As a kid, perhaps you listened to a story before bed, be it from the pages of your favorite fairy tale or a made-up adventure told in real time. It turns out, this childhood ritual comes with a fair share of benefits: Not only can bedtime stories help enhance children’s language skills as they grow up and strengthen the bond between storyteller and listener, but these tales can also help relax their minds and lull them to sleep.
So why did we ever grow out of this special ritual? It may be a bit more difficult to carve out time for a nightly story, especially in our digital world rife with distractions, but supermodel and entrepreneur Kate Bock and Harvard- and Yale-trained ER doctor Darria Long, M.D., founder of The TrueveLab, suggest making “adult bedtime stories” a priority. During our new video series, Expert Insights, they share how to indulge without relying on screens.
The case for an adult bedtime story.
According to Long, leveraging light is crucial for achieving deep rest. “So that means that for an hour and a half before bed, we aren’t using bright lights,” Long says of her household, as any cool, bright light makes it harder for your body to register that it’s time to wind down. That said, she sticks to low-watt bulbs for all of her bedside tables and does her best to limit her screen time.
“Listening to a story can be calming—it’s like an adult bedtime story,” Bock notes, and Long concurs. And just like during childhood, that bedtime story helps Bock feel sleepy before bed.
If you need a little extra help winding down, Bock also swears by mindbodygreen’s sleep support+. “If you can take a natural supplement that will help your eyes feel heavy, that is the dream,”* she says of our bestselling formula. “It takes the stress off of sleeping.” The powerful blend of magnesium bisglycinate, jujube, and PharmaGABA® is like the little nudge she needs to fall asleep faster and enhance overall sleep quality.* Bock takes it about 30 minutes to an hour before going to bed (perhaps right before she starts the bedtime story), and it helps her sleep soundly throughout the night.*
If you can swing it, we highly suggest putting bedtime stories back into your routine. Audio mediums, like books on tape and podcasts, are great “adult” bedtime stories that can help you wind down so you ultimately sleep like a baby.
A new study reveals that owning pets for more than five years can slow cognitive decline in older people.
A team at the University of Michigan studied over 1,300 people with an average age of 65 and found that owning a pet long-term staved off aging in the brain.
However, the benefits were more significant for Black people, college-educated people, and men.
The results of the preliminary study are due to be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 74th Annual Meeting held in Seattle in April.
“Prior studies have suggested that the human-animal bond may have health benefits like decreasing blood pressure and stress,” study author Dr. Tiffany Braley of the University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor told SWNS.
Of study participants, 88% were white, 7% were Black, 2% were Hispanic, and 3% were of another ethnicity or race.
RELATED VIDEO: Woman Cares for 80 Dogs after Turning her Home into a Canine Hospice
You might like
A Look Back at the Teen Cult Classic, Crossroads
Mother Humpback Whale Freed from Fishing Line of off Hawaiian Island
Shaun White Says Girlfriend Nina Dobrev Has Made This Time in His Life “Incredible”
Firefighters Save Dog That Fell Into the Bay at Miami Beach — Watch the Heartwarming Rescue
We Tried It: Flying 9 Times the Force of Gravity in the Air Force’s Super Bowl Rehearsal
Photographer Captures ‘Magic Moment’ Between Dancing Whale and Dolphin on Video in Hawaii
U.K. Pig Befriends Rescue Chicken that Loves to Give Him Back Scratches
Jenna Jameson Is Home from the Hospital but ‘Still In a Wheelchair’ as Doctors Search for a Cause
Black Ink’s Ceaser Emanuel Admires How Much Puma Has Grown into His Own After 9 Seasons
Rob Kardashian and Ex Blac Chyna Speak Out After He Dismisses 2017 Lawsuit Against Her
Miesha Tate Is the One to Watch on Celebrity Big Brother, According to Chris Kattan
Firefighters Rescue Dog From 15-Foot Hole
Aaron Rodgers Says He’s ‘Grateful’ for Shailene Woodley After Breakup: ‘I Love You’
Allison Holker and Stephen ‘tWitch’ Boss Are Always a Team: “I Told Him He Was My One”
First-Ever Aardvark Born at English Zoo Named After “Harry Potter” Character Dobby
A Journal for Jordan Blooper Reel
Empire Actress Lindsey Pearlman’s Autopsy Complete After She Was Found Dead Inside a Vehicle
Van Jefferson and Wife Samaria Introduce Baby Boy They Welcomed Hours After Super Bowl
Rosie O’Donnell Issues Public Apology to Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas After ‘Awkward’ Encounter
We Love Megan Thee Stallion for So Many Reasons!
