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Our brains appear uniquely tuned for musical pitch — ScienceDaily



Within the everlasting seek for understanding what makes us human, scientists discovered that our brains are extra delicate to pitch, the harmonic sounds we hear when listening to music, than our evolutionary relative the macaque monkey. The examine, funded partly by the Nationwide Institutes of Well being, highlights the promise of Sound Well being, a joint mission between the NIH and the John F. Kennedy Heart for the Performing Arts that goals to grasp the function of music in well being.

“We discovered {that a} sure area of our brains has a stronger desire for sounds with pitch than macaque monkey brains,” mentioned Bevil Conway, Ph.D., investigator within the NIH’s Intramural Analysis Program and a senior writer of the examine revealed in Nature Neuroscience. “The outcomes elevate the likelihood that these sounds, that are embedded in speech and music, could have formed the essential group of the human mind.”

The examine began with a pleasant wager between Dr. Conway and Sam Norman-Haignere, Ph.D., a post-doctoral fellow at Columbia College’s Zuckerman Institute for Thoughts, Mind, and Conduct and the primary writer of the paper.

On the time, each had been working on the Massachusetts Institute of Expertise (MIT). Dr. Conway’s workforce had been trying to find variations between how human and monkey brains management imaginative and prescient solely to find that there are only a few. Their mind mapping research recommended that people and monkeys see the world in very comparable methods. However then, Dr. Conway heard about some research on listening to being accomplished by Dr. Norman-Haignere, who, on the time, was a post-doctoral fellow within the laboratory of Josh H. McDermott, Ph.D., affiliate professor at MIT.

“I advised Bevil that we had a way for reliably figuring out a area within the human mind that selectively responds to sounds with pitch,” mentioned Dr. Norman-Haignere.

That’s after they bought the concept to match people with monkeys. Primarily based on his research, Dr. Conway wager that they’d see no variations.

To check this, the researchers performed a sequence of harmonic sounds, or tones, to wholesome volunteers and monkeys. In the meantime, useful magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was used to observe mind exercise in response to the sounds. The researchers additionally monitored mind exercise in response to sounds of toneless noises that had been designed to match the frequency ranges of every tone performed.

At first look, the scans regarded comparable and confirmed earlier research. Maps of the auditory cortex of human and monkey brains had comparable sizzling spots of exercise no matter whether or not the sounds contained tones.

Nonetheless, when the researchers regarded extra carefully on the knowledge, they discovered proof suggesting the human mind was extremely delicate to tones. The human auditory cortex was far more responsive than the monkey cortex after they regarded on the relative exercise between tones and equal noisy sounds.

“We discovered that human and monkey brains had very comparable responses to sounds in any given frequency vary. It is once we added tonal construction to the sounds that a few of these identical areas of the human mind grew to become extra responsive,” mentioned Dr. Conway. “These outcomes counsel the macaque monkey could expertise music and different sounds in another way. In distinction, the macaque’s expertise of the visible world might be similar to our personal. It makes one surprise what sort of sounds our evolutionary ancestors skilled.”

Additional experiments supported these outcomes. Barely elevating the amount of the tonal sounds had little impact on the tone sensitivity noticed within the brains of two monkeys.

Lastly, the researchers noticed comparable outcomes after they used sounds that contained extra pure harmonies for monkeys by taking part in recordings of macaque calls. Mind scans confirmed that the human auditory cortex was far more responsive than the monkey cortex after they in contrast relative exercise between the calls and toneless, noisy variations of the calls.

“This discovering means that speech and music could have essentially modified the best way our mind processes pitch,” mentioned Dr. Conway. “It could additionally assist clarify why it has been so laborious for scientists to coach monkeys to carry out auditory duties that people discover comparatively easy.”

Earlier this yr, different scientists from across the U.S. utilized for the primary spherical of NIH Sound Well being analysis grants. A few of these grants could finally help scientists who plan to discover how music activates the circuitry of the auditory cortex that make our brains delicate to musical pitch.

This examine was supported by the NINDS, NEI, NIMH, and NIA Intramural Analysis Packages and grants from the NIH (EY13455; EY023322; EB015896; RR021110), the Nationwide Science Basis (Grant 1353571; CCF-1231216), the McDonnell Basis, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.


Study finds that the relationship of ‘distributed circuit’ components scales across species — ScienceDaily



The world is crammed with tens of millions upon tens of millions of distinct smells, however how mammals’ brains advanced to inform them aside is one thing of a thriller.

