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August 15, 2012
Re "Ancient brains, modern dilemmas," Opinion, Aug. 12 I enjoyed this article immensely, so much so that my cortex directed me to read it carefully - twice. Cole's connection between disbelief and apathy about global warming and the reptilian brain was of particular interest to me. Because these attitudes tend to fall along party lines, I quickly thought (perhaps with my lizard brain) that the party whose members often eschew global warming science should be renamed the Reptilian Party.
April 25, 2014 | Valerie J. Nelson
Far older than most of the regulars at his weekly South Bay swing-dancing class, the World War II veteran invariably shuffles in, sidles up to his instructor and unwittingly gives voice to a scientific truth: "I'm here for my anti-aging therapy and happiness treatment. " Dancing has long been lauded as a great physical workout, yet research has increasingly shown that social dancing, such as swing, a lively, improvisational style that requires rapid-fire decision-making in concert with a partner, is also beneficial to both mind and spirit.
August 12, 2012 | By K.C. Cole
August is a great month for celebrating human stupidity. On Aug. 6, 1945, we all but disappeared Hiroshima with a single atomic bomb, and then did it again, three days later, at Nagasaki. And now we barely seem to care. The sad truth is, we are incapable of understanding exactly what these seemingly ancient events mean - right now, for all of us, today. The August anniversaries are a stark reminder that the brains we inherited from our ancestors simply may not be up to dealing with much of the modern world we've (they've)
April 15, 2014 | By Melissa Healy
In the netherworld that lies between death and full consciousness, some grievously injured or ill patients will remain suspended indefinitely. But others, given time, will eke their way out of the twilight and toward recovery. Accurately predicting which group an apparently vegetative patient falls into could bring comfort, solace and sometimes hope to their families--and also to the patients involved, who may wish to convey they are still "in there," or may feel pain that is not being addressed.
March 29, 2011 | By Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times
Like a jab in the arm with a red-hot poker, social rejection hurts. Literally. A new study finds that our brains make little distinction between the sting of being rebuffed by peers -- or by a lover, boss or family member -- and the physical pain that arises from disease or injury. The new findings are published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Researchers from the University of Michigan, Columbia University and the University of Colorado put 40 individuals who were brokenhearted by a recent breakup into a brain scanner and watched as each dumpee gazed upon a photo of his or her dumper and pondered the hurt he or she felt at having been spurned.
August 9, 2013 | By Geoffrey Mohan
Do women who are on the autism spectrum have brains that are more “masculine”? A team of researchers at Cambridge University's Autism Research Center has found striking similarities between the structural anomalies found in the brains of women with autism spectrum disorder and neurobiological characteristics known to be different between males and females in general. The results, published online Thursday in the review Brain , partially confirm aspects of an “extreme male brain” theory of autism put forth by Cambridge neuroscientist Simon Baron-Cohen and his colleagues.
October 23, 2012 | By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times
Here's something for raw-food aficionados to chew on: Cooked food might be a big reason humans were able to grow such large brains compared to their body size, scientists say. If modern human ancestors had eaten only raw food, they'd have to regularly feed more than nine hours a day, according to a study published online Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. A pair of researchers from the Instituto Nacional de Neurociéncia Translacional in São Paulo, Brazil, decided to try and help explain why modern humans' brains were able to grow so large compared to their body size and why other primates' brains did not. They looked at the relative brain-to-neuron-counts of a host of primates, from owl monkeys to baboons.
September 3, 2010
The next cures for bacterial infections may come from an unlikely place: cockroach brains. Tissues from cockroach and locust brains and nervous systems killed off 90% of E. coli and MRSA bacteria without harming the human cells they were attacking, according to researchers from the University of Nottingham. The findings, released Saturday, are being presented this week at the autumn meeting of the Society for General Microbiology in Nottingham, Great Britain. The researchers suspect it’s the proteins in the insect brains that so effectively kill the bacteria.
