Neuroscience

Our brains can track the sounds in its environment while we sleep, and favor the most relevant ones, according to a recent study.

No great new information there. Everyone has woken up from sleep because of noise. But the mechanism that allows us (and some better than others) to sleep in complete safety and wake up at the right moment has remained a mystery. Why do some people who fall asleep on a bus or train miss their stop while others may only wake up at the sound of their own name but not that of others?

Studies that concentrated on the sleeping brain’s capacity to process isolated sounds don't help much with the real world, where we often sleep in environments where various sounds are superimposed and mixed with one another.

Cells along the brain's cavities are equipped with tiny hair-like protrusions called cilia but relative to their importance, we know little about them. Unless they are not doing their job. People with ciliary defects can develop neurological conditions like hydrocephalus and scoliosis.

New research in Current Biology shows that cilia are essential for the brain to develop normally and gives us more insight into how cilia work and why they are so important to our brains.

Since microRNAs are key regulators of biological processes, a microRNA cluster that regulates synaptic strength and is involved in the control of social behavior in mammals may be a new path toward therapeutic strategies for the treatment of social deficits in neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder or schizophrenia. 

DNA is first copied to make messenger RNA molecules (mRNAs) that are then translated into protein. MicroRNAs are short snippets of RNA that do not code for a protein. Instead, they function mainly by regulating the stability or translation rate of mRNAs, inhibiting the production of particular proteins. Each microRNA typically targets hundreds of different mRNAs, making them ideal for coordinating complex cellular processes.
Do Drosophila, commonly called fruit flies, have culture?

Culture, lasting changes in a group that cannot be ascribed to genetic or ecological variation, is obviously a human quality, and it may be found in other vertebrates like some other primates and birds. A new computer simulation says it may be in fruit flies also.

Fruit flies can learn and copy the sexual preferences of their conspecifics after observing them copulating. For a behavioral pattern to be deemed culturally transmitted, there are considered:

1) the behavior must be learned socially, which is to say by observing conspecifics,
2) be copied from older individuals,
3) be memorized over the long term,
A pilot study in Development and Psychopathology concluded that teenage girls who engage in self-harm like cutting often have brain features like adults with borderline personality disorder. Often is relative, since this was only 40 individuals.

Cutting and other forms of self-harm are warning signs for suicide, which data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say increased 300 percent among 10- to 14-year-old girls from 1999 to 2014, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. During that same time, along with a 53 percent increase in suicide in older teen girls and young women.
DDT was banned by a politician in the US in 1972 and was banned a few years later in Finland, so how can it be causing autism now?

The answer is statistics. The same curve that can show autism is linked to organic food can link autism to anything and if you are at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health you are very much against corporations and in need of a way to get in the New York Times, so a recent paper links DDE, a metabolite of DDT, in the blood of pregnant women to autism.

Neuroscientists believe that people's earliest memories date from around three to three-and-a-half years of age but many people report memories much earlier than that. It's likely just as fake as claims of repressed memories from the 1980s. 

At least according to surveys, which are just as unreliable as science claims about memory. 

Survey results of people's first memories found that 38.6 percent of 6,641 people claimed to have memories from two or younger, with 893 people claiming memories from one or younger. This was particularly prevalent among middle-aged and older adults.

It's no secret that marijuana usage leads to hunger, it even has a colloquial name - "the munchies." But understanding the neuroscience of that that could also help people who lose their appetites during illness. 
Fear is a healthy response, kept intact over eons of evolution, but sometimes it can be irrational. A new brain circuit discovery may help make sense of the madness. The study details the role of dopamine in ensuring that rats stop being afraid when there isn't anything to be afraid of anymore. 
An experimental study which sought to determine perceptions of sexual text (sext) messaging situations concluded that men and women were judged differently by the sext messages they sent, even when they were the same.

When messages were unsolicited, men were judged as creepy while women were judged as more appropriate.

The strange conclusion by the authors from their finding was not the obvious one, that men were being discriminated against, "slut shaming" for guys, but that consent is important in sexting. 


Sexting. Vaguely date rapey when a guy does it. But when a woman does it, hegemonic masculinity stereotypes gave more women a free pass.