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News Article | April 18, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Saturated fat is a prime suspect in the onset of osteoarthritis after QUT scientists found it changed the composition of cartilage, particularly in the weight-bearing joints of the hip and knee. Research, published today in Scientific Reports, conducted by Professor Yin Xiao, from QUT's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation and his team, in collaboration with Professor Lindsay Brown and his team at University of Southern Queensland, is possibly the first study to investigate the association between osteoarthritis and common dietary fatty acids. The researchers studied the effects on joints of diets rich in a variety of saturated fatty acids found in such foods as butter, coconut oil, palm oil and animal fat, and simple carbohydrates - a high-fat, high carbohydrate diet common to "junk food". "Our findings suggest that it's not wear and tear but diet that has a lot to do with the onset of osteoarthritis," Professor Xiao said. "The main function of cartilage is to seal the bone ends in a joint and absorb pressure on the bones during weight-bearing movement such as walking. "We found that a diet containing simple carbohydrates together with 20 per cent saturated fats produced osteoarthritic-like changes in the knee. "Saturated fatty acid deposits in the cartilage change its metabolism and weaken the cartilage, making it more prone to damage. This would, in turn, lead to osteoarthritic pain from the loss of the cushioning effect of cartilage. "We also found changes in the bone under the cartilage on a diet rich in saturated fat." PhD student Sunder Sekar said the team tested lauric acid, a saturated fatty acid found in coconut oil. "Interestingly, when we replaced the meat fat in the diet with lauric acid we found decreased signs of cartilage deterioration and metabolic syndrome so it seems to have a protective effect," Mr Sekar said. He said fatty acids could cause tissue inflammation in the entire "joint environment". "We tested a variety of saturated fats and found that long term use of animal fat, butter, and palm oil could weaken the cartilage. "Replacement of traditional diets containing coconut-derived lauric acid with palm oil-derived palmitic acid or animal fat-derived stearic acid has the potential to worsen the development of both metabolic syndrome and osteoarthritis." Professor Xiao's previous research has found that antioxidants and anti-cholesterol drugs could slow the progression of joint damage caused by fatty acids. The study is supported by the Prince Charles Hospital Research Foundation.


News Article | April 19, 2017
Site: www.biosciencetechnology.com

Saturated fat is a prime suspect in the onset of osteoarthritis after QUT scientists found it changed the composition of cartilage, particularly in the weight-bearing joints of the hip and knee. Research, published today in Scientific Reports, conducted by Professor Yin Xiao, from QUT's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation and his team, in collaboration with Professor Lindsay Brown and his team at University of Southern Queensland, is possibly the first study to investigate the association between osteoarthritis and common dietary fatty acids. The researchers studied the effects on joints of diets rich in a variety of saturated fatty acids found in such foods as butter, coconut oil, palm oil and animal fat, and simple carbohydrates - a high-fat, high carbohydrate diet common to "junk food". "Our findings suggest that it's not wear and tear but diet that has a lot to do with the onset of osteoarthritis," Professor Xiao said. "The main function of cartilage is to seal the bone ends in a joint and absorb pressure on the bones during weight-bearing movement such as walking. "We found that a diet containing simple carbohydrates together with 20 per cent saturated fats produced osteoarthritic-like changes in the knee. "Saturated fatty acid deposits in the cartilage change its metabolism and weaken the cartilage, making it more prone to damage. This would, in turn, lead to osteoarthritic pain from the loss of the cushioning effect of cartilage. "We also found changes in the bone under the cartilage on a diet rich in saturated fat." PhD student Sunder Sekar said the team tested lauric acid, a saturated fatty acid found in coconut oil. "Interestingly, when we replaced the meat fat in the diet with lauric acid we found decreased signs of cartilage deterioration and metabolic syndrome so it seems to have a protective effect," Mr Sekar said. He said fatty acids could cause tissue inflammation in the entire "joint environment". "We tested a variety of saturated fats and found that long term use of animal fat, butter, and palm oil could weaken the cartilage. "Replacement of traditional diets containing coconut-derived lauric acid with palm oil-derived palmitic acid or animal fat-derived stearic acid has the potential to worsen the development of both metabolic syndrome and osteoarthritis." Professor Xiao's previous research has found that antioxidants and anti-cholesterol drugs could slow the progression of joint damage caused by fatty acids. The study is supported by the Prince Charles Hospital Research Foundation.


