UTU Life & Science 2018

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UTU – Life & Science magazine

CHIEF EDITOR Tuomas Koivula SUBEDITOR Mari Ratia TRANSLATIONS AND LAYOUT University Communications CONTACT INFORMATION University Communications, FI-20014 University of Turku, Finland > communications@utu.fi


BEST ENVIRONMENT FOR LEARNING TO LEARN The core of university studies is learning. And especially, learning to learn. In the rapidly changing society, graduation is not the end but a start for continuous learning. A kind of a learning licence. You have to do the learning yourself and can’t outsource it to somebody else. Nevertheless, the environment where you study is crucial for the quality of learning. Physical, flexible learning environments enhance both individual calm concentration and vivid interaction with other students, and modern appropriately equipped classrooms, laboratories and libraries are essential for successful studying. Furthermore, functional study support services assist students in concrete questions and support general study well-being. One special feature in the Finnish and Nordic universities in general is a very low hierarchy. Students are full members of the academic community, participate in the university management, and their feedback is taken seriously and leads to concrete development. You can call your professors by their first name without any titles, and it is easy to ask and get answers. For the University of Turku, the most important member of the community is the first year student. Welcome to join our academic community! Riitta PyykkÜ Vice Rector University of Turku



MIXED REALITY FOR INDUSTRIAL NEEDS I am trying on the Microsoft HoloLens, that is, smartglasses for augmented reality that are still under development. A bird’s eye view opens up before my eyes. It is compiled of real aerial photos of the Uusikaupunki car plant area. A glowing red object is rising from the structures at one corner of the factory and it is considerably taller than the other buildings. – Don’t stay still. Keep in mind that the glasses allow you to move around the area. Go to the corner of the new structure and crouch down, instruct Senior Researchers Teijo Lehtonen and Tuomas Mäkilä. It is an impressive experience. The new structure stays still while I move around

the large factory area which, in reality, is just a few square meters of empty floor. I am able to examine the area from different angles and heights, and the sense of actually being there, in a three-dimensional space, is overwhelming. Lehtonen and Mäkilä are part of a research group at the Department of Future Technologies of the University of Turku which has been studying mixed reality for around five years. The modelling of the Uusikaupunki car plant area is one of the most recent examples of collaboration between the research group and manufacturing industry. Mixed reality includes both virtual reali-


ty and augmented reality. Lehtonen and Mäkilä study its possibilities in both professional use, such as construction, and consumer use, such as cultural tourism in particular. – We are interested in combining expertise from different areas and in creating practical designs to be utilised in manufacturing industry or as tourist experiences. We combine expertise from, for example, gaming, film and software industries. According to the researchers, virtual reality is an excellent tool in visualising plans. The group has, for example, presented virtual models of a tax free shop on a cruise ship and the bridge of an icebreaker.

support marketing. For example, there has been positive feedback on the possibility of virtually modelling and presenting large industrial equipment that is impossible to transport to trade fairs. Because of virtual modelling, the equipment can be marketed very authentically. – It is essential in everything we do that the projects don’t just stay inside the University’s walls but that they can actually be utilised by companies. We also try to see past every piece of technology or equipment. They tend to come and go, but we aim to design them in a way that would make them functional in new technologies as well, say Mäkilä and Lehtonen.

In addition to collaborating with the busiVirtual reality can also be utilised as a ness sector, the researchers have now also practical tool at conestablished their own struction sites. There spin-off company, CTRL It is essential is currently an ongoing Reality Ltd. The comin everything project in which the repany specialises in the we do that the searchers have created production of state-ofprojects don’t just a CAD model of a conart mixed reality solustay inside the crete bridge into virtual tions and platforms, reality. and develops applicaUniversity’s walls tions for mixed reality but that they can – The virtual model is headsets as well as for actually be utilised connected to construcmobile devices. by companies tion databases in real time, so it is constant– Our mission is to imly updated. It can be very helpful to the prove our customers’ performance with construction workers who are trying to advanced mixed reality solutions. Whethfigure out how everything should be fiter it is about increasing understanding, ted inside the concrete structure. knowledge, sales or productivity, we want our productions to have more than just a This technology can also be harnessed to wow effect, states Lehtonen. /




The Institute of Dentistry at the University of Turku has succeeded superbly in international rankings and attracts many international students and researchers. What’s the secret of their success? Dental education in Turku is celebrating its 60th year in 2018. From the very beginning, the Institute of Dentistry at the University of Turku has been at the top of the field in Europe. The institute building, Dentalia, which was completed in 1965 and at the time represented ultramodern and novel academic architecture, made the Institute one of the most modern in Europe with its state-of-the-art teaching and research facilities and laboratories. In the last few years, the Institute has shined in international rankings being 18th in the Academic Ranking of World Universities 2017 and the fourth best den-

tistry unit in Europe. The Institute was in good company as top universities such as Harvard and King’s College London were also ranked in the top twenty. Head of the Institute, Professor Pekka Vallittu believes that the sharp rise to the top of the world is based on the strong emphasis on scientific research, its high visibility as well as the strong, international research history. – For years, dentistry at the University of Turku has been ranked somewhere around the top 100 and I have wondered why we haven't seen a rise in the rankings despite our hard work, conference attendances, and visibility. Now, all that work seems to have cumulated into great spots in the university rankings, says Professor Vallittu. According to him, scientists are critical of academic rankings but they are still followed with great interest. Vallittu predicts that the top rankings will increase


Professor Pekka Vallittu and Doctoral Candidate Khalil Shahramian are proud of the 60-year-old Institute of Dentistry. people's interest towards the Institute. – I believe that, in the future, we will receive more applications for post-graduate training, especially from countries that already have high-quality training in dentistry. We will also have more visibility in the international research field.

