“Will China overtake the US in the future as a hegemony?” was investigating Varnavas in his master thesis during his Masters in International Political Economy at the King’s College in London. He was so passionate about his research that in 2018 he decided to develop a board game out of it. He called it: Hegemony. As an author of a board game herself, Researchista is a big fun of such projects! Gaming in higher education is a recent trend and is increasingly keeping students in tension. Here is what you can discover about Hegemony.
Developing a game on politics, is like developing a game on taxes. Hard to put in place and even harder to penetrate the market, as just another board game. It is specific, educational and special. The risk is that it can be life-changing. Ambitious scholars and social entrepreneurs at heart like Varnavas Timotheou, a Cypriot visionary who is not easily intimidated by political quests people have on politics made a breakthrough on the board game market and in education.
His board game that is about to leave the protoype/demo phase into board game production. Would that be related to the upcoming US elections? To the corona virus effects on economy and politics? It is difficult to say. However, it is a certain fact that people want to learn more about politics.
It is difficult to not acknowledge the importance of politics and voting and Hegemony provides with answers. It teaches you from academic reliable resources about how political coalitions, clashes and thinking is formed and changes in different scenarios, how YOU as an ordinary citizen can easier and better understand politics… isn’t that a handy a game?!
Have you ever wonder how moving to a new country has inspired or made people open a new business and become an entrepreneur? Dr Nur (2015) found a direct link between immigrant entrepreneurship and success longevity in their businesses through innovation and sustainability. These successes lead to the creation of global brands, such as Heinz, Avon, Dell, Amazon, Estee Lauder and a hundred others.
Greetings from Italy!
Dr Nur informs us that despite broad discussions between immigration and entrepreneurship in United States, Australia or Canada little research is done to investigate the success rates of the immigrant entrepreneurs in the European host countries, the longevity of immigrant businesses, survival rate during crises periods or scale-up potential, and various business strategies implemented by the immigrants.
To fight the myth: “Migrants still our jobs”, on-going research question: Does the immigrant entrepreneurship positively contribute to the European countries’ socio-economic development?
For example, the recent CENSIS and collaboration with Roma-Tre University (2019) found on a growing number of immigrant entrepreneurs and a positive causal effect of immigrant entrepreneurship on the national economy in the last ten years. The findings are beneficial for the internationalisation strategy as well as for the job creation, contribution to the economic growth, and support to the local government during the economic crisis. More findings of this sort can be useful for the EU Government’s decision making in drafting policies to reduce problems within the area (part of migration issue). Therefore, Dr Nur and her collaborator Prof Finotto are interested in examining the immigrant entrepreneurship phenomenon in Europe on a comparative approach and over time and is hoped to add significant findings.
The subject of the study (immigrant entrepreneurs) has been conducted in Dr. Nur’s earlier research that summarises during the Great Depression and Second World War, immigrant entrepreneurs put more endeavour into marketing innovation, while the non-immigrant entrepreneurs (native) are more likely to improve their product through innovation, retaining the same product line and target market. Among other things, a compelling finding demonstrates that immigrant entrepreneurs started to implement market segmentation, while non-immigrant entrepreneurs ventured into vertical product differentiation, strengthened their quality with product improvement, which increased consumer trust by associating their brands with particular products. Dr. Nur (2016) emphasise that some immigrant entrepreneurs at host country are somewhat patriotic, especially when their host country is facing difficulties. For example, they show support towards local governments during these two periods by helping the US government to survive during wartime, such as more than 50% of facilities at one of an immigrant entrepreneur’s factory and laboratories were made available to the US Government for the production of war items for the armed forces. It provides historical evidence that immigrant entrepreneurship is essential and has a significant contribution to the socio-economic of the host country. Extending from this study, Dr. Nur and Prof. Finotto use a similar research framework to study the phenomenon in the European context.
Several studies on immigration and entrepreneurship between 2010 and 2018 have almost doubled, that focus mainly on the performance of the entrepreneurs and compare businesses created by native and immigrant entrepreneurs by longevity, strategy during crises periods, and by businesses that started small and later, became global brands. However, there is a limited study on the comparative approach to answer these two questions: Why immigrant entrepreneurs have different strategies to business compared to non-immigrant entrepreneurs in Europe over-time? And, How do they recognise entrepreneurial opportunity identification at the host country in Europe differently than the native?,which interest Dr Nur and Prof Finotto to scrutinise the investigation. It is an exciting work-in-progress to follow as it focuses on the European countries when the influx of migration is a critical issue. The preliminary findings from two pilot studies summarise that immigrant entrepreneurs offer job creation to the local community, establish and smoothen business entry barrier between the host and home country, contribute taxes that benefit local pensioners, and create competitive advantage. Dr. Nur and Prof. Finotto are now conducting comprehensive research to confirm the preliminary findings, which updates are available via twitter.