Now, two neuroscientists from the Salk Institute and UC San Diego have found that no less than six sorts of mammals — from mice to cats — distinguish odors in roughly the identical means, utilizing circuitry within the mind that is evolutionarily preserved throughout species.

“The examine yields insights into organizational rules underpinning mind circuitry for olfaction in mammals that could be utilized to different components of the mind and different species,” says Charles Stevens, distinguished professor emeritus in Salk’s Neurobiology Laboratory and coauthor of the analysis revealed within the July 18, 2019 subject of Present Biology.

In short, the examine reveals that the dimensions of every of the three parts of the neural community for olfaction scales about the identical for every species, beginning with receptors within the nostril that transmit alerts to a cluster of neurons within the entrance of the mind referred to as the olfactory bulb which, in flip, relays the alerts to a “larger functioning” area for odor identification referred to as the piriform cortex.

“These three phases scale with one another, with the connection of the variety of neurons in every stage the identical throughout species,” says Shyam Srinivasan, assistant undertaking scientist with UC San Diego’s Kavli Institute for Mind and Thoughts, and the paper’s coauthor. “So, when you informed me the variety of neurons within the nostril, I might predict the quantity within the piriform cortex or the bulb.”

The present examine builds on analysis by the identical duo, revealed in 2018, which described how mouse brains course of and distinguish odors utilizing what’s often known as “distributed circuits.” In contrast to the visible system, for instance, the place data is transmitted in an orderly method to particular components of the visible cortex, the researchers found that the olfactory system in mice depends on a mixture of connections distributed throughout the piriform cortex.

Following that paper, Stevens and Srinivasan sought to find out if the distributed neural circuitry revealed in mice is analogous in different mammals. For the present work, the researchers analyzed mammal brains of various sizes and kinds. Their calculations, plus earlier research over the previous few years, had been used to estimate mind volumes. Stevens and Srinivasan used quite a lot of microscopy strategies that allow them visualize various kinds of neurons that kind synapses (connections) within the olfactory circuitry.

“We could not depend each neuron, so we did a survey,” says Srinivasan. “The thought is that you simply take samples from totally different represented areas, so any irregularities are caught.”

The brand new examine revealed that the typical variety of synapses connecting every purposeful unit of the olfactory bulb (a glomerulus) to neurons within the piriform cortex is invariant throughout species.

“It was outstanding to see how these had been conserved,” says Stevens.

Particularly, identification of particular person odors is linked to the energy and mixture of firing neurons within the circuit that may be likened to music from a piano whose notes spring from the melancholy of a number of keys to create chords, or the association of letters that kind the phrases on this web page.

“The discrimination of odors relies on the firing charge, the electrical pulse that travels down the neuron’s axon,” says Srinivasan. “One odor, say for espresso, might elicit a gradual response in a neuron whereas the identical neuron might reply to chocolate at a sooner charge.”

This code used for olfaction is totally different than different components of the mind.

“We confirmed that the connectivity parameters and the connection between totally different phases of the olfactory circuit are conserved throughout mammals, suggesting that evolution has used the identical design for the circuit throughout species, however simply modified the dimensions to suit the animals’ environmental area of interest,” says Stevens.

Sooner or later, Stevens plans to look at different areas of the mind in the hunt for different distributed circuits whose perform relies on comparable coding discovered on this examine.

Srinivasan says he’ll concentrate on how noise or variability in odor coding determines the steadiness between discrimination and studying, explaining that the variability the duo is discovering of their work could be a mechanism for distinguishing odors, which could possibly be utilized to creating higher machine studying or AI techniques.

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New research in mice helps to understand the risks around exposure to low doses of radiation, such as CT scans and X-rays — ScienceDaily



Low doses of radiation equal to a few CT scans, that are thought of secure, give cancer-capable cells a aggressive benefit over regular cells in wholesome tissue, scientists have found. Researchers on the Wellcome Sanger Institute and the College of Cambridge studied the consequences of low doses of radiation within the esophagus of mice.

The staff discovered that low doses of radiation enhance the variety of cells with mutations in p53, a well known genetic change related to most cancers. Nonetheless, giving the mice an antioxidant earlier than radiation promoted the expansion of wholesome cells, which outcompeted and changed the p53 mutant cells.

The outcomes, printed right now (18 July) in Cell Stem Cell present that low doses of radiation promote the unfold of cancer-capable cells in wholesome tissue. Researchers advocate that this danger needs to be thought of in assessing radiation security. The research additionally affords the opportunity of growing non-toxic preventative measures to chop the chance of growing most cancers by bolstering our wholesome cells to outcompete and eradicate cancer-capable cells.

