A study in rats shows that exposure to a high-fat diet during pregnancy produces permanent changes in the offspring's brain that lead to overeating and obesity early in life, according to new research by Rockefeller University scientists. This surprising finding, reported in the Nov. 12 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience
, provides a key step toward understanding mechanisms of fetal programming involving the production of new brain cells that may help explain the increased prevalence of childhood obesity
during the last 30 years.
Researchers have taken the first critical steps in unraveling the mysteries of brain aneurysms, the often fatal rupturing of blood vessels that afflicts 500,000 people worldwide each year.
By the time you feel sleepy, parts of your brain are actually already asleep, according to a new theoretical paper by sleep scientists at Washington State University. Contrary to conventional wisdom, they say there’s no 'control center' in your brain that dictates when it’s time for you to drift off to dreamland. Instead, sleep creeps up on you as independent groups of brain cells become fatigued and switch into a sleep state even while you are still (mostly) awake. Eventually, a threshold number of groups switch and you doze off.
Our DNA determines a lot about who we are and how we play with others, but recent studies of social animals (birds and bees, among others) show that the interaction between genes and behavior is more of a two-way street than many of us realize. It's not a new idea but the new studies give it more credibility, says University of Illinois entomology and neuroscience professor Gene Robinson, lead author of a review on the subject this week in Science. Stanford University biology professor Russell Fernald and Illinois cell and developmental biology and neuroscience professor David Clayton are co-authors.
Three million Americans suffer from stuttering. It afflicts 5% of all children and most eventually overcome it but childhood suffering from stuttering can be traumatic, producing educational, social, and occupational disadvantages. Bruce Willis, Marilyn Monroe and Carly Simon all suffered from stuttering as children and it can affect children of all ages but boys are three times more likely to stutter than girls.
It seems that our brain can correct speech errors in the same way that it controls other forms of behavior, say Niels Schiller and Lesya Ganushchak, Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) researchers in Leiden who made this discovery while studying how the brain reacts to verbal errors. This research can contribute to improvements in the treatment of people who have problems with speaking or in understanding language.
A Harvard-based study led by Drs. Gottfried Schlaug and Ellen Winner and published in PLoS ONE has found that children who study a musical instrument for at least three years outperform children with no instrumental training on tests measuring verbal ability and visual pattern completion, skills not normally associated with music, along with tests of auditory discrimination and finger dexterity, which are traditionally skills honed by the study of a musical instrument.
Fibromyalgia is frequently considered an 'invisible syndrome' since musculoskeletal imaging is negative. Some researchers have thought that the pain reported by fibromyalgia patients was the result of depression rather than symptoms of a disorder.
A study in the Nov. 1 issue of the journal Sleep is the first demonstration of a specific neurochemical abnormality in adults with primary insomnia, providing greater insight to the limited understanding of the condition's pathology.
Results indicate that gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), the most common inhibitory transmitter in the brain, is reduced by nearly 30 percent in individuals who have been suffering from primary insomnia for more than six months. These findings suggest that primary insomnia is a manifestation of a neurobiological state of hyperarousal, which is present during both waking and sleep at physiological and cognitive levels.
We all experience memory errors from time to time and research has suggested that 'false' memories may be a result of having too many other things to remember or perhaps if too much time has passed.