In the children’s game "red light green light," winners are able to stop, and take off running again, more quickly than their comrades. New research reveals that a similar race goes on in our brains, with impulse control being the big winner.
"The research provides new insights into how the brain controls movements, which helps explain the impulsivity of people with attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder," study co-author Jeffrey Schall, E. Bronson Professor of Neuroscience at Vanderbilt University, said.
Scientists using one of the nation's newest and most capable research aircraft are launching a far-reaching field project this month to study plumes of airborne dust and pollutants that originate in Asia and journey to North America. The plumes are among the largest such events on Earth, so great in scope that scientists believe they might affect clouds and weather across thousands of miles while interacting with the sun's radiation and playing a role in global climate.
Researchers have discovered that the genetic malfunction that causes a form of mental retardation called Noonan Syndrome (NS) produces an imbalance in the genesis of two types of cells in the developing embryonic brain. This imbalance, they theorize, could explain how the genetic abnormality gives rise to the neural pathology of the disorder. More broadly, they said, the new insight into the mechanism underlying NS could apply to other inherited forms of retardation.
Marvin Chun of Yale University and colleagues have pinpointed brain regions critical to one of the brain’s more remarkable feats — piecing together a continuous view of the world by integrating snippets of visual input from constantly moving eyes.
Since the eyeball has only a narrow field of clear view, it must continually make tiny shifts to sample the visual world. And during these shifts, which last thousandths of a second, people are essentially blind.
Despite the fact that they both infect the liver, the hepatitis A and hepatitis C viruses actually have very little in common. The two are far apart genetically, are transmitted differently, and produce very different diseases. Hepatitis A spreads through the consumption of fecal particles from an infected person (in pollution-contaminated food or water, for example), but hepatitis C is generally transmitted only by direct contact with infected blood. Hepatitis A produces fever, nausea and abdominal pain that can last for weeks, but rarely lead to death; hepatitis C, by contrast, often spends decades quietly damaging the liver, until a victim’s only hope for survival is an organ transplant.
This device, called HeartLander, can be inserted using minimally invasive keyhole surgery. Once in place, it will attach itself to the heart and begin inching its way across the outside of the organ, injecting drugs or attaching medical devices. In tests on live pigs, the HeartLander has fitted pacemaker leads and injected dye into the heart.