Why did Apprentice Hlapić travel to France?

first_imgThe Lima Association, in collaboration with the ship’s 3D street art artist Filip Mrvelja, told another great tourist story “Bike Adventures of Hlapich and Lima” which aims to promote the most famous work of Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić and Slavonski Brod as tourist destinations.The project is a continuation of the story where Hlapić grew up, a painter who goes on a new journey with his friend in search of good people. He decided to travel by bicycle, and the destination is Toulon in France, where the Street Art Festival is taking place, in which Hlapić participates.”Since the biggest brand of Slavonski Brod is one of the greatest Croatian writers – Ivana Brlić – Mažuranić, we named the project “Bike Adventures of Hlapich & Lima”, which alludes to the title “Brave Adventures of Hlapich” (The Strange Adventures of Apprentice Hlapich)”Points out Krešimir Herceg, president Lima Association from Slavonski BrodThe plot of the film follows two characters who set off on a trip to France by bicycle, and the entire trip was filmed and the documentary “Bike Adventures of Hlapich and Lima – First Journey” was made from the material. We invite you to the promotion and premiere of the documentary that will take place in Slavonski Brod, at the location of the Youth Center, Ante Starčevića 11, on Friday, February 05, starting at 19.30 pm. “As we have been working for the last six years on the promotion of Ivana Brlić Mažuranić and her works, and Hlapić is the most translated book IB.Mažuranić, we wanted to combine two stories through one modern story, Hlapić and the development of cycling tourism in Slavonski Brod. Throughout the project, we have two goals. The first is the promotion of Ivana Brlić Mažuranić and Šegrt Hlapić as a cultural asset of Slavonski Brod, and the second goal is to break various prejudices against other nations. We want to show that there are good people everywhere in the world and the whole point is for a man to be a man”Said Herceg.Every success begins and ends with people, so this way we want to highlight them. In addition to the idea duo, the ship’s film director Berislav Petrović, who is also the director of the documentary, and Tin Horvatin and the Zebrica Association, who created a special Bike Adventures website, dedicated their knowledge and time to the project. Also, the whole project, like any other, would not have succeeded without the sponsors who provided the minimum financial resources to make this great tourism project a success. That is why we thank the Tourist Board of Slavonski Brod and Giant Croatia for the promotion of our tourism.Be sure to visit the premiere of the documentary about Hlapić’s adventure in Toulon, France. And when you are already there, we recommend that you personally meet the whole team who with their love for Slavonski Brod tells various tourist stories, acts proactively, promotes the destination and with boundless energy and will deserve the title of ambassadors of Croatian tourism.Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1048042865251857/last_img read more

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In the Adriatic, 45 percent more foreign yachts and boats

first_imgIn the first six months of this year, a total of 21.941 reports of arrival and stay of foreign yachts and boats were recorded in port captaincies and branch offices of port authorities, which is an increase compared to the same period in 2015 by 45,20%, since in the same period last year 15.111 foreign yachts and boats stand out from the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure.Out of the mentioned 21.941 applications, a total of 6.609 yachts and boats are coming to the Republic of Croatia for the first time, which is an increase of 12,34% and represents the largest increase in the number of first arrivals of sailors in the Republic of Croatia on a semi-annual basis.The remaining 15.332 applications are yachts and boats that sailed on the Adriatic last year, but unlike last year, 66,15% of them started their voyage earlier this year than last year, which is also the main reason for such a significant increase in the total number of applications in the first mid-2016, compared to the same period in 2015.Out of 21.941 applications for yachts, 3.870 applications, which is an increase of 63,77% compared to last year, and 18.071 applications for boats, or 41,76% more than in 2015. The structure of the foreign nautical fleet has not changed significantly compared to previous years, so the German flag vessels are still the most numerous (7.543), followed by yachts and boats from Austria (4.176), Slovenia (2.998), Italy (2.352), and the Czech Republic. ) and vessels from Great Britain and Northern Ireland (800), which also recorded the largest percentage increase in the number of applications of 582% compared to the same period in 87,14.last_img read more