Furthermore, Prof William R. Kerr and Dr Sari Pekkala Kerr (2017) point out that many policymakers believe that immigrant founders were essential for the revival of the country’s growth and continued recovery from the Great Depression.In contrast, Dr Nahikari Irastorza, and Prof Iñaki Peña-Legazkue (2018) explain that the immigrant entrepreneurs are more likely to quit their businesses earlier than their native competitors. Although there are mixed findings on the business performances and strategies of immigrant entrepreneurs, in general, they can adapt and expand despite the economic crisis with several explanations including on how and why they identify entrepreneurial opportunity at host country differently than the native. In summary, the immigrant entrepreneurship phenomenon must not be excluded from local agendas and discussion, particularly in Europe. With a broad range of evidence on the subject, it concludes that this research area is critical and beneficial for shaping and improvingthe policy in the future to benefit the economy and society at large in Europe.
Current Knowledge and Challenges, 187-249. Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago Press.
Irastorza, N., & Peña-Legazkue, I. (2018). Immigrant entrepreneurship and business survival during the recession:
Evidence from a local economy. The Journal of Entrepreneurship, 27(2), 243-257.
Ramli, N.S., (2016). A comparative study of marketing strategies: the development of cosmetic brands created by diaspora entrepreneurs and non-diaspora entrepreneurs in the US cosmetic industry. [Doctoral dissertation], University of York, United Kingdom.
Ramli, N.S., (2015). Immigrant entrepreneurs on the world’s successful global brands in the cosmetic industry. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 195, 113-122
The authors are currently working on the following project:
A Comparative Study of Entrepreneurial Opportunity Identification between Immigrant Entrepreneurs and Non-Immigrant Entrepreneurs in Europe.
Thousands of PhD theses are published every month/year in the world, and thousands and even millions of public money (usually) are invested in the research projects behind the theses, yet only a very-very-very small % of the knowledge shared in these valuable books reach you
I started Researchista because I had a dream: I wanted Researchers to be heard and the intellectual effort to be valued. So, I made a board game out of my PhD thesis in hope to inspire other Researchers to connect to the wider audience in a different way.
Budgets on Research communication are usually scarce or most of the times non-existent, simply because after a research study was carried out, the results are used for a certain purpose by policy makers or other parties involved, often forgetting that the general public like you and me can benefit of it greatly also.
I made a game out of my PhD thesis and I hope one day it will reach you as well, online or by paper.
This is not just a game, this is a cause.
Join Researchista’s cause!
Have a look at the game, share the word, like our page, find us on Instagram.
I will probably repeat this many times, but one of the challenges at Researchista is to keep my excitement down. Since I started this blog and our Facebook page, I met so many interesting people and the things we discuss are sometimes simply mind-blowing (bam) and this is one of these cases… So, from the left to the right we have 1 half musician/Researcher, 1 composer and 1 half Researcher/musician-amateur, who… how should I put it… joined their forces to create music out of the sounds that human body makes. Wait, what? I will stop here and let you discover this on your own…
They created “Microsonic” – an interdisciplinary project based music and on microbial communication, or shortly: music & microbes, how original is that! 😀
The story behind: Both artists and scientists seek to understand aspects of the complex world around us. Despite this common ground, artists and scientists are too often separate in their endeavors. The Academy Honours Programme for Young Artists and Scientists (Netherlands) promotes cross-disciplinary approaches and interactions. The idea is to bridge this gap by bringing together ten artists and ten scientists of diverse backgrounds where they can discuss themes, amongst which: the role of art and science in society.
It was here at this workshop back in 2015 where the three of us met. It was already late, we changed the décor in the meanwhile to a pub, when we got involved into a discussion about communication, its musical aspects and how microbial organisms (e.g. bacterias) are communicating.
The beautiful thing about music is that it is an ultimate abstract art form that is not tied to specific images that connect easily with other disciplines from arts and science. And so, the idea to collaborate on a musical project inspired by microbial communication (aka microbes and bacterias) came into being.
