Chapter 5. The Sensorimotor System

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Maria Temming There’s a fine line between immersive and unnerving when it comes to touch sensation in virtual reality. More realistic tactile feedback in VR can ruin a user’s feeling of immersion, researchers report online April 18 in Science Robotics. The finding suggests that the “uncanny valley” — a term that describes how humanoid robots that look almost but not quite human are creepier than their more cartoonish counterparts — also applies to virtual touch (SN Online: 11/22/13). Experiment participants wearing VR headsets and gripping a controller in each hand embodied a virtual avatar holding the two ends of a stick. At first, users felt no touch sensation. Then, the hand controllers gave equally strong vibrations every half-second. Finally, the vibrations were finely tuned to create the illusion that the virtual stick was being touched in different spots. For instance, stronger vibrations in the right controller gave the impression that the stick was nudged on that side. Compared with scenarios in which users received either no touch or even buzzing sensations, participants reported feeling far less immersed in the virtual environment when they received the realistic, localized touch. This result demonstrates the existence of a tactile uncanny valley, says study coauthor Mar Gonzalez-Franco, a human-computer interaction researcher at Microsoft Research in Redmond, Washington. |© Society for Science & the Public 2000 - 2018.

Keyword: Pain & Touch; Emotions
Link ID: 24881 - Posted: 04.19.2018

/ By Madeline Bodin This winter was a little quieter than usual for the folks at Silver Creek Specialty Meats in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. For generations, winter was when hunters would make regular visits to the low-rise white brick facility near the shore of Lake Winnebago, carrying the odds and ends of the deer they had killed the previous fall so it could be turned into venison sausages. This year, though, no hunters came. “It’s not quite black and white. What do we do in the meantime?” In August, Silver Creek Specialty Meats sent out a letter notifying customers that it would no longer accept venison for processing. “As you are probably aware,” the letter said, “chronic wasting disease in the wild deer population of the State of Wisconsin has been steadily spreading. The disease has now been found in wild deer in 19 counties throughout the state. Due to the spread of the disease it has become extremely difficult to screen out any venison coming from CWD infected areas.” Deer with chronic wasting disease, or CWD, tremble and drool. They often cannot hold their heads up. Eventually, they lose so much weight that they are little more than hide and bone. The disease arises from a particular prion — single-protein infectious agents linked to various neurodegenerative diseases in mammals. And prion diseases are always fatal. Copyright 2018 Undark

Keyword: Prions
Link ID: 24880 - Posted: 04.19.2018

Tor Wager Two soldiers receive similar injuries in battle. One recovers in months; the other endures excruciating pain for years. Why this difference? The question is pressing. One in five people suffers from chronic pain, affecting every aspect of their lives. Although significant gains have been made with anaesthetics and anti-inflammatory medications, the roots and relief of long-term pain are proving harder to find. Pain is also fuelling a global epidemic of opioid addiction and related deaths. In Chasing Men on Fire, neurologist Stephen Waxman provides a compelling portrait of scientific discovery in this area. Waxman, who works in basic research and clinical medicine, offers an insider’s account of the global search for a pain gene, beginning in 1966. He intertwines descriptions of cross-disciplinary neuroscience with portraits of scientists, and the struggles of people with conditions such as erythromelalgia, or ‘man-on-fire syndrome’, characterized by burning pain in hands and feet. Structurally, the book is innovative: 11 research papers are interlaced with the stories behind them. It is thus both a boon for researchers and an engrossing read for nonspecialists. Humans love simplicity. We want the intricate systems in our brains and bodies to ‘just work’. But Waxman shows that biology is complex, and genetic clues can be elusive. Detecting them relies on finding regularities across many people, which can make it seem impossible to pinpoint a key gene, and the rare mutations in it that lead to disease. As he reveals, it took considerable sifting and coordinated effort on three continents by scientists including pharmacologists, electrophysiologists, molecular biologists and geneticists before a ‘master gene’ for pain was isolated. © 2018 Macmillan Publishers Limited