Remembering Whitney Houston
14-Foot Crocodile Freed from Tire Stuck Around Its Neck After 6 Years
Manchester City’s Jack Grealish Brings Fan to Tears After Signing Jersey and Giving Her a Hug
Meghan Markle’s Armani Dress Worn for Oprah Interview Named Fashion Museum’s Dress of the Year
Jessie James Decker Says She’s Been Thinking About Having Another Baby: ‘It’s a Battle’
Navy Trained Seal Living at Connecticut Aquarium Predicts the Winner of Super Bowl 2022
Dog in Shelter Over 200 Days Still Looking for a Home After No One Shows Up to Adoption Party
Van Jefferson and Wife Samaria Detail Their Super Bowl Baby Delivery: “It Was a Whirlwind”
Susan Kelechi Watson on Co-writing Beth-centric Episode on This Is Us: My ‘Goodbye to Her’
Ceaser Emanuel Stresses the Importance of ‘Getting Back to Brooklyn’ for the Black Ink Crew
Lala Kent Says She Would Wait ‘At Least a Year’ to Introduce Baby Ocean to Someone She’s Dating
Queen Elizabeth’s Private Pain: Royal Family Scandal and COVID Are ‘Going to Take a Toll,’ Says Insider
Van Jefferson Says “I Don’t Think Anyone Can Top” Having a Baby and Winning the Super Bowl: “The Ultimate Best Day of My Life”
Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez attend the Los Angeles Special Screening Of “Marry Me”
Avril Lavigne Reveals She Was on “a Break from Men” Before She Met Boyfriend Mod Sun: “I Followed My Heart”
Paul Rudd On His Longtime Friendship with Seth Rogen: “He’s Still the Same Dude”
Formerly Conjoined Twins Enjoying ‘Normal’ Life at Home After Separation Surgery: ‘We’re So Happy’
Billie Eilish Stops Concert to Help a Fan Get an Inhaler
Stranger Saved Boy, 11, From Nazis in 1942. Years Later, He Found Her and Married Her Daughter
Dr. Jen Armstrong Shares Her True Feelings About Noella Bergener: ‘I Blocked Her’
Father And Son Create Recycling Machine Run By Magpies
Linda Evangelista Describes Her ‘Deformity’ from a Cosmetic Procedure
Colorado Deputy Rescues Dog Trapped in Burning Car
Hundreds of Golden Retrievers Celebrate ‘Golden Day’ in Colorado
Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck Attend 2022 Super Bowl After She Reveals His Valentine’s Day Gift for Her
Lulu and Lala Gonzalez Talk About the Training They Did During The Amazing Race Hiatus
Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker React to Parody Video About Their ‘Fairytale Wedding’
Nathan Chen Felt That U.S. Olympic Team Medal Moment Was ‘Taken Away’ Due to Russian Substance Scandal
Researchers used cognitive tests to develop a composite cognitive score for each person, ranging from zero to 27. The score included tests of subtraction, numeric counting, and word recall. Researchers then compared participants’ composite cognitive scores with years of pet ownership and cognitive function.
Over the six years, cognitive scores decreased at a slower rate in pet owners, with the difference strongest among long-term pet owners.
Considering other factors known to affect cognitive function, the study showed that long-term pet owners, on average, had cognitive scores that were 1.2 points higher at six years than the non-pet owners’ scores.
The researchers also found that the cognitive benefits associated with long-term pet ownership were more substantial for black adults, college-educated adults, and men.
Dr. Braley said more research is needed to explore the possible reasons for these associations further.
“As stress can negatively affect cognitive function, the potential stress-buffering effects of pet ownership could provide a plausible reason for our findings,” Dr. Braley said. “A companion animal can also increase physical activity, which could benefit cognitive health.
“That said, more research is needed to confirm our results and identify underlying mechanisms for this association,” she added.
The study did not show what pets people owned or the best ones for preventing the brain’s decline.
Helping paraplegics walk and curing brain disorders are certainly noble goals. And, hey, ordering a pizza just by thinking about it sounds cool. But many experts are concerned that Musk is seriously overhyping what Neuralink’s implants will be able to accomplish.
“Unlike Tesla or SpaceX, we are not talking about technological problems or infrastructure problems. These are fundamental science problems,” Christof Koch, a researcher at the Allen Institute for Brain Science, told Fortune in a recent magazine feature.
Here, Fortune tackles Musk’s biggest claims about what Neuralink’s brain implant can do:
1. Neuralink’s brain implant will save us from A.I. annihilation
“Even in a benign A.I. scenario, we will be left behind. But with a brain-machine interface, we can actually go along for the ride,” says Musk.
First off, the kind of superintelligence Musk is afraid of remains science fiction, with computer scientists divided on when, and even whether, it will ever arrive. Many think it is at least a few decades off. Secondly, Musk envisions his brain-computer interface as a two-way communication mechanism, so even if Neuralink succeeds in delivering on Musk’s grand vision, its brain implants could just as easily be used by superintelligent machines to control humans as they could be a means for humans to ensure their dominance over superintelligent machines. And either way, the technological advances necessary to enable that kind of high-bandwidth brain-computer mind-meld are also years, if not decades, away.