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Marina Franolić: Changes in Croatian tourism are too slow, while the world is moving much faster

first_imgAdria Hotel Forum is one of the leading European hotel investment conferences, which every year brings together representatives of the largest hotel groups, government agencies, investors, hoteliers, consultants, financial institutions and others.One of the main goals since the establishment of the Forum was to bring as many global funds interested in investing in the region, and they just did it last year, as well as this year with an even larger base of interested investors in Croatian tourism.In just five years, the Adria Hotel Forum has gathered more than 1200 participants, 180 panelists, 80 sponsors and partners, and we talked about the organization and values ​​of this important tourist forum with the founder and organizer of the Hotel Adria Forum, Marina Franolić.Last year, in an interview, you stated that capital does not go where it is nice, but where the return on investment is most likely. Today, looking back a year, are we still just beautiful or have we moved forward?Perhaps it would be best for me to answer with one example. At the beginning of December 2016, I participated in the hotel investment conference Mediterranean Resort & Hotel Real Estate Forum (by the way, the partner conference of the Adria Hotel Forum) where the central panel discussion was with investors. The presentation prepared by STR Global before the panel of investors showed the greatest growth of Croatia as a destination in the Mediterranean. Right at the beginning of the panel with investors, Dirk Bakker, the moderator of the panel, asked the present investors if they would be interested in investing in Croatia, following the great results shown. The responses were mostly negative, and the reasons they cited for such an opinion were poor connectivity and high seasonality of tourism. I couldn’t stop wondering if that answer was really the result of continuous market monitoring or just a repetition of a once long-established opinion but if we really look at the figures showing the real situation, we see that the situation is exactly as pointed out. Croatia, with the exception of Montenegro, has the most pronounced seasonality in the Mediterranean, and in terms of air connectivity, it is active in a period of 6 months, while in other periods, we need almost all day to cross half of Europe. Perhaps the visit to this conference was the best example – the flight Zagreb – Barcelona lasted a total of 7 hours and practically took away one working day. Therefore, I would say that we are still beautiful, that the existing hoteliers have grown up with the situation here and are doing their best in it, but there are no serious changes. Investors, in communication with us, still show interest in investing in the organization of Adria Hotel Forum and I am convinced that in the next 2-3 years some really big projects will be launched, but what worries me is that we are changing too slowly and the world is somehow still it moves faster. Constant changes in the Law, VAT, local policy – we are constantly spinning in a circle, and there is no way to make the right changes that will directly affect the improvement of the investment climate? Investing in tourism is a long-term investment, I guess the birds on the branch know that, and certainly how investors can not be satisfied with the constant changes because they do not know how much and how the law will change in 10 years?I fully agree that continuous changes in the law do not really contribute to improving the investment climate, but as I stated earlier, I think that creating a variety of offers and finding ways to ensure flights outside the main season is a great precondition for development. Just the other day, it was announced that flights, with the opening of the new Pleso airport terminal, would become more expensive. And already flights within Europe are 50-100% more expensive than flights between Western European cities. What makes me really happy is that Margaret McNeil, director of the Edinburgh Tourism Action Group (ETAG), is coming to the AHF this year. It is an institution that brings together all actors related to Edinburgh tourism (representatives of hoteliers, cultural institutions, small employers’ associations, investors, chamber of commerce, congress sector, city promotion office, national tourist boards, airports, etc.) and it is amazing which successes have been achieved. Also coming is the director of the Eurowings airline’s business network, Ivan Oreč, who will certainly be able to clearly point out possible ways of cooperating with airlines in order to develop the airline network. “Creating a variety of offers and finding ways to secure flights outside the main season is great prerequisite for development “- Marina Franolić Paul Pisani, vice president of the Corinthia hotel group from Malta, will also take part again. In 2014, he was a guest of the Forum on the topic of seasonality and pointed out that Malta, in a period of several years, with a clear strategic plan and its implementation, has become a destination that has extended the season and opened many new markets. Portugal also made great strides a few years ago in terms of strategy, but mostly in terms of implementing that strategy. They created several aviation hubs, set up an umbrella association of all tourism associations (hoteliers, agencies, caterers, etc.) and also returned to the market “in style” two years ago. Not to ignore one fact, all the mentioned destinations are partially helped by the situation in the East, which encourages tourists to focus on destinations that seem safer for their vacation trips. Which means that we should take advantage of the situation because the moment Turkey and the countries of North Africa return to the game, if we are not far behind in development, there is a possibility that we will fall sharply given that prices of accommodation and services can not compete with these countries.Regardless of everything, the Ministry of Tourism is announcing about 50 new hotels this year and next, Marroit is coming to Zadar, Šibenik and Hvar are also in the focus of large hotel investors, etc.… Somehow the impression is that investors have launched an offensive on the Croatian market?Hyatt is coming to Zadar, and the others are examining what is possible. New hotels are planned in Zagreb, which indicates growth, and Split also has great potential. I think it would be great if we could develop a few more cities as destinations that will function throughout the year (Osijek, Rijeka and Šibenik) and then we would already have a great base for developing more complex models of tourism. Zagreb is ideal to become a congress center, and another location in Croatia would be really optimal. We are talking about congress centers with a capacity of at least 1500 people, but of course, then guests should have accommodation facilities nearby as well as activities that can fill their time.Considering that we have been operating as an office of the international travel company Liberty International for several months now, we have already had several inquiries for such large congresses, but unfortunately each time we were overtaken by another destination since, say, we could not organize dinner in different locations. always in one place that could accommodate so many people. Not to mention again air connections and flight prices…Tourism is a branch that is among the first, like it or not, to be “hit” by new technological and social trends. What are the new trends in the hotel industry?We can talk about this topic for days, but I will focus primarily on investments. At the moment, a lot of attention is being paid to the new generation of tourists in the world, which we also discussed at previous Forums. The so-called Generation Millenials and Generation Y are changing the current forms of travel and it is indicative that global hotel operators and investors are closely monitoring what hotels offer and how to structure them to suit tourists in the coming years. Thus, in the last year, a large number of new brands have appeared that go more in the direction of hostels, with the aim of satisfying the guests of the continuously growing AirBnB market.  