Research about microbial communication via sound signals has only received limited attention due to its technical challenges. Even though electronic devices capable of detecting sounds on microscopic length scales get more advanced every day, the technique is still in its infancy. It is already possible to hear the sound of a large group of microbes – which sounds like white noise – but the devices still need to be developed further to be able to hear the sound of single isolated microbes.Because little is known about this form of communication, Lucas saw a role for himself to play as a composer. Since the communication is inaudible for us human beings, Lucas started to explore how a musical composition out of how this microbial world could possibly sound.
The Opinion article “When microbial conversations get physical”, Gemma Reguera discusses various forms of microbial communication, which formed the basis for the composition. It appears that the microbial microcosm is a rich sound world on its own.Reguera states that “every particle in a cell has a unique natural frequency of vibration and therefore produces a distinctive sound, very much like voice tonality and pitch in humans”.
Sound waves are generated when objects vibrate. Experiments with yeast cells not only demonstrate that intracellular motions were sufficiently strong enough to propagate across the stiff cell wall, but that they could also generate reproducible acoustic signals.
For our project Microsonic, Lucas composed a soft musical piece, as to give the audience the feeling of a hidden sound world. The public is invited to join on a sound journey into the human body. The microbial world slowly fades into their world. A tape with real sounds stemming from the human body is added to the composition to give the translated communication of microbes a real context. The sound journey starts off with a kind of white noise – unclear, almost inaudible and a bit scratchy – and you start wondering what it is. It is the sound of blood streaming through a vein.Then the zooming starts: more and more internal body sounds are heard, including the creaking of human nerves. But also, by further zooming in you will hear the sound produced by millions and millions of microbes. There the musicians come into the picture. The playing instruments symbolize the several sound signals that microbes use to communicate. Slowly, you get introduced into their microscopic world.
More and more pitched signals become distinguished, first only short ones, but as we zoom further, we hear longer ones as well. The microbial sound world becomes richer and richer; higher and lower pitches occur and the dynamic contrasts intensify. When listening carefully, you will hear that microbes make connections and communicate by taking over each other’s signals. So does the musicians – based on live improvisation. It is at this moment that you as human being can get a glimpse of the communication of microbes and maybe even feel part of their conversation. The composed journey ends with a collective ‘vibrational mode’, when a certain group of microbe cells are ‘in tune’.
The challenge for our composer Lucas was that he was used to thinking in terms of melodies and chords. However, microbial communication via sound signals is not a musical process – still produduces patterns and sounds. As a result, he had to change his approach to composing and relinquish control.Instead, he created a number of frameworks in which the musicians had freedom of movement and become part of the creation process. The subject of communication lends itself very well to this way of making music. The musicians improvise while listening and reacting to each other; they have to communicate to let it work.
Our project is an example of how arts and science that both have the urge to understand and express the complex external world can reinforce each other. This demands certain effort, yes, but is even more rewarding. So had our composer Lucas to let go of his usual approach towards composing. And it is exactly this that makes interdisciplinary collaboration extremely interesting – since it questions the usual approach and way of working. But there is more, interdisciplinary collaboration can support inspiration in each other’s work and reinforce the expression of the complex mechanism in our (microbial) world towards a public. All we can say, go out, open your eyes, take the risk to look outside your usual box”.
“The occult beauty of the finite is about that realisation that what is dear to us is also fleeting, and the beauty that lies in such transience. I was inspired to write this piece by the illness and passing away of my mother. As her health worsened, I became increasingly aware of the small pockets of beauty in our lives. Living under the illusion that everything lasts forever, these are easy to miss. But as one faces the loss of something precious, the world is brought into sharper focus”.
This is the Research on MUSIC month and I have a great pleasure to invite Eva van Ooij, a freelance musician and researcher at Maastricht University, to tell us about her discoveries in music and law. It is more than fun than it sounds! 😉 Here she is playing her cielo
Music is everywhere. We cannot escape form it. We hear it when we switch on the radio, go to a concert or watch a movie, but also when we do our groceries or are on the phone, while being forwarded to another phone. Music is and has been around always. And so are the musicians.
Musicians travel while reaching their public, playing on a special occasion or place… This has been the case since many centuries and worked well. For example, London in the 18thCentury was a magnet for music lovers and music producers. In the opera and theatre houses many foreign musicians composed and played, while bringing their own knowledge and way of interpretation…. The same is true for Vienna, Paris, New York…. They just did it. Without any Schengen Agreement or European right to free movement of persons. Huh? Where does that pop-up from?