2. The BCI will restore mobility for people with spinal cord injuries
In April 2020, a team of researchers reported that they had successfully restored sensation to the hand of a research participant with a severe spinal cord injury using a BCI system. We think that Musk’s claim of restoring mobility with a BCI is well within reach. But questions remain about how much functionality such systems will be able to produce and how easy it will be for patients to learn to use them. Questions also remain about the longer-term safety of having implants in the human brain.
3. The BCI will treat neurological conditions like Parkinson’s disease
There is current technology such as deep brain stimulation that can already do some of this. Neuralink could potentially further advance on these treatments. But the current configuration of the Neuralink device, which has electrodes implanted close to the surface of the outer layer of the brain, known as the cortex, is not set up to conduct deep brain stimulation.
4. The brain chip will give superhuman abilities to able-bodied people
While it might allow able-bodied people to type or play a video game through thought alone, scientists still don’t know how to interpret brain activity associated with more complex, conceptual thoughts. What’s more, it’s not clear medical regulators will allow able-bodied individuals to have chips implanted, as the risks of the implants and the surgery to implant them might be hard to justify.
5. They will be able to insert the brain chip in less than an hour without general anesthesia
Each of the 64 threads that carry electrodes for monitoring brain activity is much thinner than even the finest human hair. These electrodes feed into the Link device itself, which is about the diameter of a quarter and about five times as thick and sits in a hole drilled into the skull. The brain itself has no pain receptors, and brain surgery is already often carried out under local anesthesia. So it is possible Neuralink will be able to deliver on this promise. However, the surgical robot it plans to use to implant its BCI has not yet been proved in clinical testing, and there could certainly be risks associated with drilling into the skull and bleeding during electrode implantation.
The long-standing enigma of why so many patients suffering with high blood pressure (known as hypertension) also have diabetes (high blood sugar) has finally been cracked by an international team led by the universities of Bristol, UK, and Auckland, New Zealand.
The important new discovery has shown that a small protein cell glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) couples the body’s control of blood sugar and blood pressure.
Professor Julian Paton, a senior author, and Director of Manaaki Mãnawa – The Centre for Heart Research at the University of Auckland, said: “We’ve known for a long time that hypertension and diabetes are inextricably linked and have finally discovered the reason, which will now inform new treatment strategies.”
The research, published online ahead of print in Circulation Research on February 1, 2022, involved contributions from collaborating scientists in Brazil, Germany, Lithuania, and Serbia, as well as the UK and New Zealand.
GLP-1 is released from the wall of the gut after eating and acts to stimulate insulin from the pancreas to control blood sugar levels. This was known but what has now been unearthed is that GLP-1 also stimulates a small sensory organ called the carotid body located in the neck.
The University of Bristol group used an unbiased, high-throughput genomics technique called RNA sequencing to read all the messages of the expressed genes in the carotid body in rats with and without high blood pressure. This led to the finding that the receptor that senses GLP-1 is located in the carotid body, but less so in hypertensive rats.
David Murphy, Professor of Experimental Medicine from Bristol Medical School: Translational Health Sciences (THS) and senior author, explained: “Locating the link required genetic profiling and multiple steps of validation. We never expected to see GLP-1 come up on the radar, so this is very exciting and opens many new opportunities.”
Professor Paton added: “The carotid body is the convergent point where GLP-1 acts to control both blood sugar and blood pressure simultaneously; this is coordinated by the nervous system which is instructed by the carotid body.”
People with hypertension and/or diabetes are at high risk of life-threatening cardiovascular disease. Even when receiving medication, a large number of patients will remain at high risk. This is because most medications only treat symptoms and not causes of high blood pressure and high sugar.
Professor Rod Jackson, world-renowned epidemiologist from the University of Auckland, said “We’ve known that blood pressure is notoriously difficult to control in patients with high blood sugar, so these findings are really important because by giving GLP-1 we might be able to reduce both sugar and pressure together, and these two factors are major contributors to cardiovascular risk.”
Mr. Audrys Pauža, a British Heart Foundation-funded PhD student in Professor David Murphy’s lab in the Bristol Medical School and lead author on the study, added: “The prevalence of diabetes and hypertension is increasing throughout the world, and there is an urgent need to address this.
“Drugs targeting the GLP-1 receptor are already approved for use in humans and widely used to treat diabetes. Besides helping to lower blood sugar these drugs also reduce blood pressure, however, the mechanism of this effect wasn’t well understood.
“This research revealed that these drugs may actually work on the carotid bodies to enact their anti-hypertensive effect. Leading from this work, we are already planning translational studies in humans to bring this discover into practice so that patients most at risk can receive the best treatment available.”
