Neuroscience

A paper presented at the annual congress of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP) in Berlin says that moderate cannabis use by adolescents does not lead to educational or intellectual decline, but that heavy cannabis use is associated with slightly poorer exam results at age 16.


Is fairness built into the brain? According to a new Norwegian brain paper, people appreciate fairness - but fairness is not that everybody gets the same income, which is sure to concern those who believe all money should be distributed equally.

Economists from the Norwegian School of Economics and brain researchers from the University of Bergen decided to try and assess the relationship between fairness, equality, work and money: how brains react to how income is distributed.

The team looked at the striatum - the "reward center" of the brain. By measuring reaction to questions related to fairness, equality, work and money, they believe they can find answers about how we perceive distribution of income.


 A region of human chromosome 16, known as 16p11.2, is prone to genetic changes in which segments of DNA are deleted or duplicated and is considered to be one of the leading candidates for genetic causes of autism, schizophrenia, and other conditions.

A new study finds that a genetic variation that evolved in the last 250,000 years, after the divergence of humans from ancient hominids, likely plays an important role in disease. 


Unless you are trapped at a Larry Summers protest at Harvard in 2006, you know that male and female brains are not equal in all ways.

Another study affirms that, finding a difference when it comes to the biological response to a high-fat diet. Cedars-Sinai Diabetes and Obesity Research Institute scientist Deborah Clegg, PhD, and colleagues found that the brains of male laboratory mice exposed to the same high-fat diet as their female counterparts developed brain inflammation and heart disease that were not seen in the females.



Won't get fooled again. Credit: Tinfoil hat by Suzanne Tucker/Shutterstock

By Rebecca Slack, University of Sheffield

How do you decide if you can trust someone?

Is it based on their handshake, the way they look you in the eye, or perhaps their body language?

Many teens skips breakfast and many teens are obese. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) don't think that is a coincidence, they believe skipping breakfast increases the likelihood of overeating and eventual weight gain. Statistics show that the number of adolescents struggling with obesity, which elevates the risk for chronic health problems, has quadrupled in the past three decades.

A study has found that eating breakfast, particularly meals rich in protein, increases young adults' levels of a brain chemical associated with feelings of reward, which may reduce food cravings and overeating later in the day. Understanding the brain chemical and its role in food cravings could lead to improvements in obesity prevention and treatment.


Oxytocin, called the "love hormone" because it has been linked to social behaviors like cuddling, maternal care and pair bonding, is also necessary for female social interest during estrus.

A study Cell Press found oxytocin-responsive brain cells that are necessary for female social interest in male mice during estrus, the sexually receptive phase of their cycle. These neurons, found in the prefrontal cortex, may play a role in other oxytocin-related social behaviors such as intimacy, love, and mother-child bonding. 


By Ben Locwin, Genetic Literacy Project

The 2014 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was just awarded to three neuroscientists for refining some past research and developing some pioneering new results to understand how our brains keep track of where we are spatially.

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Who doesn't want more brain power? Credit: James Steidl

By Elizabeth Maratos, University of Leicester

The practice of physically stimulating the brain in order to alleviate symptoms of illness and injury has been around since the early 20th century. For example, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is still used to alleviate symptoms of depression.