Rusted Lab's blog posts tagged with 'brighton'

The Ageing and Dementia Group take Eyes, Genes and Brains to Brighton Science Festival

Feb

13

 

This weekend a group of academics from the Ageing and Dementia Group, School of Psychology at Sussex University will be getting involved at the Bright Sparks weekend as part of Brighton’s Science Festival. The group will present a stall focusing on the relationship between our genes and our mental abilities and how we can measure this using very simple physiological responses.

 

Interactive demonstrations will be available. The relationship between cognitive effort and pupil size will be elegantly demonstrated using eye-tracking software, with volunteers able to directly observe the relationship between effort on an attention measure and fluctuations in pupil size. Parents take on kids in the Rapid Visual Processing task challenge, a measure of how well we can sustain our attention across time. Through this, the group will demonstrate how our cognitive abilities change with age.

 

Additionally, the stall will feature arts and crafts for children, including origami DNA, inflatable double helixes and even the opportunity to create a hat that puts a brain on the outside of your skull. Hats come in adult sizes too.

 

We hope you all come along and bring the family to what we are sure will be a great weekend. The event will run from 10am til 5pm on both Saturday and Sunday, at Hove Park Upper School.

 

For more details visit the website: http://www.brightonscience.com/bright-sparks-weekend/

Bright Sparks Weekend 2015

Feb

25

On February 14th and 15th, the Ageing and Dementia Group took their knowledge and favourite experimental tasks to Hove Park Upper School for the Bright Sparks Weekend. The Bright Sparks weekend included a variety of University groups and societies from around the South East of the country, and we were excited to be a part of this exciting event.

The Brighton Science Festival has been growing in popularity across the last few years, and we feel this weekend really demonstrated what a huge success this event has become. The weekend was busy, full of enthusiastic children and even more enthusiastic parents, and a constant flow of visitors kept the presenters at the event constantly on their feet.

Our Stall, the Genes, Eyes and Brains stand, centred upon two interactive tasks.

Sam Hutton demonstrated the latest eye-tracking technology in a display of the direct relationship between cognitive effort and pupil size. Volunteers were able to watch their pupil size change in real-time in response to an attention task of varying difficulty, providing neat, memorable evidence for how our cognition directly relates to our physiological responses.

Visitors to the event also had the opportunity to participate in a classic measure of sustained attention, the rapid visual processing task. Children were asked to battle it out with their parents for a place at the top of the leaderboard. The research group was hoping performance on this task across the different age groups would provide a neat demonstration of attention declining with increasing age. However, across the weekend we saw the parents massively triumph over the youngsters, contrary to expectations. We suspect this may be due to an overload of sherbet and an exciting, noisy environment on the kids’ part.

The selection of crafty activities available on the stall was also a hit, with many children to be spotted around the event sporting homemade brain caps. Hopefully some knowledge was also taken away from the event, with the children being encouraged to understand the principles of genetic inheritance through simple origami, posters and quiz sheets. More importantly, hopefully an enthusiasm for science was generated by the event, and both children and parents will be encouraged to think of scientific research as something important and exciting.

Finally, we would like to thank everybody for the wonderful feedback we received. The weekend had a great atmosphere and the group looks forward to getting involved with similar activities in the future.

 Please see our new lab blog for pictures of the event: http://blogs.sussex.ac.uk/jrustedlab/

 

HCV Treatment in HIV HCV co infection population

Apr

14

Research in the Rusted Lab includes a study of the potential adverse side effects of hepatitis C treatment in HIV-positive individuals with a concurrent Hepatitis C infection – this is a condition that affects 40% of HIV patients. In these patients, the treatment of the Hepatitis C infection has been associated with depressive symptoms and cognitive impairments both of which negatively impact the quality of life of the patients.

The current standard of care for hepatitis C involves a combination of drugs (interferon and ribavirin) however; the treatment options have changed with the development of new therapies using interferon, ribavirin plus a new drug that have improved HCV cure rates. It is well known that depression is the most prevalent side effect of interferon and ribavirin treatment but little is known about the adverse events in the new treatment.

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Renata Fialho a second year PhD student and member of the Rusted Lab is looking at the adverse effects during hepatitis C treatment with classic and new treatment in HIV/HCV patients. According with preliminary results fifty participants were included in the study. We looked at differences on depression between hepatitis C treatments and there was a significant increase in depression in both types of treatments. These results suggest that the prevalence of depression is high still and more research is needed in order to clarify what type of depression and cognitive symptoms are associated with hepatitis C treatment.

For more information on the research being ran by the lab group, see our website

For the official lab blog, click here