So Hilton Worldwide has the Tru brand, Marriott International has Moxy, AccorHotels now has Joe & Joe, and they all have the feature of low prices, smaller rooms and large lobbies as places to hang out. Although the guests who visit Croatia are on average older and their wishes and interests are thus different, I am sure that in the next few years this trend will appear more and more in Croatia and that such hotels will develop. It is a mistake to assume that such hotels are of poorer quality, they are really different in their service they offer guests and offer technologically advanced facilities that allow guests to have a closer relationship with the city, local customs and the environment in which they stay. As for other trends, this year we are working on a new project through which we will, as at the Adria Hotel Forum try to discuss and present trends and models of good practice in investment, so through this new we will present global trends in hotel operations. I hope the success will be equal to this with AHF.The bubble with the labor problem has exploded, and no solution is yet in sight. On the one hand, we expect new investments, and we do not care about the local workforce. This is a big problem for investors. How is this problem solved in other destinations and what is your suggestion?Another very complex question. We have a few segments here, but perhaps it is easiest to divide into the question of full-time and seasonal workers. I am currently working on a project to find a solution to the issue of seasonal labor. There are a large number of unemployed, and practice shows that hoteliers have a growing problem every year to find people who are interested in working at all. I think the main component here is how to motivate seasonal workers to stay (most often) away from their homes for a few months. There are (in the opinion of me and the team I work with on the project) solutions to motivate employees in several ways and we will try to implement this this year.  The second level is full-time employees who should be enabled to be continuously educated and to follow market trends. It often happens that we are all overwhelmed by the daily pace and that we do not have time to research, read and follow what is happening in the world. I think this is extremely important and that companies really need to invest in the satisfaction of their employees. In the hotel industry, those employees who may receive the least attention are in the most frequent contact with guests and it is these employees who should be satisfied with their position and should have the opportunity to learn. And finally, what do you expect from the 5th Adria Hotel Forum? What are your plans for the future?Expectations are always very high and that is why I am looking forward to the fact that the realization usually follows, at least for the most part, the plans. This year we have two guests who may be the “stars” of the Forum, although when I look at the entire list of panelists and participants, I am very pleased. To point out that the senior vice president for development of Europe, Africa and the Middle East of the Hilton Worldwide Group, Patrick Fitzgibbon, is coming to us. He is a person who attends two to three conferences a year and the very fact that he decided to come to the Adria Hotel Forum indicates interest in the region, as well as the quality of the conference. We are also approached by the Vice President for Development of Europe Choice Hotel Group, Max Cergneux, as well as Keith Evans, Vice President for Acquisitions of the investment fund Starwood Capital, which was supposed to come last year, but a few days before the Forum unfortunately had to change plans. But honestly, it’s even more great for me to have a great response from international participants who come as “listeners”. Maybe the better question is what I expect from the 6th Forum, considering that we are already preparing the program for 2018…The fifth Adria Hotel Forum will be held in Zagreb, February 08-09, 2017 at the Sheraton Hotel on the topic: INVESTments in hotel industry: DEVELOPMENT AND BEYOND. The reason for this topic is the record high last year’s transactions in Europe, which amounted to over 38,4 billion Euros compared to 16,5 billion Euros in 2014. At the same time, transactions in Central and Eastern Europe accounted for only 6% of total European transactions, while in the SEE region this percentage was negligible; only 0,9%. This year, renowned tourism experts will explain the reasons for the low investment interest in the hotel industry in Southeast Europe, what investment and management models are applicable in this part of the world, what distinguishes us from developed destinations and what we should do about it and who and when should develop the infrastructure and how the destination should be positioned.In professional circles, the Forum is defined as the only regional conference attended by global hotel professionals. For this reason, the goal of the fifth Adria Hotel Forum is to highlight the topic of infrastructure development as well as continental tourism.If you are serious about tourism, Adria Hotel Forum is definitely a “place to be”. See more about the program of the 5th Adria Hotel Forum here List of panelists This is confirmed by the arrival of experts who have not visited the region so far, and who lead the development of the world’s largest hotel management companies in their positions:- Patrick Fitzgibbon – Senior Vice President of Development for Europe, Middle East and Africa, Hilton Worldwide (the second largest company in the world in terms of pipeline hotels)- Max Cergneux – Senior Director of Investment and Portfolio Management for Europe, Choice Hotels (the fourth largest company in the world by the number of hotels in the pipelineThese are just some of the international names coming to AHF 2017Patrick Fitziggob, Hilton WorldwideMax Cergneux, Choice HotelsAdam Konieczny, Christie & COKeith Evans, Starwood Capital GroupMargaret McNeil, Edinburgh Tourism Action GroupAlan Mantin, Hilton WorldwideHylko Versteeg, InterContinental Hotels GroupTakuya Aoyama, Hyatt InternationalEmeline Sykora, Accor InternationalDirk Bakker, Colliers InternationalJason Wischoff, Dream Hotels GroupMarc Finney, Colliers InternationalNina Kleiner, ExpediaPhilip Camble, Whitebridge HospitalityDarren Blanchard, Carlson ResidorIvan Orec, EurowingsPaul Pisani, Corinthia HotelsSamantha E Sugarman, Four SeasonsSebastian Lodder, T3 ManagementThomas Emanuel, STR GlobalSee a list of all panelists herelast_img read more

