A new study reveals that humans use different neural mechanisms for determining criminal responsibility and assigning an appropriate punishment. The research, published in the December 11th issue of the journal Neuron, provides fascinating insight into brain systems that may explain how thousands of years of reliance on human sanctions to enforce social norms gave rise to our current criminal justice system.
A new study from the psychology department at Tufts University shows that when dieters eliminate carbohydrates from their meals, they performed more poorly on memory-based tasks than when they reduce calories, but maintain carbohydrates. When carbohydrates were reintroduced, cognition skills returned to normal.
While the brain uses glucose as its primary fuel, it has no way of storing it. Rather, the body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose, which is carried to the brain through the blood stream and used immediately by nerve cells for energy. Reduced carbohydrate intake should thus reduce the brain's source of energy. Therefore, researchers hypothesized that diets low in carbohydrates would affect cognitive skills.
We all know how infants can act up during their terrible twos, but when these behaviors are accompanied by developmental setbacks, they could point to something more serious.
Researchers are currently learning more about regressive autistic spectrum disorder (RASD), which describes children who have been diagnosed with autism
who demonstrate a history of a regression. The regression refers to a marked loss of previously acquired developmental skills such as language or social ability.
Bling, foreclosures, rising credit card debt, bank and auto bailouts, upside down mortgages and perhaps a mid-life crisis new Corvette---all symptoms of compulsive overspending. University of Michigan researcher Daniel Kruger says the answer lies in evolution and mating. He theorizes that men overspend to attract mates.
It all boils down, as it has for hundreds of thousands of years, to making babies.
Kruger, an assistant research scientist in the School of Public Health, tested his hypothesis in a community sample of adults aged 18-45 and found that the degree of financial consumption was directly related to future mating intentions and past mating success for men but not for women.
Have you ever wondered why it seems like the littlest things make people angry? University of Minnesota marketing professor Vladas Griskevicius says he can explain in three words why people may be inclined to make a mountain out of molehill: aggression, status and sex. He makes an unfortunate correlation-causation jump to the colloquial term 'evolution' too, but let's forget that for a moment, because we'd never get any articles written if we stopped every time a non-biologist calls something Evolution.
Can radiation from cell phones affect memory?
The debate continues but in rat experiments done at the Division of Neurosurgery, Lund University, in Sweden, Henrietta Nittby studied rats that were exposed to mobile phone radiation for two hours a week for more than a year and says these rats had poorer results on a memory test than rats that had not been exposed to radiation.
The memory test consisted of releasing the rats in a box with four objects mounted in it. These objects were different on the two occasions, and the placement of the objects was different from one time to the other.
If you need more proof of how easy the human brain is to fool, hop over to Scientific American's 60 second science and read about
how a group of mad scientists used virtual reality goggle to get subjects to 'body-swap' with a mannequin.
I'm waiting for the Wii version.
What color is the number 7? How does a symphony taste? What temperature is a muted television? A synesthete could tell you, with great certainty and consistency, the answers to the above questions, and describe many more sensory associations that seem irrelevant to most people.
Approximately 1 in 1000 people experience synesthesia - the elicitation of a sensory response independent of the stimulus itself. For instance, viewing a number or hearing a phonetic sound may elicit a colored response in the visual field, or a certain visual stimulus may elicit an auditory response.
As you gorge on food this Thanksgiving
and throughout the holiday season, you might not want to think about the fat content of all the goodies you've indulged in. Nevertheless, your brain will be keeping tabs directly, suggests a report in the issue of Cell.
Researchers have discovered in studies of rats that one type of lipid produced in the gut rises after eating fatty foods. Those so called N-acylphosphatidylethanolamines or NAPEs
enter the bloodstream and go straight to the brain, where they concentrate in a brain region that controls food intake and energy expenditure.
Researchers at the Mayo Clinic studying Parkinson’s disease have made a breakthrough therapy that could slow progression of the disease or even halt its onset.
Previous research has discovered that patients with Parkinson’s have an abnormal abundance of alpha-synuclein, a protein, which is believed to be the cause of the disease. Targeting this protein has since taken forefront of their studies and researchers have developed a method to reduce the expression of alpha-synuclein in the brain.