Islanders will again at discounted prices from island to island

first_imgIf the Draft Proposal of the Law on Amendments to the Law on Transport in Liner and Occasional Coastal Maritime Transport, adopted by the Government at the last session on April 28, is adopted, the islanders will again be able to travel from island to island at preferential prices. transmitted by Zadarski list.Croatian and foreign nationals residing on the islands or on the Pelješac Peninsula, as well as nationals of the Member States of the European Economic Area and members of their families, regardless of their nationality, who have registered temporary residence and who have at least 183 days in one year reside on the islands or the Peljesac peninsula.Businessmen, family farms, studentsFurthermore, it is proposed that the right to preferential transport is exercised by children older than three to 12 years of age, vehicles of natural persons and foreign citizens and vehicles of lessees residing on the island, registered with the competent administrative body in the Republic of Croatia. vehicles registered in crafts, family farms, freelancers and leasing users with the seat of vehicle users on the island, and vehicles are registered in the competent administrative body in the Republic of Croatia, health professionals and other public services (police, armed forces, firefighters, port authority) whose is a permanent place of work on the island and their official vehicles used on the island, health professionals and their official vehicles in the regular transport of patients from the island to the mainland and vice versa, other persons who acquire this right under special regulations.Pupils and students residing on the island, who travel daily to a school or higher education institution outside the island, pupils and students residing on the island who temporarily stay outside the island for schooling, and come to the island on weekends, will be entitled to free public transport. who attend the compulsory preschool program outside the island of their residence, as well as pupils and students studying on the island of their residence and children attending the preschool program on the island of their residence, for activities outside the island of their residence, children from 1 to 3 years old, pensioners and persons over 65 years of age residing on the island, health professionals and their official vehicles in performing emergency transport of patients from the island to the mainland and vice versa, police officers and their official vehicles in performing duties on islands, employees of other public services (police, armed forces , firefighters, the Harbor Master ‘s Office and the GSS) and their official vehicles in the case disasters and in cases of emergencies and search and rescue, with the consent of the Agency.The amount of the discount, it is stated, can be up to 50 percent of the regular season ticket price, and is prescribed by the Minister of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure, and most importantly, the right to preferential discount passenger transport and free passenger transport can be exercised on all connecting lines. islands with the mainland and islands with each other.Urgent procedureAmendments to the Law on Transport in Liner and Occasional Coastal Maritime Transport were, among other things, less than a month ago the topic of conversation between representatives of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure, the Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds and members of the Island Parliament with President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović. her official visit to Zadar County. Although many at the time were skeptical of the announced changes, it seems that the “thing” has moved from the deadlock.Denis Barić, the first man of the Island Parliament, does not hide his satisfaction that the Draft went to the urgent parliamentary procedure so quickly ” According to the proposed draft law, navigation schedules will no longer be able to be passed without the consent of local self-government units, and I think these changes will most please island businessmen who will be able to transport goods to other islands at a discounted price, which I believe will be much more profitable than so far, says Barić and adds that he hopes that the islanders will use the new / old rights that were revoked less than two years ago this summer.”Finally, there is little reason and we sincerely hope that the Amendments to the Law on Transport in Liner and Occasional Coastal Maritime Transport will be passed unanimously, ie that it will be adopted by Parliament. If we want life on the islands that is the least that can be done and only logically, it is absurd that today I am writing about it at all as big news. Certainly how this should only be the beginning of the revitalization and revitalization of our islands because if we do not want our islands to be deserted, and we do not want to, then concrete steps must happen immediately.Islands and residents do not have the time nor do they deserve to wait for years for positive change.Source: Zadarski listlast_img read more

