Browsing by Subject "FEAR"

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  • Sarviaho, R.; Hakosalo, O.; Tiira, K.; Sulkama, S.; Niskanen, J. E.; Hytonen, M. K.; Sillanpää, M. J.; Lohi, H. (2020)
    The complex phenotypic and genetic nature of anxieties hampers progress in unravelling their molecular etiologies. Dogs present extensive natural variation in fear and anxiety behaviour and could advance the understanding of the molecular background of behaviour due to their unique breeding history and genetic architecture. As dogs live as part of human families under constant care and monitoring, information from their behaviour and experiences are easily available. Here we have studied the genetic background of fearfulness in the Great Dane breed. Dogs were scored and categorised into cases and controls based on the results of the validated owner-completed behavioural survey. A genome-wide association study in a cohort of 124 dogs with and without socialisation as a covariate revealed a genome-wide significant locus on chromosome 11. Whole exome sequencing and whole genome sequencing revealed extensive regions of opposite homozygosity in the same locus on chromosome 11 between the cases and controls with interesting neuronal candidate genes such as MAPK9/JNK2, a known hippocampal regulator of anxiety. Further characterisation of the identified locus will pave the way for molecular understanding of fear in dogs and may provide a natural animal model for human anxieties.
  • Hakanen, Emma; Mikkola, Salla; Salonen, Milla; Puurunen, Jenni; Sulkama, Sini; Araujo, Cesar; Lohi, Hannes (2020)
    Behavioural problems are leading welfare issues in domestic dogs. In particular, anxiety-related behavioural problems, such as fearfulness and noise sensitivity are highly prevalent conditions that cause distress to fearful dogs. To better understand the environmental factors associated with non-social fear, including noise sensitivity, fear of novel situations, and fear of surfaces and heights, a large online survey including data on 13,700 Finnish pet dogs was performed by the dog owners. After fulfilling inclusion criteria, this data consisted of 9,613 dogs with fear of fireworks, 9,513 dogs with fear of thunder, 6,945 dogs with fear of novel situations, and 2,932 dogs with fear of surfaces and heights. Logistic regression analyses revealed that dogs with frequent non-social fear had experienced less socialisation during puppyhood, were more often neutered, had inexperienced owners, lived without conspecifics, participated less frequently in activities or training, and lived in more urban environments. In addition, we identified several breed differences, and a tendency of more common non-social fear in small dog breeds, which suggests a genetic background. Non-social fearfulness has a negative effect on well-being of the dogs. Our findings suggest that the socialisation and the living environment and the value of other dogs' company and owner interaction via activities and training may improve the well-being of the dogs.
  • Mammola, Stefano; Malumbres-Olarte, Jagoba; Arabesky, Valeria; Barrales-Alcalá, Diego Alejandro; Barrion-Dupo, Aimee Lynn; Benamú, Marco Antonio; Bird, Tharina L.; Bogomolova, Maria; Cardoso, Pedro; Chatzaki, Maria; Cheng, Ren-Chung; Chu, Tien-Ai; Classen-Rodriguez, Leticia M.; Cupic, Iva; Dhiya'ulhaq, Naufal Urfi; Picard, Andre-Philippe Drapeau; El-Hennawy, Hisham K.; Elverici, Mert; Fukushima, Caroline S.; Ganem, Zeana; Gavish-Regev, Efrat; Gonnye, Naledi T.; Hacala, Axel; Haddad, Charles R.; Hesselberg, Thomas; Ho, Tammy Ai Tian; Into, Thanakorn; Isaia, Marco; Jayaraman, Dharmaraj; Karuaera, Nanguei; Khalap, Rajashree; Khalap, Kiran; Kim, Dongyoung; Korhonen, Tuuli; Kralj-Fiser, Simona; Land, Heidi; Lin, Shou-Wang; Loboda, Sarah; Lowe, Elizabeth; Lubin, Yael; Martinez, Alejandro; Mbo, Zingisile; Milicic, Marija; Kioko, Grace Mwende; Nanni, Veronica; Norma-Rashid, Yusoff; Nwankwo, Daniel; Painting, Christina J.; Pang, Aleck; Pantini, Paolo; Pavlek, Martina; Pearce, Richard; Petcharad, Booppa; Petillon, Julien; Raberahona, Onjaherizo Christian; Saarinen, Joni A.; Segura-Hernandez, Laura; Sentenska, Lenka; Uhl, Gabriele; Walker, Leilani; Warui, Charles M.; Wisniewski, Konrad; Zamani, Alireza; Scott, Catherine; Chuang, Angela (2022)
    Mass media plays an important role in the construction and circulation of risk perception associated with animals. Widely feared groups such as spiders frequently end up in the spotlight of traditional and social media. We compiled an expert-curated global database on the online newspaper coverage of human-spider encounters over the past ten years (2010-2020). This database includes information about the location of each human-spider encounter reported in the news article and a quantitative characterisation of the content-location, presence of photographs of spiders and bites, number and type of errors, consultation of experts, and a subjective assessment of sensationalism. In total, we collected 5348 unique news articles from 81 countries in 40 languages. The database refers to 211 identified and unidentified spider species and 2644 unique human-spider encounters (1121 bites and 147 as deadly bites). To facilitate data reuse, we explain the main caveats that need to be made when analysing this database and discuss research ideas and questions that can be explored with it.