News Article | April 19, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Researchers have debunked the myth that extreme sportsmen and women are adrenalin junkies with a death wish, in a recently released book. Co-authors QUT Adjunct Professor Eric Brymer, who is currently based at Leeds Beckett University in the UK, and QUT Professor Robert Schweitzer said extreme sports were leisure activities in which a mismanaged mistake or accident could result in death, such as BASE jumping, big wave surfing and solo rope free climbing. "Extreme sports have developed into a worldwide phenomenon and we are witnessing an unprecedented interest in and engagement with these activities," Professor Brymer said. "While participant numbers in many traditional team and individual sports such as golf, basketball and racket sports seem to have declined over the past decade, participant numbers in extreme sports have surged, making it a multi-million dollar industry." Professor Brymer said until now there had been a gross misunderstanding of what motivates people to take part in extreme sports, with many writing it off as an activity for adrenalin junkies. "Our research has shown people who engage in extreme sports are anything but irresponsible risk-takers with a death wish. They are highly trained individuals with a deep knowledge of themselves, the activity and the environment who do it to have an experience that is life enhancing and life changing," he said. "The experience is very hard to describe in the same way that love is hard to describe. It makes the participant feel very alive where all senses seem to be working better than in everyday life, as if the participant is transcending everyday ways of being and glimpsing their own potential. "For example, BASE jumpers talk about being able to see all the colours and nooks and crannies of the rock as they zoom past at 300km/h, or extreme climbers feel like they are floating and dancing with the rock. People talk about time slowing down and merging with nature." Professor Schweitzer said understanding motivations for extreme sports were important to understanding humans. "Far from the traditional risk-focused assumptions, extreme sports participation facilitates more positive psychological experiences and express human values such as humility, harmony, creativity, spirituality and a vital sense of self that enriches everyday life," Professor Schweitzer said. He said because extreme sports participants found it hard to put their experiences into words, the research project had taken a new approach to understanding the data. "So rather than a theory based approach which may make judgements that don't reflect the lived experience of extreme sports participants, we took a phenomenological approach to ensure we went in with an open mind," he said. "This allowed us to focus on the lived-experience of extreme sport with the goal of explaining themes that are consistent with participants' experience. "By doing this we were able to, for the first time, conceptualise such experiences as potentially representing endeavours at the extreme end of human agency, that is making choices to engage in activity which may in certain circumstances lead to death. "However, such experiences have been shown to be affirmative of life and the potential for transformation. "Extreme sport has the potential to induce non-ordinary states of consciousness that are at once powerful and meaningful. "These experiences enrich the lives of participants and provide a further glimpse into what it means to be human." The book Phenomenology and the Extreme Sport Experience is available at https:/ .


The new website, from QUT's Centre for Tropical Crops and Biocommodities, provides a database of single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genetic markers which can be used to map a variety of traits like disease resistance and yield. Professor Sagadevan Mundree said the website's information was open-source to give breeders and research scientists access to new genetic knowledge on important mungbean traits to produce better varieties for Australia's mungbean growers. "Mungbeans are one of the fastest growing agricultural crops in Australia, producing a crop worth more than $180 million last season, with the majority of Australia's crop grown in Queensland," Professor Mundree said. "Mungbeans are a staple in Asia and used in everything from poppadums and noodles to desserts. "The website provides genetic and trait information such as seed size, drought tolerance and disease resistance for 560 mungbean accessions desirable traits. "The information on this website will allow breeders to produce resilient, high-yield varieties for local areas." Dr Brett Williams said the QUT research team performed the bioinformatics and statistics which plant breeders could use to make more informed crosses to include genes they wanted. "It's the first time mungbean researchers and breeders are able to see recombination patterns and frequency and why some traits are always inherited together," Dr Williams said. PhD student Tom Noble, who worked on the project, said the website was a global resource. "It will aid in the study and breeding of complex traits such as disease resistance, phenology, drought and heat stress at flowering."


