Additives commonly used in processed foods to improve texture and extend shelf life may promote anxiety-related behaviours and make one less social, a study in mice has found. The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, also showed sex differences in the mice’s behavioral patterns, suggesting that emulsifiers affect the brain via distinct mechanisms in males and females. Though the researchers from Georgia State University in the US could not pinpoint the exact mechanism by which emulsifiers contribute to behavioral changes, they said inflammation triggers local immune cells to produce signalling molecules that can affect tissues in other places, including the brain. Also Read – Add new books to your shelf”The gut also contains branches of the vagus nerve, which forms a direct information pathway to the brain,” said Geert de Vries, a professor at Georgia State, who led the study. Previous research by the same team has shown that emulsifiers can cause low-grade intestinal inflammation by altering the composition of gut microbiota, a diverse population of trillions of microorganisms that are vital to health. Their research has linked emulsifier consumption to obesity, metabolic syndrome and inflammatory bowel diseases such as colitis, conditions whose incidence has significantly increased since the mid-20th century. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveIn the same period there has also been an increased incidence of behavioral disorders such as autism, leading scientists to theorise that brain function may be affected by environmental exposure to modern chemical substances as well. The researchers added one of two commonly used emulsifiers, polysorbate 80 and carboxymethylcellulose, to the drinking water of male and female mice. After 12 weeks, they observed that treatment with emulsifiers altered the gut microbiota of males and females in different ways. They then conducted tests to assess the effects of the emulsifiers on behaviour. The researchers found that emulsifiers altered anxiety-like behaviour in male mice and reduced social behaviour in female mice. “We are currently investigating the mechanisms by which dietary emulsifiers are impacting the intestinal microbiota as well as the human relevance of those findings,” said Benoit Chassaing, an assistant professor at Georgia State. As to what’s driving the differences between male and female behaviour, de Vries said there may be several factors. For example, there are known sex differences in the immune system, which help govern the composition of bacteria in the gut, and in the way the digestive system processes food. As a result, “adding emulsifiers to the diet will have different consequences for the microbiota of males and females,” de Vries said. “Our data suggest that these sex-specific changes to the microbiota could contribute to the sex differences in behaviour,” he said. The study adds to evidence that food additives should be evaluated for their effect on the microbiome, which is tied up in many aspects of human health.
Fig. 4 Pulse wave signal described in the text. Credit: Kansai University Yoshiro Tajitsu of Kansai University, Osaka, Japan, and Teijin Limited, Japan, have developed innovative wearable piezoelectric PLLA braided cord sensors. This technology can be used as wearable sensors in the fields of fashion, sports apparel, interior design, and healthcare, areas for which conventional wearable sensing devices cannot be used. More information: Y. Tajitsu, “Catheters for thrombosis sample in blood vessels using piezoeletric polymer fibres”, Biomedical applications of electroactive polymer actuators, Chap. 21, Editors: Federico Carpi (University of Pisa, Italy) and Elisabeth Smela (University of Maryland, USA) , Wiley book (2009)Y. Tajitsu, “Industrial applications of Poly(lactic acid)”, Advances in Polymer Science, Springer. (2017) Y. Tajitsu, “Piezoelectric Poly-L-lactic Acid Fabric and its Application to Control of Humanoid Robot”, Y. Tajitsu, Ferroelectric, 515, 1 (2017).Y. Tajitsu, IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation, in press “Our research is aimed at developing functional apparel, sometimes referred to as ‘e-textiles,”” says Tajitsu. “We believe that wearable human-machine devices will enable people to interface with external devices naturally, without being limited or hindered by having to perform complicated movements, such as focusing on a display panel to rely instructions. Also, ‘e-textiles’ must be comfortable and fashionable for wide spread acceptance. These ideas led to the development of our wearable sensors shaped like traditional Japanese braided cord or Kumihimo used in Kimono.”Applications of piezoelectric PLLA braided cordsProfessor Tajitsu and colleagues weaved three types of traditional Japanese decorative knots (Kame, Kicchyo, and Awaji) used as part of traditional Kimono’s worn by women (Fig.2) with PLLA braided cords. “We analyzed the magnitude of electrical signals that we could expect for each of these three knots,” explains Tajitsu. “Our finite element calculation showed that he largest signal would be produced by the Kame and Kicchyo knots, and that the response from the Awaji know would be very small. So we use the Kame and Kicchyo knots for potential applications.” One of the unique wearable applications is for Japanese Kimono’s (Fig.2), for example to trigger a smart phone to take a selfie. “We are working with fashion designers in France and Italy of the design of clothes made with our PLLA braided cords,” says Tajistu. “We are looking into possibilities for traditional Japanese clothing like women’s Kimono with partners in Japan.” The piezoelectric PLLA braided cord can be used as wearable sensors, mainly in the fields of fashion, sports apparel, interior design, and healthcare, by utilizing its fashionability and wearability, which cannot be achieved using conventional wearable sensing devices (Fig.3). Provided by Kansai University Fig.2. Taking a selfie with ‘e-textiles’: Traditional Japanese Kimono. Credit: Kansai University Citation: Wearable polymer piezoelectric sensors for fashionable clothing (2018, March 19) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-wearable-polymer-piezoelectric-sensors-fashionable.html Biodegradable sensor monitors pressure in the body then disappears Fig. 1 Piezoelectric PLLA braided cord sensor. Credit: Kansai University Explore further Fig.3. Fashionable sensors fabricated using piezoelectric PLLA braided cord. Credit: Kansai University Healthcare and monitoring the motion of people are other potential applications of the PLLA braided cords. For example, Tajistu and coworkers have fabricated decorative necklaces with Kame and Kicchyo knots, which were successfully used to monitor the pulse rate due to pressure sensing of the carotid arteries on each side of the neck. Notably, the pulse signal was not affected by movements of the head or other parts of the body (Fig.4). “The subject does not feel any discomfort with the necklace, so it is a very useful portable device for monitoring healthcare,” says Tajitsu. “In our experiments we transmitted the signals to smartphones by Wi-Fi. We have also made laces for shoes to monitor motion. So this is a fashionable and very powerful technology for wide ranging applications.” Touch panel displays are ubiquitous. It is difficult to imagine using smartphones, personal computers, digital watches, and other modern electronic devices without this form of human-device interface. However, despite the proliferation of touch panel devices there is increasing research on the next generation of ‘man-machine’ devices, which could be worn like clothes, so called wearable sensors.”Now, in an innovative approach, Yoshiro Tajitsu of Kansai University, Osaka, Japan, and Teijin Limited, Japan, have developed the world’s first wearable piezoelectric fabrics consisting of a conducting carbon fiber yarn core; piezoelectric polyctric poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA) fiber yarn and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) middle sheath; and conducting carbon fiber outer shield (Fig.1).The piezoelectric PLLA braided cords produce electrical signals in response to almost any type of three-dimensional motion, including bending and twisting. Importantly, these coaxial cable type fabrics are woven into piezoelectric braided cords for electromagnetic shielding and high sensitivity, so they will not respond to environmental noise from cells phones and other such electromagnetic interference. 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