Dubrovnik got its own bottle of Coca Cola

first_imgA specially designed and stylized bottle of Coca-Cola with a view of Dubrovnik, which will go on sale in early July, was presented in Lazareti on Monday, June 27. In addition to the city of Dubrovnik, on the bottles of the popular drink whose tradition has lasted for 130 years, there are also Rome and London. Paris and Venice, for example, also took part in the competition, but were not shortlisted.”This gift is symbolic, but beautiful, because in order for something to be beautiful, it does not need to be grandiose at the same time. Just as Coca Cola does not have a five-liter bottle, so Dubrovnik is not a city of five million inhabitants. We observe Coca Cola to our long-term partners because Dubrovnik deserves to be in the company of the world’s largest brands, which we have shown through numerous collaborations over the last seven years.”, Said the mayor Andro Vlahušić with thanks to the representatives of the Croatian Coca Cola for the enormously hard work over the past couple of years to persuade the central office in Atlanta to choose Dubrovnik as part of the promotional activities.Regional Sales Manager Jakša Maganić expressed satisfaction that the City of Dubrovnik recognized the activities and supported their goal. – „We have connected one of the world’s most recognizable brands and one of the greatest symbols of Croatia. We stood by Rome and London”, He said and reminded you that this is not the first time that Coca-Cola and the City of Dubrovnik have connected. “Already 15 years ago, the glass bottle of Cole was adorned with a sticker designed by Dubrovnik designers, and a percentage of sales went to the renovation of the Rector’s Palace.”Maganic concluded.From July 01, the designed bottles of Cola will be available for purchase in souvenir shops and restaurants in the Dubrovnik area as an excellent exclusive souvenir and reminder of the city of Dubrovnik. Great story and business cooperation for mutual benefit.A prototype of this bottle called “Contour” first appeared on the market in 1915. Thanks to its shape, recognizable by touch, this bottle remains a global icon of great influence on marketing design even 100 years later.last_img read more