Keyword: Pain & Touch
Link ID: 24879 - Posted: 04.19.2018

By NICHOLAS BAKALAR A traumatic brain injury, even a mild concussion, increases the risk for Parkinson’s disease, a new study reports. Researchers identified all patients diagnosed with T.B.I. in a Veterans Health Administration database — 162,935 men and women — and matched them with the same number of people with similar health and behavioral characteristics but who had not had a brain injury. The study is in Neurology. Of the T.B.I. cases, half were mild, involving a blow to the head with some subsequent symptoms but with little or no unconsciousness. The rest were moderate to severe, involving extended unconsciousness or long-term symptoms. After controlling for age, race, income and many medical and psychiatric diseases, they found that compared with those who had had no T.B.I., those with a mild T.B.I. had a 56 percent increased risk for Parkinson’s disease; those with moderate to severe T.B.I. had an 83 percent increased risk. “We don’t have brain biopsies, so we don’t know what the underlying biology is,” said the lead author, Dr. Raquel C. Gardner, an assistant professor of neurology at the University of California, San Francisco. “But in Parkinson’s you see abnormal protein accumulation, and there’s some evidence that T.B.I. is linked to deposits of these abnormal proteins.” In any case, she said, “This study provides the most definitive evidence that there is this association.” © 2018 The New York Times Company

Keyword: Brain Injury/Concussion; Parkinsons
Link ID: 24878 - Posted: 04.19.2018

Merrit Kennedy What makes a group of animals genetically similar to each other? Traditionally, scientists have thought that animals living near each other are more likely to have things in common genetically. Another explanation is that animals living in similar environments — like high altitudes or hot temperatures — might evolve in similar ways. But loggerhead sea turtles appear to have broken that common wisdom. Their genetic similarities are closely linked to the magnetic field of the nesting area where they were born, according to new research from scientists at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, published in Current Biology. And that magnetic imprinting is a better indicator of genetic similarity than that of groups of turtles that live near each other or in similar environments, says J. Roger Brothers, the lead author of the study. "A lot of different animals including sea turtles detect Earth's magnetic field and then derive navigational information from it and use it to find their way across or throughout long-distance migrations," Brothers says. Turtles likely "imprint" to the magnetic field of their nesting area at a very young age or even before they hatch. This acts like a kind of compass for them, he says, even as they leave the East Coast of the U.S. and travel hugely long distances, in some cases all the way to Africa. © 2018 npr

Keyword: Animal Migration
Link ID: 24867 - Posted: 04.14.2018

By CEYLAN YEGINSU LONDON — Two decades after creating the clone Dolly the sheep and paving the way for new research into Parkinson’s, Dr. Ian Wilmut revealed on Wednesday that he has the disease himself. The 73-year-old professor, who lives in Scotland, announced on World Parkinson’s Day that he learned four months ago that he had the disease, and that he would participate in a major research program to test new types of treatments intended to slow the disease’s progression. “Initiatives of this kind are very effective not only because they bring more people together, but because they will include people with different experience and expertise,” Dr. Wilmut said in a statement. He was referring to the new Dundee-Edinburgh Parkinson’s Research Initiative, which aims to investigate the causes of the disease and to translate scientific discoveries into new therapies. “It was from such a rich seedbed that Dolly developed, and we can hope for similar benefits in this project,” he added. In 1996, Dr. Wilmut and a team of scientists at the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh cloned an adult sheep, resulting in the birth of Dolly. The achievement shocked researchers who had said it could not be done. But Dolly’s birth proved that cells from anywhere in the body could behave like a newly fertilized egg, an idea that transformed scientific thinking and encouraged researchers to find techniques to reprogram adult cells. The new research led to the discovery of induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPSCs, which hold great promise as a therapy for Parkinson’s because of their potential to repair damaged tissues, according to the Dundee-Edinburgh Parkinson’s Research Initiative. © 2018 The New York Times Company

Keyword: Parkinsons
Link ID: 24863 - Posted: 04.13.2018

Nicola Davis A man who took part in a chilli pepper eating contest ended up with more than he bargained for when he took on the hottest pepper in the world. After eating a Carolina Reaper pepper, the 34-year-old started dry heaving before developing a pain in his neck that turned into a series of thunderclap headaches: sudden and severe episodes of excruciating pain that peak within a minute. Scoville scale: The hottest chillies in the world– in pictures The Carolina Reaper, which can top 2.2m on the Scoville heat scale, was the world’s hottest pepper at the time of the incident in 2016 – although new breeds called Pepper X and Dragon’s Breath have since reportedly surpassed it. The details, published in the journal BMJ Case Reports, reveal the pain was so terrible the man went to the emergency room at Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown, a village in New York State. “[A thunderclap headache] lasts for a few minutes and it might be associated with dry-heaving, nausea, vomiting – and then it gets better on its own. But it keeps coming back,” said Dr Kulothungan Gunasekaran of the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, a co-author of the report, adding that thunderclap headaches can be caused by a number of problems including bleeding inside the brain or blood clots. CT and MRI scans of the man’s brain were taken but showed nothing out of the ordinary. What’s more, the man did not report having any speech or vision problems. © 2018 Guardian News and Media Limited

