Memory may need to be 'switched on' to be effective
Scientists have found that people will have trouble recalling events or details that they aren’t expected to remember or haven’t made a point of committing to memory.
The team at Penn State University tested 100 graduate students in groups by showing them a combination of four letters and numbers on a screen, arranged in a square. All were asked to remember in which corner was one of the letters and they consistently answered correctly almost all of the time. Researchers then unexpectedly asked the participants to identify or locate another character they had just seen. Students got these questions right only 25 percent of the time.
Reporting their results in Psychological Science, researchers called this gap in memory, “attribute amnesia.” They say this happens when a person remembers a small amount of information for a task and then forgets quickly.
When participants were asked those questions in later experiments, it was no longer a surprise, and they answered them correctly between 65 and 95 percent of the time.
Researchers noted that memory works like a video recorder that a person has to “turn on,” in order to remember information. They say this is important, because people typically use memory of past experiences in order to plan out future decisions. What a person selects to remember for the future, may have an effect on their decisions later on. They added that the selectivity of the brain is an adaptive technique, so that people only remember information that is useful.
NEXT: Salt may disable brain circuits that protect against high blood pressure
Sourced from: Medical News Today, Memories need to be ‘switched on’ and are enhanced by emotion
Published On: Jan 23, 2015
Salt may disable brain circuits that protect against high blood pressure
Scientists at McGill University in Montreal have found that a circuit in the brain that controls blood pressure, becomes blocked when a person consistently has too much salt. In the study, published in the journal Neuron, they discovered that a special group of neurons inhibits the brain from sensing arteries, and releases chemicals that raise blood pressure.
Salt naturally occurs in many of the foods we eat, such as milk, cream and eggs. But modern diets call for added salt that can bring sodium levels in meats and bread up to 1,500 mg per 100g and more.
In a rat trial, the researchers found that consistently high levels of salt change the pathways in the brain responsible for releasing chemicals that raise blood pressure. When sodium levels are low, the brain senses the pressure in the arteries, and stops the body from raising the pressure. However, when salt is high, this blocks the brain from sensing the state of the arteries. pressure.
The scientists still have yet to discover if this mechanism works the same for humans as it does for rats. But they did recommend that consumers limit their salt intake byy purchasing frozen vegetables or fresh meats over processed food, avoiding vegetables with added salt, and asking for toppings or dressings on the side at restaurants.
The World Health Organization also reports that adults should ingest only up to 5g (2,000 mg) of salt daily to reduce high blood pressure risk.
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Sourced from: Medical News Today, Salt may raise blood pressure by disabling safety mechanism in the brain
Published On: Jan 23, 2015
Tattoos could check blood sugar
People with diabetes are all too familiar with the constant painful finger prick, something that deter some from regularly checking their blood sugar levels. But researchers at the University of California San Diego have now developed a non-invasive “electronic tattoo” that senses blood sugar.
Electrodes within the wearable sensor are made of silver and silver chloride ink. Researchers blended another type of ink with an enzyme that detects glucose and then printed the electrodes on temporary tattoo paper. Much like a magnet, the electrodes send out a current to the skin for 10 minutes, and that pulls body fluids containing sodium and glucose toward the device. The sensor in the tattoo then measures the strength of the electrical charge produced by the glucose to determine a person’s blood fluid level.
The researchers tested the sensor on three women and four men–none of them had diabetes. Blood sugar levels were monitored before and after eating a sandwich high in carbohydrates and a soda, and the tattoos were found to be just as accurate in measuring the resulting spike in blood sugar as the traditional finger-prick method.
In 2002, a device called Glucowatch was developed as an alternative way to check blood sugar, but it was found to be irritating to the skin. But aside from a minor tingling during the first 10 seconds of the test, none of those given the tattoo treatment reported felling any discomfort. Scientists are currently developing an instrument to read the sensor, that can store blood data in the cloud or an app for doctors and patients.
This device may be useful for millions of people worldwide affected by diabetes. The researchers added that the device may also be used to detect other blood levels, such as blood alcohol, lactate for athletes, or chemicals used in certain medications.
NEXT: Memory may need to be ‘switched on’ to be effective
Sourced from: LiveScience, Needle-Free Tattoos Can Check Diabetics’ Sugar Levels
Published On: Jan 23, 2015