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- When attention is a deficit: Sometimes a new strategy makes sense
During tasks that require our attention, we might become so engrossed in what we are doing that we fail to notice there is a better way to get the job done. A new study explores the question of how the brain switches from an ongoing strategy to a new and potentially more efficient one.
- For drivers with telescopic lenses, driving experience and training affect road test results
For people with low vision who need bioptic telescopic glasses to drive, previous driving experience and the need for more training hours are the main factors affecting performance on driver's license road tests, according to a new study.
- Love the cook, love the food: Attraction to comfort food linked to positive social connections
A big bowl of mashed potatoes. What about spaghetti and meatballs? Sushi? Regardless of what you identify as comfort food, it’s likely the attraction to that dish is based on having a good relationship with the person you remember first preparing it.
- We don’t notice much of what we see: 85 college students tried to draw the Apple logo from memory; 84 failed
Of 85 UCLA undergraduate students, only one correctly recalled the Apple logo when asked to draw it on a blank sheet of paper, psychologists found. Fewer than half correctly identified the logo when shown several options.
- How body's good fat tissue communicates with brain
Brown fat tissue, the body’s “good fat,” communicates with the brain through sensory nerves, possibly sharing information that is important for fighting human obesity, such as how much fat we have and how much fat we’ve lost, according to researchers.
- Teenagers shape each other's views on how risky a situation is
Young adolescents' judgements on how risky a situation might be are most influenced by what other teenagers think, while most other age groups are more influenced by adults' views, finds new research. For the study, 563 visitors to the London Science Museum were asked to rate the riskiness of everyday situations such as crossing a road on a red light or taking a shortcut through a dark alley.
- Playing music by professional musicians activates genes responsible for brain function and singing of songbirds
Although music perception and practice are well preserved in human evolution, the biological determinants of music practice are largely unknown. According to a latest study, music performance by professional musicians enhanced the activity of genes involved in dopaminergic neurotransmission, motor behavior, learning and memory. Interestingly, several of those up-regulated genes were also known to be responsible for song production in songbirds, which suggests a potential evolutionary conservation in sound perception and production across species.
- Big data allows computer engineers to find genetic clues in humans
Computer scientists tackled some big data about an important protein and discovered its connection in human history as well as clues about its role in complex neurological diseases.
- Domestic violence victims may be hurt by mandatory arrest laws
Mandatory arrest is a law enforcement policy that was created in an effort to curb domestic violence in the United States. But a recent study by sociologists suggests that the law may be intimidating victims from actually calling the police to report an instance of abuse.
- Stereotypes lower math performance in women, but effects go unrecognized
A new study suggests that gender stereotypes about women's ability in mathematics negatively impact their performance. And in a significant twist, both men and women wrongly believe those stereotypes will not undermine women's math performance -- but instead motivate them to perform better.
- The brain in the supermarket: Index strategy informs decision-making
Researchers suggest that your brain is most likely deploying an 'index strategy,' a straightforward ranking of products, when you shop. It may not be an absolutely perfect calculation, given all the available information, but the study suggests that an index strategy comes very close to being optimal, and is a far easier way for consumers to make their choices.
- Researchers identify timeline for HIV replication in the brain
HIV can begin replicating in the brain as early as four months after initial infection, researchers have discovered. One-third of people not taking antiretroviral therapy (ART) to control their HIV will eventually develop HIV-associated dementia. The study's results in these newly infected people stress the importance of routine HIV testing to catch the infection as early as possible to allow the prompt initiation antiretroviral therapy, investigators note.
- Intergenerational transmission of abuse and neglect more complicated than previously believed
Offspring of parents with histories of child abuse and neglect are themselves at risk for childhood neglect and sexual abuse but not physical abuse.
- Calcium channels play a role in neuronal homeostasis, elimination of toxic buildup of proteins
Mutations of human homologs (genes that carry out similar functions) of cacophony and its partner straightjacket cause defects in autophagy in neurons, researchers have discovered. Autophagy is the body's first-line of defense against the buildup up of toxic substances, degrading old organelles and proteins to provide new substrates and building blocks. In this way, autophagy prevents the buildup of "garbage" that can result in destruction of neurons and cause neurologic diseases.