But GLP-1 is just the start. The research has revealed many novel targets for ongoing functional studies that the team anticipate will lead to future translational projects in human hypertensive and diabetic patients.
Reference: “GLP1R Attenuates Sympathetic Response to High Glucose via Carotid Body Inhibition” by Audrys G. Pauza, Pratik Thakkar, Tatjana Tasic, Igor Felippe, Paul Bishop, Michael P. Greenwood, Kristina Rysevaite-Kyguoliene, Julia Ast, Johannes Broichhagen, David J. Hodson, Helio C. Salgado, Dainius H. Pauza, Nina Japundzic-Zigon, Julian F.R. Paton and David Murphy, 1 February 2022, Circulation Research. DOI: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.121.319874
The study was funded by the British Heart Foundation and the Health Research Council of New Zealand.
What is your pre-bedtime routine? Drink a glass of milk, clean your teeth, prepare your bed? Studies have found many animals engage in habitual behaviors before sleep, but until now researchers have not known the neurobiological mechanisms that are activated by these pre-sleep routines.
Across a series of robust mouse experiments a new study from researchers at the University of Michigan has shed light on what goes on in the brain before sleep. The findings offer new insights into the parts of the brain that trigger the onset of sleep.
“How do animals transition from wakefulness – an active state that involves responding to and interacting with the environment – to sleep – a quiescent state featuring reduced responsiveness to the environment, distinctive brain oscillatory patterns, and alterations in many physiological processes?” the researchers asked in the new study.
To explore this question they investigated neural activity in mice in the 20 minutes before they fall asleep. As well as confirming the onset of sleep is directly connected to pre-sleep behaviors, the findings are the first to pinpoint exactly what parts of the brain are activated by these routines and how they are connected to the initiation of sleep.
The research homed in on particular groups of neurons in a brain region called the lateral hypothalamus, which is a part of the brain known to influence a variety of processes in the body, from regulating feeding behavior to mediating general arousal.
“[In the new study] we identify broadly projecting and predominantly glutamatergic neuronal ensembles in the lateral hypothalamus that regulate the motivation to engage in pre-sleep nest-building behavior and gate sleep initiation and intensity,” the researchers concluded.
The new study hypothesizes a connection between these neuronal ensembles in the lateral hypothalamus and other regions of the brain known to regulate sleep. The current idea proposed by the new findings is that pre-sleep behaviors play a vital role in activating brain regions that initiate transitions between wakefulness and sleep.
As well as offering novel insights into the neurological processes that precede sleep, the researchers indicate these findings could inform future therapies. Understanding exactly how our brains prepare us for sleep can help the development of new treatments for insomniacs all over the world.
“Our study provides critical insights into the ethological context of sleep and advances our current understanding of the neurobiological mechanisms controlling a goal-directed and sleep-related complex behavior,” the study stated. “As 10%–30% of humans worldwide suffer from difficulties initiating and maintaining sleep and available pharmacological interventions pose many risks, a better understanding of the processes regulating pre-sleep behaviors has the potential to greatly improve sleep, and thus, quality of life for numerous individuals.”
Summary: Researchers have identified a population of neurons in the auditory cortex that responds to singing, but not any other type of music.
For the first time, MIT neuroscientists have identified a population of neurons in the human brain that lights up when we hear singing, but not other types of music.
These neurons, found in the auditory cortex, appear to respond to the specific combination of voice and music, but not to either regular speech or instrumental music. Exactly what they are doing is unknown and will require more work to uncover, the researchers say.
“The work provides evidence for relatively fine-grained segregation of function within the auditory cortex, in a way that aligns with an intuitive distinction within music,” says Sam Norman-Haignere, a former MIT postdoc who is now an assistant professor of neuroscience at the University of Rochester Medical Center.
The work builds on a 2015 study in which the same research team used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to identify a population of neurons in the brain’s auditory cortex that responds specifically to music. In the new work, the researchers used recordings of electrical activity taken at the surface of the brain, which gave them much more precise information than fMRI.
“There’s one population of neurons that responds to singing, and then very nearby is another population of neurons that responds broadly to lots of music. At the scale of fMRI, they’re so close that you can’t disentangle them, but with intracranial recordings, we get additional resolution, and that’s what we believe allowed us to pick them apart,” says Norman-Haignere.
Norman-Haignere is the lead author of the study, which appears today in the journal Current Biology. Josh McDermott, an associate professor of brain and cognitive sciences, and Nancy Kanwisher, the Walter A. Rosenblith Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience, both members of MIT’s McGovern Institute for Brain Research and Center for Brains, Minds and Machines (CBMM), are the senior authors of the study.
In their 2015 study, the researchers used fMRI to scan the brains of participants as they listened to a collection of 165 sounds, including different types of speech and music, as well as everyday sounds such as finger tapping or a dog barking. For that study, the researchers devised a novel method of analyzing the fMRI data, which allowed them to identify six neural populations with different response patterns, including the music-selective population and another population that responds selectively to speech.