News Article | May 22, 2017
Site: www.prlog.org

ReflecToes – Visibility in Motion Catch the eye of drivers with bright light shining from your moving ankles! -- ReflecToes is a new sock launching on Kickstarter May 23, 2017. It has the best features of leading technical running and cycling socks with a large reflective area in the most important location for night visibility.The motion of your legs draws attention to you and makes you instantly distinguishable to drivers when you are walking, running or cycling."The most dangerous part about running or cycling in low light is not being seen by drivers. Just detecting that something is moving, draws your attention to it and if it is a familiar motion like a runners legs, drivers will know it's a person" –Ben O'BrienIt is a scary thing when you are driving and come upon a person exercising at night and you don't notice them until they are only yards away. With the retro-reflective technology in ReflecToes, the small amount of light that shines from the fringes of your headlamps is enough to make ReflecToes shine. When that light is in motion, a drivers eye will be drawn to the runner or cyclist even at a distance of 1000 feet. And since ReflecToes Socks have 360 degrees of reflective, drivers will notice the motion of your legs from all sides."[Our studies] found reflective material on moving body parts attract the eye more readily than a reflective vest alone." -QUT Professor Joanne WoodKickstarter:Website: ReflecToes.comAbout ReflecToesReflecToes was created by Ben O'Brien who came up with the idea while cycling home with his family after dark in the very bike friendly city of Montreal in 2010. He was concerned for his family's safety even with lights and realized how easy it was to spot reflectors on wheels or pedals of bikes because they were in motion and decided that he needed something around his ankles to stay visible.Ben spent 5 years in product development at working on reflective trim items for apparel for large apparel companies like Nike or Adidas. He wanted to make a great performing sock that keeps you comfortable but also keeps you safe in low light. He used his knowledge as one of the world's foremost experts in reflective heat transfer technology to create ReflecToes: the best night visibility sports safety product available.If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Ben O'Brien at 801-787-5644 or email at info@ReflecToes.com.