A great celebration of the 2400th anniversary of the founding of the Old Town

first_imgThis year, the Old Town on the island of Hvar marks an exceptional anniversary – 2400 years since the founding of the town and just as many traditions of urban living on the sunniest island in the Adriatic. The Old Town of the 21st century is a small tourist town whose main feature is a layered history that is chained by many of its ingredients in a universal, especially Mediterranean area. The great anniversary marked this year is a confirmation of centuries of continuity, but also a pledge of the future.”The celebration of the 2400th anniversary of the founding of the Old Town was accompanied by many cultural, sports and entertainment events. Whether you are a fan of klapa songs or more inclined to sports activities in the coming months you will be able to find something for yourself in the Old Town. ” they point out from the Tourist Board of the town of Stari Grad and come as it isThe whole of 2016 is dedicated to this anniversary, but a central celebration will take place from 7 to 11 September and numerous events are planned for it, such as the festival of the sea and sailors Days in the Bay, a symposium on the theme of anniversaries, lectures, workshops, gastronomic events, concerts and exhibitions.Klapa singing, which has been on the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage since 2012, is also a part of the life of the islanders, so don’t be surprised if you hear the klapa singing in front of a cafe or on the waterfront for no particular reason. Singing in a klapa is a way of life in the city, thanks to the Faro canadaturs who invite you to a concert Evening from the canton, meeting of island klapa singers, May 28 in the Old Town on St. Stephen’s Square starting at 20:30. And how Croatian city music This year, the Old Town is celebrating its 140th anniversary, and they have prepared a cycle of concerts that will take place throughout the summer with surprise guests.The first concert will be held on June 08 on Škor Square, starting at 20:30, and the Hvar City Music will perform, while on June 14, the guests will arrive klapa Cambi from Split who will hold a concert on Škor Square starting at 21:00. If you are a recreational cyclist or even a professional cyclist, visit Stari Grad on June 11 and 12 when a bicycle race will take place. By bike through the heritage. The race is run through Starogradsko polje, which has been under the protection of UNESCO and the surrounding villages since 2008. Of course, nothing without a good party, so after the announcement of the winner of this year’s race, you will be entertained by a group Gustafi on Tvrdalj Square at 22:00. Traditionally, Old Town caterers invite you to a gastronomic event on June 13th On Bon Pro and in honor of the 2400th anniversary of the founding of the Old Town will prepare dishes from ancient cuisine.You can follow the entire program of the event on the official one website manifestations.last_img read more

Meet the new souvenirs of Mali Lošinj

first_imgWith the aim of promoting, encouraging the initiative for quality design of indigenous souvenirs and products, affirmation and approach to citizens and guests, the Tourist Board of Mali Lošinj for the tenth year in a row selects original souvenirs of Mali Lošinj.A total of 2016 authors applied for the public call for the selection of the Original Lošinj Souvenir for 5 with a proposal of eleven different unique products. Based on the criteria: quality of workmanship and achieved recognizability, originality, economic accessibility and practicality and possible applicability in everyday use, the expert commission selected eleven souvenirs that will be certified with the label of the Original Lošinj Souvenir.The certificate itself is proof that the souvenir, in addition to artistic and design originality and quality workmanship from natural materials, also expresses the recognizability of its origin associated with the Cres-Lošinj archipelago. It is important that each souvenir tells the guest a story related to tradition, history and customs, so the authors are obliged to tell that story through inspiration, motivation and description of the materials from which the products are made, as well as the method of production. The objects are unique, original, inspired by the landscape of the Cres-Lošinj archipelago, and each object has its own design.Eleven products from Lošinj manufacturers will carry the certificate of Original Lošinj Souvenirs in 2016, and the selected authors are: Sonja Gulam, Čazim Mehmeti, Ana Slaviček Brečić, Sandra Nicolich and Petricia Podda.The Tourist Board of the City of Mali Lošinj will promote certified souvenirs through its own Web pages in seven languages ​​(Croatian, Italian, German, English, Slovenian, French and Russian).Sonja Gulam – fish-shaped soap holder As one of the oldest and most important plant crops, the olive tree has strongly marked the life of the islanders. Hard and solid wood of the olive tree were used to make handles for tools, furniture and other household items, and Sonja Gulam also made a holder for a fish-shaped soap dish coated with olive oil, since in Christianity the olive is a symbol of God’s providence and care for God’s children, and the fish a symbol of Christ and baptism.Čazim Mehmeti – replicas of ancient oil lamps in Osor Ceramic oil lamps were created in the time of antiquity in Osor, when many master pottery workshops made oil lamps from excavated clay from the islands of Cres and Lošinj, which were used for lighting. The motifs of Čazimir Mehmeti are associated with a certain master pottery workshop of ancient times, whose originals can be seen in the Lošinj Museum – Archaeological Collection Osor.Ana Slaviček Brečić – 7 textile products with different motifs (Apoxyomenos, Susak) – T-shirts, pendants Numerous charms of the island of Lošinj inspired Ana Slaviček Brečić to make hand-painted and 100% cotton textile products. The island of Lošinj means a lot to me and inspires me at every step and I am very glad when someone recognizes my work as part of Lošinj. This time, I found inspiration in Apoxyomenos, that is, in his “design of visual identity.” The simplicity of that design inspired me to come up with a few t-shirt designs that I painted by hand. Workshops as part of the project “Let the light not burn”, which took place for two days on the island of Susak, also inspired me to present the luxury of their folk costumes in a modern way. Also, the flora and fauna of the island of Lošinj is an inexhaustible inspiration in my eyes. I try to make and design every souvenir so that it is usable and wearable on every occasion and that it suits everyone, regardless of age. My main goal is for people to accept it as a desirable memory of the wonderful days spent on Lošinj. For that reason, the certificate of the Original Lošinj Souvenir means a lot to me and it is a step closer so that as many people as possible get to know my work, said the author Ana Slaviček Brečić.Sandra Nicolich – Lošinj fragrant candy The candy (hard candy without filling) is made with the addition of the natural aroma of the characteristic Lošinj pine. It is adapted to the modern technological process and certificates of confectionery products. Aromatic candy is intended for all guests of the island as a sweet reminder of Lošinj and Lošinj’s fragrances.Petrica Podda – sheep made of real wool Sheep used to be a major part of life on the island. Handmade from natural materials on Lošinj, designed for all generations, the author uses selected pieces of island sheep wool to make souvenirs.last_img read more

