For those of us who have trouble remembering names, we can now blame our genes. Forgot where the TV remote is? Blame your genes. Missed the exit. Blame your genes.
Scientists at the University of Bonn in Germany have discovered a connection between forgetfulness and the DRD2 gene. People who have a certain variant of this gene are more easily distracted and experience higher rates of incidences due to a lack of attention.
“A familial clustering of such lapses suggests that they are subject to genetic effects,” said Dr. Sebastian Markett, the principal author of the study.
The researchers previously found that the dopamine D2 receptor gene (DRD2) plays a role in forgetfulness. The gene also has an essential function in signal transmission in the brain’s frontal lobes.
“This structure can be compared to a director coordinating the brain like an orchestra,” Markett said.
In other words, the DRD2 gene is the baton, and if the baton gets off beat then the orchestra (the brain) gets confused.
All humans carry the DRD2 gene, which has two variants defined by only one letter within the genetic code. One variant is C (cytosine), and the other is T (thymine). The scientists found that those people who carried the thymine variant experienced more lapses in attention and memory than those who carried the cytosine variant.
“The connection is obvious; such lapses can partially be attributed to this gene variant,” Markett said. “This result matches the results of other studies very well.”
Markett said that people shouldn’t be resigned to fate just because they can’t control their genes.
“There are things you can do to compensate for forgetfulness; writing yourself notes or making more of an effort to put your keys down in a specific location–and not just anywhere,” he said.
Perhaps, you should drink more green tea, too.
Are you prone to forgetfulness? What things do you do to help mitigate it? Please share your tips in the comments section.
The first annual American Society of Theatre Consultants (ASTC)/United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) Venue Renovation Challenge award was presented in Fort Worth, Texas, at the 54th annual USITT Conference and Expo in March. Andy Baker, Evan Bunner, Shane Cinal, and Josh Quinlan from Ohio State University, with Paul Sanow from ASTC, won the award.
Three teams of student USITT members participated in a challenge designed to engage students in real-world theater renovation problems under the guidance of practicing professional theater consultants. Each team selected an existing venue and developed a scope of work for practical improvements to a building as a performance venue. Students presented their design concepts to a live audience at a USITT panel.
The other two teams included Amanda Warren and Jason Monmaney from Stephen F. Austin State University with Jules Lauve (ASTC) and Sandy Everett, Meghan Potter, Jeff Lindquist, Brad Shaw and John Houtler-McCoy from Indiana University with Van Phillips (ASTC).
“The Challenge was a great opportunity for me as a professional to work with students who will soon start their careers,” Sanow said. “They learned a lot about our role as theater consultants, the process of how theater performance facilities are designed, and it caused them to consider that even if an environment is found in one condition it can still be transformed into something else that is better or more appropriate to a new mission. I wish an opportunity like this was available when I was a student.”
The Challenge will be held again next year at the USITT Conference and Expo in Cincinnati, Ohio.
(Image: From Ohio State University’s presentation)
Nashville’s Music City Center was recently awarded REAL Certification by the U.S. Healthful Food Council. REAL (Responsible Epicurean and Agricultural Leadership) is a nationwide program that helps combat diet-related disease by recognizing food service operators committed to holistic nutrition and environmental stewardship.
The Music City Center is the nation’s first convention center to receive REAL certification.
“We are tremendously proud of this achievement,” said Charles Starks, president and CEO of the Music City Center and an IAVM member. “It signifies the Music City Center’s commitment to our customers and the community.”
Factors that led to the certification include using local produce, sustainable sourcing, and offering healthy menu options. The venue purchases 99 percent of its produce from 68 local and regional farms. It also donates all leftover food to local nonprofit organizations.
“Coming to the Music City Center, I was excited to work with the Middle Tennessee farmers and explore the local bounty that Tennessee has to offer,” said Max Knoepfel, executive chef of the Music City Center. “We focus on using the best fresh, nutritional, and local ingredients from farms in the area. I believe it’s important for us to return as much as we take from the land, which is why my team in the kitchen works hard to be as sustainable as possible.”
The center was also recently awarded LEED Gold certification for New Construction by the U.S. Green Building Council and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute.
Factors leading to this certification include a green, four-acre roof; a rainwater harvest system; and extensive LED lighting with specialized controls. The building consumes 20 percent less energy than conventionally designed buildings of the same type.
“We are tremendously proud of this achievement,” said Marty Dickens, chair of the Convention Center Authority. “It signifies Nashville’s commitment to the environment, and the Music City Center is proud to be a part of the green building movement here.”
And while we’re talking about the Music City Center, check out the October/November 2013 issue of FM magazine, which features the venue as a powerhouse of wired and wireless connectivity.
(Image: Music City Center)
Congratulations to Chef Allan Wambaa—who we featured in our December/January issue of FM magazine with his tips for venues to consider when setting up a farm-to-table program—on earning his ProChef III certification.
Wambaa is the executive chef of the Oregon Convention Center (home of this year’s VenueConnect), Portland’5 Centers for the Arts, and the Portland Expo Center, all serviced by pacificwild catering co., a division of ARAMARK created for Metro venues.
“Allan has shown that fine dining can be synonymous with venue food service,” Robyn Williams, an IAVM member and executive director of Portland’5 Centers for the Arts, told the Metro News. “Our food is as classy as our patrons.”
The certification, awarded by the Culinary Institute of America, requires up to a year in preparation and tests a chef’s knowledge in several areas, such as cooking, human resources, wine, and finances.
“It’s something I wanted to do,” Wambaa, who wants to achieve the highest certification possible—Master Chef status from the American Culinary Federation—told Metro News. “ProChef III is a demanding curriculum, a kind of a ‘culinary PhD’ and a litmus test for becoming a master chef, which will be my ultimate goal to crown my career.”
Chef Allan brings world class acumen and taste to what he does, but he also knows how to deliver a very local, Portland product, said Scott Cruickshank, an IAVM member and executive director of the Oregon Convention Center, in the Metro News story.
“Convention center meals are often thought of as institutional type food,” Cruickshank said. “But not here. We are fortunate to have Chef Allan as part of our team and are very proud of his recent accomplishment.”
(Image: From Oregon Convention Center Facebook page)
The fountain of good health flows with green tea. It helps with weight loss (by increasing metabolism), it reduces bad cholesterol, and it regulates glucose levels. Now you can add brain power to its many benefits.
Researchers at the University of Basel in Switzerland have reported for the first time that green tea extract enhances cognitive function, particularly the working memory.
Professor Christoph Beglinger from the University Hospital of Basel and Professor Stefan Borgwardt from the Psychiatric University Clinics had 12 healthy male study participants drink a soda containing 27.5 grams (0.97 ounces) of green tea extract before solving a working memory task. Beglinger and Borgwardt then analyzed the men’s brain activity in an MRI machine. They found increased connectivity between the parietal and the frontal cortex of the brain, which correlated positively with task performance improvement of the men studied.
“Our findings suggest that green tea might increase the short-term synaptic plasticity of the brain,” Borgwardt said.
Consider this finding the next time you reach for a soda for a little pick-me-up and perhaps choose a cup of green tea instead. Your brain will thank you.
(photo credit: KOREA.NET – Official page of the Republic of Korea via photopin cc)