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Concept: Human body


Stories of g-tummo meditators mysteriously able to dry wet sheets wrapped around their naked bodies during a frigid Himalayan ceremony have intrigued scholars and laypersons alike for a century. Study 1 was conducted in remote monasteries of eastern Tibet with expert meditators performing g-tummo practices while their axillary temperature and electroencephalographic (EEG) activity were measured. Study 2 was conducted with Western participants (a non-meditator control group) instructed to use the somatic component of the g-tummo practice (vase breathing) without utilization of meditative visualization. Reliable increases in axillary temperature from normal to slight or moderate fever zone (up to 38.3°C) were observed among meditators only during the Forceful Breath type of g-tummo meditation accompanied by increases in alpha, beta, and gamma power. The magnitude of the temperature increases significantly correlated with the increases in alpha power during Forceful Breath meditation. The findings indicate that there are two factors affecting temperature increase. The first is the somatic component which causes thermogenesis, while the second is the neurocognitive component (meditative visualization) that aids in sustaining temperature increases for longer periods. Without meditative visualization, both meditators and non-meditators were capable of using the Forceful Breath vase breathing only for a limited time, resulting in limited temperature increases in the range of normal body temperature. Overall, the results suggest that specific aspects of the g-tummo technique might help non-meditators learn how to regulate their body temperature, which has implications for improving health and regulating cognitive performance.

Concepts: Temperature, Electroencephalography, Human body, Meditation, Spirituality, Binaural beats, Anapanasati


Female mosquitoes display preferences for certain individuals over others, which is determined by differences in volatile chemicals produced by the human body and detected by mosquitoes. Body odour can be controlled genetically but the existence of a genetic basis for differential attraction to insects has never been formally demonstrated. This study investigated heritability of attractiveness to mosquitoes by evaluating the response of Aedes aegypti (=Stegomyia aegypti) mosquitoes to odours from the hands of identical and non-identical twins in a dual-choice assay. Volatiles from individuals in an identical twin pair showed a high correlation in attractiveness to mosquitoes, while non-identical twin pairs showed a significantly lower correlation. Overall, there was a strong narrow-sense heritability of 0.62 (SE 0.124) for relative attraction and 0.67 (0.354) for flight activity based on the average of ten measurements. The results demonstrate an underlying genetic component detectable by mosquitoes through olfaction. Understanding the genetic basis for attractiveness could create a more informed approach to repellent development.

Concepts: Genetics, Mosquito, Human body, Twin, Aedes aegypti, Aedes, Odor, Body odor


What is it like to be invisible? This question has long fascinated man and has been the central theme of many classic literary works. Recent advances in materials science suggest that invisibility cloaking of the human body may be possible in the not-so-distant future. However, it remains unknown how invisibility affects body perception and embodied cognition. To address these questions, we developed a perceptual illusion of having an entire invisible body. Through a series of experiments, we characterized the multisensory rules that govern the elicitation of the illusion and show that the experience of having an invisible body reduces the social anxiety response to standing in front of an audience. This study provides an experimental model of what it is like to be invisible and shows that this experience affects bodily self-perception and social cognition.

Concepts: Psychology, Cognition, Perception, Sense, Mind, Human body, Concept, Illusion


Human-associated microbial communities vary across individuals: possible contributing factors include (genetic) relatedness, diet, and age. However, our surroundings, including individuals with whom we interact, also likely shape our microbial communities. To quantify this microbial exchange, we surveyed fecal, oral, and skin microbiota from 60 families (spousal units with children, dogs, both, or neither). Household members, particularly couples, shared more of their microbiota than individuals from different households, with stronger effects of co-habitation on skin than oral or fecal microbiota. Dog ownership significantly increased the shared skin microbiota in cohabiting adults, and dog-owning adults shared more ‘skin’ microbiota with their own dogs than with other dogs. Although the degree to which these shared microbes have a true niche on the human body, vs transient detection after direct contact, is unknown, these results suggest that direct and frequent contact with our cohabitants may significantly shape the composition of our microbial communities. DOI:

Concepts: Family, Archaea, Bacteria, Microbiology, Human body, Household, Cohabitation, Common-law marriage


The preparation and consumption of bone broth is being increasingly recommended to patients, for example as part of the gut and psychology syndrome (GAPS) diet for autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, dyslexia, dyspraxia, depression and schizophrenia, and as part of the paleolithic diet. However, bones are known to sequester the heavy metal lead, contamination with which is widespread throughout the modern environment. Such sequestered lead can then be mobilised from the bones. We therefore hypothesised that bone broth might carry a risk of being contaminated with lead. A small, blinded, controlled study of lead concentrations in three different types of organic chicken broth showed that such broths do indeed contain several times the lead concentration of the water with which the broth is made. In particular, broth made from skin and cartilage taken off the bone once the chicken had been cooked with the bones in situ, and chicken-bone broth, were both found to have markedly high lead concentrations, of 9.5 and 7.01μgL(-1), respectively (compared with a control value for tap water treated in the same way of 0.89μgL(-1)). In view of the dangers of lead consumption to the human body, we recommend that doctors and nutritionists take the risk of lead contamination into consideration when advising patients about bone broth diets.