Reaction: Continental tourism can and must attract millions of tourists

first_imgOne of the theses that has been constantly receding for years is that continental tourism cannot attract millions of guests. A thesis that has no foundations or arguments, in fact, the reality is absolutely the opposite – continental tourism can and must attract millions of tourists.In April 2016, the Minister of Tourism, Anton Kliman, visited the Vukovar-Srijem County and after the visit he stated “Let’s not fool ourselves that hordes of strangers will be flocking here”.It is interesting that just after the press statements the Minister visited the Vučedol Museum and the Vinkovci City Museum where he could see on the spot the incredible potential of tourism in Slavonia only through the story of Vučedol culture which is the first real developed and most advanced European civilization. Europe. Yes, we are talking about the cradle of European civilization that developed right on the Vinkovci-Vukovar stretch. I have been arguing for years how samo The city of Vinkovci has the potential to attract over a million tourists a year. I have only touched on one tourist potential, and now consider and add other potentials. From the river Danube, which is used by millions of tourists, Slavonian horizon, gastronomy, culture, heritage, Zagorje, Međimurje, Velebit… continue the seriesKliman: Croatia can raise the level of continental tourismIt is interesting that on Wednesday the Minister of Tourism in the Technical Government Anton Kliman in Vodnjan for Hinu said that Croatia can significantly raise the level of continental tourism and develop models that will direct tourist traffic to the continent. “This is a great challenge for Croatian tourism, and we in the relevant ministry are thinking about it, because no ministry has dealt with it so far, at least not more seriously. We have left some processes of continental tourism to happen on their own, but it is obvious that without strong state intervention, ie directing traffic towards the continental part, there will be no progress.”, Said Kliman.Yes, continental tourism is left to itself all the time, while all tenders, investments, advertising, etc. are focused on the Adriatic. Unfortunately, due to the negligence of the State, the Ministry and the CNTB all these years towards the continent, today it is much harder and more expensive to start all processes and most importantly to attract tourists to create consumption, and thus the interest of private entrepreneurs – and that is profit. When that story is completed, it is a success, as it is currently in Zagreb.Obviously, some things are changing for the better, at least the opinion of the Minister of Tourism is different, which is a great thing. But we are far from any action or strategic plan on how to launch continental tourism. Without a clearly defined development strategy there is no success, and I am sincerely surprised by this statement of the Minister because it does not take a day or two but months of hard work, planning, research, etc. izra A little frivolous, but obviously the political campaign has begun.Switzerland and Austria do not have the sea, but they know how to make money from tourismTourism accounts for only 4% of Swiss GDP, while in Croatia tourism accounts for 18,1% of GDP. The hotel business is booming and the annual occupancy rate is twice as high as in Croatia. The Swiss have fashionable winter resorts, but also destinations for mass tourism. But these guests are also more paying power. They spend an average of 240 francs a day. Four times more than tourists in Croatia. The secret of success is in the attractions – like the steepest funicular in the world that takes guests a kilometer and a half into the clouds in half an hour. ”Tourism is the fourth most important industry in our country. Every year we record 20 million visitors and 70 million overnight stays, most of them in hotels “Points out Federico Sommaruga from the Swiss Tourist BoardAustria lives better than us just from summer tourism! Yes, summer tourism.Interestingly, Austria has more overnight stays during the summer than in the winter. Last year, 17 million tourists visited Austria in the winter months with 64,5 million overnight stays, and in the summer, as many as 20 million arrived, achieving 67,2 million overnight stays. Of the total income from tourism, Austria earns 22,7 billion euros, of which 12,7 billion in the winter, which is slightly more than in the summer months because guests with higher purchasing power come.Switzerland and Austria do not have the sea, but they know how to make money from tourism. Why can Austria, in the summer months alone, be visited by 20 million tourists, and continental Croatia in 10 months by at least 5 million? Perhaps the better question is can the Adriatic accommodate more guests? Personally, I think it can’t do much, only through the extension of the season we’ve been struggling with for years. But here is a hypothesis and solution on how to extend the tourist season, make more arrivals and ultimately earn more from tourism. The solution is continental tourismMaritime tourism is based on three months while continental year-round tourism or at least can last 10 monthsOn the example of Austria, we can best see the potential of continental tourism, with Croatia having a far greater potential than Austria or Switzerland. By the way, daily consumption in continental tourism is higher than in sea tourism. According to the latest research, the daily average consumption in Zagreb is 123 Euros. This is logical because tourists do not have the sea to lie down and rest, ie to be positioned in one place, but to consume the whole destination, ie what the destination offers through culture, gastronomy, history, etc.…When we look at the bigger picture in the context of tourism development in Croatia, then it is clear that continental tourism can certainly bring the same or more money than sea tourism, especially since we know that sea tourism is based on three months while continental year-round tourism can last at least 10 months. So much for the potential of continental tourism.Croatia can and must raise the level of continental tourism. We have the most important resource – amazing true and credible stories. It is this diversity and unique stories that are our advantage. On the other hand, the biggest weakness is that these stories are untold, ie that continental tourism does not have the infrastructure and a secure base of tourists who create consumption, and thus earnings, ie return on investment.In the end, I sincerely hope that one day continental tourism will earn more than sea tourism, it definitely can and must. One passionate man once said, “The difference between a dreamer and a visionary is that the dreamer has his eyes closed and the visionary has his eyes open“- Martin Luther King. Until then, I will act positively and dream awake.Continental tourism can and must attract millions of tourists.last_img read more

Požega is becoming a city of experience through a new great tourist story – Požega House

