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Keyword: neuroscience

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  • Scientists criticize Europe’s $1.6B brain project

    07/07/2014 12:52:22 PM PDT · by Olog-hai · 10 replies
    Associated Press ^ | Jul 7, 2014 12:30 PM EDT
    Dozens of neuroscientists are protesting Europe’s $1.6 billion attempt to recreate the functioning of the human brain on supercomputers, fearing it will waste vast amounts of money and harm neuroscience in general. The 10-year Human Brain Project is largely funded by the European Union. In an open letter issued Monday, more than 190 neuroscience researchers called on the EU to put less money into the effort to “build” a brain, and to invest instead in existing projects. …
  • Neuroscientists find link between agenesis of the corpus callosum and autism

    05/16/2014 9:21:32 AM PDT · by neverdem · 23 replies
    Medical Xpress ^ | April 29, 2014 | Katie Neith
    MRI images from a neurotypical control (left) and an adult with complete agenesis of the corpus callosum (right). The corpus callosum is indicated in red, fading as the fibers enter the hemispheres in order to suggest that they continue on. The anterior commissure is indicated by light aqua. The image illustrates the dramatic lack of inter hemispheric connections in callosal agenesis. Credit: Lynn Paul/Caltech (Medical Xpress)—Building on their prior work, a team of neuroscientists at Caltech now report that rare patients who are missing connections between the left and right sides of their brain—a condition known as agenesis of...
  • Neuroscience: Map the other brain

    09/09/2013 4:10:37 PM PDT · by neverdem · 5 replies
    Nature News ^ | 04 September 2013 | R. Douglas Fields
    Glia, the non-neuronal cells that make up most of the brain, must not be left out of an ambitious US mapping initiative, says R. Douglas Fields. The Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative announced by US President Barack Obama in April seeks to map and monitor the function of neural connections in the entire brains of experimental animals, and eventually in the human cerebral cortex. Several researchers have raised doubts about the project, cautioning that mapping the brain is a much more complex endeavour than mapping the human genome, and its usefulness more uncertain. I believe that exploring...
  • The brain's GPS: Researchers discover human neurons linked to navigation in open environments

    08/06/2013 3:02:13 PM PDT · by neverdem · 9 replies
    Biology News Net ^ | August 5, 2013 | NA
    Using direct human brain recordings, a research team from Drexel University, the University of Pennsylvania, UCLA and Thomas Jefferson University has identified a new type of cell in the brain that helps people to keep track of their relative location while navigating an unfamiliar environment. The "grid cell," which derives its name from the triangular grid pattern in which the cell activates during navigation, is distinct among brain cells because its activation represents multiple spatial locations. This behavior is how grid cells allow the brain to keep track of navigational cues such as how far you are from a starting...
  • Atomic Bombs Help Solve Brain Mystery

    06/07/2013 11:41:33 PM PDT · by neverdem · 5 replies
    ScienceNOW ^ | 6 June 2013 | Emily Underwood
    Enlarge Image Nuclear fallout. Radioactive carbon-14 atoms released by atomic bombs are helping scientists determine the birthdays of new neurons in the hippocampus (inset). Credit: Spalding et al., Cell (2013);(inset) Weissman, Livet, Sanes, and Lichtman/Harvard University The mushroom clouds produced by more than 500 nuclear bomb tests during the Cold War may have had a silver lining, after all. More than 50 years later, scientists have found a way to use radioactive carbon isotopes released into the atmosphere by nuclear testing to settle a long-standing debate in neuroscience: Does the adult human brain produce new neurons? After working to...
  • Helicopter Operated By Pure Mind Control

    06/06/2013 1:47:46 AM PDT · by Olog-hai · 18 replies
    MNT ^ | 06 Jun 2013 - 0:00 PDT | Christian Nordqvist
    Controlling the movements of a helicopter just with your mind sounds like something out of a science fiction movie, but scientists at the University of Minnesota have made it a reality. They have learned to use their thoughts to steer a model helicopter around a gym, making it dip, rise, turn, and even fly through a ring. The scientists have published their study in the Journal of Neural Engineering. The development of brain computer interfacing (BCI) is to provide the user with the ability to communicate with the world outside and manipulate objects through thought modulation. Achieving this is accomplished...
  • Who’s Brainwashed? Progress and hype in the world of neuroscience.

