789 research outputs found

    The Infrasonic Impact: Exploring the cognitive impact of frequencies below the hearing threshold during short term exposure

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    Infrasonic sound or sound below the generally accepted audible threshold is a persistent part of most modern environments and human beings have a near-constant exposure to it as it exists both naturally and from mechanical sources. While infrasonic sound frequencies are below the hearing threshold (20 to 20,000 Hz), studies show that they are still perceived by the human auditory system. Despite this evidence, studies determining the potential impact of infrasonic sound or the perception of the existence of infrasonic sound on cognition are scarce due to the challenges surrounding the delivery of infrasonic frequencies in a controlled environment such as replicating a non-audible sound, delivering this to participants and avoiding other overlap with other frequencies. There is rigorous discussion around what impact the placebo effect may have on infrasonic sound, with schools of thought vacillating between the placebo effect having no impact at all and it being the sole cause of any reported symptoms including changes to concentration abilities and diminished memory in subjects. As there remains no conclusive explanation for the relation between priming in the form of created expectation and the actual effect of infrasound, this leads to the question of whether infrasound may be able to affect cognitive functioning in any way. Determining the affect, and then studying the applications or mitigations needed to achieve a beneficial outcome to improve cognition by enhancing or inhibiting infrasonic sound are the focal point of this study. This project explores the influence of infrasound on cognition by testing reaction time to stimuli and working memory in the presence and absence of exposure to infrasonic frequencies, using an advanced technical setup alongside tools like the Simon test and the n-back test. This approach creates a system to deliver infrasonic sound discreetly (without participant knowledge in all instance, unless briefed) and study the impact on short-term exposure patterns. In contrast, most research to date has investigated the possible effects that long-term exposure to infrasound (spanning months to years) may have on sleep 4 patterns and biological functions, with mixed findings. A number of studies have attempted to detect any correlation or investigate the relationship between reported symptoms (irritability, trouble with concentration/attention, dizziness, anxiousness, extreme fatigue and other self reported health concerns) in those exposed to constant infrasound generated by wind turbines, with some arguing a relationship between this exposure and perceived negative effects (the validity of which remains uncertain) and others unable to find evidence of a clear link between sound and symptomatology. While exposure to infrasonic frequencies is a temperamental process due to the complexity of the technical set up needed and variation in exposure and delivery (and the reported effects are being debated), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies have been able to map the neural changes based on cerebral blood flow. Certain fMRI studies make note of brain stimulation on exposure to infrasonic sound, and are consistent with a potential effect on cognitive performance. This project aims to explore whether exposure to infrasonic sound can influence cognitive function using measures of accuracy, and reaction times as outcome measures in tests of reaction times and working memory intended to determine whether this could enhance or inhibit cognitive functioning. While long-term exposure could have a number of variables that may not be noticed, short term exposure limits any potential long lasting negative effects and allows us to take a closer look at immediate impact. This project additionally intends to further explore the impact of positive and negative expectation on individuals exposed to infrasound, by creating positive/negative impressions prior to exposure using media created for the purpose of creating expectation. The concepts of placebo and nocebo, or the impact of positive and negative expectation, are argued to be contributory to the real and imagined impacts of infrasonic sound. If infrasonic sound has a genuine impact on human cognitive performance, then the level to which this can be exploited or inhibited may have a proportional relationship with individual expectation of impact. 5 This research intends to further provide insight into the impact of infrasound on cognitive functioning and the relationship that awareness of infrasound (in the form of expectation) has on this outcome. The outcome of this study showed that accuracy when conducting cognitive tasks is not affected by the presence of infrasonic frequencies in a significant way. However, there was an observed negative impact on simple reaction times (time taken between the observation of a stimulus and the response to the stimulus as set out by the task) in the presence of infrasonic frequencies. This suggests an impact on cognition due to the presence of infrasonic frequencies in an environment requiring computer-based information processing tasks. This outcome has practical implications for drug free methodology for cognitive enhancement, potentially creating a context within which we can purposefully prevent deterioration of memory recall and reaction time using the controlled absence of infrasonic sound

    From seeds to plasma : confirmed exposure of multiple farmland bird species to clothianidin during sowing of winter cereals