first_imgThe museum or more precisely the visitor center “Požega House” is a project of the City of Požega and the Tourist Board of the City in which guests will be introduced to the tourist offer of the city and its surroundings, as a city of experience, fine tastes through all four seasons and all five senses. cultural values, eno-gastronomy and music.Tourism with a story in the true sense of the word where special attention will be paid to the presentation of local gastronomy and wine, and the value of the project is 4,5 million kuna, of which 1,5 million will be realized through the Tourism Development Fund of the Ministry of Tourism. “We wanted to create a new experiential experience for visitors, to immediately get to know the most important points of the city through prominent events, celebrities and tastes of the city by which they recognize us best. The traditional culture of the destination is becoming a new, creative form of tourist product, and it is important for us to dedicate this product to creative tourists who want to experience, atmosphere and learn something new about the destination. pointed out Silvija Podoljak, director of the Tourist Board of the City of Požega”Požega House” will be divided into two parts, ground floor and basement, each part of which will tell its own story. On the ground floor there will be an info point, ie the reception center of that room dedicated to Fr. Luka Ibrišimović and Baron Franjo Trenko, while the basement will be dedicated to the flavors, more precisely to the tasting of the recognizable flavors of our region. As the most important thing in tourism is to tell a story, to be innovative and creative, in Požega House instead of a ticket, visitors will get a cork with different colors that they will later be able to use in an interesting way. There is also a “drunk bike”, strategy games for children, fencing with Baron Trenk and many other interesting activities.In the first stage of the works, the facade was arranged, the carpentry and the roof were replaced, now we are working on the internal installations, while in the next phase we will work on the interior decoration. The detailed design will define all the details so that what can be seen in it is better presented in reality. The third includes interior design with equipment and applications Drunk Bike, Strategy on Sokolovac and On a duel with Trenk. “The ground floor includes the Reception Hall, which will be the starting point for visiting the Visitor Center, where visitors will learn basic information about the city, the timeline. On the ground floor, 2 more rooms are planned related to the past of Požega, Fr. Luka Ibrisimovic and Baron Franjo Trenk, while the basement will include more feelings through stories about wines, chocolate, dishes of the Museum in a pot.. ”Concludes Podoljak.That’s it, we have to tell and present our indigenous stories, we have to be proud of our history and identity because that’s exactly what tourists want to taste and experience. This is the meaning of tourism, because if it were the opposite, no one would travel, and last year alone, over 1.2 billion tourists traveled the world.I sincerely hope that all such and similar different, autochthonous and unique museums and visitor centers will open in Croatia in order to wash away all our stories with which we are the richest in Europe. It is our diversity that is our biggest tourist advantage and the map we have to play. We have to pack all our stories nicely, put them on the market and tell them in an innovative and creative way.Well done to Požega. Let’s tell storieslast_img read more

The Ministry of Tourism signed a contract on financing the work of the HGSS

first_imgToday, Minister of Tourism Gari Cappelli officially visited the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, ie the municipality of Skrad, where he signed agreements with the head of the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service, Vinko Prizmić, on co-financing the work and activities of the HGSS during 2017.The total value of the contract, ie the financial support of the Ministry of Tourism this year is 1,5 million kuna. One contract, worth one million kuna, refers to the improvement of safety, protection and rescue of tourists in areas outside cities and public roads, and the other, worth 500 thousand kuna, for the preparation of tender documentation for the application of adventure tourism development project “Tour de CroAtive – development of active tourism achieving the goals of the Europe 2020 Strategy ”on EU structural funds.This project is aimed at developing safe and sustainable active tourism in the function of valorization of natural and cultural heritage and other human, spatial and socio-economic resources of Croatia at the local, regional, national and international level, and is implemented in cooperation with partners from private, public and the civil sector from Croatia, the EU and neighboring countries. “Croatia is a safe tourist destination, and security is one of our key comparative advantages. Last year, excellent tourist results were achieved, and HGSS, which has been our faithful partner for many years, made an important contribution to this. According to all announcements, an excellent tourist year 2017 awaits us, during which, as in all previous years, we want to provide tourists with a safe and quality stay in our country.”, Said Minister Cappelli.Head Prizmić presented the Tour de CroAtive project, emphasizing the importance of tourism on the continent, which in the future, according to him, will be the engine of development, and special attention will certainly be paid to adventure tourism, which HGSS plans to develop through this project.The Ministry of Tourism has been financially supporting the work of the HGSS since 2003, and to date a total of HRK 13 million has been allocated. Realizing the great importance of HGSS not only in interventions but also in prevention, information and education of people, HGSS is provided with logistical support and logistical support in all projects and goals.And we know how important security and a sense of security are for tourism development.Related news: HGSS KEEPS VISITORS IN KOPAČKI RIT NATURE PARK AS WELLlast_img read more