    06/05/2013 11:59:00 PM PDT · by neverdem · 3 replies
    National Review Online ^ | June 5, 2013 | Kathryn Jean Lopez
    You don’t have to be a brain surgeon to find the subject of how our brains work fascinating. As Sally Satel points out in an interview with National Review Online’s Kathryn Jean Lopez, because the “brain is a very attractive topic to both readers and journalists . . . the sheer numbers of articles present many opportunities for the dissemination of overwrought claims.” But when news about the brain becomes hype, it can become a disseminator of “false hope and false answers.” As we look at the mechanics of the brain, we shouldn’t “become too carried away with the notion...
  • Gene switches make prairie voles fall in love

    06/04/2013 10:28:00 PM PDT · by neverdem · 18 replies
    Nature News ^ | 02 June 2013 | Zoe Cormier
    Epigenetic changes affect neurotransmitters that lead to pair-bond formation. Love really does change your brain — at least, if you’re a prairie vole. Researchers have shown for the first time that the act of mating induces permanent chemical modifications in the chromosomes, affecting the expression of genes that regulate sexual and monogamous behaviour. The study is published today in Nature Neuroscience1. Prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster) have long been of interest to neuroscientists and endocrinologists who study the social behaviour of animals, in part because this species forms monogamous pair bonds — essentially mating for life. The voles' pair bonding, sharing...
  • Neuroscience: Method man - Karl Deisseroth is leaving his mark on brain science one technique at...

    05/31/2013 3:29:43 PM PDT · by neverdem · 4 replies
    Nature News ^ | 29 May 2013 | Kerri Smith
    Karl Deisseroth is leaving his mark on brain science one technique at a time. When Karl Deisseroth moved into his first lab in 2004, he found himself replacing a high-profile tenant: Nobel-prizewinning physicist Steven Chu. “His name was still on the door when I moved in,” says Deisseroth, a neuroscientist, of the basement space at Stanford University in California. The legacy has had its benefits. When chemistry student Feng Zhang dropped by looking for Chu, Deisseroth convinced him to stick around. “I don't think he knew who I was. But he got interested enough.” Deisseroth is now a major name...
  • Less is more for smart perception

    05/24/2013 12:54:32 PM PDT · by neverdem · 4 replies
    Science News ^ | May 23, 2013 | Bruce Bower
    Brains of high-IQ people automatically ignore the least relevant sights People with high IQs see the world in their own way. Their brains seamlessly separate the visual wheat from the chaff, allowing them to home in on the most relevant information, a new study finds. Using a simple visual exercise, a team led by psychologist Duje Tadin of the University of Rochester in New York found that high-IQ volunteers excelled at detecting the direction in which small objects moved but struggled at tracking large moving objects. That’s a useful trait, the scientists report May 23 in Current Biology. In many...
  • Trouble With Math? Maybe You Should Get Your Brain Zapped

    05/19/2013 5:14:27 PM PDT · by neverdem · 22 replies
    ScienceNOW ^ | 16 May 2013 | Emily Underwood
    Enlarge Image Primed for numbers. Random pulses of electrical current can accelerate math learning. Credit: Albert Snowball If you are one of the 20% of healthy adults who struggle with basic arithmetic, simple tasks like splitting the dinner bill can be excruciating. Now, a new study suggests that a gentle, painless electrical current applied to the brain can boost math performance for up to 6 months. Researchers don't fully understand how it works, however, and there could be side effects. The idea of using electrical current to alter brain activity is nothing new—electroshock therapy, which induces seizures for therapeutic...
  • Man wiggles rat's tail using just thoughts

    04/10/2013 11:32:06 AM PDT · by Jyotishi · 25 replies
    The Indian Express ^ | Wednesday, April 10, 2013 | PTI
    New York - Scientists have for the first time linked the brains of a human and a rat, enabling the man to use just his thoughts to wiggle the rodent's tail. This is the first case of a brain-to-brain interface between species, and the first example of a noninvasive brain-to-brain interface, researchers claimed. Earlier this year, scientists had linked together the brains of two rats.This first known instance of a brain-to-brain interface apparently helped the rodents share data to accomplish certain tasks, even across intercontinental distances, LiveScience reported. In the latest experiment, researchers from Harvard Medical School employed noninvasive techniques...
  • Magic mushroom drugs could treat severe depression

