Neuroscience

John Evans, a mathematician friend of mine in Cambridge England, came up with a formula that specifically allows one to estimate the relative complexity of nervous systems in the animal kingdom, from C. elegans to the human brain. It takes into account not just the number of neurons in the brain, but also the number of synaptic connections that link neurons to one another, and in a second version, the encephalization quotient.

Prenatal sex-based biological differences extend to genetic expression in cerebral cortices and the differences in question are probably associated with later divergences in how our brains develop, according to a new study by Uppsala University researchers Elena Jazin and Björn Reinius in Molecular Psychiatry.

Professor Elena Jazin and doctoral student Björn Reinius at the Department of Physiology and Developmental Biology previously say they have demonstrated that genetic expression in the cerebral cortices of human beings and other primates exhibits certain sex-based differences. It is presumed that these differences are very old and have survived the evolutionary process.
Infants can correctly identify humans as the source of speech and monkeys as the source of monkey calls even when they are as young as five months old, says a new Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) study.  

While young children know that humans speak, monkeys grunt and ducks quack, it's not clear when we come to know which vocalizations each of these animals produce.  Much is known about infants' abilities to match properties of human voices to faces, such as emotion, but it is unknown whether infants are able to match vocalizations to the specific species that produces them.
Brain activity considered to be  spontaneous 'white noise' changes after a person learns a new task, according to researchers, and the degree of change reflects how well subjects have learned to perform the task.

The suggestion is that this learning-induced change in the brain's spontaneous activity may reflect  a 'memory trace' for the new skill, which makes it easier to use those parts of the brain together again when the same challenge is presented. 

In addition to helping anatomical connections between different brain regions, the changes in spontaneous brain activity may maintain a record of prior experience that constrains the way the same circuitries are recruited at the time of a task. 
While inflammation often causes damage to the nerves of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, a group of HBI researchers has been studying how neuroinflammation can instead be harnessed to repair the damage caused by this disease.

Dr. V.W. Yong’s laboratory set out to test whether a drug that is used to treat MS symptoms, Copaxone or glatiramer acetate (GA), could also play a role in repairing the covering of nerves that have been damaged by MS.  
No sooner met but they looked;
No sooner looked but they loved;
No sooner loved but they sighed;
No sooner sighed but they asked one another the reason;
No sooner knew the reason but they sought the remedy;
And in these degrees have they made a pair of stairs to marriage;
Which they will climb incontinent;
Or else be incontinent before marriage.


-Shakespeare, As You Like It

I was under the impression that the general subject of love, in all its oblique insanity, was the subject of study and much woeful writing by poets, mostly.

That is, until I came across neuroscientist Larry Young's absolutely bizarre work on the neurochemistry of love, attachment, cuddles and hugs.
Children in english-speaking, letter-driven languages are diagnosed with dyslexia more commonly than those in Asia so is it a function of our alphabet?

English dyslexia consists of a 'phonological disorder',  meaning that people with the condition have trouble detecting or manipulating the sound structure of oral language, which in turn leads to problems in mapping speech sounds onto letters

Chinese-speaking children get a form of dyslexia but the disorder is distinctly different, and perhaps more complicated and severe, than that of English speakers. Those differences can even be seen in the brain and in the performance of Chinese children on visual and oral language tasks, according to a report in Current Biology.
A study combining family- and population-based approaches has uncovered a single-letter change in the genetic code that is associated with autism.  The finding implicates a neuronal gene not previously tied to the disorder and more broadly, underscores a role for common DNA variation. In addition, the new research highlights two other regions of the genome, which are likely to contain rare genetic differences that may also influence autism risk.
You open your dictionary to figure out what your friend meant by 'nasute,' only to find that the definition is "A wittol, or jemadar; bannocked in an emunctory fashion." What good is this dictionary, you wonder, if it only refers me to other words I don't know? And worse still, the definitions of some of these words refer back to ‘nasute,’ the word you didn’t know in the first place! Even if your attempt to learn what 'nasute’ means is not infected by circularity, you face a quick explosion of words to look up: the words in the definition, the words in each of these definitions, and so on. The dictionary appears, then, to be a terribly messy tangled web.