The mobile application for tourist running – SightRun – is coming out soon

first_imgIn order to enable runners who visit Zagreb to enjoy their favorite activity, four friends, runners, lovers of Zagreb, last year launched racing tours of the city of Zagreb.Packing things for the trip for one runner means that they will probably throw in a pair of sneakers, and runners are like that, they don’t give up their routine, says Sandra Bortek, founder of the start-up project SightRun, adding that when they come to a new city they usually don’t know where to run. where it is safe and beautiful. Although they would also like to get to know the city, they often do not have time for both, and looking at the map and running do not really go together. It is easy for a pleasant and relaxing activity like running to turn into stress and fear of losing or being late for a business meeting.This is how the story goes from a great idea to the need for a product, ie a mobile application for running SighRun. SightRun is a mobile application that allows runners to run carefree and comfortable even when on the road, and the application contains audio racing tours that combine running with sightseeing so that runners can enjoy running along the way exploring a new city.An award-winning startup idea for four runners, the SightRun mobile application for tourist running will soon see the light of day and thus offer something new and different on the market. SightRun mobile application is the winner of the Startup Factory Zagreb 2016 competition, the finalist of the Zagreb Connect international startup conference, the winner of the Women Invest (Women In Adria 2017) pitch competition ”After the selected tour is downloaded to the mobile phone, it is enough for the runner to put on the headphones and press play. After that, he no longer needs the Internet, and he can store his mobile phone and let the application guide him safely through the city. ” – Tamara Markotić told us.Runners who like to run alone, do not have time for classic tours or want to get to know their city will soon have the opportunity to download the first version of the SightRun mobile application, which will be available for Android mobile devices in June. The tours will be available in Croatian and English, and the first available city will be Zagreb, followed by other Croatian cities. “SightRun not only helps runners get to know a new destination, but also presents the destination as “Runner’s Friendly”. Tourist running is a new tourist product. We are witnessing the popularity of running in Croatia. There is no need for a runner to give up his favorite activity just because he is in a new city. Still, the SightRun app is also an opportunity for local runners to get to know their city in a whole new way.”- added Sandra Bortek.Last year, the team working on the project started running tours in the city of Zagreb called RunZagreb, and with their tours they supplemented the tourist offer of the city, thus representing Zagreb (and Croatia) as a racing destination. What else to add but – support the first Croatian racing application and register on their website www.sightrun.com and follow them on social media Facebook i Instagram @SightRunApp.last_img read more

Brain scans show we prefer low-alcohol wines

first_imgShare There are many factors that influence consumers to buy a certain wine, including the brand, price, origin, and taste. Recently, winemakers have begun shifting toward making wines with a higher alcohol content– but new research suggests this might not be the best idea.A team of researchers in California set out to explore this question. Published in PLoS One this January, the researchers used Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) to determine what our brain activity looks like while tasting wines with a low versus high alcohol content. Everything else about the wines (including the color, PH, and sugar).For the study, participants laid in the scanner and were given either a low alcohol-content wine, high alcohol content wine, or a tasteless liquid. Researchers scanned participants’ brains while they tasted each drink type, and participants rated how much they liked each drink on a 1-20 scale. Email LinkedIn Pinterestcenter_img Share on Twitter Share on Facebook First, the researchers compared both wines to the tasteless solution, allowing them to get a baseline reading. Next, the researchers compared the low alcohol-content wines to the high alcohol-content wines. The researchers found that overall, people preferred wines with a low alcohol content. In particular, areas of the insula and cerebellum showed differences in activation, and these areas are involved in taste intensity perception.“Our finding thus seems to suggest that the low-alcohol content wines induced a greater attentional orienting and exploration of the sensory attributes of wines relatively to high-alcohol content wines,” the researchers explained.They also found differences in activation in regions of the cerebellum. This brain area is responsible for attentional orienting—when we try to pay more attention to something or divert our attention away from something. In this case, participants oriented their attention toward the low alcohol-content wines, savoring them. Lower activation was observed in these regions while participants tasted the high alcohol-content wines, suggesting that they were savoring these wines less, or even trying not to savor them.“Our findings regarding the stronger activation in the cerebellum for low-alcohol content wine seem to support the intuition of some professional wine experts that such lower-alcohol content wines have a better chance to induce greater sensitivity to the overall flavour expressed by the wine. Especially striking then is the fact that these differences were found for wine consumers that were not professional or experts,” the researchers said.Considering that winemakers have begun making more wines with a high alcohol content, these results are surprising. The researchers also pointed out that the high alcohol content of some wines can overshadow its’ various smells and flavors.The researchers said future research should explore how other attributes of wine, such as its acidity, influence our like or dislike toward these wines. Further research in this area has important implications for the wine industry, as well as wine consumers.last_img read more