Daily we’re uncovered to numerous sources of ionising radiation, together with pure radiation in soil and rock, and vital medical procedures like CT scans and x-rays.

Low doses of radiation, such because the publicity from medical imaging, are thought of secure as they trigger little DNA injury and apparently minimal impact on long-term well being. Till now, different results of publicity to low ranges of radiation have remained hidden, which means understanding the true danger related to low doses of radiation has been troublesome.

Researchers have beforehand proven that our regular tissues, like pores and skin, are battlefields the place mutant cells compete for area in opposition to wholesome cells. All of us have cancer-capable mutant cells in wholesome tissues, together with these with p53 mutations, which enhance in quantity as we age, but only a few finally go on to kind most cancers.

On this new research, researchers present that low doses of radiation weigh the percentages in favour of cancer-capable mutant cells within the esophagus. The Sanger Institute researchers and their collaborators gave mice a 50 milligray dose of radiation, equal to a few or 4 CT scans. Consequently, the p53 mutant cells unfold and outcompeted wholesome cells.

Dr David Fernandez-Antoran, first creator from the Wellcome Sanger Institute, stated: “Our our bodies are the set of ‘Recreation of Clones’ — a steady battle for area between regular and mutant cells. We present that even low doses of radiation, just like three CT scans’ value, can weigh the percentages in favour of cancer-capable mutant cells. We have uncovered a further potential most cancers danger because of radiation that must be recognised.”

Researchers then gave the mice an over-the-counter antioxidant — N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) — earlier than publicity to the identical degree of radiation. The staff found that the antioxidant gave regular cells the increase wanted to outcompete and eradicate the p53 mutant cells.

Nonetheless, the antioxidant alone with out publicity to radiation didn’t assist regular cells battle the mutant clones.

Dr Kasumi Murai, an creator from the Wellcome Sanger Institute, stated: “Giving mice an antioxidant earlier than exposing them to low doses of radiation gave wholesome cells the additional increase wanted to combat in opposition to the mutant cells within the esophagus and make them disappear. Nonetheless, we do not know the impact this remedy would have in different tissues — it might assist cancer-capable cells elsewhere grow to be stronger. What we do know is that long run use of antioxidants alone isn’t efficient in stopping most cancers in individuals, in keeping with different research.”

Professor Phil Jones, lead creator from the Wellcome Sanger Institute and MRC Most cancers Unit, College of Cambridge, stated: “Medical imaging procedures utilizing radiation, akin to CT scans and x-rays, have a really low degree of danger — so low that it is arduous to measure. This analysis helps us perceive extra concerning the results of low doses of radiation and the dangers it might carry. Extra analysis is required to grasp the consequences in individuals.”

The staff suggests this analysis additionally highlights the opportunity of growing therapies to forestall most cancers. By making wholesome cells fitter they naturally push out cancer-capable cells, with none poisonous uncomfortable side effects for the affected person.

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Vast majority of dietary supplements don’t improve heart health or put off death, study finds — ScienceDaily



In an enormous new evaluation of findings from 277 medical trials utilizing 24 completely different interventions, Johns Hopkins Medication researchers say they’ve discovered that the majority vitamin, mineral and different nutrient dietary supplements or diets can’t be linked to longer life or safety from coronary heart illness.

Though they discovered that many of the dietary supplements or diets weren’t related to any hurt, the evaluation confirmed doable well being advantages solely from a low-salt weight-reduction plan, omega-Three fatty acid dietary supplements and probably folic acid dietary supplements for some folks. Researchers additionally discovered that dietary supplements combining calcium and vitamin D could the truth is be linked to a barely elevated stroke danger.

Outcomes of the evaluation had been revealed on July eight in Annals of Inside Medication.

Surveys by the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention present that 52% of Individuals take a least one vitamin or different dietary/dietary complement each day. As a nation, Individuals spend $31 billion every year on such over-the-counter merchandise. An rising variety of research — together with this new one from Johns Hopkins — have did not show well being advantages from most of them.

“The panacea or magic bullet that individuals hold looking for in dietary dietary supplements is not there,” says senior creator of the examine Erin D. Michos, M.D., M.H.S., affiliate director of preventive cardiology on the Ciccarone Heart for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Illness and affiliate professor of drugs on the Johns Hopkins College Faculty of Medication. “Individuals ought to give attention to getting their vitamins from a heart-healthy weight-reduction plan, as a result of the info more and more present that almost all of wholesome adults needn’t take dietary supplements.”

