Neuroscience

Songbirds have been used in the past to examine the precursor functions to human language in our neural circuitry, but they may be capable of much more than being animal models. 

A new study shows the Bengalese finch (Lonchura striata var. domestica) can learn the rules of an artificial grammar system - hierarchical language structure has been previously thought to be specific only to humans.
It's rare that you will find me arguing for gender quotas.   Obviously I am not for discrimination but, at least in science, mandating representation - which is discrimination against the qualified in the interests of sex organs - does not lead to better science, it leads to equality at the expense of excellence.

Economics, however, is not science and some mandated equality might help.  Science says so.
Scientists at Karolinska Institutet and Helsinki University are reporting that DCDC2, a gene linked to dyslexia, has a surprising biological function: it controls cilia, the antenna-like projections that cells use to communicate. 

It's difficult to know what you are thinking -- or what is happening in your own brain -- as you loose consciousness. There are many instances where this loss might happen, including getting whacked up side the head, inhaling a large volume of non-medically-inspired drugs, or, to the preference of many, falling into a deep sleep during anesthesia before an invasive operation.

Lady Gaga is a marketing-fueled pop music phenomenon.   If you exclude her music, she can do no wrong, and every appearance, even a walk through an airport, is carefully choreographed.   She knows her audience.

But a Little Monster could help create the next Lady Gaga in a more direct way.  A new study suggests that the brain activity of teens while they are listening to new songs may help predict the popularity of those songs.
A cap that literally cools the brain during sleep may be an effective insomnia treatment, according to new research.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine says that chronic insomnia, symptoms that last for at least a month, affects about 10 percent of adults.  Most often insomnia is a "comorbid" disorder, occurring with another medical illness, mental disorder or sleep disorder, or associated with certain medications or substances. Fewer people with insomnia are considered to have primary insomnia, which is defined as a difficulty falling asleep or maintaining sleep in the absence of coexisting conditions.
Baseball coaches often use traditional metrics for managerial decisions, like batting results against specific pitchers, performance in certain park configurations and whether they bat from the left or right side in making strategic lineup decisions.

Maybe some day they can also think about what 'sleep type' their players are.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently recommended that screening for autism be incorporated into routine
physician check-ups, even if no concern has been raised by the parents.

Such routine screening of all children for autism gets a thumbs down from researchers at McMaster University in a Pediatrics study.  The researchers say there is "not enough sound evidence to support the implementation of a routine population-based screening program for autism."


It is generally accepted that pathological violence is a combination of factors, both biological and psychological, but brain studies of violent criminals haven't revealed much.

However, a new brain imaging study suggests that men with a history of violent behavior may have greater gray matter volume in certain brain areas, whereas men with a history of substance use disorders may have reduced gray matter volume in other brain areas.

On June 6th 2005, EPFL (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland) and IBM launched the Blue Brain Project, an ambitious attempt at simulating a mammalian brain down to a molecular level. Headed by professor Henry Markram, the Blue Brain Project, along with a dozen international partners, has recently proposed the Human Brain Project, with as ultimate goal the simulation of a human brain. Recently, the group has been awarded a grant of roughly 1.4 Euros by the European Commission to formulate a detailed research proposal. If the decision of the European Commission (expected in 2012) is favorable, up to 1 billion pounds could be awarded to the project…