Alzheimer’s disease works differently in patients with and without Down syndrome

first_imgLinkedIn Share Share on Twitter Researchers at the University of Kentucky’s Sanders-Brown Center on Aging have completed a study that revealed differences in the way brain inflammation — considered a key component of AD– is expressed in different subsets of patients, in particular people with Down syndrome (DS) and AD.People with Down syndrome have a third copy of Chromosome 21, and that chromosome is the same one responsible for the production of a molecule called amyloid precursor protein. Amyloid overproduction can lead to brain plaques that are a cardinal feature of Alzheimer’s, so it is not surprising that nearly 100 percent of people with Down syndrome develop Alzheimer’s disease pathology in their brain by the time they are 40.“People develop Alzheimer’s disease at different ages, but it’s typically in their 60s, 70s, or 80s,” said Donna Wilcock, an assistant professor at the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging and principal investigator for the study. “It’s a little easier to study Alzheimer’s disease in Down syndrome because of the predictability of the age when adults with DS develop signs of the disease.” Share on Facebookcenter_img Email Pinterest In Wilcock’s study, some interesting data emerged that will shape the way scientists look at AD as manifested in various subsets of the population. Using brain autopsy tissue from a group of people — some with DS/AD, some with AD alone, and some healthy, Wilcock and her team were able to determine differences in the way neuroinflammation was expressed in people with DS.In previous studies where Wilcock and her colleagues identified different types of inflammation in AD brains,, two families of inflammatory markers — called M1 and M2a — were each present to varying degrees in the sample population representing early AD cases, indicating a notable level of heterogeneity in the way the AD disease process begins in the brain. But in the late-stage AD cases, there was a high degree of homogeneity with high levels of the markers M1, M2 and M2c.“If you think of it in terms of a roadmap, there is almost always more than one way to get from Point A to Point B, and that seems to be the case in disease progression as well,” said Wilcock.In this most recent study, the team found that the inflammatory response in DS/AD brain tissue was significantly greater than that in tissue from AD patients. Further, there was an elevated level of markers for M2b,that was not replicated in tissue from sporadic (i.e. ideopathic) AD cases.. In other words, AD in the DS brain had a very different neuroinflammatory profile than AD in people without DS.“It has been generally assumed that AD presents the same way in people with Down syndrome as it does in people without DS, but our work demonstrates that this is not the case,” said Wilcock. “This will have important implications for the study of AD treatments, as some treatments might be effective with people without DS but not those with DS, and vice-versa.”Wilcock’s work has been published online in the Neurobiology of Aging. This study was part of a larger DS Aging study at the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging funded by NIH/NICHD (Head and Schmitt), and was also funded by a research grant awarded to Dr. Wilcock through a partnership between the Alzheimer’s Association, the Global Down Syndrome Foundation and the Linda CRNIC Institute for Down syndrome.last_img read more