Well, music and EU law have both my interests and belong to my profession. When meeting new people, it is not unusual to have a puzzling face in front of me when I say that I am a musician and researcher in EU law. Often the statement that these two disciplines are not related and have a very different approach of work follows quite soon afterwards.
There is some truth in that – at the same time not. Music is everywhere, and so is law too.My research is about the fundamental right of free movement of persons and the pattern of work of very mobile EU citizens – such as many musicians – and how this affects the social security position of this mobile worker. Tensions between laws occur in this more irregular way of working, which results often in unclear situations and an administrative hassle for the person concerned.
In this post, however, I would like to highlight another cross-over between the musical and legal world, but to do that, we need to go back in the time. Take Italy in the 17th century. This was divided among Spanish domination and governance by the pope and many small free cities in the North. The lack of political unity in Northern Italy made that there was no central organised high court of justice, neither a lawgiver who developed national law.
All rules were local or provincial subjected to the power-game of local notables, which made the legislation occasional and changeable. Still, exchange and trade went on and it where the law professors who helped out in case of misunderstandings or disputes. These learned and wise men kept this mediating and powerful position for quite a long time: till the end of the ancient regime in 1789. It was at this time that the first universities in Europe where created in Italy, which attired persons from well-off sections of the population to study Roman law in Italy.This is still noticeable today and the influence of the Roman law applied by the law professors can be traced back in the law systems of many other countries in and outside Europe.
In the same period, there were flourishing days for the arts and music in Italy. Several rulers, cities and leading families in the North were competing for prestige by the way of supporting music and the arts.This stimulated not only the occurrence of new music genres such as the opera, but also created the first classical music education system and the development of craftsmanship in high quality musical instruments – think about the ateliers of Stradivari or Amati. This made Italy having a dominant influence on the European music scenes lasting till even the mid-eighteenth century. And as everyone knows, Stradivari string instruments are still the most desired instruments of today.
Today, we know quite sophisticated legal systems that provide us the playing rules of our societies. Some rights are the same (think about universal human rights); others may differ more or differ less. A clear example here is the gay-marriage, which is totally legally here in the Netherlands, but still unthinkable in societies like, for example, Poland or Bulgaria. Different choices have been made within these societies. We may think that is caused due to a different approach to matters, to a different culture. Or maybe not?
In his book Judges, Legislators and Professors Van Caenegem opposes exactly this more traditional view that legal history is shaped by and is a part of cultural history. He proposes an interesting and bold perspective, namely: the form of the legal system with all its duties and rights, regulations and decisions is created by the political development within the various European nations.He shifts the idea that culture is at the core of how our societal structure is shaped.
But, what then about the purest expression form of our culture: the arts and music? Could we then also say that political history can be held responsible for the development of these? When having a closer look at for example the musical developments in the baroque and classical music, we can actually come to a similar conclusion. Observing both the legal and musical developments in Italy, we can say that for a long period of time, the Italian developments where progressive for their time and have been of significant influence in Europe. And indeed, it was the way of political organisation that made these developments flourishing within the domain of the arts and legal organisation. Of course, developments are not black and white. However, reflecting on the maybe bold statement of Van Caenegem and comparing this to the music historical development in the baroque/classical era, it shows us that political organisation had an enormous impact on the development of the legal order and cultural life for a long-time and with a wide geographic reach. A good reminder I would say, since it shows us how important political organization is.
At the time of writing of this blog it is a very topical issue. Just observe the strong reoccurrence of nationalism, terrorism and other developments, such as the upcoming Brexit, an American president that is first and foremost interested in itself and not to mention the recruitment of the Turkish minister of Dutch/German/Austrian/…..–Turkish nationals for the upcoming referendum in Turkey…. I have to admit that politics are not my domain as researcher. Yet research, particular in law and culture is built on the values of enlightenment. To defend an open, rational and democratic society is not a choice as a researcher, but a duty in itself.
Have you ever watched people walking in and out of a train station or through a metro underground? Have you ever wondered what was on their minds? For example, what did they eat or what did they do that day? In this post, we will learn about a Research method that everybody knows about and uses, called the “observation“. There are more types of observations used in Research, but the one that is easiest to do is simply to observeand record the behaviour of yourself or those around you.
Since this is Research on HEALTH month, let’s talk about how you can use observation to improve your health. This post is inspired by a life story of a Researcher that had a bike accident on a early rainy morning. She got a head concussion and for weeks she could not do much. So, she used observation to go through her pain and social isolation. Here is what she says….