TOP RESEARCH AND HIGH - QUALITY INFRASTRUCTURE ATTRACT RESEARCHERS Doctoral Candidate Khalil Shahramian discovered the Institute of Dentistry even before the success in university rankings. – Turku already had a good reputation in

the field of dentistry. I read about the research conducted here during my basic degree studies when I was looking into the development of xylitol chewing gum. Turku made such a deep impression that Shahramian and his friend Tarek Omran decided to apply for doctoral training at the University of Turku. Both had graduated as dentists from the University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. The high-quality of research and the available research infrastructure attracted the two young dentists to Turku, and they started their postgraduate training in 2015. At the moment, Shahramian is completing his doctoral dissertation in the Finnish Doctoral Program in Oral Sciences (FINDOS) as a member of Professor Timo Närhi’s research group focusing on den-


tal implants. He aims to complete his dissertation in 2019.

train better dentists and thus improve people’s quality of life.

For Shahramian, popularising science and making it available for all is very important. He had a chance to realise his passion and to compete on an international arena after making it to the final of the Three Minute Thesis 2018 competition organised by the Coimbra Group.

In the future, Shahramian wants to train new dentists.

Three Minute Thesis is an academic competition developed by the Australian University of Queensland where doctoral candidates present their research in just three minutes, aided only by a single slide. In the competition, Shahramian presented an improved material for an implant to replace a missing tooth which is currently being developed at the University of Turku. His presentation impressed the judges and he won the final.


– It is important to explain science so that everyone can understand it. Also, communication between a patient and dentist can be a form of popularising science. Successful communication is a cornerstone of successful treatment. Therefore, my friend and I want to help educate researchers and future academics on how to effectively communicate, present and ultimately pitch their work, and we have already organised several workshops at the University, tells Shahramian.

Above all else, Pekka Vallitu’s biomaterials research induced Perea-Lowery to Finland.

– My ultimate goal is to influence the development of dentistry and how it is practised. With the help of research, we can

– Teaching is a highly respectable profession. Through teaching, you can influence many people and indirectly improve their everyday life.

University Teacher Leila Perea-Lowery graduated from the FINDOS Doctoral Program in 2015. In her dissertation she studied how a missing tooth could be replaced faster and with a more durable restoration which is made directly in mouth.

– While I was working as a specialised dentist in Colombia, I noticed that many of my patients with limited means did not have the possibility to use common prostheses as they were too expensive. When I started reading about fibre-reinforced materials that are cheaper and more durable, I ran across Pekka’s study, reminisces Perea-Lowery. – I was excited and wanted to learn more. So I contacted Pekka. He agreed to be my


Khalil Shahramian's winning Three Minute Thesis presentation.

dissertation supervisor and here we are, she laughs. Nowadays, Perea-Lowery is conducting research in Vallitu’s group and supervises two dissertations. In addition, she coordinates international training at the Institute. Alongside her research, Perea-Lowery is the academic coordinator of the Nordic Institute of Dental Education (NIDE), a joint transnational education company of the University of Turku and Planmeca dental technology company. – Planmeca and the Institute of Dentistry have a long history of collaboration. We have used the company’s equipment in our training and their quality is well known. On the one hand, Planmeca values scientific research and needed research-based training for their customers who use their equipment. On the other, the University wanted to invest in transnational education and map out its po-

tential as a source of additional funding. So both parties benefit from the collaboration, says Perea-Lowery. During the transnational education collaboration that began in 2014, NIDE has organised 42 courses with participants from over 40 different nationalities. And the number of participants is growing. They are mainly dentists who want to improve their clinical skills. The courses have featured international lecturers from, for example, the University of South Carolina in the United States. The intensive courses are organised at Planmeca’s facilities in Helsinki, but the lecturers often visit Turku to give lectures for basic degree students. – Our customers have been satisfied. The contents of the course is tailored according to the participants’ skill levels, needs, and requests. Personalising the courses is our definitive strength, emphasises Perea-Lowery. /



Researchers at the Human Emotion Systems Laboratory want to learn how emotions are visible in the brain. Before the 1990s, it was uncertain what happens in the brain when people experience emotions. Research on human emotions conducted with PET imaging is still rare even on a global scale.

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Happiness: feeling or showing pleasure or contentment; pleasure, contentedness, satisfaction

I can hear footsteps approaching from behind me. I’m on my way home in the evening and cannot see anyone else nearby. With a furtive glance, I see a figure that is purposefully walking towards me. I’m gripped by fear – what’s going to happen? When people get frightened, the brain determines whether the situation is threatening in approximately one tenth of a second. Once a threat has been perceived, the emotion system in the brain adjusts the cerebral cortices immediately so that people can observe their surroundings more acutely. At the same time, the brain alters the functions of the body: heart rate and muscle tension increase, and breathing speeds up. Because of this fear response, people can flee the situation automatically.

– An alarming situation can also trigger a subjective feeling of being frightened. However, this does not happen every time, especially if the emotional response is of low intensity. Most emotions remain outside our consciousness. They control our actions but we might not even notice them, says Associate Professor in Modelling and Medical Image Processing Lauri Nummenmaa who leads the Human Emotion Systems Laboratory at Turku PET Centre. His research group studies the neural mechanisms and networks behind emotions and social interaction. With the help of MRI and PET imaging, researchers can see what is happening in people’s brain when they experience different kinds of emotions.

