June 13, 2011 |
You can't sleep. You've tried counting sheep, drinking warm milk, maybe even taking medications like Benadryl or sleeping pills. Maybe next you should try cooling your brain. According to research presented Monday at Sleep 2011 , the annual meeting of the Associated Profession Sleep Societies, cooling the brain and can reduce the amount of time it takes people with insomnia to fall asleep -- and increase the length of time they stay that way. To achieve "frontal cerebral thermal transfer," as the cooling is called, researchers Dr. Eric Nofzinger and Dr. Daniel Buysse of the Sleep Neuroimaging Research Program at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine outfitted 24 people -- 12 with insomnia, and 12 without -- with soft plastic caps. The caps had tubes for circulating water at neutral, moderate or maximum "cooling intensity.
February 11, 2008 |
AS they seek to document and demystify one of life's great thrills, scientists have run across some real head-scratchers. How, for example, can they explain the fact that some men and women who are paralyzed and numb below the waist are able to have orgasms? How to explain the "orgasmic auras" that can descend at the onset of epileptic seizures -- sensations so pleasurable they prompt some patients to refuse antiseizure medication? And how on Earth to explain the case of the amputee who felt his orgasms centered in that missing foot?
February 16, 2013 |
Suppose you're under a lot of pressure. Does it feel like a huge flood is swirling around in your brain, tossing your thoughts every which way? Well, Ashley Merryman and Po Bronson say, maybe that's because your brain really is flooded - with dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that the brain needs to run at full capacity, but as with so many good things, it's possible to have too much of it. So, as your brain keeps producing fresh dopamine, it has to keep getting rid of the old. In the prefrontal cortex, special enzymes called COMT - for catechol-O-methyltransferase - carry out these mop-up operations.
September 12, 2013 |
It's a question that has long fascinated and flummoxed those who study human behavior: From whence comes the impulse to dream? Are dreams generated from the brain's "top" -- the high-flying cortical structures that allow us to reason, perceive, act and remember? Or do they come from the brain's "bottom" -- the unheralded brainstem, which quietly oversees such basic bodily functions as respiration, heart rate, salivation and temperature control? At stake is what to make of the funny, sexual, scary and just plain bizarre mental scenarios that play themselves out in our heads while we sleep.
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...
June 16, 2005 |
HAMILTON, Canada — The invitation curled from her fax machine, a courtly question scrawled above the signature of a man whose name she did not recognize. "Would you be willing to collaborate with me on studying the brain of Albert Einstein?" It was signed Thomas Harvey. Sandra Witelson did not hesitate. She wrote "yes" on the piece of paper and faxed it back. "It never occurred to me that it might be a joke," she recalled. "I knew that Albert Einstein's brain had been preserved and that it was somewhere where someone was looking after it. " For 40 years, Harvey, a retired pathologist from Princeton, N.J., had been the quixotic custodian of the 20th century's most famous brain.
January 6, 2011
Projectfresh: Conscious Capitalism and the Brain Where: Downtown Independent Theater, 251 S. Main St. When: 7 p.m. Tuesday Price: $10 Info: (213) 617-1033; projectfresh.eventbrite.com
October 28, 2013 |
We're not born with a fear of snakes, but it sure seems to develop early. Now scientists may be closer to a explaining why ophidiophobia ranks among the top fears of humans, and seems to be shared with other primates. Researchers inserted probes into the brains of Japanese macaques and found that neurons in a part of their brain that controls visual attention were more strongly and quickly activated in response to images of snakes, versus other objects. The results, published online Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, appear to support a theory that early primates developed advanced perception as an evolutionary response to being prey, not as an adaptation that may have made foraging or hunting easier.
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.
September 10, 2007 |
Exploring the neurobiology of politics, scientists have found that liberals tolerate ambiguity and conflict better than conservatives because of how their brains work. In a simple experiment reported todayin the journal Nature Neuroscience, scientists at New York University and UCLA show that political orientation is related to differences in how the brain processes information. Previous psychological studies have found that conservatives tend to be more structured and persistent in their judgments whereas liberals are more open to new experiences.