Keyword: Pain & Touch; Stroke
Link ID: 24849 - Posted: 04.11.2018

Marisa Taylor, Melissa Bailey By the time Ann Marie Owen, 61, turned to marijuana to treat her pain, she was struggling to walk and talk. She was also hallucinating. For four years, her doctor prescribed a wide range of opioids for transverse myelitis, a debilitating disease that caused pain, muscle weakness and paralysis. The drugs not only failed to ease her symptoms, they hooked her. When her home state of New York legalized marijuana for the treatment of select medical ailments, Owens decided it was time to swap pills for pot. But her doctors refused to help. "Even though medical marijuana is legal, none of my doctors were willing to talk to me about it," she says. "They just kept telling me to take opioids." Cancer Patients Get Little Guidance From Doctors On Using Medical Marijuana Although 29 states have legalized marijuana to treat pain and other ailments, the growing number of Americans like Owen who use marijuana and the doctors who treat them are caught in the middle of a conflict in federal and state laws — a predicament that is only worsened by thin scientific data. Because the federal government considers marijuana a Schedule 1 drug, research on marijuana or its active ingredients is highly restricted and even discouraged in some cases. Underscoring the federal government's position, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar recently pronounced that there was "no such thing as medical marijuana." © 2018 npr

Keyword: Pain & Touch; Drug Abuse
Link ID: 24844 - Posted: 04.10.2018

By Matthew Hutson As artificial intelligence (AI) allows machines to become more like humans, will they experience similar psychological quirks such as hallucinations or depression? And might this be a good thing? Last month, New York University in New York City hosted a symposium called Canonical Computations in Brains and Machines, where neuroscientists and AI experts discussed overlaps in the way humans and machines think. Zachary Mainen, a neuroscientist at the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown, a neuroscience and cancer research institute in Lisbon, speculated that we might expect an intelligent machine to suffer some of the same mental problems people do. Q: Why do you think AIs might get depressed and hallucinate? A: I’m drawing on the field of computational psychiatry, which assumes we can learn about a patient who’s depressed or hallucinating from studying AI algorithms like reinforcement learning. If you reverse the arrow, why wouldn’t an AI be subject to the sort of things that go wrong with patients? Q: Might the mechanism be the same as it is in humans? A: Depression and hallucinations appear to depend on a chemical in the brain called serotonin. It may be that serotonin is just a biological quirk. But if serotonin is helping solve a more general problem for intelligent systems, then machines might implement a similar function, and if serotonin goes wrong in humans, the equivalent in a machine could also go wrong. © 2018 American Association for the Advancement of Science

Keyword: Robotics; Intelligence
Link ID: 24843 - Posted: 04.10.2018

BCIs have deep roots. In the 18th century Luigi Galvani discovered the role of electricity in nerve activity when he found that applying voltage could cause a dead frog’s legs to twitch. In the 1920s Hans Berger used electroencephalography to record human brain waves. In the 1960s José Delgado theatrically used a brain implant to stop a charging bull in its tracks. One of the field’s father figures is still hard at work in the lab. Eberhard Fetz was a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Washington in Seattle when he decided to test whether a monkey could control the needle of a meter using only its mind. A paper based on that research, published in 1969, showed that it could. Dr Fetz tracked down the movement of the needle to the firing rate of a single neuron in the monkey’s brain. The animal learned to control the activity of that single cell within two minutes, and was also able to switch to control a different neuron. Dr Fetz disclaims any great insights in setting up the experiment. “I was just curious, and did not make the association with potential uses of robotic arms or the like,” he says. But the effect of his paper was profound. It showed both that volitional control of a BCI was possible, and that the brain was capable of learning how to operate one without any help. Some 48 years later, Dr Fetz is still at the University of Washington, still fizzing with energy and still enthralled by the brain’s plasticity. He is particularly interested in the possibility of artificially strengthening connections between cells, and perhaps forging entirely new ones.