News Article | May 19, 2017
Site: www.sciencedaily.com

New research examining the global social media phenomenon of toy unboxing, which is causing concern for parents and other child welfare advocates, concludes it engages children beyond passive consumption but also recommends regulation to address it. Toy unboxing: Living in a(n unregulated) material world, the work of QUT Distinguished Professor Stuart Cunningham and Professor David Craig from the University of Southern California (with research by PhD student Jarrod Walczer at QUT's Digital Media Research Centre), has just been published in Media International Australia. "The rapid growth and popularity of toy unboxing -- videos of the opening, assembling and demonstration of children's toys, often by children, across social media platforms -- is definitely generating some moral panic but new technologies for children's media tend to do that," Professor Cunningham said. "Some people call it 'toddler crack' and regulation is obviously needed but there is also empowerment for children involved and business opportunities that bring families together in a common enterprise." Professor Cunningham said unboxers were a subset of social media entertainment content creators. They can be adults but many are children unboxing and reviewing toys and they are extraordinarily popular. "Unboxing emerged as a genre as early as 15 years ago but once YouTube was launched in 2005 it has gone through the roof and is one of the most popular online genres of all, growing at a rate of 871 per cent since 2010," he said. "In that time the genre has diversified from adult electronics to children's toys, which is the most popular segment in that field of social media entertainment. "The YouTube channel Fun Toyz Collector has nine million subscribers and features a pair of hands opening boxes and assembling toys with a childlike female voiceover. "There are many more such channels including one of Australia's most viewed YouTube channels -- FluffyJet Productions -- which has more than three million subscribers and has attracted more than three billion views since its creation in 2010. "Child creators are playing an increasingly central role. The channel Ryan ToysReviews stars a six-year-old and was launched in 2015. Within one year it was the second largest channel on YouTube (behind Justin Bieber) with 645 million views. "Another, EvanTubeHD, hosted by a 10-year-old, has more than four million subscribers and billions of views. Like other young stars he is a multi-platform entrepreneur with two other YouTube channels, a line of merchandise and followers on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, all of which is making him and his family millions of dollars." Professor Cunningham said government regulators have been slow to catch on and the near-global nature of digital platforms make it difficult for there to be consistency from one country to the next. "Issues of product placement and endorsements are also arising. In the UK, the Code of Non-Broadcast Advertising, Sales, Promotion and Direct Marketing requires vloggers to disclose when they are being paid to promote products, brands or services," he said. "These rules apply in the UK but are also likely to affect how unboxers in the United States operate or at least require they geo-restrict their content to outside the UK. "YouTube, meanwhile, has self-regulated regarding children's access, privacy and advertising, and although they allow product placements and endorsements they require creators be transparent about these. "Many child advocates want to see greater regulation and unfortunately discount the possibility that these videos may also be instructional, education, or simply communicative and fostering peer-to-peer interactions between child creators and viewers. "There is a strong belief children are being exploited but that is ignoring the business model and creative practices involved in the professionalization of amateur content creators, be they kids or adults. "Unboxing represents a whole new brand of marketing that can have far greater reach than traditional marketing. Companies are beating down the door of the kids who are doing it best. "Unboxing videos can work for young children as a form of peer-to-peer communication and for some families as small businesses."


News Article | May 18, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

New research examining the global social media phenomenon of toy unboxing, which is causing concern for parents and other child welfare advocates, concludes it engages children beyond passive consumption but also recommends regulation to address it New research examining the global social media phenomenon of toy unboxing, which is causing concern for parents and other child welfare advocates, concludes it engages children beyond passive consumption but also recommends regulation to address it. Toy unboxing: Living in a(n unregulated) material world, the work of QUT Distinguished Professor Stuart Cunningham and Professor David Craig from the University of Southern California (with research by PhD student Jarrod Walczer at QUT's Digital Media Research Centre), has just been published in Media International Australia. "The rapid growth and popularity of toy unboxing - videos of the opening, assembling and demonstration of children's toys, often by children, across social media platforms - is definitely generating some moral panic but new technologies for children's media tend to do that," Professor Cunningham said. "Some people call it 'toddler crack' and regulation is obviously needed but there is also empowerment for children involved and business opportunities that bring families together in a common enterprise." Professor Cunningham said unboxers were a subset of social media entertainment content creators. They can be adults but many are children unboxing and reviewing toys and they are extraordinarily popular. "Unboxing emerged as a genre as early as 15 years ago but once YouTube was launched in 2005 it has gone through the roof and is one of the most popular online genres of all, growing at a rate of 871 per cent since 2010," he said. "In that time the genre has diversified from adult electronics to children's toys, which is the most popular segment in that field of social media entertainment. "The YouTube channel Fun Toyz Collector has nine million subscribers and features a pair of hands opening boxes and assembling toys with a childlike female voiceover. "There are many more such channels including one of Australia's most viewed YouTube channels - FluffyJet Productions - which has more than three million subscribers and has attracted more than three billion views since its creation in 2010. "Child creators are playing an increasingly central role. The channel Ryan ToysReviews stars a six-year-old and was launched in 2015. Within one year it was the second largest channel on YouTube (behind Justin Bieber) with 645 million views. "Another, EvanTubeHD, hosted by a 10-year-old, has more than four million subscribers and billions of views. Like other young stars he is a multi-platform entrepreneur with two other YouTube channels, a line of merchandise and followers on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, all of which is making him and his family millions of dollars." Professor Cunningham said government regulators have been slow to catch on and the near-global nature of digital platforms make it difficult for there to be consistency from one country to the next. "Issues of product placement and endorsements are also arising. In the UK, the Code of Non-Broadcast Advertising, Sales, Promotion and Direct Marketing requires vloggers to disclose when they are being paid to promote products, brands or services," he said. "These rules apply in the UK but are also likely to affect how unboxers in the United States operate or at least require they geo-restrict their content to outside the UK. "YouTube, meanwhile, has self-regulated regarding children's access, privacy and advertising, and although they allow product placements and endorsements they require creators be transparent about these. "Many child advocates want to see greater regulation and unfortunately discount the possibility that these videos may also be instructional, education, or simply communicative and fostering peer-to-peer interactions between child creators and viewers. "There is a strong belief children are being exploited but that is ignoring the business model and creative practices involved in the professionalization of amateur content creators, be they kids or adults. "Unboxing represents a whole new brand of marketing that can have far greater reach than traditional marketing. Companies are beating down the door of the kids who are doing it best. "Unboxing videos can work for young children as a form of peer-to-peer communication and for some families as small businesses." QUT is part of a national collaborative group of five major Australian universities that form the ATN (Australian Technology Network of Universities).