The first Eco Art Festival in Croatia on the island of Mljet

first_imgThe first ECO ART FESTIVAL in Croatia will be held on the island of Mljet.Eco Art Festival is a new program of the Tourist Board of Mljet, and is held as part of a cultural summer that will enrich the offer of the island with interactive creative workshops. The program was created in collaboration with the designer Milena Ulić, the first in the world to patent lace jewelry intended for direct application to the body and thus, we can freely say, conquered the world.”Since we live on one of the most beautiful islands, our intention is to encourage as many tourists and locals as possible to think about the importance of preserving nature and the environment. From July to the end of August, a series will be held at various locations on the island thematically different workshops, and on last in line, in Pomena, There will be a fashion show of a humanitarian character, where the models will wear jewelry, clothes and brooches made by the participants during the creative workshops. ” points out Andrea Anelic, director of the Tourist Board of the Municipality of Mljet.ECO ART FESTIVAL will contain a series of educational and entertainment events intended for domestic and foreign guests and the local population. Different creative workshops will be organized 5 times at different locations on the island of Mljet and enable participants to explore and upgrade personal creativity through socializing and entertainment, with the aim of raising awareness about nature conservation.The programs of the workshops, lasting 2 hours, will be dedicated to ecology, developing environmental awareness and habits in everyday life through the production of souvenirs from debris, decorations, brooches from ecological materials in order to preserve the environment and nature around us.TERMS: July 21st Saplunara, July 25st Okuklje, July 29st Sobra, 1. August Slow down and 18. August PomenaCreative workshops are a great way to spend quality free time through which participants discover their potential, increase self-confidence and express their creative potential through their creative work. By organizing creative workshops, we will improve the image of the island of Mljet, enrich the cultural and social life of the local population, promote the specifics of the local area, indigenous potentials, all in order to protect nature and sustainable development and improve the quality of life of Mljet. “We believe that this festival will come to life and become a tradition on our green island. The tourist season has started well and we are very satisfied because since the beginning of the year, compared to last year, we have recorded an increase of 11 percent in the number of arrivals and overnight stays. ” concludes Anelic.Be a part of this great tourist story and definitely visit Mljet, the most beautiful and wooded island in the Adriatic, because it is not said by chance that the one who comes to Mljet once, always returns to it.Program of Eco ART Festival, Mljet Saplunara: making useful and decorative objects, such as jewelry, from alluvium and decepage techniques on alluvium. Saplunara has a problem with garbage, considering that it is open all the way to Albania, so the sea constantly brings various items.Okuklje: textile recycling, making jewelry from old textiles and other waste, plastic, etc.… Since Okuklje is the first inhabited place on the Adriatic, the emphasis on the importance of further preserving the place in its original form.Sobra: Painting clothes with eco frendly colors is currently a hit in the world.Polače: making brooches. In antiquity, clothing was formed, fastened with decorative needles, which we could say are the forerunners of brooches.Meaning: body paint and fashion show of made objects at workshops and presentation of the collection of designer Milena Ulić.TERMS: July 21st Saplunara, July 25st Okuklje, July 29st Sobra, 1. August Slow down and 18. August Pomenalast_img read more