Observation can be so refreshing.
I was laying in bed for days and nights, without being able to look on the computer screen or telephone much, without watching a movie or reading a book. All I could do was staring at the ceiling and counting the wrinkles it had and different shapes it could draw through its little lines and bubbles.
In time, I was allowed to listen to audio books and then to meditate and then slowly I came back to my senses, but the process itself was long and meticulous.
So, out of boredom I started to observe. I am a Researcher afterall. If I could not do any work, I could at least train my ‘detective muscle’ that is needed if you want to be reflective and smart 🙂
I observed the reaction of my friends and family, the way they reacted to my situation, the perception they have about me, the delayed reactions, the laughter, the physical support. It was so sweet to see them so concerned and as a result trying to pamper me all the time. I observed how compassionate were the people I knew and how I was reacting to their compassion, how I was reacting to the light, how the weather was changing, what shapes the sun was making in the ceiling, what positions were bad for my head, what was making me feel good. Although, at first sight very childish maybe exercises, it helped make a dialogue with myself and see how I recovered day by day.
I ended up observing myself. How was I responding to pain? What was making me feel good again? How much was I complaining?
Observation helped me to feel stronger and more refreshed with the image I had towards the others, the image others had towards me and the image I had towards what was surrounding me.
p.s. Some deadlines for you to respect if you or your friend has a head concussion, but please always consult a doctor, I am not a doctor.
It is a myth that if you did not vomit or fainted at the place of the accident, you do not have a head concussion. It might be the case, but most probably if you hit your head is really not a good idea to stay STANDING.
In the first 24 hours it is important to have someone next to you that can check on you during the night or take you to the emergency if necessary.
In the first 2 weeks it is very important to have a good continous rest and if possible, not go to work, otherwise you will regret it for the next 6 month.
Same for the first month, for as long as possible rest.
In the next 6 month, your head will not be the same, it needs time to recover…
Did you like this story? Are you motivated now to observe more the things and people around you?
… and so I went to the Brightland Campus in Heerlen. You will hear more about it in the international news, just give it some time. It was my second visit at one of it’s centers, BISS Institute and I already fell in love with it. It reminds me about the Dutch Central Statistics Bureau: innovative, large spaces, new style of organizational management. In one of the offices I met Danny, who’s startup name, in my view, is brilliant: “Rementis“, helps people facing ‘remembering’ problems – dementia. Speaking of which, do you remember when we agreed that Research is not only used and done at the university and only by scientists, but also in business? 😉 Here is how Rementis uses Research to advance in their work and explain to people that struggle with dementia. This is Research on HEALTH month on Researchista.
Hi, my name is Danny Pouwels, 27y. I work for the last 6 years with people who suffer from dementia and see a lot of struggles. So, in jan. 2016 I quit my job to help the people who suffer from dementia.
Dementia is becoming one of the most intrusive diseases that crucially diminish the quality of life of those who suffer from it and the people around them. Seeing the struggles that dementia causes and the future developments of our population, it is important to tackle individual & demographic problems by cost-efficiently and effectively supporting the lives of people that suffer from dementia.
Alzheimer Europe estimates the number of people with dementia in the Netherlands in 2012 as being 245,560. This represents 1.47% of the total population of 16,714,228. The number of people with dementia as a percentage of the population is somewhat lower than the EU average of 1.55%. The following table shows the estimated number of people with dementia between 30 and 59 and for every 5-year age group thereafter.
The biggest struggle they face at home is losing their ability to maintain a structured daily routine, or in other words being unable to face daily life independently. In almost all cases, enabling dementia patients to stay at home requires external help from (professional) caregivers.
As the condition of the patient declines, the caregivers (i.e. the people around them) become increasingly overwhelmed with tasks and soon face the issue of investing the majority of their persona time in giving care. This is an issue known to cause a series of mental problems. By enabling the dementia patient to continue to live independently, we reduce the time that caregivers are required to invest in order to take care of them. Consequently, the time and costs that are saved can be reallocated to individual or collective activities outside of the caregiving aspect.
We are Rementis and we want to remind people. Not only about the small things in life but also about the fact that, with the right help, an independent life is possible even when things look bad. We offer an in-house solution that supports them in independently completing those day-to-day tasks by sending constant reminders about what, when and how to do something. Moreover, to counteract the cognitive decline of the user we stimulate the cognitive, physical and social activity through various features.