    04/07/2013 10:47:57 AM PDT · by Jyotishi · 46 replies
    DNA ^ | Sunday, April 7, 2013 | ANI
    Drugs made from magic mushrooms could help treat people with severe depression, a new study suggests. Scientists believe that the chemical psilocybin, the psychedelic ingredient in magic mushrooms, can turn down parts of the brain that are overactive in severely depressive patients, the Guardian reported. The drug appears to stop patients dwelling on themselves and their own perceived inadequacies. However, a bid by British scientists to carry out trials of psilocybin on patients in order to assess its full medical potential has been blocked by red tape relating to Britain’s strict drugs laws. Professor David Nutt, professor of neuropsychopharmacology at...
  • Proteins behind mad-cow disease also help brain to develop

    02/15/2013 1:15:08 AM PST · by neverdem · 3 replies
    Nature News ^ | 14 February 2013 | Mo Costandi
    When not misfolded, prions lend a hand in forming neuronal connections. Prions are best known as the infectious agents that cause ‘mad cow’ disease and the human versions of it, such as variant Creutzfeldt–Jakob Disease. But the proteins also have at least one known useful function, in the cells that insulate nerves, and are suspected to have more. Now researchers have provided the first direct evidence that the proteins play an important role in neurons themselves. The team reports in the Journal of Neuroscience1 that prions are involved in developmental plasticity, the process by which the structure and function of...
  • Red Brain, Blue Brain: Republicans and Democrats Process Risk Differently, Research Finds

    02/13/2013 5:27:09 PM PST · by neverdem · 38 replies
    ScienceDaily ^ | February 13, 2013 | NA
    A team of political scientists and neuroscientists has shown that liberals and conservatives use different parts of the brain when they make risky decisions, and these regions can be used to predict which political party a person prefers. The new study suggests that while genetics or parental influence may play a significant role, being a Republican or Democrat changes how the brain functions. Dr. Darren Schreiber, a researcher in neuropolitics at the University of Exeter, has been working in collaboration with colleagues at the University of California, San Diego on research that explores the differences in the way the brain...
  • Neuroscience reveals brain differences between Republicans and Democrats

    11/03/2012 8:30:57 AM PDT · by ConservativeMind · 46 replies
    Univ. of South Carolline via MedicalXpress.com ^ | Nov. 1, 2012 | Jeff Stensland
    With the U.S. presidential election just days away, new research from the University of South Carolina provides fresh evidence that choosing a candidate may depend more on our biological make-up than a careful analysis of issues. That's because the brains of self-identified Democrats and Republicans are hard-wired differently and may be naturally inclined to hold varying, if not opposing, perceptions and values. The USC study, which analyzed MRI scans of 24 USC students, builds on existing research in the emerging field of political neuroscience. "The differences are significant and real," said lead researcher Roger D. Newman-Norlund, an assistant professor of...
  • Stress: The roots of resilience

    10/11/2012 12:44:29 PM PDT · by neverdem · 17 replies
    NATURE NEWS ^ | 10 October 2012 | Virginia Hughes
    On a chilly, January night in 1986, Elizabeth Ebaugh carried a bag of groceries across the quiet car park of a shopping plaza in the suburbs of Washington DC. She got into her car and tossed the bag onto the empty passenger seat. But as she tried to close the door, she found it blocked... --snip-- The most talked-about biological marker of resilience is neuropeptide Y (NPY), a hormone released in the brain during stress. Unlike the stress hormones that put the body on high alert in response to trauma, NPY acts at receptors in several parts of the brain...
  • CONSERVATIVE OR LIBERAL, GRAY MATTER MAY DECIDE HOW YOU VOTE

    09/26/2012 10:30:38 PM PDT · by neverdem · 27 replies
    Human Events ^ | 9/25/2012 | David Alan Coia
    We knew liberals were different, but just how different is revealed in a new study of the human brain indicating that not only do liberals and conservatives share different moral sentiments, but that markedly differing brain structures underlie those sentiments. The study’s “findings demonstrate that variation in moral sentiment corresponds to individual differences in brain structure and suggest that moral values possess deep-rooted biological bases distributed across distinct brain regions,” say University of California, Santa Barbara, post-doctoral researcher Gary J. Lewis and three research collaborators in the August 2012 issue of the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience (JCN). “People differ in...
  • Neuroscientists successfully control the dreams of rats. Could humans be next?