In the new study, the researchers hoped to obtain higher-resolution data using a technique known as electrocorticography (ECoG), which allows electrical activity to be recorded by electrodes placed inside the skull. This offers a much more precise picture of electrical activity in the brain compared to fMRI, which measures blood flow in the brain as a proxy of neuron activity.
“With most of the methods in human cognitive neuroscience, you can’t see the neural representations,” Kanwisher says. “Most of the kind of data we can collect can tell us that here’s a piece of brain that does something, but that’s pretty limited. We want to know what’s represented in there.”
Electrocorticography cannot be typically be performed in humans because it is an invasive procedure, but it is often used to monitor patients with epilepsy who are about to undergo surgery to treat their seizures. Patients are monitored over several days so that doctors can determine where their seizures are originating before operating. During that time, if patients agree, they can participate in studies that involve measuring their brain activity while performing certain tasks. For this study, the MIT team was able to gather data from 15 participants over several years.
For those participants, the researchers played the same set of 165 sounds that they used in the earlier fMRI study. The location of each patient’s electrodes was determined by their surgeons, so some did not pick up any responses to auditory input, but many did. Using a novel statistical analysis that they developed, the researchers were able to infer the types of neural populations that produced the data that were recorded by each electrode.
“When we applied this method to this data set, this neural response pattern popped out that only responded to singing,” Norman-Haignere says. “This was a finding we really didn’t expect, so it very much justifies the whole point of the approach, which is to reveal potentially novel things you might not think to look for.”
That song-specific population of neurons had very weak responses to either speech or instrumental music, and therefore is distinct from the music- and speech-selective populations identified in their 2015 study.
Music in the brain
In the second part of their study, the researchers devised a mathematical method to combine the data from the intracranial recordings with the fMRI data from their 2015 study. Because fMRI can cover a much larger portion of the brain, this allowed them to determine more precisely the locations of the neural populations that respond to singing.
“This way of combining ECoG and fMRI is a significant methodological advance,” McDermott says. “A lot of people have been doing ECoG over the past 10 or 15 years, but it’s always been limited by this issue of the sparsity of the recordings. Sam is really the first person who figured out how to combine the improved resolution of the electrode recordings with fMRI data to get better localization of the overall responses.”
The song-specific hotspot that they found is located at the top of the temporal lobe, near regions that are selective for language and music. That location suggests that the song-specific population may be responding to features such as the perceived pitch, or the interaction between words and perceived pitch, before sending information to other parts of the brain for further processing, the researchers say.
The researchers now hope to learn more about what aspects of singing drive the responses of these neurons. They are also working with MIT Professor Rebecca Saxe’s lab to study whether infants have music-selective areas, in hopes of learning more about when and how these brain regions develop.
Funding: The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Army Research Office, the National Science Foundation, the NSF Science and Technology Center for Brains, Minds, and Machines, the Fondazione Neurone, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
About this music and neuroscience research news
Author: Anne Trafton Source: MIT Contact: Anne Trafton – MIT Image: The image is credited to MIT
A neural population selective for song in human auditory cortex
Neural population responsive to singing, but not instrumental music or speech
New statistical method infers neural populations from human intracranial responses
fMRI used to map the spatial distribution of intracranial responses
Intracranial responses replicate distinct music- and speech-selective populations
How is music represented in the brain? While neuroimaging has revealed some spatial segregation between responses to music versus other sounds, little is known about the neural code for music itself. To address this question, we developed a method to infer canonical response components of human auditory cortex using intracranial responses to natural sounds, and further used the superior coverage of fMRI to map their spatial distribution.
The inferred components replicated many prior findings, including distinct neural selectivity for speech and music, but also revealed a novel component that responded nearly exclusively to music with singing. Song selectivity was not explainable by standard acoustic features, was located near speech- and music-selective responses, and was also evident in individual electrodes.
These results suggest that representations of music are fractionated into subpopulations selective for different types of music, one of which is specialized for the analysis of song.
The “silver bullet” silhouette known as the Airstream has endured as an icon of the road since the first aerodynamic travel trailer rolled off the assembly lines in the 1930s. Noting there’s a good chance travelers towing an Airstream today might do so from behind the wheels of an electric vehicle, Airstream, in collaboration with their parent company THOR Industries, set out to imagine a next generation concept conceived to hit the road with efficiency, improved maneuverability, and updated interior appointments, resulting in the eStream Concept Travel Trailer.
The all-electric concept combines an updated aerodynamic shape alongside a high-voltage chassis with its own battery-powered electric drivetrain and control systems to improve mileage, alongside power a plethora of amenities within its 22-foot-long floor plan with 80 kWhrs of power stored in a battery bank. Airstream notes that’s “more than 30 times the power of the lithium batteries that are included with many Airstream models today,” storing enough energy to operate a suite of onboard systems, including an air conditioner, without being connected to shore power, kitchen appliances, and even charge other electrically powered vehicles – or even a home – by exporting power from the electric drivetrain.