The program of the 3rd Family Accommodation Forum in Zadar has been announced

first_imgThe Croatian Chamber of Commerce and the Croatian National Tourist Board are organizing the 3rd National Family Accommodation Forum (FOS), November 15-17.11.2016, XNUMX. in the sports hall Višnjik in Zadar.This year you have the opportunity to discuss current issues, hear about the experiences of colleagues in the country and Europe, meet new domestic products and services for family accommodation and find out who was awarded in the action “Tourist Flower – Quality for Croatia”. Some of the topics to be discussed are branding, ie labeling of family accommodation, which in Croatia is often called recategorization, with the aim of harmonizing quality standards and better positioning in the market and increasing competitiveness by entrepreneurship is becoming a new model. business.last_img read more

The City of Zagreb has introduced taxi stickers in the fight against illegal taxi carriers

first_imgIn the presence of representatives of the taxi company and Mayor Milan Bandić, special taxi stickers were presented yesterday in front of the City Administration building, which should facilitate the work of legal taxi drivers.With this move, as they point out from the City of Zagreb, passengers will be able to clearly see on the stickers who they are riding with and at what rate. “Considering that the supervisory services noticed numerous irregularities and illegal performance of autotaxi activities in the area of ​​Zagreb, we were looking for a simple solution in order to put an end to this.” said the executive director of Radio Taxi Zagreb, Jozo Kovačević.This way, a clear message is sent to illegal taxi carriers, which is absolutely fine, but also the message is indirectly, in our opinion, sent to Uber, against which spears are broken in Zagreb and Split. Uber recently reduced transportation prices by 25 percent in Zagreb, and expanded to Split. Dissatisfaction and various pressures with the arrival of Uber on our market, by other taxi carriers, have been going on since the first days.In addition to passengers, the stickers will facilitate the work of supervisory services, such as the municipal police, the Road Traffic Inspectorate and the Interior Ministry, it was pointed out at a press conference. “Irregularities are to the detriment of end users, citizens and many tourists, so we need to arrange the service and operate according to clear rules. These stickers will help passengers feel safe as soon as they sit in the vehicle” said Dubravko Mahović, head of the Department for Public City, Road and Taxi Traffic.The mayor of Zagreb, Milan Bandić, said that the stickers will be on all city taxis by the end of November, and will be issued free of charge. An application has also been launched e-Taxi, which will allow a quick overview and search of the database. Also, the data will be in English to prevent fraud by foreigners, and inspectors and Communal stewards will be able to read the bar code from the stickers for quick verification of the correctness of the vehicle.It is absolutely necessary to regulate the market, but it is also necessary to ensure a free market for everyone, including Uber. We should let the market only regulate, ie fair play, and leave consumers the option of freedom of choice to decide for themselves what is better and better for them.last_img read more

Andrija Čolak, Surf’n’Fries: Return on investment of mobile Surf’n’Fries stands is 45 days