  • Helminen, Vilja; Elovainio, Marko; Jokela, Markus (2022)
    Conservative political ideologies have been suggested to correlate with elevated sensitivity to threat. However, it is unclear whether the associations between threat sensitivity and political attitudes can be observed with clinical measures of mental health. We examined how anxiety disorders predicted attitudes on several political issues. Participants were 7253 individuals from the 1958 British Birth Cohort study. Symptoms of generalised anxiety disorder, phobia and panic were assessed in a clinical interview at age 44, and opinions about political issues were self-reported by the participants 6 years later. Anxiety symptoms were associated with higher concerns about economic inequality, preservation of the environment, distrust in politics and lower work ethic. No associations were observed with racist or authoritarian attitudes, or support for traditional family values. We also assessed how political attitudes at ages 33 and 42 predicted anxiety disorder symptoms at age 44, revealing a possible bidirectional association between concern for economic inequality and anxiety disorder symptoms. These findings do not support an association between conservative political attitudes and elevated threat sensitivity. Rather, elevated anxiety may increase concerns about social inequality and the environment.
  • Tiira, Katriina (2021)
    Separation-related behaviour problems are common in domestic dogs. Vocalization is one of the most common symptoms in dogs, and neighbors often complain about dog barking and howling. We investigated the effect of digital application Digital Dogsitter® on the dogs’ vocalization (barking, howling, whining) when left alone. Digital Dogsitter® is an application, used via laptop or pc, and it activates as a reaction to the dog's vocalization and then plays a short owner-recorded feedback. Altogether 40 participants who had a laptop/pc at home and a dog that suffered from separation related symptoms, specifically vocalization, completed the study. Dogs’ vocalization (when alone at home) was recorded before and after using Digital Dogsitter® for two weeks, in order to investigate whether Digital Dogsitter® reduces dog's vocalization. The amount of total dog vocalization noise (in milliseconds) was significantly reduced (P < 0.001, N = 40) after using Digital Dogsitter® for two weeks. The reduction in the dogs’ vocalization after Digital Dogsitter® was 95.7%, which is very large compared to earlier studies. Owners’ opinions were also asked, and only 9.4% of the owners felt that no improvement was seen. Finally, we wanted to know, whether the effect of Digital Dogsitter® was long lasting, and sent a questionnaire to participants an average of eight months after the first study. Out of 35 participants that responded, 68.7% felt that Digital Dogsitter® did reduce the vocalization either rather well / extremely well, and only 14.3% felt, that no long-lasting effect was noticed. In addition, after eight months the owners also reported significantly less dogs’ destructive behavior compared to the starting situation. Digital Dogsitter® clearly reduces dogs’ vocalization, possibly also alleviating the separation-related stress.