Sadness: feeling or showing sorrow; unhappiness, dejection, regret

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– Emotions are “survival intelligence” which regulates people’s actions. In the brain, each emotion is brought about by its own neural circuit. For example, the flight response caused by fear as well as pleasure induced by food are generated in different parts of the brain. Emotion systems are connected to the body, brain and senses, directing their functions. Awareness of emotions enables our cognitive reasoning abilities to help emotions in their protective goals by, for example, regulating too intense emotions. We are studying each of these phases, says Nummenmaa. Studying emotions is not so straightforward as researchers have to elicit emotions in laboratory environment that is clinical and boring. Therefore, researchers have developed different kinds of methods for evoking feelings in their subjects. Among other things, researchers at the Human Emotion Systems Laboratory have shown the subjects film clips, such as the famous toilet scene in Trainspotting, vi-

olent scenes in Clockwork Orange, and scenes from the cult film Pink Flamingos. For positive emotions, the researchers have used When Harry Met Sally and An Officer and a Gentleman. – Films are great material for us, as they are oftentimes aimed at evoking feelings in the audience. We show movies to our subjects while their brain activity is recorded with magnetic resonance imaging. Afterwards we record the subjective feelings that the emotions elicit, which allows us to link brain activity with specific emotion states.

LIMITED NUMBER OF EMOTIONS Humans experience six basic emotions: happiness, sadness, disgust, surprise, anger, and fear. These emotions are universal and each one of them have their own separate neurobiological system. Therefore, all six emotions direct us to act differently.

Fear: an unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain, or harm; terror, fright, fearfulness

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– It is impossible to bypass biology, meaning that no new emotion systems can emerge in the brain during our life course. However, experience can of course lead us to respond emotionally to a wide range of things: We may for example, enjoy eating chocolate cakes, haggish, black pudding, or fugu. All these taste markedly different, but due to learning, they all tickle the same pleasure system in the brain. Of course, our linguistic skills also allow us to describe our sensations in multiple ways, but these lexical labels cannot circumvent the systems we are born with. As emotions are guided by different systems, we can experience them at the same time. For example, fear and anger together can produce an experience of feeling a new emotion somewhere between fear and anger.

ness in the first place. Being aware of tissue damage and dysfunctions in the body are of prime importance to our well-being, and these emotion-like states are very likely the first ones that have gained access to our ancestors’ consciousness. More complex conscious states such as self-awareness may then have followed, remarks Nummenmaa. People’s neural and physiological emotion systems are very similar regardless of their culture – even the emotion systems of humans and animals are in some respects very close to each other. Nevertheless, genes and experiences cause individual differences in emotion systems.

– It is even possible that emotions have been precursors to our conscious-

– Brain damage or a traumatic experience can significantly change the emotion systems, but the brain strives to keep them functional in every situation. Emotions are so important that they keep working

Disgust: a feeling of revulsion or strong disapproval aroused by something unpleasant or offensive; repugnance, aversion, distaste [ 14 ]

until the very end. The brain and mind are in general astonishingly resilient, and most victims of a severe trauma, even war veterans engaged in frontline combat, recover over time.

system is so effective that we can learn to be afraid of nearly anything, says Nummenmaa.


Just like the functions of ears and eyes, the emotion system has persisted during the long course of evolution. The mechanism has remained unchanged as it has proven to be necessary. For instance, fear causes similar defence reactions in humans, birds, fish and reptiles, as avoiding dangers and threats is very useful for all species.

In 2016, the researchers of the Human Emotion Systems investigated different fears with two surveys. The responses showed that we are more afraid for other people than for ourselves. – The most common fear was sickness or death of a close person. Such vicarious fears show how important other people are to our well-being. We should take care of the people close to us, as otherwise we won’t survive ourselves. If someone’s

– The animals that have learned to be afraid of danger have had the evolutionary upper hand. Even in humans, the fear


Most emotions remain outside our consciousness. They control our actions but we might not even notice them. Lauri Nummenmaa Associate Professor

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Surprise: a feeling of mild astonishment or shock caused by something unexpected; amazement, incredulity, bewilderment social network was suddenly swept away, they would have to spend a great deal of time to build a new, corresponding one. It would be a massive task, says Nummenmaa. Classic phobias, such as snakes or confined spaces, were not prominent in the survey results. According to Nummenmaa, the increase in social fears reveals the flexibility and learning ability of the fear system. Social relationships are important to modern people and therefore we are afraid of losing them. – The same neurological system can learn to be afraid of spiders or the loss of a close person. Nevertheless, we are more afraid of certain things than of some others: for example, wild animals that can actually kill us, such as crocodiles, induce more fear than a laboratory mouse. In the future, we want to study how far the learning of new fears can be taken. Association affects learning. A frighten-

ing event such as a scary film or an encounter with a violent drug addict in the railway station triggers fear and the brain attaches a memory trace to it. It is even possible to “invent” fears by imagination. Such complex associative processes can make people afraid of even ghost, spirits, and other non-existent beings. – Our imagination is so effective that just imagining a scary thing can activate the same areas of the brain as an actual scary situation. The difference is that, instead of perception, the emotion is triggered by a mental image. Both can be extremely effective, says Nummenmaa. It is very unpleasant that we are so susceptible to learning new fears. However, Nummenmaa emphasises that there is a good reason for learning fears. – The brain is essentially a prediction machine – it stores the past to predict the future. If you remember that someone creeping behind you after you left the