Exercise reduces suicide attempts by 23 percent among bullied teens

first_imgShare Share on Facebook As high schools across the country continue to reduce physical education, recess, and athletic programs, a new study shows that regular exercise significantly reduces both suicidal thoughts and attempts among students who are bullied.Using data from the CDC’s National Youth Risk Behavior Survey of 13,583 high school students, researchers at the University of Vermont found that being physically active four or more days per week resulted in a 23 percent reduction in suicidal ideation and attempts in bullied students. Nationwide nearly 20 percent of students reported being bullied on school property.Previous studies have shown that exercise has positive effects on various mental health measures. This is the first, however, to show a link between physical activity and a reduction in suicidal thoughts and attempts by bullied students, who are also at increased risk for poor academic performance, low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, sadness and substance abuse. Share on Twitter LinkedIncenter_img Email Pinterest Overall, 30 percent of students in the study reported feeling sad for two or more weeks in the previous year while more than 22 percent reported suicidal ideation and 8.2 percent reported actual suicidal attempts during the same time period. Bullied students were twice as likely to report sadness, and three times as likely to report suicidal ideation or attempt when compared to peers who were not bullied. Exercise on four or more days per week was also associated with significant reductions in sadness.“I was surprised that it was that significant and that positive effects of exercise extended to kids actually trying to harm themselves,” said lead author Jeremy Sibold, associate professor and chair of the Department Rehabilitation and Movement Science. “Even if one kid is protected because we got them involved in an after-school activity or in a physical education program it’s worth it.”High schools cutting physical edcuation programs nationwideThe release of Sibold’s study in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry comes at a time when 44 percent of the nation’s school administrators have cut significant amounts of time from physical education, arts and recess so that more time could be devoted to reading and mathematics since the passage of No Child Left Behind in 2001, according to a report by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. The same report showed that the percentage of schools offering physical education daily or at least three days a week has declined dramatically between 2001 and 2006.Overall, it is estimated that only about half of America’s youth meet the current evidence-based guideline of the U.S. Health and Human Services Department of at least 60 minutes of vigorous or moderate-intensity physical activity daily. In its biennial survey of high school students across the nation, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that nearly half said they had no physical education classes in an average week.“It’s scary and frustrating that exercise isn’t more ubiquitous and that we don’t encourage it more in schools,” says Sibold. “Instead, some kids are put on medication and told ‘good luck.’ If exercise reduces sadness, suicide ideation, and suicide attempts, then why in the world are we cutting physical education programs and making it harder for students to make athletic teams at such a critical age?”Sibold and his co-authors, Erika Edwards, research assistant professor in the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences, Dianna Murray-Close, associate professor in psychology, and psychiatry professor James J. Hudziak, who has published extensively on the positive effects of exercise on mental health outcomes, say they hope their paper increases the consideration of exercise programs as part of the public health approach to reduce suicidal behavior in all adolescents.“Considering the often catastrophic and long lasting consequences of bullying in school-aged children, novel, accessible interventions for victims of such conduct are sorely needed,” they conclude.last_img read more

Antidepressants and Alzheimer’s disease drugs might boost recovery in stroke patients

first_imgShare on Twitter Share Pinterest LinkedIn Emailcenter_img Share on Facebook Evidence is mounting that drugs used to treat depression and Alzheimer’s disease also can help patients recover from strokes.But there are conflicting findings from studies of these and other drugs given to recovering stroke patients. Large, well-designed studies are needed before any drug can be recommended routinely for stroke recovery, according to a study in the journal Drugs and Aging by neurologists Xabier Beristain, MD, and Esteban Golombievski, MD, of Loyola University Medical Center and Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.“These medications have not yet been clearly proven to be of benefit to patients recovering from strokes,” Dr. Beristain said. Speech and physical therapies traditionally have been the mainstays of stroke rehabilitation programs. But more than half of stroke survivors are left with some neurological impairment. “The limitations of these rehabilitation efforts have sparked an interest in finding other ways to enhance neurological recovery,” Drs. Beristain and Golombievski write.So far, the most promising drug treatments are antidepressants to improve motor recovery and Alzheimer’s disease drugs to boost recovery from aphasia (impaired ability to speak, write and understand verbal and written language).About one in three stroke patients suffers depression, which can limit a patient’s ability to participate in rehabilitation. There is mounting evidence that the class of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs (such as Prozac, Paxil and Celexa), may enhance neurological recovery beyond their effect on mood. Another type of antidepressant, norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (NRI) also has shown benefit.An analysis of 56 clinical trials of SSRIs found the drugs appeared to improve dependence, disability, neurological impairment, anxiety and depression after stroke. However, these findings should be taken with caution because the studies have different designs. Several additional clinical trials now underway are evaluating the use of antidepressants to enhance stroke recovery.There is growing evidence that Alzheimer’s disease drugs called acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (including Aricept, Exelon and Razadyne) can improve aphasia in stroke patients. A second type of Alzheimer’s medication under study is memantine (Namenda). When used in combination with therapy, memantine has shown language benefits lasting at least one year when compared with a placebo. But clinical evidence of memantine for stroke recovery remains limited.So far, most studies of these and other drugs used for stroke recovery have been small, employing different methodologies and time windows between the stroke and the clinical intervention.“We need well-designed, large clinical trials with enough power to establish the usefulness of medications as adjuvants to rehabilitation before we can routinely recommend the use of these agents to enhance neurological recovery after stroke,” Drs. Beristain and Golombievski write.last_img read more