  • Englund, Jonas; Haikonen, Joni; Shteinikov, Vasilii; Amarilla, Shyrley Paola; Atanasova, Tsvetomira; Shintyapina, Alexandra; Ryazantseva, Maria; Partanen, Juha; Voikar, Vootele; Lauri, Sari E. (2021)
    Early life stress (ELS) is a well-characterized risk factor for mood and anxiety disorders. GABAergic microcircuits in the amygdala are critically implicated in anxiety; however, whether their function is altered after ELS is not known. Here we identify a novel mechanism by which kainate receptors (KARs) modulate feedforward inhibition in the lateral amygdala (LA) and show that this mechanism is downregulated after ELS induced by maternal separation (MS). Specifically, we show that in control rats but not after MS, endogenous activity of GluK1 subunit containing KARs disinhibit LA principal neurons during activation of cortical afferents. GluK1 antagonism attenuated excitability of parvalbumin (PV)-expressing interneurons, resulting in loss of PV-dependent inhibitory control and an increase in firing of somatostatin-expressing interneurons. Inactivation of Grik1 expression locally in the adult amygdala reduced ongoing GABAergic transmission and was sufficient to produce a mild anxiety-like behavioral phenotype. Interestingly, MS and GluK1-dependent phenotypes showed similar gender specificity, being detectable in male but not female rodents. Our data identify a novel KAR-dependent mechanism for cell-type and projection-specific functional modulation of the LA GABAergic microcircuit and suggest that the loss of GluK1 KAR function contributes to anxiogenesis after ELS.
  • Tiira, Katriina; Lohi, Hannes (2015)
    Personality and anxiety disorders across species are affected by genetic and environmental factors. Shyness-boldness personality continuum exists across species, including the domestic dog, with a large within-and across-breed variation. Domestic dogs are also diagnosed for several anxiety-related behavioral conditions, such as generalized anxiety disorders, phobias, and separation anxiety. Genetic and environmental factors contributing to personality and anxiety are largely unknown. We collected questionnaire data from a Finnish family dog population (N = 3264) in order to study the associating environmental factors for canine fearfulness, noise sensitivity, and separation anxiety. Early life experiences and exercise were found to associate with anxiety prevalence. We found that fearful dogs had less socialization experiences (p = 0.002) and lower quality of maternal care (p <0.0001) during puppyhood. Surprisingly, the largest environmental factor associating with noise sensitivity (p <0.0001) and separation anxiety (p = 0.007) was the amount of daily exercise; dogs with noise sensitivity and separation anxiety had less daily exercise. Our findings suggest that dogs share many of the same environmental factors that contribute to anxiety in other species as well, such as humans and rodents. Our study highlights the importance of early life experiences, especially the quality of maternal care and daily exercise for the welfare and management of the dogs, and reveals important confounding factors to be considered in the genetic characterization of canine anxiety.
  • Quarto, Tiziana; Paparella, Isabella; De Tullio, Davide; Viscanti, Ciovanna; Fazio, Leonardo; Taurisano, Paolo; Romano, Raffaella; Rampino, Antonio; Masellis, Rita; Popolizio, Teresa; Selvaggi, Pierluigi; Pergola, Giulio; Bertolino, Alessandro; Blasi, Giuseppe (2018)
    The brain functional mechanisms translating genetic risk into emotional symptoms in schizophrenia (SCZ) may include abnormal functional integration between areas key for emotion processing, such as the amygdala and the lateral prefrontal cortex (LPFC). Indeed, investigation of these mechanisms is also complicated by emotion processing comprising different subcomponents and by disease-associated state variables. Here, our aim was to investigate the relationship between risk for SCZ and effective connectivity between the amygdala and the LPFC during different subcomponents of emotion processing. Thus, we first characterized with dynamic causal modeling (DCM) physiological patterns of LPFC amygdala effective connectivity in healthy controls (HC) during implicit and explicit emotion processing. Then, we compared DCM patterns in a subsample of HC, in patients with SCZ and in healthy siblings of patients (SIB), matched for demographics. Finally, we investigated in HC association of LPFC amygdala effective connectivity with a genome-wide supported variant increasing genetic risk for SCZ and possibly relevant to emotion processing (DRD2 rs2514218). In HC, we found that a "bottom-up" amygdala-to-LPFC pattern during implicit processing and a "top-down" LPFC-to-amygdala pattern during explicit processing were the most likely directional models of effective connectivity. Differently, implicit emotion processing in SIB, SCZ, and HC homozygous for the SCZ risk rs2514218 C allele was associated with decreased probability for the "bottom-up" as well as with increased probability for the "top-down" model. These findings suggest that task-specific anomaly in the directional flow of information or disconnection between the amygdala and the LPFC is a good candidate endophenotype of SCZ.