For the present examine, the researchers used knowledge from 277 randomized medical trials that evaluated 16 nutritional vitamins or different dietary supplements and eight diets for his or her affiliation with mortality or coronary heart situations together with coronary coronary heart illness, stroke, and coronary heart assault. All collectively they included knowledge gathered on 992,129 analysis individuals worldwide.

The vitamin and different dietary supplements reviewed included: antioxidants, ?-carotene, vitamin B-complex, multivitamins, selenium, vitamin A, vitamin B3/niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin D alone, calcium alone, calcium and vitamin D collectively, folic acid, iron and omega-Three fatty acid (fish oil). The diets reviewed had been a Mediterranean weight-reduction plan, a lowered saturated fats (much less fat from meat and dairy) weight-reduction plan, modified dietary fats consumption (much less saturated fats or changing energy with extra unsaturated fat or carbohydrates), a lowered fats weight-reduction plan, a lowered salt weight-reduction plan in wholesome folks and people with hypertension, elevated alpha linolenic acid (ALA) weight-reduction plan (nuts, seeds and vegetable oils), and elevated omega-6 fatty acid weight-reduction plan (nuts, seeds and vegetable oils). Every intervention was additionally ranked by the energy of the proof as excessive, reasonable, low or very low danger affect.

The vast majority of the dietary supplements together with multivitamins, selenium, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin D alone, calcium alone and iron confirmed no hyperlink to elevated or decreased danger of dying or coronary heart well being.

Within the three research of three,518 those who checked out a low-salt weight-reduction plan in folks with wholesome blood strain, there have been 79 deaths. The researchers say that they discovered a 10% lower within the danger of dying in these folks, which they categorized as a reasonable related affect.

Of the 5 research by which 3,680 individuals with hypertension had been placed on a low-salt weight-reduction plan, they discovered that the chance of dying as a consequence of coronary heart illness decreased by 33%, as there have been 674 coronary heart illness deaths through the examine durations. In addition they categorized this intervention as reasonable proof of an affect.

Forty-one research with 134,034 individuals evaluated the doable affect of omega-Three fatty acid dietary supplements. On this group, 10,707 folks had occasions comparable to a coronary heart assault or stroke indicating coronary heart illness. Total, these research advised that complement use was linked to an eight % discount in coronary heart assault danger and a 7 % discount in coronary coronary heart illness in comparison with these not on the dietary supplements. The researchers ranked proof for a helpful hyperlink to this intervention as low.

Based mostly on 25 research in 25,580 wholesome folks, knowledge additionally confirmed that folic acid was linked to a 20 % lowered danger of stroke. Some 877 individuals had strokes through the trials. The authors graded proof for a hyperlink to helpful results as low.

The authors level out that the research suggesting the best affect of folic acid supplementation on lowering stroke danger occurred in China, the place cereals and grains aren’t fortified with folic acid like they’re within the U.S. Thus, they are saying, this obvious protecting impact is probably not relevant in areas the place most individuals get sufficient folic acid of their weight-reduction plan.

Twenty research evaluated the mix of calcium with vitamin D in a complement. Of the 42,072 analysis individuals, 3,690 had strokes through the trials, and brought collectively the researchers say this implies a 17% elevated danger for stroke. The danger proof was ranked as reasonable. There was no proof that calcium or vitamin D taken alone had any well being dangers or advantages.

“Our evaluation carries a easy message that though there could also be some proof that a couple of interventions have an effect on dying and cardiovascular well being, the overwhelming majority of multivitamins, minerals and several types of diets had no measurable impact on survival or heart problems danger discount,” says lead creator Safi U. Khan, M.D., an assistant professor of Medication at West Virginia College.

Different authors embrace Muhammad U. Khan and Shahul Valavoor of West Virginia College; Haris Riaz of Cleveland Clinic; Di Zhao, Michael J. Blaha and Eliseo Guallar of Johns Hopkins; Lauren Vaughan and Victor Okunrintemi of East Carolina College; Irbaz Bin Riaz and M. Hassan Murad of Mayo Clinic; Muhammad Shahzeb Khan of the John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Prepare dinner County; and Edo Kaluski of the Guthrie Well being System.

The authors obtained no monetary assist for this analysis examine and declare no conflicts of curiosity.

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