que produce inflamaci贸n mediante la expresi贸n de IL-18, IL-1尾 and IL-1伪. Sin embargo, a pesar de la evidencia de activaci贸n del inflamasoma en las c茅lulas inmunes durante la sepsis, se desconoce si las histonas extracelulares son capaces de activar los inflamasomas endoteliales y sus consecuencias. En este trabajo destacamos el papel previamente desconocido de las histonas extracelulares, mediando la activaci贸n del inflamasoma NLRP3 y la piroptosis en las c茅lulas endoteliales, contribuyendo a la disfunci贸n endotelial y la desregulaci贸n de la respuesta inmune mediada por el endotelio. Asimismo, tambi茅n demostramos c贸mo la acetilaci贸n de histonas disminuye la activaci贸n de la piroptosis. Adem谩s, demostramos que la piroptosis se produce en pacientes con shock s茅ptico y los niveles de histonas circulantes se correlacionan con la expresi贸n de citoquinas proinflamatorias y citoquinas piropt贸ticas, la liberaci贸n de factores de adhesi贸n endotelial y la gravedad de la enfermedad. Proponemos la piroptosis mediada por histonas como un nuevo objetivo para desarrollar intervenciones cl铆nicas. De manera similar, hemos analizado las respuestas inmunorelacionadas que ocurren durante las primeras etapas de la sepsis con el objetivo de proporcionar nuevos datos comparando las cantidades de citoquinas, inmunomoduladores y otros mediadores endoteliales en pacientes cr铆ticamente enfermos no s茅pticos, s茅pticos y de shock s茅ptico. Nuestro enfoque ayudar谩 a caracterizar r谩pidamente las respuestas inmunes alteradas en pacientes s茅pticos y de shock s茅ptico ingresados en la Unidad de Cuidados Intensivos. Finalmente analizamos el papel de la metilaci贸n del ADN en el control del sistema inmune s茅ptico. Nuestros resultados demostraron el papel central de la metilaci贸n del ADN modulando la respuesta molecular en los pacientes de shock s茅ptico y contribuyendo a la inmunosupresi贸n, a trav茅s de la alteraci贸n de los patrones de metilaci贸n de los promotores de IL-10 y TREM-2.Sepsis is a life-threatening condition caused by an abnormal host response to an infection that produce altered physiological responses which damages own tissues of the patient and can result in organ dysfunction and in some cases death. Likewise, a subset of septic patients progresses to septic shock, characterized by substantial circulatory, cellular and metabolic abnormalities, which substantially increase the risk of mortality. Sepsis is characterized by a malfunction of the immune system and it can lead to an altered immune response and immunosuppression. Moreover, the high complexity of the pathophysiology of sepsis requires of further investigation to characterize the immune responses in sepsis and septic shock. Likewise, circulating extracellular histones have gained relevance as cytotoxic mediators in sepsis pathophysiology, since they act as damage-associated molecular patterns, which induce oxidative stress and activate NLRP3 inflammasome. Subsequently, inflammasome mediates pyroptosis activation, a programmed cell death mechanism that produces inflammation through the release of IL-18, IL-1尾 and IL-1伪. However, despite inflammasome activation may occur in immune cells during sepsis, it is unknown if this process also takes place in endothelial cells and particularly whether extracellular histones are capable of activating endothelial inflammasomes and their consequences. In this work we highlight a previously unknown role for extracellular histones, that mediates the activation of NLRP3 inflammasome and pyroptosis in endothelial cells by contributing to endothelial dysfunction and the dysregulation of the immune response mediated by endothelium. Likewise, we demonstrated how histone acetylation decreases pyroptosis activation. Furthermore, we show how pyroptosis occurs in septic shock patients and how circulating histone levels correlate with the expression of pro-inflammatory and pyroptotic cytokines, the release of endothelial adhesion factors and septic shock severity. We propose histone-mediated pyroptosis as a new target to develop clinical interventions. Similarly, we have analyzed the immune-related responses occurring during the early stages of sepsis with the aim of providing new data by comparing the amounts of cytokines, immune modulators and other endothelial mediators in critically-ill non-septic patients, septic and septic shock patients. Our approach will help to rapidly characterize the altered immune responses in septic and septic shock patients admitted in the Intensive Care Unit. Finally, we also analyzed the role of DNA methylation in the control of septic immune system. Our results demonstrated the central role of DNA methylation modulating the molecular response in septic shock patients and contributing to immunosuppression, through the alteration of DNA methylation patterns of IL-10 and TREM2 promoters