  • Tikker, Laura; Casarotto, Plinio; Singh, Parul; Biojone, Caroline; Piepponen, T. Petteri; Estartus, Nuri; Seelbach, Anna; Sridharan, Ravindran; Laukkanen, Liina; Castren, Eero; Partanen, Juha (2020)
    Serotonergic neurons in the dorsal raphe (DR) nucleus are associated with several psychiatric disorders including depression and anxiety disorders, which often have a neurodevelopmental component. During embryonic development, GATA transcription factors GATA2 and GATA3 operate as serotonergic neuron fate selectors and regulate the differentiation of serotonergic neuron subtypes of DR. Here, we analyzed the requirement of GATA cofactor ZFPM1 in the development of serotonergic neurons using Zfpm1 conditional mouse mutants. Our results demonstrated that, unlike the GATA factors, ZFPM1 is not essential for the early differentiation of serotonergic precursors in the embryonic rhombomere 1. In contrast, in perinatal and adult male and female Zfpm1 mutants, a lateral subpopulation of DR neurons (ventrolateral part of the DR) was lost, whereas the number of serotonergic neurons in a medial subpopulation (dorsal region of the medial DR) had increased. Additionally, adult male and female Zfpm1 mutants had reduced serotonin concentration in rostral brain areas and displayed increased anxiety-like behavior. Interestingly, female Zfpm1 mutant mice showed elevated contextual fear memory that was abolished with chronic fluoxetine treatment. Altogether, these results demonstrate the importance of ZFPM1 for the development of DR serotonergic neuron subtypes involved in mood regulation. It also suggests that the neuronal fate selector function of GATAs is modulated by their cofactors to refine the differentiation of neuronal subtypes.
  • Puurunen, Jenni; Hakanen, Emma; Salonen, Milla K.; Mikkola, Salla; Sulkama, Sini; Araujo, Cesar; Lohi, Hannes (2020)
    Problematic behaviours are severe welfare issues for one of the world's most popular pets, the domestic dog. One of the most prevalent behavioural problem that causes distress to dogs is social fearfulness, meaning fear of conspecifics or unfamiliar people. To identify demographic and environmental factors associated with fear of dogs and strangers, logistic regression was utilised with a large dataset of 6,000 pet dogs collected through an owner-filled behavioural survey. Social fearfulness was associated with several factors, including urban environment, poor socialisation during puppyhood, infrequent participation in training and other activities, small body size, female sex, and neutering. In addition, we identified several breed differences, suggesting a genetic contribution to social fearfulness. These findings highlight the role of inadequate socialisation, inactivity, and urban living environmental in fear-related behavioural problems in dogs. Improvements in the management and breeding practices of dogs could, therefore, enhance the welfare of man's best friend.
  • Ryazantseva, Maria; Englund, Jonas; Shintyapina, Alexandra; Huupponen, Johanna; Shteinikov, Vasilii; Pitkänen, Asla; Partanen, Juha M; Lauri, Sari E (2020)
    Perturbed information processing in the amygdala has been implicated in developmentally originating neuropsychiatric disorders. However, little is known on the mechanisms that guide formation and refinement of intrinsic connections between amygdaloid nuclei. We demonstrate that in rodents the glutamatergic connection from basolateral to central amygdala (BLA-CeA) develops rapidly during the first 10 postnatal days, before external inputs underlying amygdala-dependent behaviors emerge. During this restricted period of synaptic development, kainate-type of ionotropic glutamate receptors (KARs) are highly expressed in the BLA and tonically activated to regulate glutamate release via a G-protein-dependent mechanism. Genetic manipulation of this endogenous KAR activity locally in the newborn LA perturbed development of glutamatergic input to CeA, identifying KARs as a physiological mechanism regulating formation of the glutamatergic circuitry in the amygdala.
