Tuesday February 19, 2019

Modern technology bad for brain: Phone notifications kill concentration says study

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New York: Mobile phone notifications can ruin your focus even if you do not actually pick up the phone to respond to them, a study says.

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The Florida State University study found that alerts can break concentration, whether or not immediate action is taken on them, Digital Trends reported.

“Although these notifications are generally short in duration, they can prompt task-irrelevant thoughts, or mind wandering, which has been shown to damage task performance,” lead study author Cary Stothart was quoted as saying.

“We found that notifications alone significantly disrupted performance on an attention-demanding task, even when participants did not directly interact with a mobile device during the task,” Stothart said.

Study authors, Ainsley Mitchum, and Courtney Yehnert ran volunteers through an attention-monitoring test to reach their conclusions.

Participants were found to perform significantly worse on a task when their phones were buzzing or ringing. In fact, they were three times more likely to make mistakes.

The level of distraction was comparable to actually answering a phone call or writing a text message.

“If you really want to keep your mind on a task, just ignoring your phone notifications is not enough. You need to disable them altogether,” the researchers said.

An earlier study from Rice University found that phones can be detrimental to learning process.

The research said while users initially believed the mobile devices would improve their ability to perform well with homework and tests and ultimately get better grades, the opposite was reported at the end of the study.

(IANS)

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Researchers Identify New Mechanism to Prevent Alzheimer’s

The team next plans to test this approach in additional animal studies and eventually in human trials using small molecule inhibitors targeting eEF2K

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In Alzheimer's disease, patients start losing memory, Pixabay

Researchers have identified a novel mechanism and a potential new therapeutic target for Alzheimer’s disease (AD), says a new study on mice.

Alzheimer’s is characterised by profound memory loss and synaptic failure. Although the exact cause of the disease remains unclear, it is well established that maintaining memory and synaptic plasticity requires protein synthesis.

The function of the synapse is to transfer electric activity (information) from one cell to another.

“Alzheimer’s is such a devastating disease and currently there is no cure or effective therapy for it,” said Tao Ma, Assistant Professor at Wake Forest School of Medicine in the US.

A lady suffering from Alzheimer’s. Flickr

“All completed clinical trials of new drugs have failed, so there is clearly a need for novel therapeutic targets for potential treatments.”

For the study, the team has shown that AD-associated activation of a signaling molecule termed eEF2K leads to inhibition of protein synthesis.

Further, they wanted to determine if suppression of eEF2K could improve protein synthesis capacity, consequently alleviating the cognitive and synaptic impairments associated with the disease.

They used a genetic approach to repress the activity of eEF2K in Alzheimer’s mouse models.

Cognitive Impairment
Alzheimer’s disease patient Isidora Tomaz, 82, sits in an armchair in her house in Lisbon, Portugal. VOA

The findings, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, showed that genetic suppression of eEF2K prevented memory loss in those animal models and significantly improved synaptic function.

Also Read- Global Warming Could Change US Cities’ Climate by 2080- Study

“These findings are encouraging and provide a new pathway for further research,” said Ma.

The team next plans to test this approach in additional animal studies and eventually in human trials using small molecule inhibitors targeting eEF2K. (IANS)