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Brain development suffers from lack of fish oil fatty acids, study finds

first_imgShare on Twitter Pinterest Share on Facebook Share LinkedIncenter_img Email While recent reports question whether fish oil supplements support heart health, UC Irvine scientists have found that the fatty acids they contain are vitally important to the developing brain.In a study appearing today in The Journal of Neuroscience, UCI neurobiologists report that dietary deficiencies in the type of fatty acids found in fish and other foods can limit brain growth during fetal development and early in life. The findings suggest that women maintain a balanced diet rich in these fatty acids for themselves during pregnancy and for their babies after birth.Susana Cohen-Cory, professor of neurobiology & behavior, and colleagues identified for the first time how deficits in what are known as n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids cause molecular changes in the developing brain that result in constrained growth of neurons and the synapses that connect them. These fatty acids are precursors of docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, which plays a key role in the healthy creation of the central nervous system. In their study, which used female frogs and tadpoles, the UCI researchers were able to see how DHA-deficient brain tissue fostered poorly developed neurons and limited numbers of synapses, the vital conduits that allow neurons to communicate with each other.“Additionally, when we changed the diets of DHA-deficient mothers to include a proper level of this dietary fatty acid, neuronal and synaptic growth flourished and returned to normal in the following generation of tadpoles,” Cohen-Cory said.DHA is essential for the development of a fetus’s eyes and brain, especially during the last three months of pregnancy. It makes up 10 to 15 percent of the total lipid amount of the cerebral cortex. DHA is also concentrated in the light-sensitive cells at the back of the eyes, where it accounts for as much as 50 percent of the total lipid amount of each retina.Dietary DHA is mainly found in animal products: fish, eggs and meat. Oily fish – mackerel, herring, salmon, trout and sardines – are the richest dietary source, containing 10 to 100 times more DHA than nonmarine foods such as nuts, seeds, whole grains and dark green, leafy vegetables.DHA is also found naturally in breast milk. Possibly because of this, the fatty acid is used as a supplement for premature babies and as an ingredient in baby formula during the first four months of life to promote better mental development.The UCI team utilized Xenopus laevis (the African clawed frog) as a model for this study because it allowed them to follow the progression and impact of the maternal dietary deficit in the offspring. Because frog embryos develop outside the mother and are translucent, the researchers could see dynamic changes in neurons and their synaptic connections in the intact, live embryos, where development can be easily studied from the time of fertilization to well after functional neural circuits form.They focused on the visual system because it’s an accessible and well-established system known to depend on fatty acids for proper growth and utility.last_img read more