More importantly the battery system and motor combo offers a Drive Mode to help move that home away from home down the highway in concert with the tow vehicle, easing towing duties and essentially allowing the eStream to drive alongside the lead vehicle, improving aerodynamic drag by 20 percent and in turn, total range.
Off-the-grid recharge comes by way of a paneled roof covered with five 180-watt semi-flexible solar panels good for up to 900 watts of solar power from five 180-watt semi-flexible solar panels (with the option to charge up via 30-amp hookup). Airstream has doubled the amount of power available, meaning travelers can use a cooktop, refrigerator, or stove without the need for propane or a diesel generator, and up to two weeks time.
Noting the sad reality that many of us still work while on a vacation, the eStream Concept Travel Trailer is equipped with a 5G connectivity signal booster and Wi-Fi hotspot, which means you conceivably (but should not) check on emails/Slack instead of slacking off in comfort. But this also means travelers can pull-in signal to binge their favorite series at night or stream fave playlists while roasting marshmallows; Wi-Fi is also used to give travelers access to the eStream’s lighting and HVAC systems using voice commands or using a dedicated app, where all systems can be monitored and updated to preferences.
Airstream gave the concept eStream’s interior a bit of modern graphic flair to pair with the technological advances within.
For now the eStream exists as proof-of-concept, but one that likely will emerge as a real world product in the near future noting the proliferation of off-road capable electric vehicles like the Rivian and Ford F-150 Lightning that should pair rather nicely with this trailer designed to become an inviting off-the-grid mobile campsite.
At road.cc every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don’t intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product’s function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.What the road.cc scores mean
Good scores are more common than bad, because fortunately good products are more common than bad.
Not so good
Previously known as AfterShokz, the Shokz OpenRun Wireless Bone Conduction Sport Headphones are slim, comfy, and come with a handy fast-charge option so you’ll never have to leave for a ride without some music motivation. Plus, with the open-ear design you’ll be able to stay well aware of your surroundings on the road.
The OpenRun model is the quick-charge version of Shokz’s Aeropex bone conduction headphones which provide a buds-free listening experience. The point of its open-ear design is that it allows you to listen to music and traffic at the same time so you don’t have to compromise on safety while staying motivated as you ride outdoors.
The PremiumPitch 2.0+ audio technology included in this model is claimed to deliver ‘the widest dynamic stereo sound that bone conduction technology can offer’, with a deeper bass, less vibration and louder volume than previous iterations.
How do they cope with the demands of cycling?
Although the sound quality of the OpenRuns still doesn’t quite compare with standard earphones, it’s certainly good enough to keep you motivated at times on a ride, while benefiting from being able to stay aware on the roads.
1 / 7
2022 Shokz OpenRun Wireless Bone Conduction Sport Headphones – 2.jpg
Nevertheless, I did find that in strong winds the maximum volume simply can’t cope, and then if you’re deep into the city, all the traffic noise can really drown out the music. This is something that is comparable with another bone-conduction model I’ve been testing, Mojawa’s Mojo 1.
With the OpenRuns, overall the sound quality is very impressive across all volumes, although I have found that they can’t do bass as well as the Mojo 1s.
Fast and great value! | Vitus ZX-1 Evo and Vitesse Evo
The OpenRuns have two EQs (equalization modes) to choose from: the first is Standard Mode for listening to music, the other is Vocal Booster Mode, for clearer audio for podcasts and audiobooks. These modes do have subtle differences which provide a better experience for the different forms of listening. To change, press and hold both the + and – volume buttons.
The headphones are rated to the IP67 water-resistant standard which means they’ll work for at least half an hour in up to a metre of water. These are fully sweatproof so will cover you for intense workouts and have also worked completely fine after I was stuck in some prolonged rain on an outdoor ride. You should have no concerns wearing them in any cycling scenario; the only activity Shokz says these aren’t suitable for outside of cycling is swimming.
The wraparound titanium frame with a full silicone outer is incredibly comfy to wear and stable when riding. It’s a very slim and lightweight design (just 25g), that sits out of the way below your helmet’s retention system.
As well as for listening to music and podcasts, the OpenRuns have two microphones on the right side which can be used for phone calls.
The multifunction button on the left side deals with most of the controls. Press down to play and pause the music, change between songs as well as answer and end calls. The button is fairly small but I’ve found it to be very responsive and so works well.
The wireless headphones pair with your phone, tablet or laptop via Bluetooth 5.1, which provides a very fast and perfectly stable connection in my experience – I’ve not had any dropout issues.
