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Brain Activity

SCIENCE
November 5, 2012 | By Jon Bardin
Researchers have moved one step closer to understanding how anesthesia drugs work by identifying a component of brain activity that could explain why we lose consciousness under the influence of the drugs, according to a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Though "going under" is an extremely common part of many medical procedures, the mechanism by which it works remains a mystery. This fact has practical ramifications: Some studies have shown that anesthesia can lead to loss of memory and other side effects, something researchers might be able to alleviate if they understand exactly what the drugs do in the body.
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SCIENCE
June 22, 2012 | By Jon Bardin, Los Angeles Times
Does depth perception develop in humans as a result of nature or nurture? It's a question scientists have wondered about. And a new study comes to a surprising conclusion: Babies acquire binocular vision as a result of viewing the world around them, not merely thanks to genetic programming. "My guess was that it was going to be something in between nature and nurture," said study leader Ilona Kovacs, a psychologist at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics in Hungary.
NEWS
April 19, 2012 | By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times / for the Booster Shots blog
In some ways, parties seem like the worst possible places to socialize.  A cacophony of voices -- not to mention a blaring stereo system -- make for a noisy environment in which to hear what a friend is saying. Hence the term "the cocktail-party effect," which refers to people's ability to focus on one speaker and tune out another. Now Nima Mesgarani and Edward F. Chang of UC San Francisco have figured out how the brain accomplishes this feat of selective hearing: The auditory cortex, which processes sounds, favors the voice that it needs or wants to hear.
SCIENCE
November 15, 2012 | By Jon Bardin
In an unlikely pairing, two professional rappers have teamed up with researchers from the National Institutes of Health to study what happens in the brain during freestyle rapping. The results, published Thursday in the journal Scientific Reports , suggest that the process is similar to that of other spontaneous creative acts, including jazz improvisation. The study was initiated by the Los Angeles-based rappers Daniel Rizik-Baer and Michael Eagle and carried out by Allen Braun and Siyuan Liu of the NIH's National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.
NEWS
January 14, 2011 | By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times
Fearful memories acquired early in life may be temporarily forgotten, researchers suggested this week. Although the study is in mice, it raises the question of whether humans may suppress or recall memories at different times of life. The researchers, from Cornell, Brown and New York University, conducted a series of experiments in early-, mid- and late-adolescent mice. As the mice entered adolescence, previously formed fearful memories were suppressed. But the mice could recall the fearful memory -- after being exposed to the context of the situation as a reminder -- once they entered adulthood.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 7, 1991
A UC Irvine scientist has won a $165,000 grant to help develop a revolutionary technique for mapping brain activity, university officials announced. Ron Frostig, an assistant professor of psychobiology at UCI, received the award recently from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation. He plans to use the funds to continue research into the way various parts of the brain reflect light.
NEWS
March 21, 1986
Imprisoned financier Michele Sindona, who was once known as "God's Banker" because of his ties with the Vatican, was reported in a deep coma and near death, two days after being sentenced to a life term for ordering a murder. Sindona, 65, was taken ill as he ate breakfast at a prison in Voghera, Italy. He was reported to have been in a coma on arrival at a nearby hospital, where tests indicated no brain activity.
NEWS
June 13, 2011 | By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times / for the Booster Shots blog
Could the teen brain identify chart-topping pop music hits -- and duds -- before a big-shot producer ever could? Perhaps, according to a study published online June 8 in the Journal of Consumer Psychology. Almost by accident, some previous research by Emory University scientists into the teen brain showed that adolescents' brain activity could potentially predict a song's ultimate success or failure. Back in 2006, Emory University neuroeconomist Gregory Berns had 27 teens between age 12 and 17 listen to 120 songs picked from Myspace that were relatively unknown artists without recording contracts, and measured the teens' brain activity.
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