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Psychologists use Pinocchio to uncover surprising quirk in human perception

first_imgThis study throws yet another wrench into our perceptual system’s powers, showing that non-living observers can be given the same perceptual “life” as living observers, if conditions of belief are met.The study went as follows: 66 participants read about and watched a video clip of Walt Disney’s Pinocchio. They then filled out a questionnaire, answering questions about the “agency and intentionality” of the characters (non-living Pinocchio, living Geppetto). Next, they took a series of perceptual tests on a computer, rating how near or far a non-human object appeared to them from the vantage point of either a realistic human “avatar” or an inanimate, wooden human figure. These functioned as the subjects’ RFs. The target object, an umbrella, changed position via the “limit method,” appearing at 27 different distances (some near, some far) from the figure on-screen.Surprisingly, participants who most identified with Pinocchio’s “aliveness” in the film eventually reported the same “Near space extension” as non-identifiers did with their realistic human avatars. The more credence subjects gave to their “living” or “non-living” RF affected how close other objects appeared to them. “This suggests,” write the study authors, “that when participants identified more with a wooden agent in a story (Pinocchio), the difference between the avatar and the wooden dummy seems to disappear.”While this may sound unbelievable, human perception is rich with weird truths. Researchers have known for a while that each person’s perception of space and distance is totally subjective and based on his or her own physiology and actions (aka “embodied perception”). People perceive a point in space as farther away if they carry heavy objects, for instance, and elderly people with limited motor capabilities overestimate distances. Our bodies dictate how we see the world, judge “nearness” and “farness,” and let us superimpose these powers onto other living things, especially the people around us. Now we can add “perceptual enlivening” to the ever-growing list.Chiara Fini and colleagues at Ghent University cannot definitively say what perceptual processes are at the heart of this discovery. They speculate that anthropomorphizing the humanlike figure shifted perceptive function, temporarily inhibiting the subjects’ ability to distinguish living observers as “real.” Strong impression formation with the story and its characters or social categorization of Pinocchio as alive may also be at work. Further research is needed to expand on this enticing perceptual discovery. Pinterest LinkedIn Using the movie Pinocchio, researchers at Ghent University in Belgium (PLOS ONE, 23 March 2015) have uncovered a stunning quirk of human perception. Their study shows that, with the right belief and priming, people grant the same perceptual “aliveness” to inanimate, humanlike objects that they usually reserve for living things.From a perceptual standpoint, this is intriguing for many reasons. Humans tend to perceive living agents as nearer in space to themselves and inanimate, non-humanlike objects as farther away—a process called “Near space extension.” Likewise, once we perceive something as alive, we imbue it with the comparable agency and movement capabilities that we ourselves possess. As the study authors put it, “We perceive space as a function of our action potentialities.” It’s this perceptual flexibility that allows us to “see through another’s eyes” as a reference frame (RF) and imagine, from their perspective, what actions and perceptions they are capable of.Said differently, the more we believe in the intent and “aliveness” of people and objects outside of our subjective perception, the more we believe they are capable of interacting with their immediate environment. The more “real” something or someone appears to us, the closer we perceive them. This capability helps us orient ourselves in space relative to other living and non-living things. We make judgements about their own perceptual abilities and possible actions, or, if we feel they are non-living, what they can’t do. Share on Twittercenter_img Share on Facebook Email Sharelast_img read more

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Neuroscientists pinpoint part of the brain that deciphers memory from new experience