News Article | May 9, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Researchers have debunked the myth that extreme sportsmen and women are adrenalin junkies with a death wish, according to a new study. The research has been published in the latest edition of Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research and Practice by QUT Adjunct Professor Eric Brymer, who is currently based at Leeds Beckett University in the UK, and QUT Professor Robert Schweitzer. Professors Brymer and Schweitzer said extreme sports were leisure activities in which a mismanaged mistake or accident could result in death, such as BASE jumping, big wave surfing and solo rope free climbing. "Extreme sports have developed into a worldwide phenomenon and we are witnessing an unprecedented interest in and engagement with these activities," Professor Brymer said. "While participant numbers in many traditional team and individual sports such as golf, basketball and racket sports seem to have declined over the past decade, participant numbers in extreme sports have surged, making it a multi-million dollar industry." Professor Brymer said until now there had been a gross misunderstanding of what motivates people to take part in extreme sports, with many writing it off as an activity for adrenalin junkies. "Our research has shown people who engage in extreme sports are anything but irresponsible risk-takers with a death wish. They are highly trained individuals with a deep knowledge of themselves, the activity and the environment who do it to have an experience that is life enhancing and life changing," he said. "The experience is very hard to describe in the same way that love is hard to describe. It makes the participant feel very alive where all senses seem to be working better than in everyday life, as if the participant is transcending everyday ways of being and glimpsing their own potential. "For example, BASE jumpers talk about being able to see all the colours and nooks and crannies of the rock as they zoom past at 300km/h, or extreme climbers feel like they are floating and dancing with the rock. People talk about time slowing down and merging with nature." Professor Schweitzer said understanding motivations for extreme sports were important to understanding humans. "Far from the traditional risk-focused assumptions, extreme sports participation facilitates more positive psychological experiences and express human values such as humility, harmony, creativity, spirituality and a vital sense of self that enriches everyday life," Professor Schweitzer said. He said because extreme sports participants found it hard to put their experiences into words, the research project had taken a new approach to understanding the data. "So rather than a theory based approach which may make judgements that don't reflect the lived experience of extreme sports participants, we took a phenomenological approach to ensure we went in with an open mind," he said. "This allowed us to focus on the lived-experience of extreme sport with the goal of explaining themes that are consistent with participants' experience. "By doing this we were able to, for the first time, conceptualise such experiences as potentially representing endeavours at the extreme end of human agency, that is making choices to engage in activity which may in certain circumstances lead to death. "However, such experiences have been shown to be affirmative of life and the potential for transformation. "Extreme sport has the potential to induce non-ordinary states of consciousness that are at once powerful and meaningful. "These experiences enrich the lives of participants and provide a further glimpse into what it means to be human."