- Avoiding neurodegeneration: Nerve cells borrow a trick from their synapses to dispose of garbage
Genetic defects affecting tiny channels in human nerve cells lead to several neurological diseases that result from aberrant nerve transmission, such as episodic ataxia, absence epilepsy, and migraines. These disorders have also been associated with neurodegeneration, but it has been less clear why this should be.
- Study adds evidence on link between PTSD, heart disease
In a study of more than 8,000 veterans in Hawaii and the Pacific Islands, those with posttraumatic stress disorder had a nearly 50 percent greater risk of developing heart failure. The study adds to a growing body of evidence linking PTSD and heart disease. The research to date--including these latest findings--doesn't show a clear cause-and-effect relationship. But most experts believe PTSD, like other forms of chronic stress or anxiety, can damage the heart over time.
- Crossing fingers can reduce feelings of pain
How you feel pain is affected by where sources of pain are in relation to each other, and so crossing your fingers can change what you feel on a single finger, finds new research. "Many people suffer from chronic pain, and the level of pain experienced can be higher than would be expected from actual tissue damage. Our research is basic laboratory science, but it raises the interesting possibility that pain levels could be manipulated by applying additional stimuli, and by moving one part of the body relative to others," the senior author explained.
- Medulloblastoma: Promising drug target identified
A protein has been found that is critical to both the normal development of the brain and, in many cases, the development of medulloblastoma, a fast-growing brain tumor that usually strikes children under 10. When the researchers cut the level of the protein Eya1 in half in mice prone to develop medulloblastoma, the animals' risk of dying from the disease dropped dramatically.
- How the brain 'remembers' pain
A mechanism that is responsible for the chronification of pain in the brain has been discovered by researchers, possibly pointing to new strategies for the medical treatment of chronic pain, the investigators say.
- Sea slug provides new way of analyzing brain data
Scientists say our brains may not be as complicated as we once thought -- and they're using sea slugs to prove it. “This research introduces new methods for pulling apart neural circuits to expose their inner building blocks. Our methods could be used to help understand how brain networks change in disease states and how drugs act to restore normal brain function,” authors say.
- Veterans' avoidant coping interfers with transition to university life
A study of 165 veterans currently enrolled at three Texas universities shows that those who use problem-focused coping strategies for anxiety and depression instead of avoidant coping have more successful transitions from military life to college student life.
- Testosterone needs estrogen's help to inhibit depression
In popular culture, the phrase "battle of the sexes" seems to pit the male hormone (testosterone) against the female (estrogen). Now a researcher has documented a way in which the two hormones work together to protect low-testosterone males from the effects of anxiety and depression.
- Roseroot herb shows promise as potential depression treatment option
Rhodiola rosea (R. rosea), or roseroot, may be a beneficial treatment option for major depressive disorder (MDD), according to results of a study. Depression is one of the most common and debilitating psychiatric conditions, afflicting more than 19 million Americans each year, 70 percent of whom do not fully respond to initial therapy. Costs of conventional antidepressants and their sometimes substantial side effects often result in a patient discontinuing use prematurely. Others opt to try natural products or supplements instead.
- Thin air, high altitudes cause depression in female rats
Oxygen intake contributes to depression, scientists have surmised after a study shows that thin air and high altitudes causes depression in female rats. "The significance of this animal study is that it can isolate hypoxia as a distinct risk factor for depression in those living at altitude (hypobaric hypoxia) or with other chronic hypoxic conditions such as COPD, asthma or smoking, independent of other risk factors," says the lead author on the study.
- One in four high school seniors now try smoking water pipes
Despite declines in the number of youths who smoke cigarettes, hookah or water pipe use continues to rise among Canadian youth, a new study reports. The study found that almost one in four high school seniors try smoking hookah.
- Discovering age-specific brain changes in autism
Individuals with autism spectrum disorder exhibit different patterns of brain connectivity when compared to typically developing individuals, scientists report, and those patterns adjust as the individual ages, research shows.
- High-fat diet alters behavior and produces signs of brain inflammation
Can the consumption of fatty foods change your behavior and your brain? High-fat diets have long been known to increase the risk for medical problems, including heart disease and stroke, but there is growing concern that diets high in fat might also increase the risk for depression and other psychiatric disorders. A new study raises the possibility that a high-fat diet produces changes in health and behavior, in part, by changing the mix of bacteria in the gut, also known as the gut microbiome.
- Blood test may shed new light on Fragile X related disorders
A blood test may shed new light on Fragile X syndrome related disorders in women, according to a new study. Fragile X is the most common inherited form of intellectual disability and the most frequent genetic cause of autism.