Keyword: Robotics
Link ID: 24839 - Posted: 04.09.2018

Aimee Cunningham A deep conviction that one’s skin is contaminated with insects or other objects despite a lack of medical evidence. She was certain her skin was infested: Insects were jumping off; fibers were poking out. Fearful her condition could spread to others, the 50-year-old patient told doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., that she was avoiding contact with her children and friends. The patient had delusional infestation, explains Mayo Clinic dermatologist Mark Davis. Sufferers have an unshaking belief that pathogens or inanimate objects pollute their skin despite no medical evidence. Davis and colleagues report online April 4 in JAMA Dermatology that the disorder is not as rare as previously assumed. In the first population-based study of the disorder’s prevalence, the researchers identified 35 cases from 1976 to 2010 reported in Minnesota’s Olmsted County. Based on the findings, the authors estimate 27 out of every 100,000 people in the United States have delusional infestation. Due to the county’s lack of diversity — the population of about 150,000 is predominantly white — the researchers used only the nationwide white population to estimate prevalence, so the result may not be representative of other populations. Delusional infestation has been recognized for decades, albeit under different names. Patients insist they’ve been overtaken with creatures, such as insects, worms or parasites, or inanimate materials like fibers — or both. © Society for Science & the Public 2000 - 2018.

Keyword: Pain & Touch
Link ID: 24836 - Posted: 04.09.2018

Maria Temming PHOENIX — High-tech attire that would give users the sensation of being pushed, pinched or poked could someday make virtual realities feel as real as they look. Today’s VR systems rely heavily on goggle-generated visual displays to transport users to simulated worlds. But superthin, shape-shifting sheets worn as sleeves or built into other garments could provide gamers with tactile feedback that makes virtual realities more immersive. The new device, described April 5 at the Materials Research Society spring meeting, contains a grid of tiny, inflatable bubbles, sandwiched between two soft, stretchy silicone films. When one of these bubble wrap–like sheets is placed against a user’s skin, inflating different air pockets by different amounts at different speeds can make a gamer feel like she’s been grabbed around the wrist or patted on the back. Some previously developed hand- or finger-worn devices have allowed wearers to feel or manipulate virtual objects. But clothing embedded with smart silicone skins could make VR gaming more of a full-body experience. Each air pocket on the sheet is coated with a liquid metal sensor that tracks how much that bubble is distended, which helps regulate the device’s shape-shifting. Those sensors also detect indentations in the bubbles, so these sleeves could work as touch pad game controllers, too, says study coauthor Matthew Robertson, a roboticist at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland. |© Society for Science & the Public 2000 - 2018

Keyword: Pain & Touch; Robotics
Link ID: 24831 - Posted: 04.07.2018

Joan McFadden When Les Milne was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease aged just 45, his wife Joy was, understandably, devastated. But her sadness wasn’t just down to the fact her husband was in the grip of such a terrible illness but that, when she’d noticed a change in his smell 12 years earlier, she hadn’t realised the two things might be connected. Upon first noticing a “sort of woody, musky odour” Joy “started suggesting tactfully to him that he wasn’t showering enough or cleaning his teeth,” she recalls. “He clearly didn’t smell it and was quite adamant that he was washing properly.” Joy, a former nurse, let the issue lie, occupied with the far more pressing issue of her husband’s rapidly changing character. “He wasn’t the man I’d known since I was 16. About eight years before he was diagnosed he started suffering from mood swings, with bursts of anger which left me dreading what might come next.” When Les was eventually referred for a brain scan, he was told that his symptoms indicated a diagnosis of either a brain tumour or Parkinson’s, which affects one in 500 people in the UK. As medical professionals - Les worked as an anaesthetist - both knew just how serious the diagnosis was, though Joy admits that it was a relief to have one at all. Forced to retire five years later, the pair moved back to Perth from Cheshire, with his growing inability to sleep and diminishing motor skills seeing Les, a former water polo player for Scotland, give up the swimming he loved to do every day. “He was just a completely different person. It was devastating to watch" Joy, now 67, says. © Telegraph Media Group Limited 2018

Keyword: Chemical Senses (Smell & Taste); Parkinsons
Link ID: 24828 - Posted: 04.06.2018

