On the other hand

April 28, 2019 by Michael Kuttner
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Hopefully, we have safely navigated Pesach, enjoyed the culinary delights offered and marvelled at the miracles which enabled our ancestors to arrive as a newly forged nation to the Promised Land.Those of us living here now in the reborn Jewish State, after having relaxed and vacationed during the whole week of Chol Hamoed can look forward to a busy few weeks of commemorations and celebrations.

TERRIFIED OF SPIDERS? HELP IS AT HAND.

 A new Israeli study indicated that at least seven seconds of Spider-Man viewing reduces arachnophobia by 20% announced Ariel University. The concept of phobic stimuli to get over one’s fears has been studied in the past but never using fantasy or comic book movies.

Viewing images of fictional spider-like characters such as Spider-Man may work better than footage of real spiders, the new study implies.

Two separate groups were shown different video clips, one, scenes from Spider-Man and Ant-Man movies, the other the Marvel opening credits scene and nature footage of actual ants and spiders.

“Reduction in phobic symptoms was significant in the Spider-Man and Ant-Man groups in comparison to the control groups,” the researchers stated. “Seven-second exposure to insect-specific stimuli within a positive context reduces the level of phobic symptoms,” they explained.

Does this mean superhero movies can provide psychological benefits? The two researchers think so, adding such movies can be utilized positively as escapism, and good moral tales of how to confront one’s fears.

They hope to continue their studies using the superhero genre to explore the effects on patients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

EARLY WARNING SYSTEM FOR FOOD

 An Israeli startup says it has developed a way to identify life-threatening bacteria in as little as under an hour, before the food products they could be lurking in getting sold.

The technology can thus protect not only consumers but also small firms that can’t afford the financial cost of recalls, lawsuits or the cancellation of their contracts with retail chains, the firm says.

It produces results in a timeframe of under an hour to several hours. In 45 minutes, the system can determine if an examined product is contaminated, allowing producers or suppliers to cancel their deliveries. A final assessment declaring the total absence of bacteria takes six hours for salmonella (instead of five days), 4.5 hours for E. coli, and eight hours for listeria.

Testing can occur along the entire production and supply chain, including testing the produce in the field. This preventive strategy would help save labour, energy, packing, and delivery costs.

TAKE A DEEP BREATH

A shot of espresso, a piece of chocolate or a headstand – all of these have been recommended before taking a big test. The best advice, however, could be to take a deep breath.

According to research conducted in the neurobiology lab at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, people who inhaled when presented with a visuospatial task were better at completing it than those who exhaled in the same situation.

Researchers gave subjects spatial problems to solve. Half were presented as the test-takers inhaled, and half as they exhaled. Inhalation turned out to be significantly tied to successful completion of the test problems.

During the experiment, the researchers measured the subjects’ electric brain activity with EEG, and here too they found differences between inhaling and exhaling, especially in connectivity between different parts of the brain.

This was true during rest periods as well as in problem-solving, with greater connectivity linked to inhaling. Moreover, the larger the gap between the two levels of connectivity, the more inhaling appeared to help the subjects solve problems.

The scientists think their findings could lead to research into methods to help people with attention and learning disorders improve their skills through controlled nasal breathing.

A BOUNTIFUL WINTER & SPRING

As we transition finally from winter to spring this year’s record rainfall & snow has transformed the north of the country, particularly the Galilee and Golan into flowing rivers, waterfalls and luscious green landscapes.

 

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