- Boys plagiarize more than girls at school
The phenomenon of academic plagiarism among secondary school students has been the focus of recent study that confirms that this practice is widespread in secondary education, especially among the boys. Also, those who leave tasks to the last minute are the ones with a greater tendency to copy, authors say.
- Why good solutions make us oblivious to better ones
Psychologists have known about the so-called Einstellung effect since the 1940s. Now researchers are developing a solid understanding of how the phenomenon works.
- Immunotherapy used to reduce memory problems with Alzheimer's disease
A single dose of an immunotherapy reverses memory problems in an animal model of Alzheimer's disease, a new study concludes. "Our findings with this immunotherapy study indicate a link between tau oligomers and amyloid beta," said the study's lead author. "Because of this relationship, removing tau oligomers with our immunotherapy may also decrease the harmful effects amyloid beta and mitigate memory deficits."
- Public Health Responsibility Deal in UK unlikely to be an effective response to alcohol harms
Harmful alcohol consumption in England is unlikely to be reduced by the Public Health Responsibility Deal because the majority of its interventions are ineffective, poorly reported or were already happening anyway, according to new research.
- New score predicts heart disease and stroke risk for anyone in world aged over 40
For the first time, scientists have developed a new risk score that can predict the 10-year risk of developing heart disease or having a stroke in persons aged 40 years or older in any world country.
- Will you ever pay off your student loan?
Would-be participants of higher education must be given full and transparent advice before they accumulate debts as students that follow them into the workplace, according to a new report.
- Stem cells make similar decisions to humans
Scientists have captured thousands of progenitor cells of the pancreas on video. The study reveals that stem cells behave as people in a society, making individual choices but with enough interactions to bring them to their end-goal.
- New autism-causing genetic variant identified
Using a novel approach that homes in on rare families severely affected by autism, a team of researchers has identified a new genetic cause of the disease. The rare genetic variant offers important insights into the root causes of autism, the researchers say. And, they suggest, their unconventional method can be used to identify other genetic causes of autism and other complex genetic conditions.
- Just slip out the back, Jack: Are humans hardwired to break-up and move on?
When it comes to romantic relationships, a research review article suggests humans are wired to break-up and move on. Drawing largely upon the field of evolutionary psychology, they say men and women might break up for different reasons. For instance, a man is more likely to end a relationship because a woman has had a sexual relationship with another man. On the other hand, a woman may be more likely to break up if her partner has been emotionally unfaithful.
- Benefits of difficult moments between therapist and client highlighted by research
New research highlights the benefits of difficult moments between therapist and client. "When alliance ruptures, it must be repaired for therapy to continue," says an author. "Evidence suggests that clients who experience a successfully repaired rupture actually do better in therapy than those who do not. The act of facing and working through problems in the alliance may make the relationship stronger. These moments are also a chance to learn new ways of navigating conflict."
- Sleep loss tied to emotional reactions
A new book summarizes research on the interplay of sleep and various components of emotion and affect that are related to mood disorders, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder and depression.
- Carbon nanotube fibers make superior links to brain
Carbon nanotube fibers may provide the best way to communicate directly with the brain. The research could enable new strategies for treating neurological disorders like Parkinson's, investigators say.
- Suicide risk: Variety of dialectical behavior therapy interventions with therapists effective
A variety of dialectical behavior therapy interventions helped to reduce suicide attempts and nonsuicidal self-injury acts in a randomized clinical trial of women with borderline personality disorder who were highly suicidal.
- Autistic children more likely to have GI issues in early life
Children with autism spectrum disorder were two-and-a-half times more likely to have persistent gastrointestinal symptoms as infants and toddlers than children with typical development, researchers report.
- Pre-K children outpace normal expectations through kindergarten
Students who were enrolled in the NC Pre-K Program are making significant gains across all areas of learning through the end of kindergarten, according to a new report.
- Education may not improve our life chances of happiness
Getting a good education may not improve your life chances of happiness, according to new mental health research.
- Key mechanism of chronic inflammatory pain discovered that could reduce drug doses
A new mechanism to treat chronic inflammatory pain has been discovered that could help reduce the drug doses necessary for treatments. The project concluded that the small potassium channel plays a fundamental role in regulating the neuronal excitability of the spinal cord.