News Article | May 10, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

A test to assess the effect of red Smarties on happiness has been used to teach the often "dull" or "boring" concepts of clinical research. The study, published in the Asia-Pacific Journal of Public Health, was based on a mock randomised control trial (RCT) across three countries and involved students at QUT and health professionals in Canada and Malaysia. Health professionals and students who were learning to understand what makes good research and how clinical trials are run became the participants in the study. They were given a package at the start of the lecture which included a programmed infrared clicker to collect data and a small fun pack of unseen Smarties that were either red or yellow. Their level of happiness was recorded on a scale of 1-10 at the start and end of the lecture, during which they blindly consumed the chocolate while observed by a fellow participant. Lead researcher QUT Professor Philip Baker said it was interesting that the results found eating red Smarties had no impact on happiness over the yellow candy-coated chocolate. "Red is often associated with feelings of happiness and the trial tested this assumption," Professor Baker said. "We had hypothesised if the lecture was boring or difficult to understand and it would have resulted in a significant loss in happiness in all groups, however, the happiness data indicated that the participants' mood remained unchanged. "This debunks the myth that red Smarties increase happiness and as a result a 'lived in' trial can turn a complex epidemiology lecture into an interesting teaching technique. "It also shows that epidemiology and the study of research methods can be fun and engaging." Professor Baker from QUT's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation joined Faculty of Health's Associate Professor Daniel Francis and QUT Business School Professor Abby Cathcart in the development and design of the trial. He said the mock trial illustrated the importance of minimising bias and the challenges of conducting quality research using a hands-on and visual approach. Professor Philip Baker said the aim was to apply and assess an authentic teaching approach to epidemiology and critical appraisal - with learners as participants rather than "just lecturing at students". "Students get involved in the clinical trial and thereby learn complex scientific techniques first-hand in a fun way," Professor Baker said. Professor Baker received a 2013 Vice-Chancellor's award for innovations in teaching and Professor Abby Cathcart was last year's winner of the Vice-Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Learning and Teaching.


News Article | May 10, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

QUT researchers have investigated how vision can affect a child's ongoing learning, with results showing 30 per cent of Year 3 students tested had uncorrected eye problems that could affect their academic performances. Importantly, the children referred for further optometric examination had significantly lower NAPLAN scores in Reading, Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation, and Numeracy subtests. The study has been published in the International Journal of Education Research. Dr Sonia White, Senior Research Fellow from QUT's Faculty of Education said 109 Year 3 students were involved in the multidisciplinary study that combined optometry and education research, and was funded by the Ian Potter Foundation. "Children's eyes need to be tested early in primary school and throughout schooling to ensure they can fully engage with the visual aspects of classroom learning," Dr White said. Joined by Professor Joanne Wood, Dr Alexander Black and Dr Shelley Hopkins from QUT's School of Optometry and Vision Science, Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation (IHBI), Dr White said the ongoing research has involved six schools across South-east Queensland. "In our current follow-up project, funded by the Lord Mayor's Charitable Foundation (Eldon & Anne Foote Trust Donor Advised Program 2015), we are investigating whether vision intervention one year earlier, in Year 2, can ameliorate the differences in achievement we saw in the Year 3 children," Professor Wood said. "We hypothesise that early vision interventions could support children's development of literacy and numeracy and subsequent classroom learning and achievement." Dr White said vision screening and assessment was not currently mandated prior to children commencing school, which may mean that some of the children will have vision and visual processing difficulties that remain undetected by parents and teachers. Dr White said schools that were involved in the study had anecdotally reported big improvements, with some children showing a marked increase in their reading level and greater classroom participation. As well as vision assessment, children completed a range of near vision learning tasks, such as reading and mathematics, while eye tracking was used to examine specific visual processing behaviours underlying these activities. "The aim is to level the playing field in terms of vision and provide every opportunity for learning and academic achievement for children in school and later life," Professor Wood said. A pdf version of the study is available on request.

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