    09/03/2012 5:35:56 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 17 replies
    io9 ^ | 9/3/12 | George Dvorsky
    Researchers working at MIT have successfully manipulated the content of a rat's dream by replaying an audio cue that was associated with the previous day's events, namely running through a maze (what else). The breakthrough furthers our understanding of how memory gets consolidated during sleep — but it also holds potential for the prospect of "dream engineering." Working at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, neuroscientist Matt Wilson was able to accomplish this feat by exploiting the way the brain's hippocampus encodes self-experienced events into memory. Scientists know that our hippocampus is busy at work replaying a number of...
  • How Blasts Injure the Brain

    08/04/2012 2:01:57 PM PDT · by neverdem · 7 replies
    ScienceNOW ^ | 22 July 2011 | Greg Miller
    Enlarge Image Occupational hazard. A new study provides clues about the cellular mechanisms of traumatic brain injury, a signature injury of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Credit: Adrees Latif/Reuters According to some estimates, more than 300,000 United States troops have suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Most of these injuries have resulted from blasts from roadside bombs and other explosives planted by insurgents. The lack of knowledge about how an explosive blast injures the brain has hampered efforts to treat these injuries. Now, two studies offer a potentially important insight,...
  • Future wars may be waged with mind-controlled weaponry, Royal Society warns

    07/24/2012 7:25:11 AM PDT · by Tigen · 12 replies
    Gizmag ^ | February 7, 2012 | James Holloway
    Neuroscience has ramifications for future warfare, and the scientific community must be more aware. So says a report published today by the Royal Society titled Neuroscience, conflict and security, which cites interest in neuroscience from the military community, and identifies particular technologies that may arise. ~snip~Military interest~snip~As well as neuroscience's massive potential for benign medical applications, the Royal Society is seeking to raise awareness among the scientific community of "hostile" applications.~snip"scope for significant future trends and threats posed by the applications of neuroscience." VIDEO
  • Was this the reason why James Holmes investigation was sealed?

    07/22/2012 11:23:34 PM PDT · by winoneforthegipper · 64 replies
    Aurora's mass murderer James Holmes, would appear was working with this program that turns out was linked to a Government contract investigating and mitigating the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder via the Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Neuroscience Graduate Program, University of Colorado at Anshutz Medical Center, Aurora, Colorado. Link to the book Nerve Growth Factors: Advances in Research and Application: 2011 Edition that makes direct referrence to the contract.
  • Genetic Variants Build a Smarter Brain

    06/25/2012 10:11:22 AM PDT · by neverdem · 3 replies
    ScienceNOW ^ | 19 June 2012 | Moheb Costandi
    Enlarge Image Brain gain. Brain scan data showing regions where two of the newly identified SNPs interact with each other to affect white matter tract integrity. Credit: Paul Thompson/UCLA Researchers have yet to understand how genes influence intelligence, but a new study takes a step in that direction. An international team of scientists has identified a network of genes that may boost performance on IQ tests by building and insulating connections in the brain. Intelligence runs in families, but although scientists have identified about 20 genetic variants associated with intelligence, each accounts for just 1% of the variation in...
  • Cocaine May Age the Brain

    04/28/2012 4:27:41 PM PDT · by neverdem · 32 replies
    ScienceNOW ^ | 24 April 2012 | Elizabeth Norton
    Enlarge Image Old beyond years. A 3D model of merged imaging scans shows the brain areas affected by age (blue) in healthy people (left) and longterm cocaine users (right). Credit: Karen Ersche/University of Cambridge Add this to the list of reasons not to take cocaine: Chronic use of the drug may speed up the aging process. According to a new imaging study, cocaine abusers in their 30s and 40s show brain changes more commonly seen in people over 60. The finding also calls attention to the special medical needs of older drug users—a group that, until now, hasn't garnered...
  • Can You Make Yourself Smarter?