A multifunctional display that serves as a smart-reminder, supporting the daily life of the user through various features that are offered on the Rementis platform. All features are based on either one of the aspects that stimulate the user on cognitive, physical or social level.
This is Research on HEALTH month on Researchista. It is when Researchers from different medical fields bring their best knowledge and expertise in few words to explain their Research findings and to hopefully help you overcome certain health questions or problems you might have. Please say hi to Sebastian!
I studied Medicine at the Maastricht University (2010-2016) and became a member of Taskforce QRS (CPR instructor) in 2012. My first cardiopulmonary resuscitation was on a ward in a small town in Germany, where I was at the time following an internship. At that moment, I was a CPR instructor for nearly 3 years and I thought I knew all the steps perfectly. But nothing could prepare me for the real thing….. ☺
So, what to do when someone has a heart attack? First, let’s distinguish some key concepts:
A “cardiac arrest”, not to be confused with a “heart attack” is when the heart stops beating (Figure 1). A heart attack may lead to a cardiac arrest.
If a cardiac arrest occurs, blood will stop circulating around the body and breathing will likewise cease within several minutes. Without a supply of oxygen, the cells in the body start to die. Especially brain cells are highly sensitive for low blood oxygen concentrations, after about five minutes of no oxygen brain cells will begin dying leading to brain damage and death.
Other key conceptual differences regarding symptoms:
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, commonly known as CPR is one of the key elements of first aid. The purpose of CPR is by chest compression to keep oxygenated blood flowing through the body in order to keep the vital organs alive.
It is important to know that CPR itself will not restart someone’s heart, it just keeps them alive until a defibrillator (Figure 3) arrives. This is a device which delivers an electrical shock to the heart in order to restart it. These defibrillators are, aside from hospitals, commonly found in sports parks, shopping malls, schools and near to crowded areas. Access is restricted to authorized users, from ambulance workers, (para-) medics to civilians trained in CPR (with a so called BLS = Basic Life Support certification).
The survival in the Netherlands is on average 23%, one of the highest in Europe. If there is a shockable rhythm start, the survival rate can be as high as 44%.
For those living in Maastricht: QRS Taskforce Maastricht, purpose and background In order to improve the survival chances for sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) victims, Taskforce QRS Maastricht (Qualitative Resuscitation by Students), was founded in 2006 by medical students of Maastricht University3. In 2012 a new approach in CPR training, called Maastricht Quantity-orientated Resuscitation Session (M-QRS), was developed that focuses on the number of trained students per training. By comparing the new with the old approach quantitative growth could be assessed. Until now more than 12,937 secondary school students have now been trained by ERC-certified (European Resuscitation Council) CPR instructors with this efficient M-QRS approach. In comparison, a theoretical maximum of 6,469 could have been trained by means of the old approach. Sign up for CPR-training with Taskforce QRS: A civilian rescuer is a CPR trained volunteer that is contacted by 112 emergency rooms per SMS or via a special phone application to directly or after picking up an AED (automatic external defibrillator) go to the location of a victim of a cardiac arrest and to start CPR. Interested? Click on the link!
(more at: Ghossein, A., Amin, H., Sijmons, J., Olsthoorn, J., Weerts, J., Houben, V. (2014). Taskforce QRS. European Heart Journal, 35(45), 3149-3151).
The heart pumps oxygen and nutrients around the body through your blood. Waste products, e.g carbon dioxide and urea are removed through your circulation by respectively the lungs (diffusion) and the kidneys (urine filtration). In your lungs, oxygen enters your blood stream and carbon dioxide (a waste product) is removed in a process known as gas exchange (Figure 5).
All the cells in your body are dependent on oxygen, aside from nutrients to survive. This oxygen is used as energy source in the powerhouses of the cell, the mitochondria in a biochemical activity called metabolism.
…(drums) and Researchista’s first Special Guest_Professor is Professor Dr. Ronit Shiri-Sverdlov! This is Research on HEALTH month and this month we will talk about metabolism. Let’s recall from school what metabolism is about? Metabolē means “change” in Greek and is the set of chemical transformations within the cells of living organisms (that does not only include humans, but also plants and animals). Wikipedia says that this is usually divided into two categories: catabolism – the breaking down of organic matter, and anabolism – the building up of components of cells such as proteins and nucleic acids. Usually, breaking down releases energy and building up consumes energy [Break down food – create new energy = metabolism]. This post is about on side when metabolism does not work.. called Metabolic Syndrome. I hope the post below will inspire to eat fat in a smart way!