    Strung pieces: on the aesthetics of television fiction series

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    As layered and long works, television fiction series have aesthetic properties that are built over time, bit by bit. This thesis develops a group of concepts that enable the study of these properties, It argues that a series is made of strung pieces, a system of related elements. The text begins by considering this sequential form within the fields of film and television. This opening chapter defines the object and methodology of research, arguing for a non-essentialist distinction between cinema and television and against the adequacy of textual and contextual analyses as approaches to the aesthetics of these shows. It proposes instead that these programmes should be described as televisual works that can be scrutinised through aesthetic analysis. The next chapters propose a sequence of interrelated concepts. The second chapter contends that series are composed of building blocks that can be either units into which series are divided or motifs that unify series and are dispersed across their pans. These blocks are patterned according to four kinds of relations or principles of composition. Repetition and variation are treated in tandem in the third chapter because of their close connection, given that variation emerges from established repetition. Exception and progression are also discussed together in the fourth chapter since they both require a long view of these serial works. The former, in order to be recognised as a deviation from the patterns of repetition and variation. The latter, In order to be understood in Its many dimensions as the series advances. Each of these concepts is further detailed with additional distinctions between types of units, motifs, repetitions, variations, and exceptions, using illustrative examples from numerous shows. In contrast, the section on progression uses a single series as case study, Carniv脿le (2003-05), because this is the overarching principle that encompasses all the others. The conclusion considers the findings of the research and suggests avenues for their application

    Self-help/mutual aid groups in mental health : ideology, helping mechanisms and empowerment

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    In the last quarter of the twentieth century, self-help/mutual aid groups for mental health issues started to emerge in growing numbers, mainly in Western societies, offering and/or advocating for alternative non-traditional forms of support, and attracted the attention of many researchers and clinicians for their unique characteristics. Among the subjects of interest are typologies of groups, helping mechanisms and benefits from participation. However, there is lack of systematic research in the area and existing studies have been largely confined to the therapeutic value of these groups instead of acknowledging their socio-political meaning and subsequent psychosocial benefits for their members like personal empowerment. The present study was conducted during the transitional years from a Conservative to a newly elected Labour Government (1996 -1998), with subsequent policy shifts taking place in the welfare sector. The purpose of the study was to explore the potential of self-help groups as part of a broader new social movement, the service user movement, focussing on the English scene. It addressed this issue examining the relevance of a group typology based on political ideology and focus of change. To test the validity of this classification for members, a set of individual characteristics and group mechanisms as well as their change through time were examined. The sample consisted of fourteen mental health selfhelp/mutual aid groups from London and South East England, with a variety of structural and organisational features. The methodology used was a combination of both quantitative (self-completion questionnaires) and qualitative techniques (analysis of written material, participant observation and interviews). Measurements were repeated after a one-year interval (Time 1N=67, Time 2 N=56). Findings showed that, indeed, political ideology of self-help/mutual aid groups provided the basis of a meaningful typology and constitutes a comprehensive way of categorising them. Group ideology was related to specific helping mechanisms and aspects of personal empowerment. Specifically, conservative and combined group members reported more expressive group processes like sharing of feelings and self-disclosure, while radical group members were more empowered and optimistic. Group identification was also associated with specific helping activities and aspects of empowerment in the three group categories. The psychosocial character of group types and the beneficial outcomes for members remained stable through time. In general, prolonged participation was reflected in greater member identification with the group and resulted in improved mental wellbeing, increased social support, companionship and optimism for the future

    The empty space in abstract photography: a psychoanalytical perspective

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    The aim of the research that this thesis is based on is to explore the theoretical problems raised by the concept of photographic abstraction. These consist in the tension between the two aspects of the photographic sign, the indexical and iconic, and are examined in the context of the particular exploration of the empty space in abstract photography which I have pursued through my practice. The investigation draws mainly upon the psychoanalytic theory of transitional phenomena as proposed by Winnicott, as well as other art theories (Deleuze & Guattari, Ehrenzweig, Fer, Fuller, Greenberg, Joselit, Kuspit, Leider, Worringer) of abstraction. It explores the relationship of the abstract photographic image to notions of exteriority and interiority as these relate to the transition from the unconscious to conscious reality. The development of this research suggests the psychoanalytical concept of potential space as a contribution to an aesthetic model of abstraction. This concept is employed as a methodological tool in the development of the practical work and creates a framework for its interpretation. The concept of potential space is based on Winnicott's ideas around "playing with the real" in an intermediate area of experience between the internal and external reality, where creativity originates as a zone of fictive play that facilitates the subject's journey from "what is subjectively conceived of' to "what is objectively perceived. " The outcome of this investigation constitutes the production of a series of photographs describing an empty abstract space, one that is invested with a psychic dimension that produces the effect of ambiguity between its representational and abstract readings. It provides a redefinition of abstraction in a space of tension between the iconic and indexical aspects of the sign and opens up the space of abstraction in photography as one in which the relationship between inner and outer reality can be performed and can become a space of action and intervention