  • Lizotte, Christopher (2020)
    Laicite, France's idiosyncratic form of secularism, is a complex concept that is dense with historical genealogy, practical contradictions and - crucially - political geographies. In particular, contemporary Laicite is characterized by a state-sponsored model of universal citizenship that regards French Muslims' identity claims with mistrust. This tension, always latent, was brought to the fore by a series of attacks perpetrated self-styled jihadists in January 2015, centered on the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo notorious for its provocations against Islam. The attacks and their aftermath also highlighted a key space where conflicts over Laicite often play out: the French public school, the ecole republicaine. This institution was conceived in its modern form as a mechanism to assimilate through laique pedagogy. Today it is a highly visible space where the optics of race and gender contribute to a narrative of Muslim communautarisme, a willful and defiant communalism that rejects the republican community of citizens. Following a handful of incidents in which students refused to participate in a moment of silence for the victims of the January 2015 attacks, the Ministry of Education undertook an initiative involving disciplinary and pedagogical supports for Laicite in the schools, called the Great Mobilisation for the Republic's Values. Like other past interventions in this area, it operationalizes an assimilating vision of Laicite to bring recalcitrant peripheries into compliance with republican norms. At the same time, though, it reveals the agency of the peripheries to negotiate the terms of Laicite according to local knowledge and needs. On the basis of interviews with educators serving in schools where elements of the Grand Mobilisation were carried out, I show how they push back against the overarching narratives that characterize the initiative and in so doing construct localized and nuanced understandings of the laique social pact.
  • Mammola, Stefano; Nanni, Veronica; Pantini, Paolo; Isaia, Marco (2020)
    1. Spiders are able to arouse strong emotional reactions in humans. While spider bites are statistically rare events, our perception is skewed towards the potential harm spiders can cause to humans. Nevertheless, there is still limited understanding of the role of the media in spreading (mis)information about them thereby promoting this distorted perception of risk. 2. We examined the human dimension of spiders through the lens of traditional media, by analysing spider-related news published online in Italian newspapers between 2010 and 2020 (n = 314). We assessed the accuracy, circulation and sensationalistic content of each article, and assessed how each of these features drove news' share on social media. 3. We observed a recent, exponential increase in the frequency of the news, particularly those focused on medically important spiders-the Mediterranean black widow Latrodectus tredecimguttatus and the Mediterranean recluse Loxosceles rufescens. The news quality was generally poor: 70% contained different types of error, 32% were sensationalistic, and in virtually none was an expert consulted. 4. The risk scenario depicted by the media reports was unnecessarily alarmist, especially with regard to L. rufescens. A conservative estimate would suggest that less than 10% of the bites reported in the media reports analysed here were delivered by the species described in the report. Moreover, two out of three casualties associated with a bite of the Mediterranean recluse were fake news, while the third was unverifiable. 5. Overstated news referring to spider bites was shared significantly more on social media, thus contributing to frame a distorted perception of the risk. This is important given that these negative sentiments may ultimately lead to lowering public tolerance towards spiders and reducing conservation efforts towards them. We discuss open questions and avenues for future research concerning the media coverage of widely feared animals, that will help bridge knowledge gaps regarding the role of traditional and social media in framing our perception of the natural world.
  • Tiira, Katriina; Sulkama, Sini; Lohi, Hannes (2016)
    Fear is an emotion needed to survive, but when prolonged and frequent, causes suffering in both humans and animals. The most common forms of canine anxiety are as follows: general fearfulness, noise sensitivity, and separation anxiety are responsible for a large proportion of behavioral problems. Information on the prevalence and comorbidity of different anxieties is necessary for breeding, veterinary behavior, and also for behavioral genetic research, where accurate information of the phenotype is essential. We used a validated owner-completed questionnaire to collect information on dogs' fearfulness (toward unfamiliar people, dogs, in new situations), noise sensitivity, separation anxiety, as well as aggressive behavior. We received 3284 answers from 192 breeds. The prevalence estimate for noise sensitivity was 39.2 %, 26.2% for general fearfulness, and 17.2% for separation anxiety. The owner reported the median onset age for noise sensitivity to be 2 years and varied between 8 weeks and 10 years (N = 407). High comorbidity was observed between different anxieties: fearful dogs had a significantly higher noise sensitivity (P <0.001) and separation anxiety (P <0.001) compared with nonfearful dogs. Fearful dogs were also more aggressive compared with nonfearful dogs (P <0.001). Prevalence estimates of fearfulness, noise sensitivity, and separation anxiety are in agreement with earlier studies. Previous studies have suggested early onset of noise sensitivity during the first year of life; however, we found a later onset with large variation in the onset age. High comorbidity between anxieties suggests a genetic overlap. Fearful personality may predispose to specific anxieties such as noise sensitivity or separation anxiety. (C) 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc.
