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Chumaeva N.,University of Helsinki | Chumaeva N.,Russian Academy of Sciences | Hintsanen M.,University of Helsinki | Hintsa T.,University of Helsinki | And 4 more authors.
BMC Cardiovascular Disorders | Year: 2010

Background: Acute mental stress may contribute to the cardiovascular disease progression via autonomic nervous system controlled negative effects on the endothelium. The joint effects of stress-induced sympathetic or parasympathetic activity and endothelial function on atherosclerosis development have not been investigated. The present study aims to examine the interactive effect of acute mental stress-induced cardiac reactivity/recovery and endothelial function on the prevalence of carotid atherosclerosis.Methods: Participants were 81 healthy young adults aged 24-39 years. Preclinical atherosclerosis was assessed by carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) and endothelial function was measured as flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) using ultrasound techniques. We also measured heart rate, respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA), and pre-ejection period (PEP) in response to the mental arithmetic and speech tasks.Results: We found a significant interaction of FMD and cardiac RSA recovery for IMT (p = 0.037), and a significant interaction of FMD and PEP recovery for IMT (p = 0.006). Among participants with low FMD, slower PEP recovery was related to higher IMT. Among individuals with high FMD, slow RSA recovery predicted higher IMT. No significant interactions of FMD and cardiac reactivity for IMT were found.Conclusions: Cardiac recovery plays a role in atherosclerosis development in persons with high and low FMD. The role of sympathetically mediated cardiac activity seems to be more important in those with impaired FMD, and parasympathetically mediated in those with relatively high FMD. The development of endothelial dysfunction may be one possible mechanism linking slow cardiac recovery and atherosclerosis via autonomic nervous system mediated effect. © 2010 Chumaeva et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Alatupa S.,University of Helsinki | Pulkki-Raback L.,University of Helsinki | Pulkki-Raback L.,Finnish Institute of Occupational Health | Hintsanen M.,University of Helsinki | And 5 more authors.
European Journal of Epidemiology | Year: 2010

We examined the impact of school performance measured in terms of grade point averages (GPAs) in early and middle adolescence (ages 9, 12, and 15), and the impact of school performance throughout the different school stages on adult obesity. The participants were 732 healthy women and men derived from a population-based Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study. GPAs were measured at the ages of 9, 12, and 15. The body mass index (BMI; kg/m2), and the waist circumference (WC) were conducted participants being aged 27 or 30. Birth weight, childhood BMI, adulthood physical activity, maternal and paternal BMI, and maternal education were controlled for. The results showed that low GPAs in each measurement and low GPAs throughout the comprehensive school were a risk factor of adulthood obesity, but only among women. The association remained when controlling for potential confounding variables (p-values in the fully adjusted models 0.026, 0.007, and 0.004 at the ages of 9, 12, and 15, respectively). The results were similar when the BMI was used as a dichotomous variable (BMI ≥ 30 and BMI < 30). Low school performance has previously been associated with higher rates of smoking and alcohol consumption later in life. Our result underscores that low school performance is a health risk factor that should be taken seriously in preventive health education. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Cowley B.,Center for Knowledge and Innovation Research | Moutinho J.L.,Alfamicro Lda | Bateman C.,International Hobo Ltd. | Oliveira A.,Alfamicro Lda
Entertainment Computing | Year: 2011

The usual approach to serious game design is to construct a single game intended to address the specific domain problem being addressed. This paper describes a novel alternative approach, focussed on embedding smaller game elements into a comprehensive framework, which provides stronger motive for play and thus greater chance of effect. This serious game design methodology was developed for an EU project to teach energy efficient knowledge and behaviour to users of public buildings around Europe. The successful implementation of this game is also described. The cutting-edge educational principles that formed the basis for the design are drawn from recent research in serious games and energy efficiency, and include the Behavlet, a novel behaviour-transformation concept developed by the authors. The game design framework presented illustrates a clear approach for serious games dealing with topics applicable at societal scales. © 2011 International Federation for Information Processing.

Kuikkaniemi K.,Helsinki Institute for Information Technology | Laitinen T.,Helsinki Institute for Information Technology | Turpeinen M.,Helsinki Institute for Information Technology | Saari T.,Helsinki Institute for Information Technology | And 2 more authors.
Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings | Year: 2010

To understand how implicit and explicit biofeedback work in games, we developed a first-person shooter (FPS) game to experiment with different biofeedback techniques. While this area has seen plenty of discussion, there is little rigorous experimentation addressing how biofeedback can enhance human-computer interaction. In our two-part study, (N=36) subjects first played eight different game stages with two implicit biofeedback conditions, with two simulation-based comparison and repetition rounds, then repeated the two biofeedback stages when given explicit information on the biofeedback. The biofeedback conditions were respiration and skin-conductance (EDA) adaptations. Adaptation targets were four balanced player avatar attributes. We collected data with psychophysiological measures (electromyography, respiration, and EDA), a game experience questionnaire, and game-play measures. According to our experiment, implicit biofeedback does not produce significant effects in player experience in an FPS game. In the explicit biofeedback conditions, players were more immersed and positively affected, and they were able to manipulate the game play with the biosignal interface. We recommend exploring the possibilities of using explicit biofeedback interaction in commercial games. © 2010 ACM.

Ekman I.,Center for Knowledge and Innovation Research | Rinott M.,Holon Institute of Technology
DIS 2010 - Proceedings of the 8th ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems | Year: 2010

An increasing number of interactive consumer products make use of the auditory channel. Consequently, sound has become an important part of the interaction designer's palette. Nevertheless, sound is a difficult medium for nonexperts to sketch in. We propose Vocal Sketching as a methodology for addressing sounding design, alleviating the challenges inherent for non-experts when thinking and communicating about sound and sounding objects in the early stages of design. The method was tested in a workshop with 35 participants, who, working in groups, used only their voices to sketch sonic interactions for three object props. Observations and results from a post-workshop questionnaire study show this methodology to be feasible and enjoyable, and applicable to the design process even without prior vocal training. The emerging pros and cons of this method, as well as results relating to social comfort in using the voice and group strategies for using multiple voices, are discussed. Further work should include a comparative study of this methodology and other sonic sketching strategies. © 2010 ACM.

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