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Excessive Training Can Hinder Athletes’ Brains

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Researchers discovered that after multiple weeks of overtraining, the brain demonstrated decreased activity in areas about decision-making. Overworked athletes were found to be less willing to exert themselves for long-term rewards. This finding could potentially shed some perspective on diminished athlete performance when overworked, which is a phenomenon known as overtraining syndrome

The research study involved 37 male triathletes who participated in a training program. Half of the athletes continued with their original workouts, and the other half increased their training by 40%. Participants had their brains scanned, which revealed that there is less brain activity near the prefrontal cortex. They were also asked a series of questions regarding choosing instant gratification or a long-term reward. The researchers determined that overtrained athletes’ responses indicated a desire for instant gratification.

As an athlete increases his or her training, the brain reassesses goals and starts to prioritize them differently. When fatigue increases, the brain shifts from one goal to another as part of a built-in-mechanism. This could mean achieving a goal that will help the athlete recover rather than win. 

What do you think of overtraining, and have you experienced any cognitive deficits with it? Let us know in the comments below. 

Source: 

  1. https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/09/26/764604968/too-much-training-can-tax-athletes-brains

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Gray Hair and Stress?

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Photo Credit: pixaby.com

Scientists have discovered the mechanism that links gray hair to stress. Researchers demonstrated that stress induces the fight-or-flight responses in our bodies that causes the pigment of our hair to decrease. Ya Chieh Hsu, a stem cell biologist from Harvard, studied mice and injected them with a compound known as capsaicin, which is present in chili peppers, to increase the stress levels of the mice. The scientists attributed the loss of melanocytes caused by stress to gray hair. Located in the hair follicles, melanocytes color hair by converting into pigment-producing cells. The body cannot replenish this source of cells. The mechanism for the hair turning gray is that stress triggers the release of norepinephrine, which leads to an excessive release of pigment-producing cells. This rapidly depletes the melanocyte cell supply and causes hair to turn gray as a result. 

To learn more, please visit the following link: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/how-stress-turns-hair-gray-triggers-body-fight-flight-response

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Coronavirus Updates from Around the World

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Check out this map for the coronavirus for the number of deaths and cases throughout the world. The data used in this map is from: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

  • The World Health Organization developed a new name for the virus: COVID-19
  • Recently, there has been an outbreak on the Diamond Princess Ship, which is a luxury cruise ship in Japan. 175 people have contracted the disease. Testing and other forms of surveillance have begun by public health officials. Those who have tested positive have been sent to hospitals or have been quarantined. 
  • A Hong Kong apartment building is being investigated as a potential cause for the COVID-19’s airborne transmission. A 62 year old lady who lived 10 stories under the 12th confirmed case in Hong Kong tested positive for the virus. A professor from the University of Hong Kong’s Department of Microbiology stated that many of the vents might not have been properly blocked, allowing the virus to spread through the vents. 
  • First confirmed case in San Antonio, Texas. The individual was part of a group that flew from the Hubei province in China to the San Antonio Air Force Base. 
  • While the coronavirus has been curbed in China, officials state cannot predict a definitive end to the outbreak. 

Sources: 

  1. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/02/12/watch-world-health-organization-provides-an-update-on-the-coronavirus-outbreak.html
  2. https://arstechnica.com/science/2020/02/175-now-infected-with-coronavirus-on-cruise-ship-including-quarantine-officer/
  3. https://www.hongkongfp.com/2020/02/11/hong-kong-authorities-evacuate-tsing-yi-estate-flats-second-resident-diagnosed-coronavirus/
  4. https://www.texastribune.org/2020/02/13/coronavirus-texas-case-confirmed-san-antonio-cdc-says/
  5. https://www.cnn.com/asia/live-news/coronavirus-outbreak-02-12-20-intl-hnk/index.html
  6. https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

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Tech Company Predicted Coronavirus Using AI

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Photo Credit: pixabay.com

The coronavirus has become a hot topic of discussion in the last two months. While public health officials have been investigating the disease, a tech firm recently predicted the outbreak on December 31, 2019. This is days before the CDC and WHO released official statements. The company, known as BlueDot, utilized an AI system that “combs through animal and plant disease networks” and mined government documents to inform their clients about danger zones including Wuhan. BlueDot additionally analyzed airline ticket data and news reports in different languages to predict the spread of the virus. CEO of BlueDot Kamran Khan notes that the goal of using AI and machine learning is to spread information to healthcare workers as fast as possible in an effort to diagnost, treat, and monitor diseases better. What do you think about the role of AI in disease prediction? Let us know in the comments. 

To learn more, please visit:

  1. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/magazines/panache/this-tech-firm-used-ai-machine-learning-to-predict-coronavirus-outbreak-warned-people-about-danger-zones/articleshow/73697801.cms
  2. https://www.vox.com/recode/2020/1/28/21110902/artificial-intelligence-ai-coronavirus-wuhan

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