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Do you slip up when anxious? Here’s why

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London: British neuroscientists have identified the brain network system that causes us to stumble and stall, which may have a disastrous effect on our performance.

Scientists at the University of Sussex’s Sackler Centre and Brighton and Sussex Medical School were able to pinpoint the brain area that causes the performance mishaps during an experiment using functional magnetic resonance neuroimaging (fMRI).

 

Previous study has shown that people tend to exert more force when they know they are being watched. For example, pianists unconsciously press keys harder when they play in front of an audience compared to when playing alone.

In the new study, participants’ brain activity was monitored while carrying out a task that required them to exert a precise amount of force when gripping an object.

During the experiment, they viewed video footage of two people whom they believed were evaluating their performance. They then repeated the task while viewing video footage of two people who appeared to be evaluating the performance of someone else.

Participants reported that they felt more anxious when they believed they were being observed. Under this condition, they gripped the object harder without realising it.

Scan results showed that an area of the brain that helps us to control our fine sensorimotor functions – the inferior parietal cortex (IPC) – became deactivated when people felt they were being observed.

In fact, this part of the brain works with another region – the posterior superior temporal sulcus (pSTS) – to form what neuroscientists refer to as the action-observation network (AON). The AON is involved in “mentalisation” processes by which we infer what another person is thinking, based on his/her facial expressions and direction of gaze.

The pSTS conveys this information to the IPC, which then generates appropriate motor actions. If we feel our observer wants us to do well, we will perform well. But if we pick up negative cues, our IPC is deactivated and our performance falls apart.

The study results were published recently in the journal Scientific Reports. (IANS)

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Heart Attack Symptoms In Women Often Misinterpreted

The research paper, published in the journal Circulation, examined the relationship between gender, symptoms, perception of symptoms, and care-seeking among patients

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Women were also more likely to perceive their symptoms as stress or anxiety, and were more likely than men to report that their healthcare providers did not think that their symptoms were heart-related. Pexels

Young women who report heart attack symptoms such as indigestion, shortness of breath, palpitations or pain in the jaw, neck, or arms, were more likely than men to have them dismissed by their doctors as not heart related, raising their risk of death than similarly aged men, finds a new study.

Previous studies have reported that women were less likely to present with chest pain for acute myocardial infarction — commonly known as a heart attack — but more likely to report a wider variety of symptoms and also more likely to die in a hospital from the disease.

“When young women with multiple risk factors visit their doctor with any chest discomfort or other symptoms that may be associated with ischemic heart disease”, doctors should treat them appropriately, said Gail D’Onofrio from the Yale School of Public Health (YSPH).

ALSO READ: 4 Ways to Beat the Risk of Heart Attack in your 30s

The research paper, published in the journal Circulation, examined the relationship between gender, symptoms, perception of symptoms, and care-seeking among patients (2,009 women and 976 men) who were 55 years and younger and were hospitalized for heart attack.

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The analysis showed that the majority of both men and women reported chest pain, pressure, tightness, or discomfort as their main heart attack symptoms. Pexels

 

Yet, women were more likely than men to report other associated symptoms of heart attack, such as indigestion, shortness of breath, palpitations or pain in the jaw, neck, or arms.

ALSO READ: Memory of a heart attack gets stored in genes through epigenetic changes

Women were also more likely to perceive their symptoms as stress or anxiety, and were more likely than men to report that their healthcare providers did not think that their symptoms were heart-related, the researchers said.

“Although chest pain was the most common symptom for young women and men, the presentation of chest pain within the context of multiple symptoms may influence the prompt recognition of heart disease for these young patients,” said Judith H. Lichtman, associate professor at the YSPH. (IANS)

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