    04/22/2012 10:39:10 PM PDT · by neverdem · 16 replies
    NY Times ^ | April 18, 2012 | DAN HURLEY
    Early on a drab afternoon in January, a dozen third graders from the working-class suburb of Chicago Heights, Ill., burst into the Mac Lab on the ground floor of Washington-McKinley School in a blur of blue pants, blue vests and white shirts. Minutes later, they were hunkered down in front of the Apple computers lining the room’s perimeter, hoping to do what was, until recently, considered impossible: increase their intelligence through training. “Can somebody raise their hand,” asked Kate Wulfson, the instructor, “and explain to me how you get points?” On each of the children’s monitors, there was a cartoon...
  • How Exercise Could Lead to a Better Brain

    04/22/2012 11:40:21 PM PDT · by neverdem · 8 replies
    NY Times ^ | April 18, 2012 | GRETCHEN REYNOLDS
    The value of mental-training games may be speculative, as Dan Hurley writes in his article on the quest to make ourselves smarter, but there is another, easy-to-achieve, scientifically proven way to make yourself smarter. Go for a walk or a swim. For more than a decade, neuroscientists and physiologists have been gathering evidence of the beneficial relationship between exercise and brainpower. But the newest findings make it clear that this isn't just a relationship; it is the relationship. Using sophisticated technologies to examine the workings of individual neurons - and the makeup of brain matter itself - scientists in just...
  • Brain imaging: fMRI 2.0

    04/08/2012 11:11:33 AM PDT · by neverdem · 10 replies
    Nature News ^ | 04 April 2012 | Kerri Smith
    Functional magnetic resonance imaging is growing from showy adolescence into a workhorse of brain imaging. The blobs appeared 20 years ago. Two teams, one led by Seiji Ogawa at Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, New Jersey, the other by Kenneth Kwong at Massachusetts General Hospital in Charlestown, slid a handful of volunteers into giant magnets. With their heads held still, the volunteers watched flashing lights or tensed their hands, while the research teams built the data flowing from the machines into grainy images showing parts of the brain illuminated as multicoloured blobs. The results showed that a technique called functional...
  • Brain scan foretells who will fold under pressure

    04/03/2012 1:07:31 AM PDT · by U-238 · 12 replies
    Science Daily ^ | 3/2/2012 | Laura Sanders
    As any high school senior staring down the SAT knows, when the stakes are high, some test-takers choke. A new study finds that activity in distinct parts of the brain can predict whether a person will remain cool or crumble under pressure. The results, presented April 1 at the annual meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, offer some great new clues that may help scientists understand how the brain copes with stressful situations, says psychologist Thomas Carr of Michigan State University in East Lansing. “Sometimes you come across a study you wish you'd done yourself,” he says “This is such...
  • Military-Funded Brain Science Sparks Controversy

    03/21/2012 1:57:55 AM PDT · by U-238 · 11 replies
    Live Science ^ | 3/21/2012 | Charles Choi
    Brain research and associated advances such as brain-machine interfaces that are funded by the U.S. military and intelligence communities raise profound ethical concerns, caution researchers who cite the potentially lethal applications of such work and other consequences. Rapid advances in neuroscience made over the last decade have many dual-use applications of both military and civilian interest. Researchers who receive military funding — with the U.S. Department of Defense spending more than $350 million on neuroscience in 2011 — may not fully realize how dangerous their work might be, say scientists in an essay published online today (March 20) in the...
  • Brain gene activity changes through life

    12/25/2011 11:22:02 PM PST · by neverdem · 9 replies
    Science News ^ | November 19th, 2011 | Laura Sanders
    Studies track biochemical patterns from just after conception to old age Human brains all work pretty much the same and use roughly the same genes in the same way to build and maintain the infrastructure that makes people who they are, two new studies show. And by charting the brain’s genetic activity from before birth to old age, the studies reveal that the brain continually remodels itself in predictable ways throughout life. In addition to uncovering details of how the brain grows and ages, the results may help scientists better understand what goes awry in brain disorders such as schizophrenia...
  • Decoding the Brain’s Cacophony

    11/04/2011 2:52:30 PM PDT · by neverdem · 5 replies
    NY Times ^ | October 31, 2011 | BENEDICT CAREY
    ST. HELENA, Calif. — The scientists exchanged one last look and held their breath. Everything was ready. The electrode was in place, threaded between the two hemispheres of a living cat’s brain; the instruments were tuned to pick up the chatter passing from one half to the other. The only thing left was to listen for that electronic whisper, the brain’s own internal code. The amplifier hissed — the three scientists expectantly leaning closer — and out it came, loud and clear. “We all live in a yellow submarine, yellow submarine, yellow submarine ....” “The Beatles’ song! We somehow picked...
  • IQ Is Not Fixed in the Teenage Brain

