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.

Report back from the COAR 2016 annual meeting

Last week I attended the COAR (@COAR_eV) 2016 annual meeting hosted by the University of Vienna. I was invited by COAR’s executive director Kathleen Shearer to give a talk on peer review on top of repository networks and to participate in a working group that will discuss and provide recommendations for “Next Generation Repositories”. Continue reading “Report back from the COAR 2016 annual meeting”

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 on 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.

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?”

My new Facebook page on breathing education is launched

This week I launched a new Facebook page on breathing education. The idea is to regularly upload information, images and tips on breathing normalisation. Hopefully it will become a new space for information exchange and debate on respiratory and general health issues.

You can like and follow the page here: https://www.facebook.com/educacionrespiratoria

Asthma revisited: is it really chronic and incurable?

In this article I review evidence showing that the current definition of asthma as chronic airway inflammation is not scientifically substantiated. Importantly, this problematic definition is distracting the medical community away from inexpensive therapeutic interventions that have proven to be remarkably efficient in numerous clinical trials. Read the published version of this article here.

Back in the 1950s asthma was defined as a reversible airway obstruction caused by the hyperresponsiveness of the Airway Smooth Muscle (ASM) to a variety of agents. Consistent with this definition, a large part of research on asthma focused in identifying several agents that could trigger a contraction of the ASM, also known as bronchoconstriction or bronchospasm.

Interestingly, carbon dioxide —a gas that our organism produces with metabolism and expels through exhalation— was found to be one of those agents. A large body of experimental evidence demonstrated that a reduction in carbon dioxide concentrations, known as hypocapnia, causes bronchoconstriction, while high carbon dioxide levels induce bronchodilation through relaxation of the ASM (references 9–22  in Bruton & Holgate, 2005 and references 1–10 in Lindeman et al., 1998). Since carbon dioxide levels are directly regulated by breathing, these findings stimulated a series of clinical studies testing the effects of breathing training on asthma symptoms. Most of these studies reported positive outcomes marked by a substantial reduction in the use of bronchodilators and corticosteroids, and improved quality of life (for a systematic review of clinical trials see Burgess et al., 2011). Continue reading “Asthma revisited: is it really chronic and incurable?”