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Nummenmaa and his team study how emotions are visible in the brain. To achieve this, they showed films to subjects while recording what happens in their brain with an MRI.

cinema was scary, you can correct your actions. Next time, you might pick an earlier showtime or take a friend with you. According to Nummenmaa, uncertainty is an essential factor in fear. – Getting mild electric shocks at regular intervals can become somewhat tolerable after a while. However, electric shocks at irregular intervals feel much worse, even if they are milder. Correspondingly, uncertainty of lay-offs at work feel more distressing and are a greater mental burden than clear redundancies done in one go. On the basis of the surveys, the researchers have compiled a data set that shows what people are afraid of and to what degree. Next, they want to learn how fears differ between individuals. With the data, it is possible to find out if people are afraid of different things according to, for example, their gender or place of residence. – Next we will use PET imaging to measure

how different neurotransmitters are released in the brain during acute, real-life fear. Instead of just showing our subjects films, we expose them to a threatening, live snake in the laboratory.

BRAIN CAN RECOVER BACK TO THE STATE BEFORE DEPRESSION Healthy people’s emotions are studied so that mental disorders could be recognised and treated more efficiently. When researchers gain more detailed information on the emotion systems of the brain, treatments can be targeted more closely. – Work on the basic emotion systems helps us to understand the mechanisms behind mental disorders. For example, depression and anxiety come in many different flavours which cannot all be treated the same way. It is not just about developing new drugs,

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we can also use the information to create behavioural treatments that do not involve any medication. For instance, it is widely known that substance abuse and obesity are connected to the opioid system which produces pleasure. The functions of the opioid system can be influenced with exercise, which could offer new ways for rehabilitation. – When it comes to obesity, researchers have discovered that it changes both the brain and the body. This is essential information as now we know how to treat the mind as well as the body to curb weight gain. According to Nummenmaa, brain stimulation is a promising new treatment that has yielded positive results in treating conditions such as compulsion. In deep brain stimulation, electricity is directed at the brain, but the brain can also be stimulated with magnetic and electric fields from the surface of the skull with lighter procedures. – In the future, brain stimulation can have a significant therapeutic potential. The aim of the treatment is to decrease activity in a hyperactive area or increase activity in other areas. The stimulation is closely targeted to a small, specific point. People are not born depressed, but depression develops later because of a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental factors. We need to understand this interplay if we wish to find

ways to recover the depressed brains and minds.

COMPLEX NEEDS OF MODERN PEOPLE In the brain, emotions function as coordinating systems that supervise and modulate functions of several other systems, such as attention, memory, and the senses. Emotions protect us and try to keep the current situation favourable for us. Even though fear, disgust and anger feel bad to us, their goal is to guard us and ultimately to make us feel better when the threats are resolved. If fear would not feel so unpleasant, we would not be so motivated to run away from threats. On the other hand, pleasure and happiness direct us towards eating and social relationships. Emotions are indeed very good in keeping us on the lookout for our surroundings. – Emotions have remained the same for a long time, and oftentimes they still work automatically. However, people’s own goals are not always compatible with their emotions. Situations like job interviews can feel scary, even though the experience of fear could be detrimental to us. Modern people have goals that are more complex than those that the emotion systems can cope with. The systems have not kept up with the progress. Consequently, we need flexible interaction of affect and reason if we want to lead a successful life, says Nummenmaa.

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Anger: a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility; rage, fury, wrath

People can control their emotions to an extent. Slight stage fright or a mild scare can be kept under control. Control gets more difficult if there is a profound change, such as an ending of a relationship.

at the watering hole, it might be better to avoid it completely in the future, just in case.

– If the emotion has already been evoked, it is difficult to regulate it. When a person is laughing or crying hysterically, it nearly impossible to bring the emotion to a halt. It is much easier to regulate emotions beforehand. For instance, we can try to avoid a difficult person or prepare ourselves for meeting them, instructs Nummenmaa. Emotions are powerful because we can easily learn to be afraid or disgusted of something, but unlearning these emotional associations is tricky. Emotional memories stay with us for a long time. – Emotions protect us from threatening situations by being overly sensitive. If our ancestors had just once met a predator

Still, most of our emotions go completely unnoticed as our consciousness has a limited capacity that also needs to cater cognitive processes. Emotions can often play their act in the background, and they do a good job without our conscious intervention. Weak emotions might never enter consciousness and even a strong emotion might go unnoticed if we are focusing on something else. However, if we want, we can focus our attention on our emotions at any time, and assess what our current emotional state actually is. – Surveys have shown that people tend to feel neutral and slightly positive, which is a good thing as experiencing strong emotions continuously can be a sign of a mental health problems. Most of the time, healthy people do not register their emotions. /

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New Landform Discovered from the Depths of Finnish Forest

Researchers Joni Mäkinen and Kari Kajuutti from the Department of Geography and Geology have discovered a new landform previously unknown to science with the aid of laser technology. The landforms, named murtoo, are low and wide triangular-shaped hillocks that are difficult to perceive from their surroundings. The formations were created by the last ice age when the ice sheet melted and the melt water flowing under the ice shaped soil deposits into murtoos.

