Neuroscience

Researchers have successfully reconstructed 3-D hand motions from brain signals recorded in a non-invasive way, according to a study in The Journal of Neuroscience. The findings could help improve existing EEG-based systems designed to allow movement-impaired people to control a computer cursor with just their thoughts.

Previously researchers have used non-portable and invasive methods that place sensors inside the brain to reconstruct hand motions. In this study, neuroscientists placed an array of sensors on the scalps of five participants to record their brains' electrical activity, using a process called electroencephalography, or EEG.
I have recently watched Jill Bolte Taylor's interview at TED. Taylor is a neoroanatomist who specializes in the post-mortem examination of the human brain. In 1996 she experienced a stroke and was able to keep lucid enough for long enough to be able to recall her experience. With her scientific training she was able to put together her personal experience with her knowledge of neuroanatomy. This brain-crash has had a profound effect on her view of the mind and the human experience. You can see how emotional she still is about her experience of self-transcendence, which she ascribes to her right brain.
“Is religion a science?” This may seem an odd question with which to start, but this is the very first question Aquinas asks in his monumental Summa Theologica. “Among the philosophical sciences one is speculative the other practical [natural philosophy], nevertheless sacred doctrine [Roman Catholicism] includes both; as God, by one and the same science, knows both Himself and His works.” For Aquinas, not only is theology both a speculative and natural philosophy but it is also superior to both, in as much as it is guided by divine knowledge, which cannot be misled, and has as its end ultimate bliss, towards which all other sciences strive too.
Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center say that increasing the normally occurring process of making nerve cells might prevent addiction. The conclusion is based on a rodent study demonstrating that blocking new growth of specific brain nerve cells increases vulnerability for cocaine addiction and relapse.

Published in Journal of Neuroscience, the study's findings are the first to directly link addiction with the process, called neurogenesis, in the region of the brain called the hippocampus.

While the research specifically focused on what happens when neurogenesis is blocked, the scientists said the results suggest that increasing adult neurogenesis might be a potential way to combat drug addiction and relapse.
New research using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) shows that abuse or emotional neglect during childhood combined with genetic factors can result in structural brain changes, rendering some individuals more vulnerable to  depression. The study results appear in Neuropsychopharmacology.
New research from Tel Aviv University and MIT suggests that magnesium, a key nutrient for the functioning of memory, may be even more critical than previously thought. The multi-center experiment focused on a new magnesium supplement, magnesium-L-theronate (MgT), and found that the synthetic compound enhances memory or prevents its impairment in young and aging animals. The research was carried out over a five-year period and may have significant implications for the use of over-the-counter magnesium supplements.
University of Pittsburgh researchers say they have taken a significant step toward unraveling the brain activity that drives adolescents to engage in impulsive, self-indulgent, or self-destructive behavior. Published in the current edition of Behavioral Neuroscience, the study demonstrates that adolescent brains are more sensitive to internal and environmental factors than adult brains and suggests that the teenage tendency to experiment with drugs and develop psychological disorders could stem from this susceptibility.

Although the exact mechanics of the adolescent brain's reaction need further investigation, the current study may be a good starting point for mapping the neural path from stimuli to behavior in the adolescent brain.
Did music evolve before language?  It's not a trivial idea and there has been debate about it since literally the days of Darwin - Sir Charles himself proposed the notion in "The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex" that a 'musical protolanguage' model could mean that music came before language.
The criteria used to assign patients to specific psychiatric disease categories are set out in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association. (There is also a World Health Organisation equivalent, the International Classification of Disease). Every so often, these criteria are revised to reflect new research and changing concepts of disease. The APA has just released a draft of preliminary revisions to the current diagnostic criteria (available at http://www.dsm5.org/) as part of the preparations for the fifth release (DSM-5), due out in 2013.
There's a reason attractive human faces are used to market just about everything consumers purchase today – when people see pretty faces, their brains begin computing how much the experience is worth. New brain-imaging research shows it's even possible to predict how much people might be willing to pay to see a particular face. Scientists say the findings may allow them to predict future purchases of different market segments.

Researchers at Duke University Medical Center found that as participants were watching a sequence of faces, their brains were simultaneously evaluating those faces in two distinct ways: for the quality of the viewing experience and for what they would trade to see the face again.