Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 11th 2017 Contents Your cognitive capacity is signif-
icantly reduced when your smart-
phone is within reach---even if it's off.
That's the takeaway finding from a
new study from the McCombs School
of Business at The University of Tex-
as at Austin.
McCombs Assistant Professor Adrian
Ward and co-authors conducted experi-
ments with nearly 800 smartphone users
in an attempt to measure, for the first
time, how well people can complete tasks
when they have their smartphones near-
by even when they're not using them.
In one experiment, the research-
ers asked study participants to sit at a
computer and take a series of tests that
required full concentration in order to
The tests were geared to measure par-
ticipants' available cognitive capacity---
that is, the brain's ability to hold and
process data at any given time.
Before beginning, participants were
randomly instructed to place their
smartphones either on the desk face
down, in their pocket or personal bag,
or in another room. All participants were
instructed to turn their phones to silent.
The researchers found that partici-
pants with their phones in another room
significantly outperformed those with
their phones on the desk, and they also
slightly outperformed those participants
who had kept their phones in a pocket
The findings suggest that the mere
presence of one's smartphone reduces
available cognitive capacity and impairs
cognitive functioning, even though peo-
ple feel they're giving their full attention
and focus to the task at hand.
(University of Texas at Austin)
A22 body & soul
guardian.co.tt Tuesday, July 11, 2017
linked to common
Scientists from the University of Birmingham
and Norwich Research Park have discovered a
link between a major mechanism of antibiotic
resistance and resistance to the disinfectant tri-
closan which is commonly found in domestic
Researchers made the unexpected finding that bac-
teria that mutated to become resistant to quinolone
antibiotics also became more resistant to triclosan.
The scientists showed that the quinolone-resist-
ance mutation altered the way the bacteria package
their DNA inside a cell and that these mutants had
also turned on various self-defence mechanisms---
together these gave triclosan resistance.
Quinolone antibiotics are an important and pow-
erful group of human medicines, and this new dis-
covery raises concerns that the use of triclosan can
give antimicrobial resistance.
The research, carried out at the Institute of Micro-
biology and Infection at the University of Birming-
ham in collaboration with The Quadram Institute
and John Innes Centre based at Norwich Research
Park, was published in the Journal of Antimicrobial
Corresponding author Dr Mark Webber, from the
Quadram Institute and Honorary Senior Lecturer at
the University of Birmingham, said: "We think that
bacteria are tricked into thinking they are always under
attack and are then primed to deal with other threats
including triclosan. The worry is that this might hap-
pen in reverse and triclosan exposure might encourage
growth of antibiotic resistant strains.
Co-author Professor Laura Piddock, of the Insti-
tute of Microbiology and Infection at the University
of Birmingham, said: "The link between quinolone
and triclosan resistance is important as triclosan has
become ubiquitous in the environment and even hu-
man tissues in the last 20 years."
"Given the prevalence of triclosan and other anti-
microbials in the environment, a greater understand-
ing of the impact they can have on bacteria and how
exposure to these antimicrobials may impact the
selection and spread of clinically relevant antibiotic
resistance is needed."
In the last decade there has been an explosion in
the marketing of products aimed at the home market
labelled as 'antimicrobial'
There is also largely a lack of evidence for additional
benefits of these products over traditional cleaning
and hygiene products (e.g. bleach, soap and water).
There has, however, been concern raised that the
active antimicrobial ingredients for some of these
products are accumulating in the environment where
they are altering ecosystems and potentially promot-
ing selection of antibiotic resistant bacteria.
Triclosan, in particular, has been the cause for some
concern which has led to a ban across the EU and now
USA in its use in hygiene products (hand, skin and
body washes). Many other antimicrobial agents are,
however, still used in these products.
(University of Birmingham)
Mere presence of smartphones reduces brain power, study shows
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