The University’s ranking rose to the 301–400 category in the Academic Ranking of World Universities. Furthermore, in the subject-specific ranking, the Institute of Dentistry was ranked as 24th best in the world and the Department of Nursing Science as 44th. ARWU Ranking 2018

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University of Turku among the Best in the World

A Form of Synaesthesia Can Be Induced with Hypnosis

A new phenomenon was identified by researchers who have successfully used hypnosis to induce an equivalent to synaesthesia, in which some symbols in a selection – circles, crosses, and squares – were each suggested of always taking a specific, given colour. – The study showed that it is possible to use hypnotic suggestion to trigger visual hallucinations in a way that is otherwise not possible, say, through practiced use of mental imagery. The discovery can open a window into the previously unexplored domains of cognitive neuroscience, says Docent Sakari Kallio from University of Turku.

ASTRONOMERS SEE DISTANT ERUPTION AS BLACK HOLE DESTROYS STAR For the first time, an international team of astronomers have directly imaged the formation and expansion of a fast-moving jet of material ejected when the powerful gravity of a supermassive black hole ripped apart a star that wandered too close to the massive monster. Only a small number of such stellar deaths, called tidal disruption events, have been detected. Such events may have been more common in the distant Universe, so studying them may help scientists understand the environment in which galaxies developed billions of years ago.

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PROFESSOR OF CHEMISTRY FLOYD BECKFORD IS VISITING THE UNIVERSITY OF TURKU AS A FULBRIGHT SCHOLAR – The Fulbright Center’s relationship with Finnish universities is exceptional. Their mission is very important in the context of bilateral relations. I am extraordinarily grateful for the opportunity to be here, participating in a program like this, says Beckford.

A musician's note reading speed and capability to effectively scan the notation are the keys to successful playing, found researchers as they were examining the music reading of players of different skill levels in an extensive eye tracking study. Measurable differences in eye movements between beginner and professional musicians can be mere tenths of a second, but during that time a well-versed player has time to add flourish and play around with the music, interpreting it in their own manner.

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Experienced Musicians Read Notes Only Slightly Faster – yet Difference Heard in Music

NEW WASP SPECIES WITH A GIANT STINGER DISCOVERED IN AMAZONIA Researchers have discovered a new wasp species in the Amazon which has an exceptionally large stinger which it uses both for laying eggs and injecting venom.


– The stinger of the new parasitoid wasp called Clistopyga crassicaudata is not only long but also very wide, in comparison with the size of the species. I have studied tropical parasitoid wasps for a long time but I have never seen anything like it. The stinger looks like a fierce weapon, says Professor in Biodiversity Research Ilari E. Sääksjärvi.

Children Born in Latter Part of the Year More Likely to be Diagnosed with ADHD

In comprehensive school, the age difference between the oldest and youngest pupil in the same school year can be 12 months. The immaturity of younger children can lead to a mistaken diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). – The association between the diagnosis and the month the children were born in was especially strong. Children born in May–August are 37 percent more likely to get an ADHD diagnosis and those born in September–August 64 percent more likely to get a diagnosis than children born in January–April, says Postdoctoral Researcher Roshan Chudal from the Research Centre for Child Psychiatry of the University of Turku.

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Last summer, I studied the spawning migration of brown trout and Arctic char in Norway, and specifically how well migratory fish can cope with temperature changes in their environment. The research revealed that even a two-degree rise in water temperature causes arrhythmia in fish. A trout with arrhythmia cannot survive the runs where it has to swim all the way from the sea to the upper reaches of its home river, across rapids and against the current. Environmental problems in water systems, such as rising temperatures, eutrophication, and oxygen depletion, can have a strain on farmed fish as well. Compared to wild fish, the functional ability of the heart in farmed fish is much weaker to begin with: for example, the heart is smaller and surrounded by a thicker layer of fat. In my project that started this summer

we will study if the function of the heart in farmed trout could be improved by training and whether swimming exercises help the fish to tolerate the warming waters and oxygen depletion better. The training is rather simple to put into practice. You use the natural tendency of fish to swim against the current. When the current is increased in the fish tanks, the fish swim faster. My goal is to find optimal training programmes to different species – just enough workout so that the results are tangible. I believe that all farmed fish benefit from training. Trout and salmon planted in natural waters cannot tolerate the rising temperatures if their heart is weak. Swimming exercises strengthen the heart and improve the condition of the fish which helps them in both catch the pray and escape from predators.

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Training also improves the quality of life in farmed fish meant for human consumption. Farmed trout and salmon have the tendency to turn into couch potatoes just waiting for their next meal, so the exercise improves their condition. Salmonids are rather plastic fish meaning that they can change their adaptability when the environment changes. However, unlike perch and roach, trout, char and salmon migrate to the same river where they were born and cannot, thus, change their territory when water temperature rises. Therefore, the future of salmonids is dependent on the preservation measures we take. Wild fish need cold shelters along their migration path where they can rest and gather up their strength. We also have to ensure the well-being of farmed fish when we develop fisheries and make them more ecological.� /

For Katja Anttila, a Senior Researcher in animal physiology and a fisherman’s daughter, all fish are important. However, salmonids have a special place in her heart. By studying the impact of environmental problems in the Baltic Sea on the function of heart of trout and salmon, she wants to find out how fish can adapt to the inevitable changes in their environment.

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Insects are included in the diets of a number of people around the world, and now they are making their way into the Western food culture as well. Edible insects have many advantages, especially when compared to meat, since they are more ecological and more ethical.