    Ionic Liquids on Oxide Surfaces

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    Ionic liquids supported on oxide surfaces are being investigated for numerous applications including catalysis, batteries, capacitors, transistors, lubricants, solar cells, corrosion inhibitors, nanoparticle synthesis and biomedical applications. The study of ionic liquids with oxide surfaces presents challenges both experimentally and computationally. The interaction between ionic liquids and oxide surfaces can be rather complex, with defects in the oxide surface playing a key role in the adsorption behaviour and resulting electronic properties. The choice of the cation/anion pair is also important and can influence molecular ordering and electronic properties at the interface. These controllable interfacial behaviours make ionic liquid/oxide systems desirable for a number of different technological applications as well as being utilised for nanoparticle synthesis. This topical review aims to bring together recent experimental and theoretical work on the interaction of ionic liquids with oxide surfaces, including TiO2, ZnO, Al2O3, SnO2 and transition metal oxides. It focusses on the behaviour of ionic liquids at model single crystal surfaces, the interaction between ionic liquids and nanoparticulate oxides, and their performance in prototype devices

    International sporting success factors in GB para-track and field

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    Research Question: Elite sport structures that support para-athletes are designed on the assumption that the international sporting success factors are concomitant for parasport and non-disabled sport. However, there is a lack of research on elite parasport policy and the nuances which may exist for specific sports. This study investigates the international success factors for GB para-track and field. Research Methods A mixed-methods approach was used, including quantitative surveys completed by elite GB para-athletes (n鈥=鈥42) and their coaches (n鈥=鈥38) and qualitative semi-structured interviews with athletes (n鈥=鈥7), coaches (n鈥=鈥5) and UK para-athletics support staff (n鈥=鈥3). Findings: The study revealed that although factors found in previous non-disabled studies were identified, several para-track and field-specific variables that influence these existing factors were also discovered. These were the nature of impairment (acquired or congenital); level of support and care needs; and level of equipment needs. Implications: The study presents a framework summarising the variables influencing international para-track and field success. This can be used to inform the development of GB para-track and field policy and the design of parasport support structures to optimise success. Research contribution: The paper contributes to growing knowledge on achieving sporting success in parasport and the differences with non-disabled sport

    Gendered spaces in contemporary Irish poetry

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    The thrust of this thesis is summarized by the following questions: How does contemporary Irish poetry migrate from traditional conceptions of identity drawn on by the cultural nationalism of the Irish Literary Revival, and what effects does this have on understanding gendered and national identity formation? Chapters are on the following: Seamus Heaney, Tom Paulin, Paul Muldoon, MedbhMcGuckian, Eavan Boland and Sara Berkeley. These poets are chosen for discussion since their work most effectively engages with the relationship between woman and nation, the representation of gendered national identity, and the importance of feminist and post-colonial theorization. Focusing on poetry worth and South of the border from the last fifteen years, the thesis asks how a younger generation of poets provide a response to nationality which is significantly different from their predecessors. The thesis is composed of three parts: the first understand how the male poets depart from conventional conceptions of the nation with reference to post-colonial theorization; the second explores how feminist theorization informs readings of how the female poets respond to the nation; the final part investigates migration in the poetry and problematizes this in terms of post-nationalism. Discussing the issue of deterritorialization in Irish poetry, the thesis notice how as the poets attempt to take flight from the mythologies of nationhood, they undermine the monoliths of gendered and national identity inscribed within Irish political discourse, which is typified at a representative level by the figure of Mother Ireland or Cathleen Ni Houlihan. Investigating the ways in which gender and nation, and the body and space are reinscribed by the poets, the thesis argues that their poetry challenges authentic conceptions of Irish identity and the nation-state, so as to loosen the legacy of a colonial and nationalist inheritance
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