October 17, 1996 |
What makes people smart? It is a question that scientists and philosophers have pondered for centuries, prompting complex calibrations, from head measurements to brain-bending tests. Yet the drive to probe the powers--and the limits--of the human mind has been thwarted by the hard facts of life: The brain was virtually a black box, its inner secrets locked within. Now, scientists are using the latest technology to peer inside.
March 5, 1995 |
Dr. Gerald Maguire's interest in stuttering dates back to the time he was a toddler, when he first tried to string sentences together. Through the years, as listeners pleaded with him to "just relax," he struggled to speak with the same fluency as those around him, always believing that it was a matter of psychic strength, of trying harder to force out the words trapped inside. His research is proving him wrong.
March 6, 1985 |
Photographer Bob East lay in a coma Tuesday, apparently brain dead after doctors accidentally injected a toxic preservative into his spine in what the head surgeon called "a tragic series of human errors." The substance, glutaraldehyde, was mistaken for spinal fluid taken from the patient earlier during an operation to remove a cancerous eye, said the surgeon, Dr. James Ryan Chandler. East underwent the operation last Friday and was found to be brain dead Monday.
January 22, 2001 |
New research adds hope that epileptics could one day wear tiny brain sensors that detect an impending seizure and release medicine from implanted pumps in time to avert an attack. In most epileptics, seizures occur without warning and can sometimes be disabling or fatal. Now, French scientists have developed a way to use electrodes on the scalp that can sense changes in brain activity an average of seven minutes before seizures occur. "This is far in the future. This is only a step," said Dr.
December 3, 2012 |
A very kind woman in her 80s I knew was once persuaded to part with a towering sago palm growing in her yard for $300 -- maybe 10 times less than it was worth -- by some men who knocked on her door. The men were busy digging a trench around the plant when relatives returned and halted the transaction. She had trusted the strangers and was nearly bilked by them -- a perfect example of the kind of thing that happens disproportionately to older people, be it via charity scams, "utility workers" who are actually burglars or bogus travel package deals.
July 3, 2012 |
Pain is a hard thing to measure, and also quite mysterious: Two people may experience very similar injuries and similar levels of initial pain, but where one may recover the other may go on to experience a crippling chronic condition. Why does pain persist for some but not others? Scientists at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine took an interesting look at this. Their work, just published in the journal Nature Neuroscience , tracked brain activity in 40 people with new back injuries and found a pattern of activity that could predict -- with 85% accuracy -- which patients were destined to develop chronic pain and which weren't.
February 6, 2014 |
A generic blood pressure drug could prevent hyperactive brain cell firing associated with early stages of autism spectrum disorder, according to a new study. Injecting pregnant mice with Bumetanide, a diuretic, appears to correct a developmental switch flipped during childbirth that reverses the firing characteristics of neurons in newborns, according to a study published online Thursday in the journal Science. Bumetanide mimics the effects of oxytocin, a hormone released during labor that helps protect newborns from the stresses and complications of birth, the study found.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 14, 1988
A Mexicali man who was struck in the head by a bullet fired from a passing car in Santa Ana Sunday was breathing Monday on a mechanical support system at Fountain Valley Regional Hospital, hospital officials said, but his brain-wave activity has ceased. Ralph Moore, 20, was still listed in critical condition, a hospital spokeswoman said.
April 7, 1999 |
Standard doses of the sex hormone estrogen strengthen brain activity in older, post-menopausal women, Yale University researchers said Tuesday, offering the best evidence yet that the commonly prescribed hormone alters the neural circuits involved in human memory. By testing the kind of working memory involved in everyday verbal and visual tasks, the researchers quickly detected significant differences in neural activity between women who were taking the hormone and those who were not.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 3, 1991 |
California researchers have found a new clue to the cause of narcolepsy, a neurological disorder characterized by intense sleepiness and episodes of cataplexy--an abrupt loss of muscle tone that is often triggered by sudden strong emotions. They have found that cataplexy is caused by the same brain cells that cause loss of muscle tone during so-called "rapid-eye-movement," or REM, sleep. Narcolepsy affects an estimated one in 2,000 people in the United States, a total of more than 125,000.