first_imgYou see a man at the grocery store. Is that the fellow you went to college with or just a guy who looks like him?One tiny spot in the brain has the answer.Johns Hopkins University neuroscientists have identified the part of the hippocampus that creates and processes this type of memory, furthering our understanding of how the mind works, and what’s going wrong when it doesn’t. Their findings are published in the current issue of the journal Neuron. Share on Facebook Pinterest Share Emailcenter_img Share on Twitter “You see a familiar face and say to yourself, ‘I think I’ve seen that face.’ But is this someone I met five years ago, maybe with thinner hair or different glasses — or is it someone else entirely,” said James J. Knierim, a professor of neuroscience at the university’s Zanvyl Krieger Mind/Brain Institute who led the research. “That’s one of the biggest problems our memory system has to solve.”Neural activity in the hippocampus allows someone to remember where they parked their car, find their home even if the paint color changes, and recognize an old song when it comes on the radio.Brain researchers theorized that two parts of the hippocampus (the dentate gyrus and CA3) competed to decide whether a stimulus was completely new or an altered version of something familiar. The dentate gyrus was thought to automatically encode each stimulus as new, a process called pattern separation. In contrast, CA3 was thought to minimize any small changes from one experience to the next and classify the stimuli as being the same, a process called pattern completion. So, the dentate gyrus would assume that the person with thinner hair and unfamiliar glasses was a complete stranger, while CA3 would ignore the altered details and retrieve the memory of a college buddy.This is a cross-section of a rat’s brain, showing where the key decisions are made about what is a new memory being made and what is old and familiar.Prior work by Knierim’s group and others provided evidence in favor of this long-standing theory. The new research shows, however, that CA3 is more complicated than previously thought — parts of CA3 come to different decisions, and they pass these different decisions to other brain areas.“The final job of the CA3 region is to make the decision: Is it the same or is it different?” Knierim said. “Usually you are correct in remembering that this person is a slightly different version of the person you met years ago. But when you are wrong, and it embarrassingly turns out that this is a complete stranger, you want to create a memory of this new person that is absolutely distinct from the memory of your familiar friend, so you don’t make the mistake again.”Knierim and Johns Hopkins postdoctoral fellows Heekyung Lee and Cheng Wang, along with Sachin S. Deshmukh, a former assistant research scientist in Knierim’s lab, monitored rats as they got to know an environment and as that environment changed.Research assistant Jeremy Johnson feeds a rat on the behavioral track. (Credit: Johns Hopkins University)The team implanted electrodes in the hippocampus of the rats. They trained the rats to run around a track, eating chocolate sprinkles. The track floor had four different textures — sandpaper, carpet padding, duct tape and a rubber mat. The rat could see, feel and smell the differences in the textures. Meanwhile, a black curtain surrounding the track had various objects attached to it. Over 10 days, the rats built mental maps of that environment.Then the experimenters changed things up. They rotated the track counter-clockwise, while rotating the curtain clockwise, creating a perceptual mismatch in the rats’ minds. The effect was similar, Knierim said, to if you opened the door of your home and all of your pictures were hanging on different walls and your furniture had been moved.“Would you recognize it as your home or think you are lost?” he said. “It’s a very disorienting experience and a very uncomfortable feeling.”Even when the perceptual mismatch between the track and curtain was small, the “pattern separating” part of CA3 almost completely changed its activity patterns, creating a new memory of the altered environment. But the “pattern completing” part of CA3 tended to retrieve a similar activity pattern used to encode the original memory, even when the perceptual mismatch increased.The findings, which validate models about how memory works, could help explain what goes wrong with memory in diseases like Alzheimer’s and could help to preserve people’s memories as they age. LinkedInlast_img read more

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Antidepressants fine-tune brain reward pathway to lessen neuropathic pain

first_imgThe study suggests that antidepressants that target monoamines, signaling chemicals in the brain that regulate chronic pain and depression, act in the nucleus accumbens, a part of the brain’s reward system, and likely through pathways that pass on messages to nerve cells through RGS9-2.“Our data reveals that antidepressants that target specific neurotransmitters in the brain, particularly TCAs and SNRIs, regulate chronic pain and depression-related symptoms through actions in the nucleus accumbens,” said Venetia Zachariou, PhD, Associate Professor in the Fishberg Department of Neuroscience and the Friedman Brain Institute, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “We don’t yet know if the typical pain-processing pathways in the spinal cord and the pathways we’ve identified in the brain reward center are directly linked, but we now know more about the cellular pathways that need to be activated in order to achieve pain relief and that effective therapeutics must target both pathways.”In the treatment of pain, a common course is to treat patients with opioid medications, but these medications show limited effectiveness for neuropathic pain and come with safety and addiction issues. Because antidepressant medications are not addictive, they have become increasingly prescribed to treat neuropathic pain and related depression. Earlier research identified that antidepressants act in the spinal cord to control pain transmission, but little is known about their pain-controlling actions in the brain.“We found that the molecular pathways required for recovery from neuropathic pain are controlled by RGS9-2,” says Vasiliki Mitsi, a PhD student in the Zachariou lab at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “In addition, we discovered that by inhibiting RGS9-2, the function of hundreds of other molecules that are important for pain-relief and mood-elevation was boosted,”The study suggests that therapeutic treatments should target both the brain reward center as well as the previously identified pain-transmitting pathways in the spine. Insight from this study will be used to develop new targets for the treatment of this debilitating disorder. Share LinkedIn Pinterest Share on Twittercenter_img Email Commonly used antidepressant drugs change levels of a key signaling protein in the brain region that processes both pain and mood, according to a study conducted at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and published August 24 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The newly understood mechanism could yield insights into more precise future treatments for nerve pain and depression.The study was conducted in mice suffering from chronic neuropathic pain, a condition which is caused in mice and humans by nerve damage. Chronic neuropathic pain is often related to diabetes, infection or trauma – and it persists even after the original source of the pain is gone. Past studies have shown that such pain often leads to depression, but brain mechanisms underlying this connection were previously unknown, as were the mechanisms by which common antidepressant drug classes -tricyclic (TCA) antidepressants or Selective Serotonin-Norepinephrine inhibitors (SNRIs) – counter both pain and depression-related symptoms.The current study found that the molecular adaptations required for “recovery” from pain and depression are controlled by a gene (RGS9), and the protein it codes for, named RGS9-2. Mice that lacked the gene responsible for encoding RGS9-2 responded much earlier to very low doses of antidepressants, showed significant improvement of sensory deficits and had no signs of depression-related behaviors. Share on Facebooklast_img read more