    10/20/2011 11:41:54 PM PDT · by neverdem · 17 replies
    ScienceNOW ^ | 19 October 2011 | Gisela Telis
    Enlarge Image Brain change. Teens whose verbal IQ increased showed changes in the motor speech area of the brain (top), whereas those with increased nonverbal IQ showed changes in a region of the brain that controls motor movements of the hand (bottom). Credit: Ramsden et al., Nature A new study confirms what parents have long suspected: Adolescence can do a number on kids' brains. Researchers have found that IQ can rise or fall during the teen years and that the brain's structure reflects this uptick or decline. The result offers the first direct evidence that intelligence can change after...
  • Near-Death Experiences: 30 Years of Research - A neurosurgeon’s perspective

    10/16/2011 1:19:00 PM PDT · by NYer · 113 replies
    The Epoch Times ^ | October 16, 2011 | Stephanie Lam
    DURHAM, N.C.—Eben Alexander was your typical neurosurgeon. A firm believer of scientific reductionism, he thought that all thoughts originate from the brain. But this changed in 2008 when he encountered a case of near-death experience (NDE). As much as it was the complete opposite of his previous views, he couldn’t dismiss or avoid the case—it was none other than his own experience, and he had to face it and search for an explanation. Having contracted acute bacterial meningitis, which damages the neocortex—the part of the brain that is thought to involve complex cognitive functions like conscious thought—Alexander went into a...
  • New Way to Gain a Clear View of the Brain

    10/11/2011 6:40:42 PM PDT · by neverdem · 13 replies
    NY Times ^ | October 10, 2011 | RITCHIE S. KING
    A group of Japanese neuroscientists is trying to peer into the mind — literally. They have devised a way to turn the brain’s opaque gray matter into a glassy, see-through substance. The group, based at the government-financed Riken Brain Science Institute in Wako, Japan, has created an inexpensive chemical cocktail that transforms dead biological tissue from a colored mass into what looks like translucent jelly. Soaking brain tissue in the solution makes it easier for neuroscientists to see what’s inside, a step they hope will uncover the physical basis of personality traits, memories and even consciousness. “I’m very excited about...
  • The End of Evil? Neuroscientists suggest there is no such thing. Are they right?

    10/07/2011 8:13:12 PM PDT · by Jacob Kell · 44 replies
    Slate ^ | Friday, Sept. 30, 2011, | Ron Rosenbaum
    Is evil over? Has science finally driven a stake through its dark heart? Or at least emptied the word of useful meaning, reduced the notion of a numinous nonmaterial malevolent force to a glitch in a tangled cluster of neurons, the brain? Yes, according to many neuroscientists, who are emerging as the new high priests of the secrets of the psyche, explainers of human behavior in general. A phenomenon attested to by a recent torrent of pop-sci brain books with titles like Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain. Not secret in most of these works is the disdain for...
  • Brain Imaging Reveals Moving Images

    09/23/2011 5:52:22 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 5 replies
    MIT Technology Review ^ | 22 Sep 2011 | By Erica Westly
    Scientists are a step closer to constructing a digital version of the human visual system. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have developed an algorithm that can be applied to functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) imagery to show a moving image a person is seeing. Neuroscientists have been using fMRI to study the human visual system for years, which involves measuring changes in blood oxygen levels in the brain. This works fine for studying how we see static images, but it falls short when it comes to moving imagery. Individual neuronal activity occurs over a much faster time scale,...
  • A Trick of the Mind: Looking for patterns in life and then infusing them with meaning, from alien...

    08/06/2011 5:51:20 PM PDT · by neverdem · 28 replies
    Reason ^ | August 2, 2011 | Ronald Bailey
    Looking for patterns in life and then infusing them with meaning, from alien intervention to federal conspiracy. Superstitions arise as the result of the spurious identification of patterns. Even pigeons are superstitious. In an experiment where food is delivered randomly, pigeons will note what they were doing when the pellet arrived, such as twirling to the left and then pecking a button, and perform the maneuver over and over until the next pellet arrives. A pigeon rain dance. The behavior is not much different than in the case of a baseball player who forgets to shave one morning, hits a...
  • Does Your Brain Bleed Red, White, and Blue?

