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News From ‘Frontiers’

Frontiers in Psychology

Navigating comics: an empirical and theoretical approach to 6 strategies of reading comic page layouts

How do people navigate through the panels of comic book pages, and why do some people find it so hard to figure out which image comes next? Most people believe that the reading of comic pages moves along the same order as text: the “z-path” of left-to-right and down. This paper reports the findings of a psychology experiment showing that readers follow a far more complex process of page layout navigation than the z-path. These results suggest that people follow several constraints guided by an underlying hierarchic structure, and this knowledge appears to be modulated by the experience people have in reading comics. Altogether, this paper shows that the strategies used to read comics are far more complex than standard written language.

URL: http://www.frontiersin.org/Cognitive_Science/10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00186/abstract

Frontiers in Physiology

Respiratory and cardiovascular response during electronic control device exposure in trainees

Law enforcement represents a large population of workers who may be exposed to electronic control devices (ECDs). With the number of adverse events occurring proximal to exposure, concern has been raised on the direct impact of exposure on respiration and the cardiac cycle. However, little is known about the potential effect of exposure to these devices on respiration or cardiovascular response during current discharge. Participants in the study were members of law enforcement exposed to 5 seconds of an (Taser X26®) as a component of training. Participants were asked to inhale during exposure to ensure that trainees exhibited breathing activity during the brief period of exposure. The exposure period resulted in the cessation of normal breathing patterns in all participants and in particular a decrease in inspiratory activity. No significant changes in heart rate during exposure were found. This is the first study to examine breathing patterns during exposure with the resolution to detect changes over this discrete period of time. In contrast to reports suggesting respiration is unaffected by ECDs, present evidence suggests that voluntary inspiration is severely compromised. There is no evidence of cardiac disruption during exposure.

URL: http://www.frontiersin.org/Integrative_Physiology/10.3389/fphys.2013.00078/abstract

Frontiers in Neuroscience (Published earlier)

Restoration of upper limb movement via artificial corticospinal and musculospinal connections in a monkey with

Functional loss of limb control in individuals with spinal cord injury or stroke can be caused by interruption of the neural pathways between brain and spinal cord, although the neural circuits located above and below the lesion remain functional. An artificial neural connection that bridges the lost pathway and connects brain to spinal circuits has potential to ameliorate the functional loss. Researchers investigated the effects of introducing a novel artificial neural connection which bridged a spinal cord lesion in a paretic monkey. This allowed the monkey to electrically stimulate the spinal cord through volitionally controlled brain activity and thereby to restore volitional control of the paretic hand. This study demonstrates that artificial neural connections can compensate for interrupted descending pathways and promote volitional control of upper limb movement after damage of neural pathways such as spinal cord injury or stroke.

URL: http://www.frontiersin.org/Neural_Circuits/10.3389/fncir.2013.00057/abstract