- Why drug for type II diabetes makes people fat
Medication used to treat patients with type II diabetes activates sensors on brain cells that increase hunger, causing people taking this drug to gain more body fat, according to researchers. The study describes a new way to affect hunger in the brain and helps to explain why people taking a class of drugs for type II diabetes gain more body fat.
- Control switch that modulates cell stress response may be key to multiple diseases
A control switch has been discovered for the unfolded protein response (UPR), a cellular stress relief mechanism drawing major scientific interest because of its role in cancer, diabetes, inflammatory disorders and several neural degenerative disorders, including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
- New stent devices fight strokes
In certain stroke patients, a new device called a stent retriever can reverse symptoms and limit stroke damage. The "stentriever," deployed with a catheter, restores blood flow and retrieves a blood clot from the brain.
- Promising new biomarkers for concussion identified
A panel of four readily detectable blood proteins can accurately indicate concussion, even helping distinguishing it from other injuries, according to a new study. Researchers found the panel by employing the unusual strategy of looking at the body's inflammatory response to trauma, which might also be a therapeutic target.
- Prenatal exposure to common air pollution linked to cognitive, behavioral impairment
A powerful relationship between prenatal polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) exposure and disturbances in parts of the brain that support information processing and behavioral control have been identified by researchers. The study showed reductions in nearly the entire white matter surface of the brain's left hemisphere -- loss associated with slower processing of information during intelligence testing and more severe behavioral problems, including ADHD and aggression.
- Nanorobotic agents open the blood-brain barrier, offering hope for new brain treatments
Magnetic nanoparticles can open the blood-brain barrier and deliver molecules directly to the brain, say researchers. This barrier runs inside almost all vessels in the brain and protects it from elements circulating in the blood that may be toxic to the brain. The research is important as currently 98% of therapeutic molecules are also unable to cross the blood-brain barrier.
- Perceived open-mindedness explains religion-based dating
Across a number of faiths and cultures, people tend to date and marry others who share their religious beliefs. Now, new psychology research suggests this phenomenon -- known as 'religious homogamy' -- is partially a result of inferences about religious people's personalities.
- High prevalence of sleep disordered breathing in adults with sickle cell
Adults with sickle cell disease who report trouble with sleep could actually have a clinical diagnosis of sleep disordered breathing which could lower their oxygen levels at night. "Our study suggests that patients with sickle cell disorder should be screened using a questionnaire to identify problems with sleep. For further testing, an oxygen desaturation index is another low-cost screening tool that can identify sleep disordered breathing in this population," said the first author.
- Business people prefer working in their cars instead of trains, planes and airports
Noisy and cramped conditions in trains, planes and airports are discouraging many commuters and business people from working while travelling, new research shows.
- Head injury patients show signs of faster aging in the brain
People who have suffered serious head injuries show changes in brain structure resembling those seen in older people, according to a new study. The brain injury patients in this study were estimated to be around five years older on average than their real age.
- Many things can be read in a newborn's gaze, such as future visual cognitive abilities
Experienced nannies and doctors have always known how much the visual contact with a newborn can convey. A recent study provides scientific evidence for this everyday understanding. The findings show that a newborn's ability to fixate relates to the microscopic maturation of brain structures, and it predicts visual cognitive abilities later in childhood.
- Interim report on UK alcohol industry's 'billion units pledge' is flawed, say researchers
The UK's Department of Health's interim evaluation of an alcohol industry pledge to remove one billion alcohol units from the market is flawed, argue researchers. In 2012, the UK government announced an industry pledge to remove a billion units of alcohol from the market by December 2015. The pledge would be achieved, it said, "principally through improving consumer choice of lower alcohol products."
- Call for more research on brain damage in American football
More research is needed to identify how athletes sustain brain injury from American football, and also to develop strategies to protect them, write experts. Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive neurodegenerative syndrome that can affect athletes. It is thought to result from concussion and brain injury following repeated blows to the head.
- Air pollution linked to increased risk of anxiety, stroke
Air pollution is linked to a higher risk of stroke, particularly in developing countries, finds a study. In a second article, new research also shows that air pollution is associated with anxiety.
- Boredom can be good for you, scientists say
Boredom can make us more creative, an expert says. She has researched the suppression of emotions, including boredom, at work. In one experiment she found participants who had been asked to complete a boring writing task were more creative afterwards than a control group who had done more interesting work.