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Brain Activity

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.
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BUSINESS
May 8, 2012 | By Deborah Netburn
Researchers at Harvard have gotten to the bottom of why so many of us are compelled to share our every thought, movement, like and want through mediums like Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Instagram and Pinterest. In a series of experiments, the researchers found that the act of disclosing information about oneself activates the same sensation of pleasure in the brain that we get from eating food, getting money or having sex. It's all a matter of degrees of course, (talking about yourself isn't quite as pleasurable as sex for most of us)
HEALTH
September 13, 2012 | By Cassandra Willyard
Inside the human skull lies a 3-pound mystery. The brain - a command center composed of tens of billions of branching neurons - controls who we are, what we do and how we feel. "It's the most amazing information structure anybody has ever been able to imagine," says Dr. Walter Koroshetz, deputy director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke in Bethesda, Md. For centuries, the brain's inner workings remained largely unexplored. But all that is changing.
SCIENCE
September 14, 2012 | By Jon Bardin, Los Angeles Times
A group of scientists created a novel brain implant that improves cognitive performance and decision-making in a monkey. The device, developed in part by researchers at USC, manipulates ongoing brain activity to guide the animal away from mistakes and toward a correct decision. The study, published this week in the Journal of Neural Engineering, marks an important step toward implantable devices that could one day help people with brain injuries better perform basic tasks. The field of "brain prosthetics" has been dominated by efforts to restore physical abilities, like devices that use brain activity to move a robotic arm or a cursor across a screen.
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.
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.
NEWS
June 19, 2012 | By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times / For Booster Shots
Conflicting reports surfaced Tuesday on the state of Hosni Mubarak after the former Egyptian president was said to have suffered a stroke in prison. The state-run news agency MENA said that the 84-year-old Mubarak had suffered clinical death, but other reports say Mubarak was still on a respirator and not clinically dead,  according to state and independent news media . To add to the confusion, clinical death doesn't necessarily mean total death. "Clinical death" is a medical term meaning that breathing has ceased and the heart has stopped pumping blood around the body, but, for at least a short while, the brain is still alive.
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