Our preprint on brain-heart communication in athletes and sedentary young adults, available for peer review

Our recent research, revealing significant differences in how the brains of physically trained and sedentary young adults process information from the heart, is now available for commentary and formal peer review in two preprint repositories: SJS (@social_sjs) and bioRxiv (@biorxivpreprint). Each of these repositories comes with advantages and disadvantages. BioRxiv is already backed by a large community, provides a DOI for indexing and citing, and tracks article usage statistics across the web. Its big disadvantage is that, just like in any other repository, articles simply sit there waiting to be published in a traditional journal in order to acquire some quality indicator —no matter how inaccurate and perverse— that will inform readers and be useful for authors in the advancement of their careers. SJS, on the other hand, is the first and only repository that facilitates a formal peer review process. Its big disadvantage is that it is not yet supported by a big community that would ensure sustainability and greater visibility. Continue reading “Our preprint on brain-heart communication in athletes and sedentary young adults, available for peer review”


How to detect the B point in impedance cardiography

Our new article, published in Psychophysiology and freely available from my Publications page, compares the accuracy of the three algorithms for B point detection included in Biopac’s popular software Acknowledge. We found unexpected and dramatic differences in the accuracy of these three algorithms, with the one based on the third derivative of the impedance cardiogram performing significantly better. In our article, we also provide a decision tree to help in the manual detection of the B point, especially by young and inexperienced researchers.

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Our two recent papers uncover a novel relation between neural and cardiac indices of enhanced attention in young athletes

In two recent papers published in the Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports & Medicine, and in Scientific Reports, we showed that young athletes perform better in a sustained attention task compared to their sedentary counterparts. Interestingly, the benefits of exercise on attention are observed only during the first 30 minutes of the 1-hour task. After that, there are no differences in the performance of the two groups. We observe that during this enhanced attention period, athletes also exhibit significantly different EEG and heart period event-related potentials (ERPs). This novel finding points towards a previously unrecognised brain-heart interaction in the mediation of cognitive benefits induced by physical exercise. These interesting results on the role of regular exercise on attention have also attracted the attention of Spanish popular science journals.

Using existing infrastructure to transform peer review

A commentary I coauthored with Gary McDowell for the forthcoming ASAPbio conference on the future of preprints in Biology. It was originally published at the ASAPbio commentaries section: http://asapbio.org/open-scholar

In reforming the culture of peer review and moving towards a system that embraces the use and recognition of pre-print servers, we are cognizant of the need to avoid re-inventing the wheel, by identifying and using existing infrastructure and initiatives that can assist in furthering this goal. Continue reading “Using existing infrastructure to transform peer review”

How to negotiate with publishers: an example of immediate self-archiving despite publisher’s embargo policy

In this post I share a recent experience as an example of how to negotiate with a publisher your right to make your research freely available without having to pay any money. Hope it proves useful to more researchers in a similar position. I also offer my personal opinion on how researchers can change the current inefficient and unethical system of scholarly communication by gradually developing an alternative model that will foster collaboration instead of competition. Continue reading “How to negotiate with publishers: an example of immediate self-archiving despite publisher’s embargo policy”

Reconsiderando el asma: ¿es realmente crónico e incurable?

En esta carta se busca revisar las pruebas que demuestren que la definición actual del asma como una inflamación crónica de las vías respiratorias no está corroborada científicamente. Lo más problemático es que esta definición está alejando al mundo científico de intervenciones terapéuticas cuyos resultados positivos han sido corroborados en numerosos ensayos clínicos.

asthmainhalerEn los años 50 se definía el asma como una obstrucción reversible de las vías respiratorias causada por la hiperreactividad del musculo liso bronquial a varios agentes químicos.

En línea con esta definición, gran parte de la investigación que se ha llevado a cabo sobre el asma se ha centrado en identificar los agentes que podían desencadenar una contracción del músculo liso bronquial, fenómeno conocido también como broncoconstricción o broncoespasmo. Es muy destacable que uno de los agentes descubiertos era el dióxido de carbono, gas que nuestro organismo produce en el proceso metabólico y que expulsa por la exhalación. Un gran número de estudios experimentales demostraron que una reducción de los niveles de dióxido de carbono, fenómeno conocido como hipocapnia, causa broncoconstricción, mientras que niveles altos de dióxido de carbono inducen broncodilatación debido a la relajación del músculo liso (referencias de la 9 a la 22 en Bruton and Holgate 2005 y referencias 1-10 en Lindeman, et al. 1998). Ya que la respiración regula los niveles de dióxido de carbono, este descubrimiento dio impulso a una serie de estudios clínicos que buscaban analizar los efectos del entrenamiento respiratorio en los síntomas del asma. La mayoría de estos estudios obtuvieron resultados positivos, representados por una reducción substancial del uso de broncodilatadores y corticosteroides y una mejora en la calidad de vida (para una revisión sistemática léase Burgess et al. 2011). Continue reading “Reconsiderando el asma: ¿es realmente crónico e incurable?”