first_imgAccording to the Croatian National Bank (CNB), in 2016, revenues in tourism from foreign guests (excluding domestic consumption) amounted to 8 billion and 635 million euros, which compared to 2015 (7 billion and 962 million euros), represents a growth of 8,5 percent, or 673 million euros.This year as things stand in terms of attendance in the first four months and never better booking, especially from the German market, we can also expect another record tourist season. And the greatest power of tourism is precisely that tourism is not one branch of industry, but horizontally and vertically connects various other industries, ie tourist consumption is dispensed into various economic sectors. Thus, not only travel agencies and accommodation providers have a direct financial benefit, but also many other entrepreneurs in tourism, both new and old, as an upgrade to their business.One of the branches of small and micro entrepreneurship is certainly Surf’n’Fries mobile “stands” and trailers that are designed as a perfect way to sell french fries on the beaches in tourist places or fairs, events, festivals and the like.In a conversation with Andrija Čolak, the founder of the Surf’n’Fries franchise and co-founder of the Kisha smart umbrella, I learned how the franchise model works and what opportunities are emerging for new entrepreneurs in tourism through Surf’n’Fries mobile stands. By the way, Surf’n’Fries is another successful Croatian entrepreneurial story whose franchise is spreading around the world day by day, and their success is mostly based on innovation, branding, packaging and point of sale design and franchise model and application of oil-free technology.There are currently over 20 Surf’n’Fries mobile stands in operation in Croatia along the Adriatic coast, which have just been made just for the beaches and in response to market demand for them, which is another innovation from the Surf’n’Fries team. And. “In the beginning we had a lot of inquiries for just such a product and we developed it over time and today it is one of our most successful concepts we have.”Points out Andrija Čolak and adds that through the franchise model of mobile stands they have had excellent cooperation with partners for seven years and that the whole concept works well on the ground to the satisfaction of all parties.Surf’n’Fries mobile stands are equipped with a 14 KW fryer with two pools of 10 liters each, which is powered by gas from standard bottles. Surf n Fries – Mobil meets all legal requirements, so it is made of stainless steel, it is completely certified, and as far as sanitary conditions are concerned, the facility has a built-in space for washing hands with hot and cold water, faucet on the sensor and waste water tank . All you need is electricity, a good location and an entrepreneurial spirit.When asked which is the franchise model with the most famous brand for the sale of French fries, Čolak immediately and transparently points out all the conditions, which certainly convinces confidence in a serious partner and a high level of professionalism. “The deductible is 9.400 euros + VAT, and if the entrepreneur has a good location, he can usually return the entire investment in 45 days, which is more than great. We give him full support, from employee training, warranty on technical elements, distribution and delivery of all goods and packaging, and advise him to facilitate the whole process at the beginning to get on a sound foundation as soon as possible. “Pointed out Čolak and added that in accordance with the franchise agreement, ie royalties, it amounts to 5% of the turnover.The interest in Croatia for mobile stands is great, points out Čolak and adds that the two most common problems are. The first is that people do not have enough capital needed for a franchise, and the second and biggest is getting a concession. “In our country, this is quite poorly set, as an example, decisions for concessions are made at the end of May, which is already quite late for business decisions. If decisions were made during the winter, entrepreneurs would have a lot of time to prepare because we are talking about micro and small entrepreneurship. ” said Colak. In business terms, this is very bad and stifles entrepreneurship instead of encouraging it, as is best seen in this example. The issue of concessions has always been a hot topic on the ground that is subject to manipulation by local political powerbrokers. Unfortunately, even today, in most cases, the rule applies: Who is closer and stronger than fire, and not who is more innovative, enterprising and capable.However, as the innovation is in the DNA of the Surf’n’Fries story, Čolak has found a solution, ie a business model that “bypasses” the problem of concessions. That is why most often mobile stands are taken by caterers who already have a permit through their catering facilities in order to earn extra money, and also increase the turnover in their facility – logically, after consuming food, something must be drunk. “It is an excellent example of our partner on Ciovo, who has a beach bar and has upgraded its offer with a mobile stand. He has been working with us for six years and has done a great job. When the “peak” of the tourist season is, he sells 500 portions a day and thus significantly increases his income, but also doubles the income of the bar, because as people eat, they have the need to drink after consuming food. He rounded out the whole process and it’s definitely a great example and business model. “Points out Colak and adds that precisely because it has proven to be a good business model and” solution “to the problem of concessions, they are targeting entrepreneurs who already have catering facilities to upgrade their business.In addition to Surf’n’Fries mobile stands, out of a similar need, a new innovative product was born – Surf’n’Fries Trailer, ie a trailer intended for the needs of major events, festivals and fairs. ” Since mobile stands weigh over 300 kg, they are difficult to move, so we have developed another format – surf n fries trailer. Just targeted for events. It is a trailer in which everything is set up and ready for work immediately at any location, wherever an event, festivals, fairs are held…”Concluded Colak and added that the same conditions apply for the franchise, but as this is a much more serious and demanding entrepreneur story, so the amount of the franchise is higher, ie it amounts to 28.000 Euros + VATAs a “proof of concept”, Čolak boasted that just last week their partner, ie the franchise holder in Germany, sold 496 portions at the stadium as part of a football match in an hour and a half, which is an absolute record so far.If you are interested in this story and if you have an interest in becoming a part Surf’n’Fries family through a franchise model, see a little more information in the presentations attached. It’s not just about accommodation, the opportunities for earning money in tourism are many, tourists are there, we just have to offer them as much diverse content as possible.Surf’n’Fries presentation 1last_img read more