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Study: Mass murders more likely to commit suicide than other types of murderers

first_imgLinkedIn Email Share on Facebook Share Share on Twittercenter_img Pinterest According to the study, in the United States the amount of mass murderers who committed suicide is 26 percent higher than those who were homicide offenders. This difference in outcomes, for both types of perpetrators, is at the core of this study. Researchers also took into consideration “offender age, offender sex, number of co-offenders (if any), whether or not the offender used a firearm, the number of victims killed, and the attack type.”Using statistical analysis, researchers found that 31 percent of mass murderers died after their crimes. On average, perpetrators who did not survive their murder spree killed 0.9 more people on average. Researchers also presented other trends in mass murderers: those perpetrators who died “were older, less likely to have co-offenders, and more likely to commit public killings or family killings.”Across the United States, the older someone is, the higher their suicide rates, with the highest rates occurring in the senior citizens age group (65 years and older). This factor may play into the trend of older mass murderers being more likely to die.Statistically, the likelihood that as a member of the general public one would be witness to or injured in a mass murder is extremely slim. Media coverage often exaggerates the danger of mass murderers, which causes extreme amounts of fear in the general public. People’s major fears usually lie in things as uncommon as mass murderer events, instead of those fears lying in a much more prevalent and common danger, such as car accidents.Regardless, it is important to have a precautionary understanding of these tragic events; recognizing the warning signs of mass murderers’ sprees could reduce the “prevalence of these high-fatality crimes.” Potential victims would benefit by further research into the causes of mass murders, which starts with examining the possible perpetrators. By focusing on critical risk factors, researchers could help prevent future mass murders. Encouraging those with mental illnesses to seek treatment is an important prevention tactic society has at its disposal. Prevalent debates in global politics include topics such as education reform, budget control, and environmental sustainability, but maybe one of the most essential issue that is often ignored is public violence.Many U.S. media outlets provide a tremendous amount of coverage to an unusual type of perpetrator, mass murderers. Mass murderers, defined as murderers who commit four or more homicides in a single incident, are less likely to care about their health than other types of murderers, according to a study published earlier this summer in The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology. Understanding the importance of this issue, researchers aimed to learn more about the causes of this national crisis.The study focused on the differences between 308 mass murderers, who committed their crimes between 2006 and 2014. Researchers were particularly interested in two groups: mass murderers who lived through their attacks and those who did not.last_img read more

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Researcher finds key clues about ‘betel nut’ addiction that plagues millions worldwide