Dan Garisto Birds can sense Earth’s magnetic field, and this uncanny ability may help them fly home from unfamiliar places or navigate migrations that span tens of thousands of kilometers. For decades, researchers thought iron-rich cells in birds’ beaks acted as microscopic compasses (SN: 5/19/12, p. 8). But in recent years, scientists have found increasing evidence that certain proteins in birds’ eyes might be what allows them see magnetic fields (SN: 10/28/09, p. 12). Scientists have now pinpointed a possible protein behind this “sixth sense.” Two new studies — one examining zebra finches published March 28 in Journal of the Royal Society Interface, the other looking at European robins published January 22 in Current Biology — both single out Cry4, a light-sensitive protein found in the retina. If the researchers are correct, this would be the first time a specific molecule responsible for the detection of magnetic fields has been identified in animals. “This is an exciting advance — we need more papers like these,” says Peter Hore, a chemist at the University of Oxford who has studied chemical reactions involved in bird navigation. Cry4 is part of a class of proteins called cryptochromes, which are known to be involved in circadian rhythms, or biological sleep cycles (SN: 10/02/17, p. 6). But at least some of these proteins are also thought to react to Earth’s magnetic field thanks to the weirdness of quantum mechanics (SN: 7/23/16, p. 8). The protein’s quantum interactions could help birds sense this field, says Atticus Pinzon-Rodriguez, a biologist at the University of Lund in Sweden who was involved with the zebra finch study. |© Society for Science & the Public 2000 - 2018.

Keyword: Animal Migration; Vision
Link ID: 24814 - Posted: 04.03.2018

By Kate Sheridan, As more states legalize medical and recreational marijuana, doctors may be replacing opioid prescriptions with suggestions to visit a local marijuana dispensary. Two papers published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine analyzing more than five years of Medicare Part D and Medicaid prescription data found that after states legalized weed, the number of opioid prescriptions and the daily dose of opioids went way down. That indicates that some people may be shifting away from prescription drugs to cannabis, though the studies can’t say whether this substitution is actually happening or if patients or doctors are the driving force. “In this time when we are so concerned—rightly so—about opiate misuse and abuse and the mortality that’s occurring, we need to be clear-eyed and use evidence to drive our policies,” said W. David Bradford, an economist at the University of Georgia and an author of one of the studies. “If you’re interested in giving people options for pain management that don’t bring the particular risks that opiates do, states should contemplate turning on dispensary-based cannabis policies.” Previous research has pointed to a similar correlation. A 2014 paper found that states with medical marijuana laws had nearly 25 percent fewer deaths from opioid overdoses. © 2018 Scientific American

Keyword: Drug Abuse; Pain & Touch
Link ID: 24811 - Posted: 04.03.2018

by Erin Blakemore April is Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month, a time to think about how much you know about the disease. You may know about the tremors and stiffness that gradually take over patients’ bodies. You may know about famous people with the disease, including Michael J. Fox. For what you may not know, there’s the PD Library. If you have Parkinson’s disease or care for someone who does, you need information. And you might just find answers in the PD Library. The free online resource — maintained by the Parkinson’s Foundation — is a gold mine for anyone with an interest in the disease. About 60,000 Americans get a Parkinson’s diagnosis every year. The movement disorder happens when brain cells can’t produce enough dopamine. There is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, but there is help for those experiencing symptoms. The library includes PSAs, podcasts and pamphlets about such things as hallucinations, medication adherence and nutrition. Medical providers might want to take a look: There are videos of webcasts for nurses who care for patients with Parkinson’s disease and for caregivers who need help with such things as engaging patients in their own care and administering medication. One helpful tool on the site is a series of slides from expert briefings. There are free booklets, too, including one on psychosis and one on sleep. © 1996-2018 The Washington Post

Keyword: Parkinsons
Link ID: 24807 - Posted: 04.02.2018

By KAREN BARROW Creepy-crawly, itchy, tingly, aching legs — while different people may describe restless leg syndrome differently the results are the same: sleepless nights and restless days. What is it like to be diagnosed with R.L.S.? Six men and women speak about their experiences. Lynne Kaiser, an artist, believes she has had restless leg syndrome for most of her life. She recalls waking up in the middle of the night as a child to take a hot bath or fill a hot water bottle to try to relieve the prickly sensations in her legs. It wasn’t until recently that a specialist confirmed the diagnosis. Today, Mrs. Kaiser advocates for R.L.S. patients. Dopaminergic medications, as well as art and needlework, help her to “get in a tunnel” where she can be distracted from the uncomfortable sensations, she said. Mrs. Kaiser says the symptoms of R.L.S. strained her relationship with her husband. He couldn’t understand why she couldn’t just relax in bed with him, or why she would get up at night to stretch her legs or sit in a scalding hot bath. Because of R.L.S., Mrs. Kaiser finds it difficult to travel. She also knows that R.L.S. medications tend to lose their effectiveness over time, so she focuses on how good she feels today. “I really try not to think about the future,” she said. Dr. David Rye, a professor of neurology at Emory University in Atlanta, discovered that he had restless leg syndrome several years after he began researching the disease. He says that many in the medical community believe that R.L.S. is a psychological disease rather than a physical ailment. However, Dr. Rye and his colleagues were among the first to discover a gene variant linked to R.L.S. Genetic factors help to explain why R.L.S. is so much more prevalent among Caucasians than other ethnicities. © 2018 The New York Times Company