– A common misconception is that eating insects is like accidentally swallowing a fly while biking, says Otto Selenius. Selenius worked as a research assistant for the Insects in the Food Chain project conducted by the University of Turku and the Natural Resources Institute Finland. The project explored how insects could be utilised in the Finnish food chain. It aimed to promote the growth of insect economy in Finland and to develop the Nordic research network for studying insects as part of food production and circular economy. – Even though Western countries lack the tradition of insect eating, insects are a common source of nutrition in other parts of the world. So far, over 2,000 edible insect species have been discovered around the world, and they are a traditional part of local food culture in at least 40 countries. Insects are typically enjoyed as a delicacy – not as emergency food, says Project Leader Jaakko Korpela from the Functional Foods Forum. The easiest to start with are mealworms or house crickets, which are already farmed on commercial scale in Finland as well. Insect eating has long been considered unpalatable in the Western culture. Many are familiar with the subject through various TV shows, where eating living bugs is presented as something repulsive and negative.


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It is essential to understand that insects are typically eaten whole, cooked, and prepared like any other meat product. For example, several food products with insects have appeared in Finnish supermarkets, ranging from chili snacks to cricket sausages. During the project, an extensive consumer research was conducted on what type of insect products should be offered to people. It appears to be easier for the consumers to approve of insect eating if the insects are served, for example, as crispy snacks or as ingredients in savoury pastries. – Insect powder, in particular, seems a very versatile ingredient. Nevertheless, consumers are always informed about insect-based ingredients, even if those aren’t actually visible in the food, emphasises Korpela.

BETTER LIFE FOR ANIMALS On the dinner plate, insects function as an alternative source of protein. Insects can, in many ways, be compared to meat considering their nutritional value, but they are a far better option for the environment. For example, insect farming produces less greenhouse gases and uses less water than regular meat production. – Insect farming is a better option. It is more ethical, causes less environmental

pollution, and requires less use of land. Since insects are cold-blooded, they use the food they’ve been given efficiently and directly into growing, whereas cattle, for example, uses a large amount of energy into heat production, explains Selenius. Although insects are classified as animals, even some vegans have a positive attitude towards eating them. – Insects have a very primitive nervous system compared to fish or mammals. They experience pain differently, and the method of slaughter is very kind: freezing simply slows down their vital functions, and they just fall asleep in a way. It is also much easier to realise their natural living space requirements. Even on an insect farm with millions of individuals, they still have space to move around and fulfil their natural life cycle. In addition, Selenius emphasises that typically the whole insect can be used in cooking without wasting any part of the animal. On the other hand, much remains to be studied on edible insects. One of the challenges is to discover possible food allergies. – It is still unclear whether, for example, people with seafood allergies can eat insects or how well insects are digested by humans, says Selenius. /

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Most of the known space junk is situated on the low Earth orbit. The photo is an artist’s illustration and the pieces orbiting the Earth are not in the right scale. Photo: ESA/AOP, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO


OPERATION SPACE JUNK The conquest of space that has continued for decades has led to a situation where a dangerous amount of debris has ended up on the Earth’s orbits. Researchers from the University of Turku are involved in ensuring the sustainable use of our planet’s orbits in the future.

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The bits of space debris that orbit our planet unhindered collide with each other in great speeds causing even more junk and new collisions. As nothing can be done about the matter, the problem escalates and creates a situation where no new spacecraft can be launched to space and its research and exploration will wither away for centuries. This is not a description of the current situation on Earth’s orbits but a summary of the Kessler syndrome dreaded by astronomers all over the world. The progress of technology and full-scale conquest of space can sound entirely positive, but they do have their down sides. In fact, the Kessler syndrome is no longer just science fiction: space junk is already becoming a problem in low Earth orbit. – The orbit is starting to fill up with debris at an alarming rate. Some collisions have already happened and their number will probably increase in the future if we cannot find a solution to the problem, says Rami Vainio, Professor of Space Physics and Head of the Space Research Laboratory at the University of Turku. For instance, the European Space Agency ESA has estimated that approximately 30,000 pieces of debris with a diameter of over 10 centimetres are currently orbiting the Earth. It has also been surmised that there are over 100 million smaller splinters under 1cm in size. At the moment, Professor Vainio is work-

ing in the Academy of Finland’s Centre of Excellence in Research of Sustainable Space, led by Professor of Space Physics Minna Palmroth from the University of Helsinki. The consortium consists of researchers from the Universities of Turku and Helsinki, Aalto University, and the Finnish Meteorological Institute. Their long-term goal is to ensure the sustainable utilisation of space in the future. – If we act now, we can still manage the problem. We have to remove space debris from orbit and prevent the creation of new junk more effectively than before. Just one piece of debris the size of a pin head can break a functional satellite, says Vainio.

LIVING IN A NEW SPACE ERA The idea for the Centre of Excellence was born when leading Finnish experts participated in the development of the Aalto-1 nanosatellite, which started as student project at Aalto University. Aalto-1 is the first satellite designed and built in Finland, and the researchers from Turku built a radiation monitor called RADMON into the satellite. In many ways, Aalto-1 is a historic initiative in Finnish space industry and it is an indicator of a new space era in a wider context as well. – People have started talking about NewSpace, as most of the satellites

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The orbit is starting to fill up with debris at an alarming rate. Some collisions have already happened and their number will probably increase in the future if we cannot find a solution to the problem.