Concepts: Bone, Educational psychology, Human body, Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, Hyperactivity, Heavy metal music, Heavy metal, Broth


Body hair shafts from the beard, trunk, and extremities can be used to treat baldness when patients have inadequate amounts of scalp donor hair, but reports in the literature concerning use of body hair to treat baldness are confined to case reports.

Concepts: Human body, Hair, Hair transplantation, Scalp, Facial hair, Follicular unit transplantation, Follicular Unit Extraction, Beard


Disambiguation refers to the ability to interpret ambiguous information in a sensible way, which is important in an ever-changing external environment. Disambiguation occurs when prior knowledge is given before an ambiguous stimulus is presented. For example, labeling a series of meaningless blobs as a “human body” can change the observer’s perception. The aim of this experiment was to study the neural circuitry underlying disambiguation caused by prior knowledge. We presented to participants a series of meaningless blobs with different contextual information. As participants performed this task, we used magnetoencephalography to map the brain areas that were activated when participants perceived blobs as a human body. The participants were presented identical sets of blob stimuli, and were instructed that a human body would appear more frequently in the “high body” condition than in the “low body” condition. We found the blob stimuli were more frequently perceived as the human body when they were presented in the “high body” condition. Such contextual modulation correlated with activity in the extrastriate body area (EBA) and the inferior frontal gyrus (IFG). Furthermore, we observed that IFG activation preceded EBA activation. These findings suggest that top-down processing in the IFG plays a role in disambiguating ambiguous information and modifying an individual’s perceptions.

Concepts: Psychology, Cognition, Perception, Sense, Mind, Human body, Inferior frontal gyrus, The Blob


Background Current inertial motion capture systems are rarely used in biomedical applications. The attachment and connection of the sensors with cables is often a complex and time consuming task. Moreover, it is prone to errors, because each sensor has to be attached to a predefined body segment. By using wireless inertial sensors and automatic identification of their positions on the human body, the complexity of the set-up can be reduced and incorrect attachments are avoided.We present a novel method for the automatic identification of inertial sensors on human body segments during walking. This method allows the user to place (wireless) inertial sensors on arbitrary body segments. Next, the user walks for just a few seconds and the segment to which each sensor is attached is identified automatically.MethodsWalking data was recorded from ten healthy subjects using an Xsens MVN Biomech system with full-body configuration (17 inertial sensors). Subjects were asked to walk for about 6 seconds at normal walking speed (about 5 km/h). After rotating the sensor data to a global coordinate frame with x-axis in walking direction, y-axis pointing left and z-axis vertical, RMS, mean, and correlation coefficient features were extracted from x-, y- and z-components and magnitudes of the accelerations, angular velocities and angular accelerations. As a classifier, a decision tree based on the C4.5 algorithm was developed using Weka (Waikato Environment for Knowledge Analysis).Results and conclusions After testing the algorithm with 10-fold cross-validation using 31 walkingtrials (involving 527 sensors), 514 sensors were correctly classified (97.5%). When a decision tree for alower body plus trunk configuration (8 inertial sensors) was trained andtested using 10-fold cross-validation, 100% of the sensors were correctly identified. This decision tree wasalso tested on walking trials of 7 patients (17 walking trials) after anterior cruciate ligamentreconstruction, which also resulted in 100% correct identification, thus illustrating the robustness of themethod.

Concepts: Human body, Classical mechanics, Walking, Motion capture, Decision tree learning


Calcium phosphate bions (CPB) are biomimetic mineralo-organic nanoparticles which represent a physiological mechanism regulating the function, transport and disposal of calcium and phosphorus in the human body. We hypothesised that CPB may be pathogenic entities and even a cause of cardiovascular calcification. Here we revealed that CPB isolated from calcified atherosclerotic plaques and artificially synthesised CPB are morphologically and chemically indistinguishable entities. Their formation is accelerated along with the increase in calcium salts-phosphates/serum concentration ratio. Experiments in vitro and in vivo showed that pathogenic effects of CPB are defined by apoptosis-mediated endothelial toxicity but not by direct tissue calcification or functional changes in anti-calcification proteins. Since the factors underlying the formation of CPB and their pathogenic mechanism closely resemble those responsible for atherosclerosis development, further research in this direction may help us to uncover triggers of this disease.

Concepts: Inflammation, Atherosclerosis, Blood vessel, Cardiovascular disease, In vivo, Endothelium, In vitro, Human body


Cells' biomechanical responses to external stimuli have been intensively studied but rarely implemented into devices that interact with the human body. We demonstrate that the hygroscopic and biofluorescent behaviors of living cells can be engineered to design biohybrid wearables, which give multifunctional responsiveness to human sweat. By depositing genetically tractable microbes on a humidity-inert material to form a heterogeneous multilayered structure, we obtained biohybrid films that can reversibly change shape and biofluorescence intensity within a few seconds in response to environmental humidity gradients. Experimental characterization and mechanical modeling of the film were performed to guide the design of a wearable running suit and a fluorescent shoe prototype with bio-flaps that dynamically modulates ventilation in synergy with the body’s need for cooling.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Archaea, Bacteria, Organism, Eukaryote, Human body, Mechanical engineering