Everybody knows that consuming a healthy diet and doing physical exercise regularly are essential for keeping our health in optimal condition and our body in good shape. Although there are general guidelines that may help in defining what a healthy diet is, the term ‘healthy’ very much depends on individual needs and opinion. What is healthy can influenced by genetics, gender, age, cultural habits, nutrient availability, and socioeconomic state, amongst others. The notion that continuous malnutrition increases the risk of developing the metabolic syndrome and the associated metabolic complications is widely accepted.
Why does eating an unhealthy diet lead to detrimental effects on our organs including the liver, in some but not all individuals? Surprisingly, the effect of unhealthy diet on our body goes beyond the amount of fat. In fact, it is all about location!
Professor Dr. Ronit Shiri-Sverdlov, Maastricht University
From an evolutionary perspective, it has become clear that metabolism is a vital process, which is characterized by the efficient use of energy, as well as the ability to store excess energy for periods of food deprivation.In contrast to our ancestors, current industrialized habits are hallmarked by an excess intake of fat and sugar-enriched foods in combination with physical inactivity.This metabolic imbalance turned our former ‘survival’ state into a serious health problem, currently known as obesity, in which abnormal amounts of fat accumulates throughout the body. Nowadays, nearly one-third of the global population is overweight or obese. Lately, it has become apparent that not only adults suffer from obesity, but also children. As more and more individuals are getting obese, the metabolic syndrome is considered a major health threat.
Before taking a closer look at the liver, it is first important to understand the concept of the Metabolic Syndrome. The Metabolic Syndrome is an ‘umbrella term’ for a cluster of factors that increases the risk of developing fatty liver disease, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
It involves a complex interplay between different organs, including the fat tissue, intestines, pancreas, brains, cardiovascular system and the liver, in which lipid homeostasis is dysregulated and metabolic inflammation is taking the lead. The liver is one of the most essential organs involved in metabolism, as it does not only regulate the storage and degradation of nutrients such as fats, carbohydrates and amino acids, but it is also involved in the detoxification of harmful compounds.
What is the exact link between the liver and the Metabolic Syndrome?
When we eat too much fat, the excess fat is transported to the liver, where it will be taken up and start to accumulate. Thus, the more fat that we eat, the more fat that accumulates inside our liver cells. Accumulation of fat in the liver is common in our society: it is present in approximately 15 percent of the general population and 90 percent of the people are currently obese. This simple accumulation of fat in the liver is still reversible and, therefore, not necessarily considered harmful. This condition, however, starts to become problematic, once the unhealthy lifestyle continue for long period of time. Accumulation of fat in the liver increases the risk of developing liver inflammation. Ultimately, liver inflammatory can lead to severe, non-reversible liver damage, including liver failure and other associated complications such as cardiovascular disease. Therefore liver inflammation is considered a major health threat.
Why does continuous intake of fatty meals can cause severe complications to our body?
When our body is in a healthy condition, specific receptors on the plasma membrane of liver ensure that the fat will be taken up and further processed. Before fat can be broken down for direct energy supply or storage, it must first enter the lysosomes. These cellular acidic organelles are small vesicles inside our cells, which contain enzymes that are capable of breaking down the fat. Once the fat has been degraded into smaller lipid particles, it can leave the lysosomes and can be either stored in the cytoplasm of the cell or can return to the blood.
When the levels of fat intake are continuously high, as observed in obese people, the fat circulates longer in the blood and consequently get oxidized. We have shown that unlike non- oxidized fat, when oxidized fat is taken up by the cells, it accumulates inside the lysosomes. The accumulation of the oxidized fat inside the lysosomes is associated with the development of liver inflammation.
What did we conclude? It is not the accumulation of fat, but rather the location by which the fat accumulates, which triggers the inflammatory response in the liver. Therefore, the actual accumulation of oxidized fat in the lysosomes could be the actual trigger for the inflammatory response. These pioneering results have shed new lights on the possible underlying mechanisms which are leading to the Metabolic Syndrome and opened new venues for the treatment and prevention of the associated clinical complications.
by Professor in Hepatic Inflammation and Metabolic Health, Dr.Ronit Shiri-Sverdlov, Maastricht University UMC+ (Maastricht University Medical Centre = Academic Hospital+Maastricht University), Genetics and Cell Biology Department.