    04/15/2011 7:42:54 PM PDT · by neverdem · 5 replies
    ScienceNOW ^ | 7 April 2011 | Greg Miller
    Enlarge Image Lefty or righty? A new study links a larger anterior cingulate cortex (left) to politically liberal views and a larger right amygdala to conservatism. Credit: R. Kanai et al., Current Biology, 21 (26 April 2011) Politics can be a touchy topic, especially when it comes to neuroscience. Researchers who've dared to tackle questions about how people's political leanings might be reflected in the brain have often earned scoffs and scoldings from their colleagues. A provocative new study is likely to be no exception. It claims to find features of brain anatomy that differ between people who identify...
  • It's Partly in Your Head - Sandra Witelson on how male and female brains differ

    04/13/2011 9:23:54 AM PDT · by neverdem · 21 replies
    Wall Street Journal ^ | Aprill 11, 2011 | Rebecca Blumenstein
    Sandra Witelson has spent much of her career studying the relationship between brain structure and function, and the differences in these between men and women. A neuroscientist from the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Dr. Witelson has assembled a massive collection of brains for research and is known for studying Albert Einstein's brain and what made it unique. She sat down with The Wall Street Journal's Rebecca Blumenstein to discuss how brain differences can affect the skills, behavior, thinking and aspirations of men and women, and how that might relate to their careers....
  • Why Pot Smokers Are Paranoid

    04/09/2011 3:34:13 PM PDT · by AustralianConservative · 166 replies
    TIME ^ | 6 April, 2011 | Maia Szalavitz
    Paranoia is one of the most unpleasant "side effects" of marijuana. It's also a key experience shared by marijuana smokers and people with schizophrenia. But exactly how does smoking a joint cause the feeling that dark forces are conspiring to do you wrong? New research in rats may help explain the source of this distress. The study, led by Steven Laviolette at the University of Western Ontario in Canada, involved training rats to fear the scent of either almond or peppermint. The scents were delivered to rats in a cage either with black-and-white striped walls or with black polka dots...
  • Guilty People Aren't Guilty, Innocent People Are

    04/06/2011 7:35:09 AM PDT · by mattstat · 9 replies
    The man who took the knife and slit the throat of the woman whose money and body he wanted could not help himself. But the judge who sentenced that man to jail for life sure knew what he was doing. The judge had freedom, he could make a choice. He should have considered that the murderer had none. The murder’s brain made the murderer do what the murderer did (the personal pronoun is out of place here). The judge’s brain was under no constraints. The judge could have let the murder go. And, no, it’s not that mysterious entity Society...
  • Stepping Away From the Trees For a Look at the Forest (A review of science from the last decade)

    12/17/2010 12:01:21 AM PST · by neverdem · 3 replies · 1+ views
    Science ^ | 17 December 2010 | The News Staff
    Vol. 330 no. 6011 pp. 1612-1613 DOI: 10.1126/science.330.6011.1612 News IntroductionTen years ago, Karl Deisseroth was stuck. A psychiatrist and neuroscientist, he wanted to learn how different brain circuits affect behavior—and what went awry in the brains of his patients with schizophrenia and depression. But the tools of his trade were too crude: Electrodes inserted into the brain would stimulate too many cells in their vicinity. So in 2004, Deisseroth and his students invented a new tool. They inserted a gene for a light-activated algal protein into mice brains, where it entered nerve cells. By stimulating those cells with a laser,...
  • Taking Early Retirement May Retire Memory, Too

    10/22/2010 11:36:58 PM PDT · by neverdem · 19 replies
    NY Tmes ^ | October 11, 2010 | GINA KOLATA
    The two economists call their paper “Mental Retirement,” and their argument has intrigued behavioral researchers. Data from the United States, England and 11 other European countries suggest that the earlier people retire, the more quickly their memories decline. The implication, the economists and others say, is that there really seems to be something to the “use it or lose it” notion — if people want to preserve their memories and reasoning abilities, they may have to keep active. “It’s incredibly interesting and exciting,” said Laura L. Carstensen, director of the Center on Longevity at Stanford University. “It suggests that work...
  • Forget What You Know About Good Study Habits

    09/15/2010 10:44:57 PM PDT · by neverdem · 27 replies
    NY Times ^ | September 6, 2010 | BENEDICT CAREY
    Every September, millions of parents try a kind of psychological witchcraft, to transform their summer-glazed campers into fall students, their video-bugs into bookworms. Advice is cheap and all too familiar: Clear a quiet work space. Stick to a homework schedule. Set goals. Set boundaries. Do not bribe (except in emergencies). And check out the classroom. Does Junior’s learning style match the new teacher’s approach? Or the school’s philosophy? Maybe the child isn’t “a good fit” for the school. Such theories have developed in part because of sketchy education research that doesn’t offer clear guidance. Student traits and teaching styles surely...
  • Brain scan can read people's thoughts: researchers