Neuroscientists one step closer to re-creating the sense of touch

first_imgA new study led by neuroscientists from the University of Chicago brings us one step closer to building prosthetic limbs for humans that re-create a sense of touch through a direct interface with the brain.The research, published October 26, 2015, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows that artificial touch is highly dependent on several features of electrical stimuli, such as the strength and frequency of signals. It describes the specific characteristics of these signals, including how much each feature needs to be adjusted to produce a different sensation.“This is where the rubber meets the road in building touch-sensitive neuroprosthetics,” said Sliman Bensmaia, PhD, Associate Professor in the Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy at the University of Chicago and senior author of the study. “Now we understand the nuts and bolts of stimulation, and what tools are at our disposal to create artificial sensations by stimulating the brain.” Email Share on Twitter Share on Facebook LinkedIncenter_img Share Pinterest Bensmaia’s research is part of Revolutionizing Prosthetics, a multi-year Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) project that seeks to create a modular, artificial upper limb that will restore natural motor control and sensation in amputees. The project has brought together an interdisciplinary team of experts from government agencies, private companies and academic institutions, including the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and the University of Pittsburgh.Bensmaia and his colleagues at UChicago are working specifically on the sensory aspects of these limbs. For this study, monkeys, whose sensory systems closely resemble those of humans, had electrodes implanted into the area of the brain that processes touch information from the hand. The animals were trained to perform two perceptual tasks: one in which they detected the presence of an electrical stimulus, and a second in which they indicated which of two successive stimuli was more intense.During these experiments, Bensmaia and his team manipulated various features of the electrical pulse train, such as its amplitude, frequency and duration, and noted how the interaction of each of these factors affected the animals’ ability to detect the signal.Of specific interest were the “just-noticeable differences” (JND), or the incremental changes needed to produce a sensation that felt different. For instance, at a certain frequency, the signal may be detectable first at a strength of 20 microamps of electricity. If the signal has to be increased to 50 microamps to notice a difference, the JND in that case is 30 microamps.The sense of touch is really made up of a complex and nuanced set of sensations, from contact and pressure to texture, vibration and movement. By documenting the range, composition and specific increments of signals that create sensations that feel different from each other, Bensmaia and his colleagues have provided the “notes” scientists can play to produce the “music” of the sense of touch in the brain.“When you grasp an object, for example, you can hold it with different grades of pressure. To recreate a realistic sense of touch, you need to know how many grades of pressure you can convey through electrical stimulation,” Bensmaia said. “Ideally you can have the same dynamic range for artificial touch as you do for natural touch.”The study has important scientific implications beyond neuroprosthetics as well. In natural perception, a principle known as Weber’s Law states that the just-noticeable difference between two stimuli is proportional to the size of the stimulus. For example, with a 100-watt light bulb, you might be able to detect a difference in brightness by increasing its power to 110 watts. The JND in that case is 10 watts. According to Weber’s Law, if you double the power of the light bulb to 200 watts, the JND would also be doubled to 20 watts.However, Bensmaia’s research shows that, with electrical stimulation of the brain, Weber’s Law does not apply–the JND remains nearly constant, no matter the size of the stimulus. This means that the brain responds to electrical stimulation in a much more repeatable, consistent way than through natural stimulation.“It shows that there is something fundamentally different about the way the brain responds to electrical stimulation than it does to natural stimulation,” Bensmaia said.“This study gets us to the point where we can actually create real algorithms that work. It gives us the parameters as to what we can achieve with artificial touch, and brings us one step closer to having human-ready algorithms.”last_img read more