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    Neonicotinoids are the largest group of systemic insecticides worldwide and are most commonly applied as agricultural seed treatments. However, little is known about the extent to which farmland birds are exposed to these compounds during standard agricultural practices. This study uses winter cereal, treated with the neonicotinoid clothianidin, as a test system to examine patterns of exposure in farmland birds during a typical sowing period. The availability of neonicotinoid-treated seed was recorded post-sowing at 39 fields (25 farms), and camera traps were used to monitor seed consumption by wild birds in situ. The concentration of clothianidin in treated seeds and crop seedlings was measured via liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry, and avian blood samples were collected from 11 species of farmland bird from a further six capture sites to quantify the prevalence and level of clothianidin exposure associated with seed treatments. Neonicotinoid-treated seeds were found on the soil surface at all but one of the fields surveyed at an average density of 2.8 seeds/m2. The concentration of clothianidin in seeds varied around the target application rate, whilst crop seedlings contained on average 5.9% of the clothianidin measured in seeds. Exposure was confirmed in 32% of bird species observed in treated fields and 50% of individual birds post-sowing; the median concentration recorded in positive samples was 12 ng/mL. Results here provide clear evidence that a variety of farmland birds are subject to neonicotinoid exposure following normal agricultural sowing of neonicotinoid-treated cereal seed. Furthermore, the widespread availability of seeds at the soil surface was identified as a primary source of exposure. Overall, these data are likely to have global implications for bird species and current agricultural policies where neonicotinoids are in use, and may be pertinent to any future risk assessments for systemic insecticide seed treatments

    High-throughput RNA interference screening using pooled shRNA libraries and next generation sequencing

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    RNA interference (RNAi) screening is a state-of-the-art technology that enables the dissection of biological processes and disease-related phenotypes. The commercial availability of genome-wide, short hairpin RNA (shRNA) libraries has fueled interest in this area but the generation and analysis of these complex data remain a challenge. Here, we describe complete experimental protocols and novel open source computational methodologies, shALIGN and shRNAseq, that allow RNAi screens to be rapidly deconvoluted using next generation sequencing. Our computational pipeline offers efficient screen analysis and the flexibility and scalability to quickly incorporate future developments in shRNA library technology

    MSH3 polymorphisms and protein levels affect CAG repeat instability in huntington's disease mice

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    Expansions of trinucleotide CAG/CTG repeats in somatic tissues are thought to contribute to ongoing disease progression through an affected individual's life with Huntington's disease or myotonic dystrophy. Broad ranges of repeat instability arise between individuals with expanded repeats, suggesting the existence of modifiers of repeat instability. Mice with expanded CAG/CTG repeats show variable levels of instability depending upon mouse strain. However, to date the genetic modifiers underlying these differences have not been identified. We show that in liver and striatum the R6/1 Huntington's disease (HD) (CAG)~100 transgene, when present in a congenic C57BL/6J (B6) background, incurred expansion-biased repeat mutations, whereas the repeat was stable in a congenic BALB/cByJ (CBy) background. Reciprocal congenic mice revealed the Msh3 gene as the determinant for the differences in repeat instability. Expansion bias was observed in congenic mice homozygous for the B6 Msh3 gene on a CBy background, while the CAG tract was stabilized in congenics homozygous for the CBy Msh3 gene on a B6 background. The CAG stabilization was as dramatic as genetic deficiency of Msh2. The B6 and CBy Msh3 genes had identical promoters but differed in coding regions and showed strikingly different protein levels. B6 MSH3 variant protein is highly expressed and associated with CAG expansions, while the CBy MSH3 variant protein is expressed at barely detectable levels, associating with CAG stability. The DHFR protein, which is divergently transcribed from a promoter shared by the Msh3 gene, did not show varied levels between mouse strains. Thus, naturally occurring MSH3 protein polymorphisms are modifiers of CAG repeat instability, likely through variable MSH3 protein stability. Since evidence supports that somatic CAG instability is a modifier and predictor of disease, our data are consistent with the hypothesis that variable levels of CAG instability associated with polymorphisms of DNA repair genes may have prognostic implications for various repeat-associated diseases

    Differential cross section measurements for the production of a W boson in association with jets in proton‚Äďproton collisions at ‚ąös = 7 TeV

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    Measurements are reported of differential cross sections for the production of a W boson, which decays into a muon and a neutrino, in association with jets, as a function of several variables, including the transverse momenta (pT) and pseudorapidities of the four leading jets, the scalar sum of jet transverse momenta (HT), and the difference in azimuthal angle between the directions of each jet and the muon. The data sample of pp collisions at a centre-of-mass energy of 7 TeV was collected with the CMS detector at the LHC and corresponds to an integrated luminosity of 5.0 fb[superscript ‚ąí1]. The measured cross sections are compared to predictions from Monte Carlo generators, MadGraph + pythia and sherpa, and to next-to-leading-order calculations from BlackHat + sherpa. The differential cross sections are found to be in agreement with the predictions, apart from the pT distributions of the leading jets at high pT values, the distributions of the HT at high-HT and low jet multiplicity, and the distribution of the difference in azimuthal angle between the leading jet and the muon at low values.United States. Dept. of EnergyNational Science Foundation (U.S.)Alfred P. Sloan Foundatio

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