It also has a range of up to 10m, which isn’t really necessary for bike rides – my phone stays with me in my jersey pocket at all times. But I did find this range was useful for off-the-bike scenarios such as going about day to day tasks in the house, grabbing my third coffee of the day while connected up to a laptop.
Battery life and charging
Shokz has added a 10-minute quick-charge which is said to guarantee you one and a half hours of listening time. In practice, I found it provided over an hour and 45 minutes, but not quite reaching the two-hour mark.
I write all about being prepared for bike rides to guarantee that you’ll get a workout in, so I know the theory, but sometimes I just can’t get around my forgetfulness. I have left the house many a time without charged headphones for this reason. I found those 10 minutes a really handy amount of time for gathering the rest of my gear, putting it on and going to the toilet just before picking these up on the way out the door with enough charge for a quick spin.
If you’ve managed to set aside enough time to charge these fully, the OpenRuns last up to around eight hours of continuous use, which is great as it’ll easily cover most steady endurance rides.
Their charging cable attaches via a magnetic clip, which is quicker and easier than attaching a USB-C cable, but you do have to keep track of the proprietary cable.
As well as the Solar Red model I have on test, the OpenRuns are available in Cosmic Black, Blue Eclipse and Lunar Grey.
The OpenRuns cost £129.95 and come with a two-year warranty, and although a little more expensive than quite a lot of the competition, they are a comfy, lightweight and reliable opton.
The Mojawa Mojo 1s are a little cheaper than the OpenRuns at £115.79, although they only come with a one-year warranty. I’ve been reviewing these too (with my full report on the way soon), and found they have a comparable battery life to the OpenRuns, while handling bass a lot better.
Overall, if you’re looking for headphones that’ll let you hear what’s going on around you while riding, the OpenRuns are a secure and comfy high quality option that come with a very handy fast-charging feature. You’ll certainly be happy with these, even though you can get a similar battery life and better bass production for a little less.
Lightweight, comfy open-ear headphones with a handy fast 10-minute charge providing just under two hours of riding motivation
About 48 percent of editors of autism-specific journals are women, according to a Spectrum analysis. That fraction is far higher than for neuroscience journals, for which just 30 percent of editors are women, according to a study published Monday in Nature Neuroscience.
The new study looked at editors at the top 50 English-language journals in neuroscience and psychology, as ranked by the Clarivate Analytics’ Science Citation Index Expanded list. Just five journals had an editorial board made up of at least 50 percent women: Nature Neuroscience,Nature Reviews Neuroscience, Nature Human Behavior, Progress in Neurobiology and Acta Neuropathologica Communications.
The findings mirror the underrepresentation of women among U.S. neuroscience faculty; women account for about 30 percent of full professors, 37 percent of associate professors and 45 percent of assistant professors, according to a 2019 analysis by BiasWatchNeuro, a website that tracks racial and gender representation in neuroscience and psychology. (BiasWatchNeuro is funded by a grant from the Simons Foundation, Spectrum’s parent organization.)
“Our findings reiterate what’s been shown in other fields,” says lead investigator Eleanor Palser, a postdoctoral scholar in neurology at the University of California, San Francisco. “Generally speaking, you have a preponderance of men on the editorial boards of these journals and also those affiliated with the U.S.”
Palser manually collected data on each editor’s perceived gender and country of affiliation, based on a publicly available biography or internet search. Those data revealed that 57 percent of neuroscience editors are based in North America (and 52 percent in the United States alone), whereas 29 percent are based in Europe, 9 percent in Asia, 1 percent in Latin America and less than 0.5 percent in Africa.
The fraction of women editors at autism-specific journals is far higher, according to a Spectrum analysis. Across three journals — Autism, Autism Research and the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders — nearly half of editors are women. But the country data are similarly skewed; more than 65 percent of autism editors are based in the United States and about 12 percent in the United Kingdom. Just one editor across the three journals is based in Africa (Petrus de Vries, a South African physician-scientist who was recently profiled by Spectrum).
Palser’s study is likely the first to quantify gender disparities on editorial boards for neuroscience journals, but similar work has been published in other fields. An analysis of the top 25 general surgery journals, published last year, found that just 20 percent of editorial board members and 11 percent of editors-in-chief are women.
Women are also less likely than men to author and publish neuroscience studies in leading journals. From 2019 to 2021, more than 17,000 authors of studies published in the Journal of Neuroscience, Neuron, Nature Neuroscience and eNeuron were men, whereas about 9,400 of authors were women, according to data collected by BiasWatchNeuro.
A first step toward parity is to quantify these gaps.
“We need to know the scope of the problem, or if there even is one, before we can remediate it,” Palser says.
Having few women editors, or few editors of diverse racial or ethnic backgrounds, can have real consequences in terms of which papers are peer reviewed and published in a journal, says Yael Niv, professor of psychology and neuroscience at Princeton University and co-founder of BiasWatchNeuro.