Rami Vainio leads the Space Research Laboratory at the University of Turku. He is holding a copy of the RADMON radiation monitor, which is also part of the Aalto-1 satellite currently orbiting the Earth.

launched into space after 2012 have been owned by private companies and ventures. The change is partly due to the fact that space technology has become cheaper, lighter and more accessible, says Vainio. Satellites have become increasingly smaller and it has had a great impact on why the private sector has become such a significant player in space industry in the last few years. Where the launching of satellites used to be a big and expensive project costing millions of euro, now a single rocket can launch even over a hundred of the new, lighter satellites into space.

– As the costs of the launch are divided according to the weight or number of the satellites, the price has dropped to hundreds of thousands, which has created a situation where new initiatives are springing up like mushrooms. You can even talk about a mega constellation orbiting the Earth – an armada of nanosatellites slightly larger than a milk carton, describes Vainio. When the launch of satellites in itself is no longer so costly, there is no sense in building overly expensive satellites. – There are devices in orbit that are optimised for a life of two or three years and

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Even now, millions of pieces of space debris orbit the Earth. The dotted red line marks the Earth’s geostationary orbit that is important to communications satellites. Photo: ESA, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

they are not meant to last any longer than that. This is partly because the payload of satellites improves continuously and, for example, the spectral cameras get better each year.

COST - EFFECTIVE AND RADIATION TOLERANT TECHNOLOGY If most of the space debris is created by disintegrating satellites, what turns the expensive devices into worthless junk? – The single most important factor is radiation and there’s more of it in space than

here on Earth, explains Vainio. The Centre of Excellence focuses on two key factors for the sustainable utilisation of space: radiation-tolerance for satellites and containment of space debris. The consortium studies radiation conditions and develops smart technologies to improve radiation protection. – The old way of protecting satellites from radiation in space is based on costly special components and armouring the more delicate parts. Based on commercial components, we are developing an active but cost-effective way to protect satellites from radiation.

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In the project, the radiation protection is based on software using technologies created for industrial safety and the Internet of Things. In layman’s terms, this means that satellites are built of cheaper parts but their software is so intelligent that it should recognise the damage caused by radiation and steer itself to fix the problem. – The satellite has to withstand radiation and identify when a part of the system is temporarily or entirely broken. Furthermore, irreplaceable technology has to be multiplied so that one radiation particle does not break the entire satellite. The University’s role in the consortium is to equip satellites with measuring devices that can detect certain things from radiation, such as radiation flux and its types. Developing these kinds of devices is the established area of expertise of the University of Turku, says Vainio. In addition, a plasma brake developed by Pekka Janhunen from the Finnish Meteorological Institute is also tested in the consortium’s satellites. Within the Earth’s magnetosphere, the orbital speed of the satellite can be slowed down with a tether-like plasma brake that functions as a kind of a sail as it harnesses plasma surrounding the planet. The idea is that the plasma brake could be a future standard equipment in satellites

and prevent the creation of new space debris. With the plasma brake, it could be possible to make satellites that have completed their mission to descend into lower orbits, from where they will drop into the atmosphere and be destroyed, describes Professor Vainio.

SPACE AS A COMMERCIAL MEGATREND Open satellite data, NewSpace with its nano satellites, and the increasing commercial launches are a sign that the space industry is at a turning-point. According to Vainio, space has become a new megatrend. – The numbers in the space segment are rather dizzying at the moment, reaching an annual growth of even 10–25 percent depending on the analyst. The significance of corporate collaboration has also been understood at the Centre of Excellence in Research of Sustainable Space. – In the consortium, one of the most important matters is the impact of our research. We collaborate with companies and try to conduct open science so that it can also be utilised in the business sector, says Vainio. /

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The University of Turku offers 15 international Master’s Degree Programmes. The two-year programmes are based on the University’s research strengths. Check out our Master's degree portal and find out more about the programmes, entry requirements, fees, and studying in Turku.

> www.utu.fi/masters

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High-intensity Interval Training Rapidly Improves Diabetics’ Glucose Metabolism TEXT: ERJA HYYTIÄINEN

New research reveals that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) increases glucose metabolism in muscles as well as insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetes. Already after a two-week training period, the glucose uptake in thigh muscles returned to a normal level. ​ he discovery was made in a research proT ject led by Senior Research Fellow Kari Kalliokoski and Project Manager Jarna Hannukainen at the University of Turku. The project studied the health impacts of high-intensity interval training on healthy people and diabetics, and the results are encouraging. – HIIT has a rapid impact on metabolism. However, no great differences have been demonstrated between the impact of HIIT and moderate intensity continuous training over a longer period of time. The

main benefit of high-intensity interval training is mostly that it takes less time, says Doctoral Candidate Tanja Sjöros. The study included two different groups: healthy men in their forties and fifties, and a group of people with insulin resistance, some of whom had type 2 diabetes and some prediabetes, i.e. their blood sugar levels were elevated but not yet high enough to indicate type 2 diabetes. Both groups carried out a similar two-week training routine where they did either high-intensity interval training or traditional, moderate intensity training. – Before the training started, the glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity of the insulin resistant persons were significantly reduced compared to the group of healthy individuals. However, already after two weeks of high intensity

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training, which amounted to six training sessions, the glucose metabolism in the thigh muscles achieved the starting level of the healthy control group, tells Sjöros.

study, the endurance of type 2 diabetics increased only in the HIIT group, but earlier studies have shown that, when the training routine continues for over two weeks, endurance increases with the traIn HIIT, the training sessions are highly ditional, moderate intensity training just intensive but short, as much as it does and followed by rewith high-interval If you have only covery period. For training. example, HIIT can be little time to spare, carried out in 30-secThe research results high-interval ond training sessions highlight the benefiof maximum intensicial effects of exertraining could be a ty and with a recovcise on glucose meery period of a coutabolism especially great alternative to ple of minutes. in diabetics and in traditional training those who suffer Glucose metabolism from disturbances in that requires more and insulin sensitivthe glucose metabtime but is lower in ity improved after olism. According to both the high-intenprevious research, intensity sity training and the exercise lowers moderate intensiblood sugar as much ty continuous training, so the study sugas diabetes medication. Therefore, exergests that people can choose the type of cise is an essential part of treating and training based on their own preferences. preventing diabetes.