first_imgEmail Share Share on Twitter Share on Facebook LinkedIncenter_img “Without knowing why people become dependent, there was no way to help them get over the dependence. This provides a new avenue toward treating the addiction,” Papke said.The implications of learning more about the nature of betel nut addiction are vast: One estimate puts the number of regular users at 200 million to 600 million, and betel nut is widely regarded as the world’s fourth most-used stimulant after caffeine, alcohol and tobacco.Papke’s initial idea to study the activity of the betel nut and its active ingredient arecoline started with writing rather than science. Papke, who has authored a book about the history of firearms development, was studying a Bornean headhunter’s sword. He wondered whether its psychedelic carvings were influenced by betel nut use.That propelled Papke into the lab, where he started studying arecoline’s effect on particular protein molecules in the brain. The molecules included the nicotinic receptors which play central roles in nicotine addiction.To determine whether arecoline acts on the same addiction-causing receptor, Papke used ovarian cells from a frog injected with human genes so that they mimic the nicotinic receptors found in a human brain. After applying areca nut extract, the results suggested that it activated the same receptor as nicotine, and did so in a way that could affect a person’s behavior.“That showed a commonality between the dependence mechanism for betel nut use and the dependence mechanism for smokers,” he said.It also raised another intriguing question: If betel nuts and nicotine work on the same receptors in the human brain, could the drugs now used for nicotine addiction be useful for betel nut dependence? Perhaps so, Papke said.The most effective anti-smoking drugs, varenicline, which is sold under the trade name Chantix, and cytisine, work on receptors that are responsible for creating nicotine addiction. Those same receptors appear to be involved in betel nut addiction, raising the possibility that anti-smoking drugs could help betel nut users, according to the research findings.“This is the first time that there’s even a potential avenue for treating this dependence, which exists in probably hundreds of millions of people,” Papke said.Next, Papke said he would like to find collaborators to do a psychological survey of betel nut users and identify people who want help quitting. He also wants the findings to get more attention among groups with international reach, such as the World Health Organization. Yet that raises a conundrum: Countries with the most betel nut users don’t have significant resources for scientific research. Nations with the money for research don’t have many betel nut users, Papke said.“It’s not a problem that’s going to go away. We have a discovery and we need to realize the potential of the discovery to better the human condition,” he said. For hundreds of millions of people around the world, chewing betel nut produces a cheap, quick high but also raises the risk of addiction and oral cancer. Now, new findings by a University of Florida Health researcher reveal how the nut’s psychoactive chemical works in the brain and suggest that an addiction treatment may already exist.The betel nut, a seed of the areca palm, is grown and used throughout India, parts of China and much of Southeast Asia, including Indonesia and most of the Pacific islands. Chewing the betel quid — a mixture of areca nut, spices and slaked lime wrapped in betel vine leaves — has been a cultural tradition in those regions for centuries. In small doses, it creates a sense of euphoria and alertness. Prolonged use can create addiction and the World Health Organization classifies the betel nut as a carcinogen.Findings published today (Oct. 21) in the journal PLOS ONE show that the nut’s active ingredient, arecoline, acts on the same receptor proteins in the brain as nicotine. This raises the possibility that prescription drugs now used to break nicotine dependence could also be effective against betel nut addiction, said Roger L. Papke, Ph.D., a professor in the UF College of Medicine department of pharmacology and therapeutics. Pinterestlast_img read more

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Researchers identify gene possibly linked with methamphetamine addiction

first_imgShare on Twitter Share Share on Facebook LinkedIn Pinterestcenter_img Email A new study sheds light on the significance of a potential genetic risk factor for drug addiction and possibly other neuropsychiatric disorders. Both genetic and environmental factors are known to influence susceptibility to substance use disorders. However, the genetic basis of these disorders is largely unknown.Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have for the first time identified a gene that is casually associated with the behavioral stimulant response to the drug methamphetamine. The gene, known as heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein H1 (Hnrnph1) has never been previously implicated in the behavioral effects of psychostimulants such as amphetamines or cocaine.These findings could have implications for understanding the genetic basis of methamphetamine addiction in humans and the development of novel therapeutics for prevention and treatment of substance abuse and possibly other psychiatric disorders. The study appears in the journal PLOS Genetics. Using an experimental model, researchers were able to identify a region of a chromosome that was causally associated with differences in sensitivity to the stimulant properties of methamphetamine. Utilizing genetic approaches such as “fine mapping” and “genome editing,” the researchers narrowed the region of the chromosome and targeted each gene to responsible for affecting the behavioral response to the drug.According to the researchers, Hnrnph1 codes for an RNA binding protein that regulates the processing of hundreds of other genes in the brain. A top priority now is to identify the direct genetic targets of Hnrnph1 within the reward circuitry.“A better understanding of the brain region and cell type-specific binding targets of Hnrnph1 will tell us more about the function of this gene and possibly identify new therapeutic strategies for minimizing risk and treating psychostimulant addiction – a disorder for which there is currently no FDA-approved drug,” explained corresponding author Camron Bryant, PhD, assistant professor of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics & Psychiatry at BUSM.The researchers believe this discovery may be potentially relevant to other neuropsychiatric disorders involving dopaminergic dysfunction (ADHD, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder) and have implications for neurodegenerative disorders that affect dopamine circuits, including Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease.last_img read more

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