Do sex and violence sell? Maybe not, says new study

first_imgEmail The researchers found that violence appeared to have the greatest influence, but in a negative way. Brands advertised during commercial breaks in violent media were remembered less often, evaluated less favorably, and less likely to be purchased than brands advertised in nonviolent media.Sexual content had a little influence, but not as much. Brands advertised during commercial breaks in media with sexual overtones were viewed less favorably than those advertised in media with no sexual content, but there was little difference in viewers’ brand memory or intention to buy.The researchers also looked at the content of the advertisements themselves. While they found no significant effects of violent or sexual content in advertisements, they did note that in a few studies when media content and ad content were congruent (e.g., a violent ad in violent media or a sexual ad in sexual media), viewers were more likely to remember the ads and had a stronger intention to buy the product. As the sexual content of an ad increased (i.e., from suggestive poses to full frontal nudity) viewers’ memory, attitudes and buying intentions all decreased, Lull said.“It’s not that people aren’t attracted to sex and violence,” said Lull. “On the contrary, people have been attracted to sex and violence since evolutionary times, when attending to violent cues prevented our ancestors from being killed by enemies or predators and paying attention to sexual cues attuned our ancestors to potential reproductive opportunities.”However, while violence and sex attract attention, it’s at the expense of surrounding content that is neither violent nor sexual, according to Lull. People pay more attention to the violence and the sex surrounding ads, both in programs and the ads themselves, than to the actual products being advertised. Consequently, memory, attitudes and buying intentions all decrease, he said.“Our findings have tremendous applied significance, especially for advertisers,” said Bushman. “Sex and violence do not sell, and in fact they may even backfire by impairing memory, attitudes and buying intentions for advertised products. Thus, advertisers should think twice about sponsoring violent and sexual programs, and about using violent and sexual themes in their ads.” Advertisers hoping to sway consumers might want to rethink running spots within media with violent or sexual themes, and might do better if the ads themselves have a G-rating, according to a study published by the American Psychological Association. Instead, violent and sexual media content may impair advertising’s effectiveness and ultimately deter purchasing, the research found.“We found almost no evidence that violent and sexual programs and ads increased advertising effectiveness,” said Brad J. Bushman, PhD, professor of communication and psychology at The Ohio State University, and a co-author on the study, which appeared in the journal Psychological Bulletin. “In general, we found violent and sexual programs, and ads with violent or sexual content decreased advertising effectiveness.”Bushman and lead author Robert B. Lull, PhD, a doctoral candidate at The Ohio State University at the time of the research, conducted a meta-analysis of 53 studies comprising 8,489 participants that were conducted through 2014. The goal was to determine the influences of violent and sexual content on advertising effectiveness as measured by brand memory, brand attitudes and buying intentions. The studies focused on a variety of media, including movies, television programs, video games and print. Some studies looked not only at violent and sexual content in the media themselves but also the content of the advertisements. Share Share on Twittercenter_img LinkedIn Pinterest Share on Facebooklast_img read more