– However, the group that did moderate intensity training achieved only half of the improvement experienced by the HIIT group during the two-week period. Therefore, this type of training requires a longer period of time. If you have only little time to spare, high-interval training could be a great alternative to traditional training that requires more time but is lower in intensity, says Sjöros.

– It’s particularly good news that when it comes to the glucose metabolism and endurance it does not seem to matter whether the exercise takes place over a longer period of time as moderate training or over a short period as high-interval training. Everyone can choose the type of training that suits them best. In general, you can achieve the best results for your body by using both training methods, encourages Sjöros. /

HIIT also improves endurance. In the

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No one can consider oneself a fully-fledged expert. Instead, an attitude to continuous learning is more important.


CHANGE IS A POSSIBILITY Satu Teerikangas began working as a Professor of Management and Organisation at Turku School of Economics in spring 2017. Her goal is clear: she wants to help organisations and individuals thrive in the midst of constant change. – Change is constant in today's world, and working life requires you to endure constant change. In the midst of surprises and uncertainty, organisations and individuals

face the challenge of keeping their feet on the ground while remaining open to new possibilities, even thriving, says Teerikangas referring to her research question.

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The Professor of Management and Organisation explores the various forms of change occurring in organisations and what they mean for an individual or for a manager. Teerikangas herself strongly believes in being active and making choices. – We all have an impact on the enactment and building of our everyday lives and future through our actions and attitudes. In working life, this means, for example, that you should be open to learning and growth. We should all consider the type of skills we will need on our journey: today's world is a global battlefield that requires radically innovative measures and tolerance for change. No one can consider oneself a fully-fledged expert. Instead, an attitude to continuous learning is more important. Teerikangas notes that it is not just about improving your skills but also about improving yourself as a person. – Individuals who have been able to grasp the meaning of their life and have consciously developed themselves, even in areas that might feel uncomfortable, tend to experience leading a good life. Success requires risk-taking and learning from your mistakes. In the work community, this means that management has to be open to the growth of the individual. – In Finland, we largely concentrate on supervisory skills but what about lead-

ership abilities? Leadership and management also require willingness to evaluate yourself and the challenges you face, and thus discovering yourself. Taking responsibility as an employee and as a manager is related to the research topic that Teerikangas and her colleagues have developed in the research group for Management and Organisation at Turku School of Economics. They have been awarded research funding by the Finnish Work Environment Fund. – We want to develop a new type of concept for leadership in which the communal actions and working actively together as colleagues play a major part. In an active and supportive work community, everyone takes responsibility for their own work and the well-being of the work community.

ANYONE CAN BE A CHANGE AGENT Prior to joining the University of Turku, Teerikangas worked at Aalto University and the University College London, where she concentrated especially on questions related to corporate acquisitions in large, international companies. – The profitability of corporate acquisitions is often directly related to how well the change is being managed. Aspects related to operation and strategy are clearly taken into account, but identity, culture, and attitudes are often neglected. The

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key to success is in how the ‘silent forces’ of change are taken into account. Teerikangas notes that companies that grow through mergers and acquisitions are not exactly monoliths and thus should not be managed as such. – Large international companies that have grown through corporate acquisitions are constructed by various corporate pieces. These pieces are often in different phases of their cultural adjustment journey and have different cultures. Can these pieces work together to achieve a common goal? Teerikangas herself has a multicultural background: in addition to Finland, she grew up in Kenya, England, China and France. She returned to Finland to study industrial engineering in the former Helsinki University of Technology, now Aalto University, because she wanted to discover what being a Finn is like. After graduation, she was already interested in an academic career, but she decided to work as a consultant for the Shell management in the Netherlands. – I found the corporate world with its global changes excitingly intriguing, but I did not experience meaningfulness in my work. I returned to Finland, back to my home university, to do my doctoral dissertation on industrial engineering. Back then in the early 2000s, I was interested in the visibility of multiculturalism

in working life and the type of challenges and opportunities it provided. I began exploring this by focusing on corporate acquisitions and ended up finding myself on the theme of change which I am still working on. Teerikangas is also interested in change agents: those individuals and organisations that actively work on creating a better tomorrow regarding, for example, the environment, poverty, or responsibility. – This pretty much sums up my interests. How do you get people to take responsibility? This is also related to the task that was internationally set for different business schools by the United Nations. The task included, for example, bringing questions on responsibility to companies and business knowledge to discussions on the environment. Teerikangas says it has been great to see how universities have begun to consider large, global challenges. – I myself have started thinking about how I can make a tangible impact on making the world a better place? Environmental responsibility, for example, is important to me both as a researcher and a consumer. It feels good to think that when I retire, I’ll be able to say that I have actively worked to help preserve the planet for future generations. /

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