Digitalis is a genus of about 20 species of herbaceous perennials and biennials called foxgloves. This genus was traditionally placed in the figwort family Scrophulariaceae, but recent phylogenetic research has placed it in the much enlarged family Plantaginaceae; this genus is native to western and southwestern Europe and central Asia and northwestern Africa. The flowers are produced on a tall spike, are tubular, vary in colour with species, from purple to pink and yellow; the scientific name means "finger-like" and refers to the ease with which a flower can be fitted over a human fingertip. The best-known species is Digitalis purpurea; this biennial plant is grown as an ornamental plant due to its vivid flowers which range in colour from various purple tints through pink, purely white. The flowers can possess various marks and spottings. Other garden-worthy species include D. grandiflora, D. lutea and D. parviflora. The term digitalis is used for drug preparations that contain cardiac glycosides one called digoxin, extracted from various plants of this genus.
Foxglove has medicinal uses but can be toxic to humans and other animals. The name "foxglove" was first recorded in the year 1542 by Leonhard Fuchs, whose family name, Fuchs, is the German word for "fox"; the genus digitalis is from the Latin digitus referencing the shape of the flowers, which accommodate a finger when formed. Thus the name is recorded in fox's glove. Over time, folk myths obscured the literal origins of the name, insinuating that foxes wore the flowers on their paws to silence their movements as they stealthily hunted their prey; the woody hillsides where the foxes made their dens were covered with the toxic flowers. Some of the more menacing names, such as "witch's glove," reference the toxicity of the plant. Henry Fox Talbot proposed folks' glove. R. C. A. Prior suggested an etymology of foxes-glew, meaning'fairy music'. However, neither of these suggestions accounts for the Old English form foxes glofa. Digitalis species thrive in acidic soils, in partial sunlight to deep shade, in a range of habitats, including open woods, woodland clearings and heath margins, sea-cliffs, rocky mountain slopes and hedge banks.
It is found on sites where the ground has been disturbed, such as cleared woodland, or where the vegetation has been burnt. Larvae of the foxglove pug, a moth, consume the flowers of the common foxglove for food. Other species of Lepidoptera eat the leaves, including the lesser yellow underwing. A group of medicines extracted from foxglove plants are called digitalin; the use of D. purpurea extract containing cardiac glycosides for the treatment of heart conditions was first described in the English-speaking medical literature by William Withering, in 1785, considered the beginning of modern therapeutics. It is used to increase cardiac contractility and as an antiarrhythmic agent to control the heart rate in the irregular atrial fibrillation. Digitalis is hence prescribed for patients in atrial fibrillation if they have been diagnosed with congestive heart failure. Digoxin was approved for heart failure in 1998 under current regulations by the Food and Drug Administration on the basis of prospective, randomized study and clinical trials.
It was approved for the control of ventricular response rate for patients with atrial fibrillation. American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association guidelines recommend digoxin for symptomatic chronic heart failure for patients with reduced systolic function, preservation of systolic function, and/or rate control for atrial fibrillation with a rapid ventricular response. Heart Failure Society of America guidelines for heart failure provide similar recommendations. Despite its recent approval by the Food and Drug Administration and the guideline recommendations, the therapeutic use of digoxin is declining in patients with heart failure—likely the result of several factors. Safety concerns regarding a proposed link between digoxin therapy and increased mortality in women may be contributing to the decline in therapeutic use of digoxin. A group of pharmacologically active compounds are extracted from the leaves of the second year's growth, in pure form are referred to by common chemical names, such as digitoxin or digoxin, or by brand names such as Crystodigin and Lanoxin, respectively.
The two drugs differ in that digoxin has an additional hydroxyl group at the C-3 position on the B-ring. Both molecules include a triple-repeating sugar called a glycoside. Digitalis works by inhibiting sodium-potassium ATPase; this results in an increased intracellular concentration of sodium ions and thus a decreased concentration gradient across the cell membrane. This increase in intracellular sodium causes the Na/CA exchanger to reverse potential, i.e. transition from pumping sodium into the cell in exchange for pumping calcium out of the cell, to pumping sodium out of the cell in exchange for pumping calcium into the cell. This leads to an increase in cytoplasmic calcium concentration, which improves cardiac contractility. Under normal physiological conditions, the cytoplasmic calcium used in cardiac contractions originates from the sarcoplasmic reticulum, an intracellular organelle that specializes in the storage of calcium. Human newborns, some animals, patients with chronic heart failure lack well developed and functioning sarcoplasmic reticula and must rely on the Na/Ca exchanger to provide all or a majori
David Amodio is an American scientist who examines the psychological and neural mechanisms underlying social behavior, with a focus on self-regulation and intergroup relations. Amodio is known for his role in developing the field of social neuroscience and for his neuroscientific approach to social psychology. Amodio's research considers the roles of social cognition and motivation, their neural underpinnings, as they relate to implicit processes and mechanisms of control in social behaviors, his research has revealed that social motivations and attitudes can shape the earliest stages of face processing in vision. In a complementary line of work, Amodio investigates the effects of discrimination on health and decision making among targets of prejudice, with the broad goal of understanding and reducing health disparities. Amodio is the author of an influential review of the brain's role in social cognition, he has received attention for his study showing that political liberals and conservatives differ in patterns of brain activity associated with cognitive control—an early example of research in the field of political neuroscience.
Although his questions address classic social psychological issues, Amodio's approach is interdisciplinary. Amodio directs the New York University Social Neuroscience Laboratory and the NYU Social Neuroscience Network, he serves as Associate Editor for the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, he was a co-founder of the Social and Affective Neuroscience Society and served on the founding advisory board for the Society for Social Neuroscience. Amodio has been recognized for his research contributions with awards such as the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from the White House, the Janet T. Spence Award for Transformative Early Career Contributions from the Association for Psychological Science, the F. J. McGuigan Early Career Investigator Prize from the American Psychological Foundation, the Early Career Award for Contribution to Social Cognition from the International Social Cognition Network, the SAGE Young Scholars Award from the Foundation for Personality and Social Psychology