Neuroscience

Though scant progress has been made in treating or understanding Alzheimer's disease in the last 100 years, one thing is known; there are declines in glucose levels in the hippocampus early on. What has remained unclear is whether that is a cause or consequence. 
A new analysis finds that youths who hold off on trying marijuana until age 17 do better on cognitive tests and drop out of school at a lower rate than those who start by age 14. Obviously negative health behavior in alcohol and cigarettes are linked in the same ways, but those two have not gotten the health halo that marijuana has gotten, thanks to politicians who have turned a blind eye to health concerns in the interest of generating more revenue.

In the first installment of this two-part post, I mentioned that from my perspective I had understood Kaepernick had a right to protest as an American, but all of that sentiment had changed through a series of interlocking events. Here is what I mean by the interlocking events. There is curious coming together of a few topics from current events that is taking place now.

In America we have the right to protest, so when Kaepernick started his protest by refusing to honor the flag and the national anthem during NFL pre-game ceremonies a lot of people thought it was wrong, and a lot of people thought it was right. That’s America for you. And no matter what anybody thought, nobody disagreed about the fact that it was his right to protest like that – it is part of what it means to be American. It’s about free speech and our inalienable rights as American citizens.

We know that there is sound on planets and moons in the solar system – places where there’s a medium through which sound waves can be transmitted, such as an atmosphere or an ocean. But what about empty space? You may have been told definitively that space is silent, maybe by your teacher or through the marketing of the movie Alien – “In space no one can hear you scream”. The common explanation for this is that space is a vacuum and so there’s no medium for sound to travel through.

But that isn’t exactly right. Space is never completely empty – there are a few particles and sound waves floating around. In fact, sound waves in the space around the Earth are very important to our continued technological existence. They also they sound pretty weird!

Taking music lessons increases brain fiber connections in children, according to a recent small study. The researchers studied 23 healthy children between the ages of five and six years old. All of the children were right handed and had no history of sensory, perception or neurological disorders.

None of the children had been trained in any artistic discipline in the past.

The study participants underwent pre- and post-musical-training evaluation with diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) of the brain. DTI is an advanced MRI technique, which identifies microstructural changes in the brain's white matter.

Hearing voices that other people can’t is a meaningful experience. Like dreams, they can usually be understood in terms of one’s life experiences. Within mental health services, however, the prevailing medical model means some practitioners pay attention only to their presence, not their meaning.

A novel computational approach to design has created a new compound that in laboratory studies has reduced deficits and neurodegenerative symptoms that underlie Parkinson’s disease.

In their study, the researchers describe how their compound, dubbed NPT100-18A, prevents the binding and accumulation of alpha-synuclein or α-syn in neuronal membranes, now considered a hallmark of Parkinson’s disease and a related disorder called dementia with Lewy bodies.

A new review of acupuncture evidence published in Acupuncture in Medicine claims acupuncture may help to improve mild cognitive impairment, the memory loss that may precede the development of dementia - at least if medicine is also used.

Back in the good old days, most deaths were due to infectious diseases. Today, thanks to modern technology,life expectancy has increased and the pattern of deaths has changed. 

According to the CDC, today’s top ten leading causes of death only include two due toinfection. Both are infections of the lungs  - one is a mixture of infections (#3) and the other is influenza plus pneumonia (#8).