How cells in the developing ear ‘practice’ hearing

first_imgPinterest Email Share on Twitter Share LinkedIncenter_img Scientists, Bergles says, already knew that hair cells and nearby “supporting” cells in the developing inner ear show synchronous bursts of activity that are triggered by release of the “energy” chemical ATP, which is also used as a potent communication signal. This activity is then conveyed to the brain in the same way that sound-evoked information is, leading to burst firing of neurons in different auditory centers of the brain. What was unknown was how ATP activates hair cells.To find out, Bergles and his team homed in on biochemical elements of the system and found that chloride ion channels in the supporting cells seemed crucial. They knew that ATP triggers a rise in calcium levels inside supporting cells, so they guessed that the calcium was the cue for a calcium-activated chloride channel to open.An analysis of gene activity in the supporting cells pointed to involvement of the TMEM16A chloride channel, and they found high levels of this channel within supporting cells that surround inner hair cells. Experiments in mice revealed that when this channel was removed from supporting cells or blocked with drugs, the spontaneous excitation of the hair cells decreased.Further biochemical tests, combined with electrical recordings and imaging of calcium changes in the inner ears of mice, allowed the team to piece together a full chain of events. First, supporting cells release ATP, leading to self-stimulation of their own ATP receptors, triggering an increase in calcium levels inside the cells. This rise in calcium opens the TMEM16A channels to let chloride out, which also drags potassium ions and water out. The potassium that is released during these events activates the hair cells, stimulating the nerve cells with which they have formed weak connections.It’s this pairing, says Bergles, that is thought to stabilize connections that help the brain make sense of sounds. “This step happens during the first two weeks after birth in mice and rats, when the middle ear is still filled with fluid and outside sounds can’t reach the inner ear.”He adds: “The hair cells are arranged in a line and respond to different frequencies based on their location, like keys on a piano. Their connection with nearby nerve cells is strengthened every time a hair cell is activated and causes its partner nerve cell to fire.” When the brain receives a signal from hair cells near the entrance of the inner ear, he says, it “hears” a high-pitched sound; when the signal comes from farther in, it “hears” a deeper sound.“There’s a beauty to this seemingly overly complex process,” Bergles says. “It uses the capabilities of the cells in a novel way to trigger nerve cell activity. We think this helps establish and refine the connections between ear and brain so that the animals can properly hear sounds as soon as they are exposed to them.”Because mice can’t tell researchers if they are hearing anything, researchers can only surmise that they do based on activity they record in the auditory centers of the brain. Bergles says their research suggests that these “sounds” might be perceived as single tones played in succession, something like tests of an emergency response system. He says that the self-made sounds are for the ear what a batting machine is for a baseball player. “The machines don’t have all the richness and unpredictability of a pitcher throwing a ball, but they nevertheless help players prepare for the big event.”Although this self-stimulation process disappears after hearing begins, Bergles says that if this pathway were reactivated following injury, it could lead to tinnitus, or “ringing” in the ear. Further understanding of this early signaling, he says, may lead to new strategies for improving the integration and performance of cochlear implants and speeding recovery from sound-induced trauma. Before the fluid of the middle ear drains and sound waves penetrate for the first time, the inner ear cells of newborn rodents practice for their big debut. Researchers at Johns Hopkins report they have figured out the molecular chain of events that enables the cells to make “sounds” on their own, essentially “practicing” their ability to process sounds in the world around them.The researchers, who describe their experiments in the Dec. 3 edition of the journal Cell, show how hair cells in the inner ear can be activated in the absence of sound. “The multistep process we uncovered reminds me of a Rube Goldberg invention,” says Dwight Bergles, Ph.D., professor of neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, a reference to Goldberg’s construction of complicated gadgets to perform seemingly simple tasks. “Cells in the inner ear exploit a system used for fluid secretion in other organs to simulate the effect of sound before hearing begins, preparing them for the real deal.”Normal hearing in most mammals, Bergles says, is a multistep process that begins with sound waves hitting the ear drum, which transfers energy to the air-filled middle ear and its three tiny bones. Then the fluid in the inner ear vibrates at a corresponding electrical frequency, which bends the “antennas” of just the right “hair cells,” causing them to release chemical messengers that tell nearby nerves to fire. That signal then travels to the brain, where it is interpreted as a particular sound. Share on Facebooklast_img read more