When a paper is submitted to a journal, an editor decides whether to reject it or send it out for peer review, often after glancing only at its title and abstract, Niv says. “This is such a potent place for biases because you have very little information about the paper itself.”
Journals with less diversity on their editorial boards “tend to get fewer submissions from people of color and be less favorable to research by people of color,” Niv adds. When editors of a psychology journal are white, about 4 percent of all publications mention the race of participants in the title or abstract, according to a 2020 study that drew on data from more than 26,000 psychology articles published between 1974 and 2018. When an editor is a person of color, by contrast, about 11 percent of papers printed in the journal mention participants’ race.
To counteract implicit biases, Niv says that journals should blind editors to the names and affiliations of authors on submitted papers.
“This won’t solve the problem of having more women editors, but it can reduce bias due to not having enough women editors, editors of color, or editors that aren’t from the U.S.,” Niv says.
To recruit and retain more female editors, journal editors-in-chief should also “acknowledge you have a deficit and publicly commit to addressing it,” says David Mandell, professor of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania and the outgoing editor-in-chief of Autism.
“We recently realized that our board contained a paucity of autistic people and people of color,” he says. “We called ourselves out in an editorial and now are working to address it.”
Mandell says editors should try to “recruit rising stars” to join their editorial board to increase diversity, because women who are full neuroscience professors are in the minority.
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected consumers’ behaviors and purchasing patterns; data-driven decision-making is even more crucial to ensure that companies’ products or services genuinely benefit users in times of uncertainty. The demand for SaaS products that enables online transactions has dramatically increased during Covid-19, according to CEO of UpflowyGuillaume Ang.
Upflowy thinks it has the tools to help businesses generate high-performing user flow. The Australia-based startup, which just raised $4 million, has built a platform that offers drag and drop tools for A/B testing and personalization on the web and mobile apps, and the best part is businesses don’t need to know any code to engage with it. The latest funding was led by Counterpart Ventures, in addition to returning investors Tidal, Global Founders Capital, Black Nova and Antler.
Getting visitors on a website or app to sign up for sales requires significant time and cost, and as a result, many businesses struggle to achieve that, Ang told TechCrunch. To help entrepreneurs and marketers, especially startups, boost conversion rates and user flows, Ang and two other founders, Matthew Browne and Alexandre Girard, founded Upflowy in 2020. The startup says, for too long, businesses have been dependent on development or engineering teams that are consumed with improving the products and don’t have time to support marketing endeavors.
Upflowy founders (from left to right): CTO Alex Girard, CIO Matthew Browne, CEO Guillaume Ang
The startup will use a good part of the new capital to enhance its platform capabilities by leveraging data science areas like predictive personalization and developing additional features. It also wants to support the team by increasing its headcount to over 30 full-time employees.
“After seeing low-engagement forms lead to as much as a 60% drop in conversion, translating into a huge waste of advertising spend presented a huge uplift opportunity for businesses. This is just the first step. More effectively qualifying leads to the right product and personalizing the sales approach is key to converting into sales,” Ang told TechCrunch. “Upflowy’s data visualization and A/B testing interface mean that understanding their customers’ drop-off and behavior becomes a lot clearer, paving the way for experimentation and optimization.”
Hundreds of businesses now use Upflowy, Ang said, adding that it has a range of clients from B2B tech, SaaS and healthcare to B2C companies like fashion brands and a national sports team.
With the latest improvements in weekly user growth for the last few weeks, the startup also has seen 40% growth in its activation rates and its monthly user base has doubled, according to Ang.
“The Australian tech scene is driving innovation globally. Upflowy was born out of this growing market of talent,” Ang said in a statement. “We are already active and tested on a global stage to provide the validation of our platform. A signup flow is often the first interaction a prospective customer has with a business, and we are the first to make it easy to create and take them to live – improving the flow of information and ultimately ensuring prospects can be moved through the funnel in a smarter way.”
The COVID-19 pandemic created a catalyst to start Upflowy as a remote company from the beginning. In the early stages of 2020, being a remote-first business was a fairly new concept, but the startup has been able to source talent from all over the world, Ang said. Upflowy is due to set up a base in the U.S. this year to increase its presence in the region.
“Upflowy has managed to solve an issue that nearly every company faced,” said former managing director of APAC Optimizely Dan Ross, who invested in Upflowy. “There are currently no other tools on the market that give teams the ability to quickly create, test and iterate on full sign-up flows and feed data straight into any other platform, which are looking to convert visitors into customers.”
“Modern organizations need simple, no-code solutions that remove the friction between data collection and customer experience,” Patrick Eggen, co-founder and general partner at Counterpart Ventures, said in a statement. “The market is full of clunky solutions that rely on engineers to create web experiences, which inhibits testing and improvement. Upflowy is in the unique position to re-envision this market, enabling teams to create the web experiences that consumers need and demand.”