The quest into the unknown land of ‘misophonia’ continues. It is not included in any diagnostic manuals, it is not widely acknowledged by the medical community. Yet people who suffer from misophonia exist and here is what they are confronted with, in the words of Dr. Jennifer Jo Brout, the founder of International Misophonia Research Network, a New York State Certified School Psychologist, a Connecticut Professional Licensed Counselor, with a Doctorate in School/Clinical-Child Psychology, based here in the Connecticut, the United States of America.
Differentiating Disorders: Misophonia and Sensory Over-Responsivity
As all researchers know, almost comically, well, uncovering new scientific knowledge is no easy task. Whether you are engaged in investigating a well-trod topic, or, like me, you are forging relatively new territory, there are often not simple solutions to the complex problems we encounter. Perhaps you have recently read about the disorder I study and advocate for, misophonia, on this blog. Misophonia is a neurologically based disorder in which auditory, and sometimes visual, stimuli are misinterpreted within the central nervous system, leading sufferers to have unpleasant reactions to sounds others would consider barely noticeable.
When misophonia sufferers are exposed to particular “trigger sounds,” the fight/flight response is set off within the body. For these individuals, hearing a noxious noise can feel akin to being confronted with a wild animal, as their hearts race and muscles tense.
Because misophonia (does not appear in diagnostic manuals, such as DSM-5 or ICD-10) is only recently gaining wider recognition in the public and scientific communities, studying this disorder presents a unique set of challenges.
Though there is a scant amount of research on misophonia at this point, fortunately, there is a large body of research that has been developed over the past 15 years on a similar disorder, Sensory Over-Responsivity (a subtype of Sensory Processing Disorder). Individuals suffering from Sensory Over-Responsivity react to all types of sensory information as thought it were dangerous, and their fight/flight systems can be activated by seemingly inoffensive sights, smells, tastes, touches, or sounds. In both, misophonia and Sensory Over-Responsivity, certain sounds can leave sufferers feeling angry, fearful, disgusted, and “out of control.”
Though it may seem natural that the research on Sensory Over-Responsivity be used to inform our understanding of misophonia, this has, largely, not taken place. We may ask ourselves, why are these two highly similar disorders rarely compared in misophonia academic articles, or articles in the popular press?My answer to this question is an unfortunate one: for the most part, researchers are not used to working within a cross-disciplinary model.
While psychology researchers, audiology researchers, and occupational therapy researchers may be competent and successful within their own fields, they are often not accustomed to reaching beyond them to integrate other types of research into their own work. There is a long pragmatic and political history behind the lack of cross-disciplinary research work that is not necessarily the fault of academic researchers or clinicians. However, in the “age of information” that we are living in, sharing valuable knowledge between researchers from different disciplines should now be as quick and easy as doing a google search, and as common. As it is, this lack of information sharing trickles down to the public, and often leads Misophonia and Sensory Over-Responsivity sufferers to find inaccurate information about their own conditions.
Unfortunately, another important problem facing both misophonia and Sensory Over-Responsivity is that neither disorder has been accepted into the diagnostic manuals(DSM-5 or the ICD-10). It is difficult to understand the logic behind this fact, as studies have estimated that up to 20% of children are affected by sensory-based disorders. Likewise, tens of thousands of people have gathered on social media platforms to form support groups for misophonia, helping one another fill the gaps left by a large portion of the mental health community. There is a long political history involving how a disorder gains entry into diagnostic manuals, and though the National Institute of Health has taken steps recently to try to change this process, this change comes long after the damage has been done. Therefore, what we are left with is two disorders that “don’t exist,” that are not reimbursable by insurance, and for which research funding is extraordinarily difficult to come by.
Sensory Over- Responsivity and Misophonia share more than symptoms. They share neglect from the medical and psychiatric communities, which has resulted in the dissemination of more than enough inaccurate and confusing information to do damage to sufferers lives. My hope is that going forward, receptive practitioners and researchers from all facets of the healthcare community can work cooperatively to study and treat these disorders, discovering important knowledge and improving sufferers’ quality of life.
This post is written by Dr. Jennifer Jo Brout (who is also the mother of adult triplets, and is a Misophonia sufferer herself) and Miss Madeline Appelbaum, a recent alumna of Reed College (Oregon, USA), with a particular interest in educational psychology. Madeline wrote an undergraduate thesis on the effects of autonomous and controlled motivation to learn on college students.