Keyword: Sleep
Link ID: 24799 - Posted: 03.29.2018

By JAN HOFFMAN Medicare officials thought they had finally figured out how to do their part to fix the troubling problem of opioids being overprescribed to the old and disabled: In 2016, a staggering one in three of 43.6 million beneficiaries of the federal health insurance program had been prescribed the painkillers. Medicare, they decided, would now refuse to pay for long-term, high-dose prescriptions; a rule to that effect is expected to be approved on April 2. Some medical experts have praised the regulation as a check on addiction. But the proposal has also drawn a broad and clamorous blowback from many people who would be directly affected by it, including patients with chronic pain, primary care doctors and experts in pain management and addiction medicine. Critics say the rule would inject the government into the doctor-patient relationship and could throw patients who lost access to the drugs into withdrawal or even provoke them to buy dangerous street drugs. Although the number of opioid prescriptions has been declining since 2011, they noted, the rate of overdoses attributed to the painkillers and, increasingly, illegal fentanyl and heroin, has escalated. “The decision to taper opioids should be based on whether the benefits for pain and function outweigh the harm for that patient,” said Dr. Joanna L. Starrels, an opioid researcher and associate professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. “That takes a lot of clinical judgment. It’s individualized and nuanced. We can’t codify it with an arbitrary threshold.” Underlying the debate is a fundamental dilemma: how to curb access to the addictive drugs while ensuring that patients who need them can continue treatment. © 2018 The New York Times Company

Keyword: Pain & Touch; Drug Abuse
Link ID: 24791 - Posted: 03.28.2018

By Shawna Williams | Humans like to fancy ourselves advanced, but there’s at least one area where cockroaches, and even nematodes, seem to have us beat: magnetoreception, the ability to sense variations in magnetic fields. To add insult to injury, our best human minds haven’t yet been able to answer basic questions about how the sense—also shared by some amphibians, fish, birds, and mammals—works. Joining the list now are zebrafish and medaka, as researchers reported in Nature Communications last month (February 23). Unlike in some animals, magnetoreception in the fish doesn’t require light to work. The study is “a promising beginning,” writes Roswitha Wiltschko, a researcher at Goethe University Frankfurt who has studied magnetoreception in birds, in an email to The Scientist. “[T]o demonstrate [sensitivity to magnetic direction] in two species whose genetics are known is novel, and this might form a basis for future investigations.” Animals as diverse as lobsters and pigeons are thought to use variations in Earth’s magnetic fields to orient themselves. One idea for how the sense might work is that magnetic fields could affect light-sensitive chemical reactions, possibly in structures in the retina known as cryptochromes. Another is that some animal cells contain magnetic field–sensitive metals that interact with mechanosensitive structures to produce a signal. © 1986-2018 The Scientist

Keyword: Pain & Touch
Link ID: 24776 - Posted: 03.21.2018

Michelle Andrews Federal officials have recommended a vaccine against shingles that is more effective than an earlier version at protecting older adults from the painful rash. But persuading many adults to get this and other recommended shots continues to be an uphill battle, health providers say. " 'I'm healthy; I'll get that when I'm older,' " is what adult patients often tell Dr. Michael Munger when he brings up an annual flu shot or a tetanus-diphtheria booster or the new shingles vaccine. Sometimes, he says, they put him off by questioning a vaccine's effectiveness. Munger, a family physician in Overland Park, Kan., who is president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, says he gets more pushback from adults about getting their own vaccines than about immunizing their children. "As parents, we want to make sure our kids are protected. But as adults, we act as if we're invincible." The new schedule for adult vaccines for people age 19 and older has been updated in the last several months by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. The most significant change was to recommend Shingrix, the shingles vaccine that was approved by the Food and Drug Administration last fall, over an older version of the vaccine. Shingrix should be given in two doses between two and six months apart to adults who are at least 50 years old, the CDC says. The older vaccine, Zostavax, can still be given to adults who are 60 or older, but Shingrix is preferred, according to the agency. © 2018 npr

Keyword: Pain & Touch
Link ID: 24771 - Posted: 03.20.2018