    03/12/2010 7:11:02 PM PST · by neverdem · 17 replies · 621+ views
    AFP ^ | Mar 11, 2010 | NA
    WASHINGTON (AFP) – A scan of brain activity can effectively read a person's mind, researchers said Thursday. British scientists from University College London found they could differentiate brain activity linked to different memories and thereby identify thought patterns by using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The evidence suggests researchers can tell which memory of a past event a person is recalling from the pattern of their brain activity alone. "We've been able to look at brain activity for a specific episodic memory -- to look at actual memory traces," said senior author of the study, Eleanor Maguire. "We found that...
  • Babies and sleep: Another reason to love naps

    02/21/2010 5:06:01 PM PST · by decimon · 11 replies · 480+ views
    University of Arizona ^ | Feb 21, 2010 | Unknown
    UA researchers find naps are an integral part of learning for infants, helping the developing brain retain new informationAnyone who grew up in a large family likely remembers hearing "Don't wake the baby." While it reinforces the message to older kids to keep it down, research shows that sleep also is an important part of how infants learn more about their new world. Rebecca Gomez, Richard Bootzin and Lynn Nadel in the psychology department at the University of Arizona in Tucson found that babies who are able to get in a little daytime nap are more likely to exhibit an...
  • A midday nap markedly boosts the brain's learning capacity

    02/21/2010 4:16:27 AM PST · by decimon · 13 replies · 599+ views
    University of California - Berkeley ^ | Feb 21, 2010 | Unknown
    Findings suggest that a biphasic sleep schedule not only refreshes the mind, but can make you smarterIf you see a student dozing in the library or a co-worker catching 40 winks in her cubicle, don't roll your eyes. New research from the University of California, Berkeley, shows that an hour's nap can dramatically boost and restore your brain power. Indeed, the findings suggest that a biphasic sleep schedule not only refreshes the mind, but can make you smarter. Conversely, the more hours we spend awake, the more sluggish our minds become, according to the findings. The results support previous data...
  • Reactions Faster than Actions, Study Finds

    02/02/2010 9:55:39 PM PST · by neverdem · 23 replies · 835+ views
    LiveScience ^ | 02 February 2010 | Charles Q. Choi
    The mythology of the Wild West suggests the person who draws first in a gunfight is usually the first to get shot, and new findings now hint at a reason why this might happen. Inspired by Hollywood cowboy movies, Nobel Laureate atomic physicist Niels Bohr once conjectured why, during a duel, the gunslinger who drew first was the one to get shot — the intentional act of drawing and shooting is slower to carry out than the "quick draw" response to another gun. Anecdotal reports note that Bohr tested his idea using toy pistols, with the reactive Bohr apparently winning...
  • Forget Gum. Walking and Using Phone Is Risky.

    01/17/2010 12:41:06 AM PST · by neverdem · 15 replies · 800+ views
    NY Times ^ | January 17, 2010 | MATT RICHTEL
    Driven to Distraction SAN FRANCISCO — On the day of the collision last month, visibility was good. The sidewalk was not under repair. As she walked, Tiffany Briggs, 25, was talking to her grandmother on her cellphone, lost in conversation. Very lost. “I ran into a truck,” Ms. Briggs said. It was parked in a driveway. Distracted driving has gained much attention lately because of the inflated crash risk posed by drivers using cellphones to talk and text. But there is another growing problem caused by lower-stakes multitasking — distracted walking — which combines a pedestrian, an electronic device and...
  • Brain Power: Studying Young Minds, and How to Teach Them

    12/21/2009 6:34:46 PM PST · by neverdem · 17 replies · 720+ views
    NY Times ^ | December 21, 2009 | BENEDICT CAREY
    BUFFALO — Many 4-year-olds cannot count up to their own age when they arrive at preschool, and those at the Stanley M. Makowski Early Childhood Center are hardly prodigies. Most live in this city’s poorer districts and begin their academic life well behind the curve. But there they were on a recent Wednesday morning, three months into the school year, counting up to seven and higher, even doing some elementary addition and subtraction. At recess, one boy, Joshua, used a pointer to illustrate a math concept known as cardinality, by completing place settings on a whiteboard. “You just put one...