Neuroscientists retrieve missing memories in mice with early Alzheimer’s symptoms

first_imgShare on Twitter “The important point is, this a proof of concept. That is, even if a memory seems to be gone, it is still there. It’s a matter of how to retrieve it,” says Susumu Tonegawa, the Picower Professor of Biology and Neuroscience and director of the RIKEN-MIT Center for Neural Circuit Genetics at the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory.Tonegawa is the senior author of the study, which appears in the March 16 online edition ofNature. Dheeraj Roy, an MIT graduate student, is the paper’s lead author.Lost memoriesIn recent years, Tonegawa’s lab has identified cells in the brain’s hippocampus that store specific memories. The researchers have also shown that they can manipulate these memory traces, or engrams, to plant false memories, activate existing memories, or alter a memory’s emotional associations.Last year, Tonegawa, Roy, and colleagues found that mice with retrograde amnesia, which follows traumatic injury or stress, had impaired memory recall but could still form new memories. That led the team to wonder whether this might also be true for the memory loss seen in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, which occurs before characteristic amyloid plaques appear in patients’ brains.To investigate that possibility, the researchers studied two different strains of mice genetically engineered to develop Alzheimer’s symptoms, plus a group of healthy mice.All of these mice, when exposed to a chamber where they received a foot shock, showed fear when placed in the same chamber an hour later. However, when placed in the chamber again several days later, only the normal mice still showed fear. The Alzheimer’s mice did not appear to remember the foot shock.“Short-term memory seems to be normal, on the order of hours. But for long-term memory, these early Alzheimer’s mice seem to be impaired,” Roy says.“An access problem”The researchers then showed that while the mice cannot recall their experiences when prompted by natural cues, those memories are still there.To demonstrate this, they first tagged the engram cells associated with the fearful experience with a light-sensitive protein called channelrhodopsin, using a technique they developed in 2012. Whenever these tagged engram cells are activated by light, normal mice recall the memory encoded by that group of cells. Likewise, when the researchers placed the Alzheimer’s mice in a chamber they had never seen before and shined light on the engram cells encoding the fearful experience, the mice immediately showed fear.“Directly activating the cells that we believe are holding the memory gets them to retrieve it,” Roy says. “This suggests that it is indeed an access problem to the information, not that they’re unable to learn or store this memory.”The researchers also showed that the engram cells of Alzheimer’s mice had fewer dendritic spines, which are small buds that allow neurons to receive incoming signals from other neurons.Normally, when a new memory is generated, the engram cells corresponding to that memory grow new dendritic spines, but this did not happen in the Alzheimer’s mice. This suggests that the engram cells are not receiving sensory input from another part of the brain called the entorhinal cortex. The natural cue that should reactivate the memory — being in the chamber again — has no effect because the sensory information doesn’t get into the engram cells.“If we want to recall a memory, the memory-holding cells have to be reactivated by the correct cue. If the spine density does not go up during learning process, then later, if you give a natural recall cue, it may not be able to reach the nucleus of the engram cells,” Tonegawa says.Long-term connectionThe researchers were also able to induce a longer-term reactivation of the “lost” memories by stimulating new connections between the entorhinal cortex and the hippocampus.To achieve this, they used light to optogenetically stimulate entorhinal cortex cells that feed into the hippocampal engram cells encoding the fearful memory. After three hours of this treatment, the researchers waited a week and tested the mice again. This time, the mice could retrieve the memory on their own when placed in the original chamber, and they had many more dendritic spines on their engram cells.However, this approach does not work if too large a section of the entorhinal cortex is stimulated, suggesting that any potential treatments for human patients would have to be very targeted. Optogenetics is very precise but too invasive to use in humans, and existing methods for deep brain stimulation — a form of electrical stimulation sometimes used to treat Parkinson’s and other diseases — affect too much of the brain.“It’s possible that in the future some technology will be developed to activate or inactivate cells deep inside the brain, like the hippocampus or entorhinal cortex, with more precision,” Tonegawa says. “Basic research as conducted in this study provides information on cell populations to be targeted, which is critical for future treatments and technologies.” Email Pinterest Share on Facebookcenter_img Share LinkedIn In the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, patients are often unable to remember recent experiences. However, a new study from MIT suggests that those memories are still stored in the brain — they just can’t be easily accessed.The MIT neuroscientists report in Nature that mice in the early stages of Alzheimer’s can form new memories just as well as normal mice but cannot recall them a few days later.Furthermore, the researchers were able to artificially stimulate those memories using a technique known as optogenetics, suggesting that those memories can still be retrieved with a little help. Although optogenetics cannot currently be used in humans, the findings raise the possibility of developing future treatments that might reverse some of the memory loss seen in early-stage Alzheimer’s, the researchers say.last_img read more