  • Melin, Johanna; Heinävaara, Sirpa; Malila, Nea; Tiitinen, Aila; Gissler, Mika; Madanat-Harjuoja, Laura (2019)
    Previous studies have shown an elevated risk for preterm delivery among early onset cancer survivors. Whether the preterm delivery starts spontaneously, due to possible uterine damage because of cancer treatment, or is induced due to maternal conditions is unclear. Our aim was to assess pregnancy related conditions in female cancer survivors possibly underlying the elevated risk for preterm labor. Nationwide cancer and birth registries were merged to identify 1,753 first deliveries of cancer survivors (diagnosed below 40 years of age) and 5,123 first deliveries of matched female comparison subjects between January 1991 and December 2013. Conditional logistic regression models were used to estimate the risk for pregnancy related conditions adjusting for maternal age, gestational age and smoking. We found an overall increased risk for hospitalization during pregnancy (OR 1.45, 95% CI 1.25-1.68), intrahepatic cholestasis (OR 2.86, 95% CI 1.09-7.49), fear of childbirth (OR 2.25, 95% CI 1.31-3.85) and mental disorders and diseases of the nervous system complicating pregnancy and labor (OR 5.89, 95% CI 2.31-15.00). Among survivors, 129 (7.4%) delivered preterm compared to 268 (5.2%) comparisons subjects (p = 0.004). We found a statistically significant increased risk for preterm delivery among cancer survivors with vaginal bleeding (OR 1.35, 95% CI 1.07-1.71) and pre-eclampsia (1.35, 95% CI 1.06-1.72) compared to comparison subjects with the same condition. Health professionals treating these women should be aware of these risks. In general, however, our results are reassuring when it comes to pregnancies among cancer survivors.
  • Karpova, Nina N.; Lindholm, Jesse Saku Olavi; Kulesskaya, Natalia; Onishchenko, Natalia; Vahter, Marie; Popova, Dina; Ceccatelli, Sandra; Castren, Eero (2014)
  • Eide, Elisabeth; Kunelius, Risto (2021)
    Drawing from interviews with 31 young leading climate activists from 23 countries across the world this article aims to capture the contribution of the recent youth climate movement to communicating climate science and politics. We show that from the point of view of the youth activists, the movement powerfully connects personal and local experiences and emotions with climate science. This has enabled the activists to construct an authentic, generational and temporal identity that has helped them to carve out an autonomous position and voice with considerable moral authority among existing climate policy actors. Claiming to represent the future generation, we conclude that activists have offered an important added value to climate science as new ambassadors for scientific consensus and climate mitigation. The youth movement and the added value it brings communicating climate science is an example of the dynamics of the formation of "relational publics" and emphasizes the need to understand better the networked communication landscape where climate politics is debated.
  • Pusenius, Jyrki; Kukko, Tuomas; Melin, Markus; Laaksonen, Sauli; Kojola, Ilpo (2020)
    Grey wolf Canis lupus is often the main predator of moose Alces alces. Therefore it can be expected that moose are able to recognize the presence of wolves and react to them to avoid predation. We examined the effect of predation risk by wolves on movement patterns by moose in eastern Finland where moose and wolves have co-existed for centuries. The level of wolf predation risk experienced by 20 radio-collared adult moose was classified according to the proportion of their fixes in wolf territories. Our results suggest that moose adjust their movement speed according to the degree they are exposed to the presence of wolves. The adjustment occurred in summer but not in winter. In summer the moose more exposed to wolves moved faster than the moose less exposed to wolves. Season and the structure of the surrounding forests also affected moose movement patterns. Both movement speed and the linearity of movement decreased in winter and with increasing canopy cover. We suggest that by increased moving when exposed to higher risk of predation moose try to keep distance to the predator and/or try to keep themselves spatially and temporally unpredictable to their predator. Our results differ from those obtained in Scandinavia where no response of moose movement to predation risk by wolves has been detected. It might be that wolves' continuous presence in eastern Finland compared to Scandinavia provide a reason why moose in our study area reacted to the presence of wolves.