Disrupted attentional function in individuals with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) has been noted in a number of previous studies. The cognitive mechanisms related to this disruption are not well-understood. This study sought to identify whether differences exist in early attentional processing and attentional capacity in individuals with FMS measuring the attentional blink (AB). Early attentional function was assessed in 16 females with FMS and compared with 16 healthy age-matched females without FMS. Simple early visual stimulus target detection accuracy was not significantly different between groups. However, as target detection difficulty increased, individuals in the FMS group showed significantly poorer performance compared to healthy participants. Our findings suggest that attentional disruption in individuals with FMS is associated with deficits in the early allocation of attentional resources during the completion of tasks with higher attentional demand.
We examined 56 members of a large Norwegian family with hereditary essential myoclonus, affecting mainly the neck and upper parts of the body, and inherited in an autosomal-dominant pattern. We observed definite myoclonus in nine individuals, probable myoclonus in one, and possible myoclonus in one. There were two other living members who had a history compatible with myoclonus but who had developed a permanent remission, so we did not observe the movements, and two who had involuntary movements only with stress. Writing usually increased the myoclonus in the neck and trunk, but did not produce myoclonus in the arm used for writing. Having a conversation with an individual who was aware of being watched would also usually increase the myoclonus. Alcohol ameliorated the myoclonus in many, but not all, affected members. Activities such as walking and concentrating during reading would usually reduce the myoclonus. Three living members with definite myoclonus also had features of mild focal dystonia, either spasmodic torticollis or blepharospasm, indicating that focal dystonia may exist as part of the clinical spectrum in hereditary essential myoclonus. In addition to examining the members of the family, we videotaped them and obtained blood samples for molecular genetic analysis.
Video-billboards and portable video-display devices are becoming increasingly common and the images they project can often be dramatic or provocative. This study investigated the lingering effects of emotion-evoking images on driving as measured in a driving simulator. Images were projected on an in-vehicle display while drivers followed a lead vehicle at a safe distance. To ensure attention to the images drivers were required to indicate whether each image was positive or negative by pressing a button. Occasional braking events (sudden decelerations in the lead vehicle that necessitated braking) occurred either 250 or 500 ms after the button press. In the 250 ms delay condition braking RT was faster after high arousal images (fastest for high arousal positive images); following a 500 ms delay braking RT was slower after high arousal images (slowest for high arousal negative images). Responding to all images reduced steering performance (in the period after the image but before the button press) but image valence had an effect on steering as well. Positive images were associated with better steering performance than negative images, especially when they were both low in arousal: a result that supports the broaden-and-build hypothesis of positive emotions and the theory that ambient (wide field/peripheral) vision controls steering performance. We discuss implications for both basic research on attention-emotion and applied research on driving.
This study investigated the effects of two very commonly used countermeasures against driver sleepiness, opening the window and listening to music, on subjective and physiological sleepiness measures during real road driving. In total, 24 individuals participated in the study. Sixteen participants received intermittent 10-min intervals of: (i) open window (2 cm opened); and (ii) listening to music, during both day and night driving on an open motorway. Both subjective sleepiness and physiological sleepiness (blink duration) was estimated to be significantly reduced when subjects listened to music, but the effect was only minor compared with the pronounced effects of night driving and driving duration. Open window had no attenuating effect on either sleepiness measure. No significant long-term effects beyond the actual countermeasure application intervals occurred, as shown by comparison to the control group (n = 8). Thus, despite their popularity, opening the window and listening to music cannot be recommended as sole countermeasures against driver sleepiness.
The aim was to estimate predictors and prognostic models of the nearest outcomes in moderate and severe traumatic brain injury. Authors have analyzed 75 medical histories of patients with moderate and severe traumatic brain injury. Methods of multiple linear regression and treelike classification were used for the construction of prognostic models. The most significant predictors as a part of prognostic models of the present study were: scores of the Glasgow coma scale and its elements, condition of corneal reflex, expression of pyramidal insufficiency, level of leukocytosis, levels of blood urea, urination disturbance, average heart rate. The results obtained confirm the prognostic value of the Glasgow coma scale. The additional account of the indicators characterizing the expression of inflammatory processes and organ insufficiency allows to significantly improve the prognostic models of outcomes in patients with traumatic brain injury.
This study investigated the effect of moving from single-occupancy offices to a landscape environment. Thirty-two visual display unit (VDU) operators reported no significant change in visual discomfort. Lighting conditions and glare reported subjectively showed no significant correlation with visual discomfort. Experience of pain was found to reduce subjectively rated work capacity during VDU tasks. The correlation between visual discomfort and reduced work capacity for single-occupancy offices was rs=.88 (p=.000) and for office landscape rs=.82 (p=.000). Eye blink rate during habitual VDU work was recorded for 12 operators randomly selected from the 32 participants in the office landscape. A marked drop in eye blink rate during VDU work was found compared to eye blink rate during easy conversation. There were no significant changes in pain intensity in the neck, shoulder, forearm, wrist/hand, back or headache (.24
Blinks are known as an indicator of visual attention and mental stress. In this study, surgeons' mental workload was evaluated utilizing a paper assessment instrument (National Aeronautics and Space Administration Task Load Index, NASA TLX) and by examining their eye blinks. Correlation between these two assessments was reported.
Surgeons' eye motions were video-recorded using a head-mounted eye-tracker while the surgeons performed a laparoscopic procedure on a virtual reality trainer. Blink frequency and duration were computed using computer vision technology. The level of workload experienced during the procedure was reported by surgeons using the NASA TLX.
A total of 42 valid videos were recorded from 23 surgeons. After blinks were computed, videos were divided into two groups based on the blink frequency: infrequent group (= 6 blinks/min) and frequent group (more than 6 blinks/min). Surgical performance (measured by task time and trajectories of tool tips) was not significantly different between these two groups, but NASA TLX scores were significantly different. Surgeons who blinked infrequently reported a higher level of frustration (46 vs. 34, P = 0.047) and higher overall level of workload (57 vs. 47, P = 0.045) than those who blinked more frequently. The correlation coefficients (Pearson test) between NASA TLX and the blink frequency and duration were -0.17 and 0.446.
Reduction of blink frequency and shorter blink duration matched the increasing level of mental workload reported by surgeons. The value of using eye-tracking technology for assessment of surgeon mental workload was shown.