September 12, 2013 |
"Brains on Trial," Thursday and Sept. 19 on PBS, offers a two-part look at "how brains work when they become entangled with the law. " That is not the John Agar 1950s sci-fi flick it might first sound like, but a look at how recent research into neuroscience and brain mapping changes our understanding of basic questions of human reliability, memory and bias among witnesses, juries and judges. These epistemological problems, pondered by philosophers since time immemorial, are no less difficult today; if anything, they are complicated by new knowledge.
August 20, 2013 |
If you can't quite get that nine-note treble opening to " Fur Elise," just sleep on it. The brain will rehearse, reorganize and nail the sequential motor tasks that help you play piano or type on a keyboard. How that consolidation of memory happens has remained largely a mystery, despite telling evidence that the brain's motor cortex appears to be quite busy during sleep. Now, a team led by Brown University neuroscientists believes it has found the source of the sleeping piano lesson, and it's not where many expected it to be. Neuroscience has been fixated since its founding on why the brain “needs” that peculiar mix of dormancy and random activity known as sleep.
July 20, 2012
Re "Head case puzzle," Opinion, July 15 Robert M. Sapolsky highlights the paradox between biological causes of abnormal behavior and the issue of assessing moral and legal responsibility. After 40-plus years in psychiatry, I have found that the most useful pathway is to accept the paradox, following John Stuart Mill's advice: While ultimately our will is not free, for the sake of an orderly society, it is necessary to act as if it were. Pragmatically, I interpret this to mean that when the biological causation is extraordinary (major brain damage or an acute cerebral infection)
November 8, 2010
If you want to eat to maximize your mood and brain power, here's what the experts recommend: ? Breakfast: Studies have provided good evidence that a healthy breakfast leads to better cognitive performance, especially in children. ? Enough calories: Few things make people grumpier than being calorie deprived. If you're hungry, anything with calories will help. ? Regular meals: Keeping your blood sugar even by eating regularly ? about every four hours ? will help keep your mood level all day. Conversely, skipping meals and eating erratically will lead to highs and lows.
February 8, 2010 |
Leave it to science to take all the fun out of something as cosmically pure as love. Theories about love's purpose range from the biologically practical to the biologically complicated. Anthropologists have said it helps ensure reproduction of the species; attachment theorists maintain it's a byproduct of our relationship with our childhood caregivers. And now researchers are exploring what happens physiologically as a romantic relationship progresses. The more we understand it, they say, the better our chances of making love last and of harnessing its potential to improve our emotional and physical well-being.
May 16, 2012 |
The tamping rod that blew through Phineas Gage's brain 163 years ago damaged only a small portion of his brain, but it disrupted a much larger proportion of his neural connections, UCLA researchers reported Wednesday. The finding, based on imaging of Gage's skull, may help explain the behavioral changes he endured following the accident. Phineas P. Gage was a construction supervisor for the Rutland and Burlington Railroad. On Sept. 13, 1848, he was working at a site near Cavendish, Vt. He had drilled a hole in a rock that was to be removed then filled the hole with blasting powder.
June 19, 2012 |
The Florida teen whose brain was impaled by a fishing spear survived because the spear, which entered his skull above the right eye and exited the back of his skull, missed the main blood vessels in his brain, news reports said Tuesday . Though one might not imagine the brain could take such abuse and survive - and the extent of recovery of 16-year-old Yasser Lopez is still to be determined - there are remarkable stories of those who...
November 28, 2012 |
At the time of his death of an aortic aneurysm at age 76, Albert Einstein's brain was no bigger, and weighed no more, than the brain of an average older male. But beneath that unique organ's external folds and fissures, our universe was re-conceived. So not surprisingly, when photographs of Einstein's postmortem brain unexpectedly came to light recently, scientists were keen to find evidence of the genius that lay within. The result is a remarkably detailed look at the surface of Einstein's brain, published recently in the journal Brain.
February 26, 2011 |
Does being bilingual give young children a mental edge, or does it delay their learning? It depends on who you ask. Bilingual education is regarded by some in education policy circles as little more than a half-baked technique of teaching students whose native language is not English. Though it takes many forms, bilingual education programs usually involve teaching students in both their native languages and in English. How much each language is used, and in which academic contexts, varies by program.
July 22, 2010 |
Irritable bowel syndrome has been a tough disorder to understand. Studies have failed to show any structural problems in the gut that would account for the symptoms of pain, bloating, diarrhea and constipation. However, the disorder is real, affecting as many as 15% of Americans. A new study has found a possible connection between IBS and the brain. Researchers at McGill University and UCLA used MRI scans to reveal changes in the brains of women with the disorder. The researchers took MRI scans of 55 IBS patients and 48 healthy women for comparison.