September 18, 2012 | By Andrew Tangel
NEW YORK -- Goldman Sachs' chief financial officer, who has been credited as among the most essential executives at the powerful Wall Street investment bank for helping it emerge strong from the financial crisis, is stepping down. David Viniar, a 32-year veteran of the bank, will retire at the end of January 2013 but will join the board as a non-independent director. His replacement: Harvey Schwartz, the bank's global co-head of the Securities Division, Goldman said in a statement at the end of the trading day in New York.
March 18, 2013 | By Melissa Healy
Listening in on the electrical currents of teenagers' brains during sleep, scientists have begun to hear the sound of growing maturity. It happens most intensively between the ages of 12 and 16 1/2: After years of frenzied fluctuation, the brain's electrical output during the deepest phase of sleep -- the delta, or slow-wave phase, when a child's brain is undergoing its most restorative rest -- becomes practically steady. That reduced fluctuation in electroencephalogram signals during delta-phase sleep appears to coincide with what neuroscientists have described as major architectural changes in the brain that pave the way for cognitive maturity.
April 1, 2014 | Steve Lopez
I'm generally not an alarmist about earthquakes. As a California native, I've experienced my share of small to moderate reminders that our fair state is fractured from head to toe and we're all standing on broken plates. But the shaking is putting me on edge lately. I find myself wondering if I should buy earthquake insurance, or why my dog is cocking his head as if he knows something I don't. This is partly because there's been more rocking and rolling than usual, and partly because of what we're learning about how shamefully unprepared we are for a Big One. And now I have more cause for concern.
March 28, 2014 | By Jason Wells
The mother of Jahi McMath, the 13-year-old Oakland girl declared brain dead by multiple neurologists more than three months ago, insisted Thursday that her daughter was "asleep" and "blossoming into a teenager. " Jahi was declared brain-dead Dec. 12 after complications during surgery three days earlier to remove her tonsils, adenoids and uvula at  Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland. At least three neurologists confirmed that Jahi was unable to breathe on her own, had no blood flow to her brain and had no sign of electrical activity in her brain.
March 27, 2014 | By Karen Kaplan
Brain tissue samples from children with autism look markedly different than the brain tissue of other kids, researchers say. The physiological differences could explain many of the well-known symptoms of autism spectrum disorders, and they suggest that the developmental problems that lead to autism begin before birth. A group of scientists from around the country obtained frozen cubes of brain tissue from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center . The cubes, measuring one or two cubic centimeters, were taken from children ages 2 to 15 who had died.
March 21, 2014 | By Maura Dolan
SAN FRANCISCO -- Oakland has reached a $4.5-million settlement with a Marine veteran who suffered brain damage when a police officer shot him with a beanbag projectile during an Occupy Oakland protest, the city announced Friday. Scott Olsen, 26, who served two tours in Iraq,  suffered a fractured skull and traumatic brain injury on Oct. 25, 2011, when Oakland police tried to disperse a crowd near City Hall. Olsen said he was standing still and behaving peacefully when he was struck.
March 14, 2014 | By Amy Hubbard
The folks over at ASAP Science have pulled out their dry-erase markers to explain why we yawn. It's an appropriate topic given that today is World Sleep Day . But, as these smart people explain, yawning isn't necessarily about being tired. Guinea pigs yawn to display anger. Human fetuses yawn. We likely yawn as a form of empathy -- which explains its contagiousness -- and we also do it to keep our brains from melting.  OK, that's an exaggeration.  But many believe we yawn to pull extra oxygen into our lungs; ASAP says, rather, yawning likely helps to cool our brains when needed.
March 12, 2014 | By Amina Khan
NASA's elderly Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter flipped into “safe mode” on Sunday after an unexpected computing glitch caused the spacecraft to switch from its main computer to its backup. The 8-year-old satellite, which left Earth in August 2005 and entered Martian orbit on March 10, 2006, has lived well beyond its primary two-year science phase, so perhaps the occasional "brain fart" is understandable. Tasked with searching for signs that water flowed on Mars for a long period of time, it's been sending Earth detailed information about seasonal and longer-term changes on our rust-hued neighbor . In fact, it has returned more data than all other interplanetary missions combined, according to officials at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge, which manages the mission.
November 11, 2013 | By Karen Kaplan
Attention pregnant women: If you want to help your child get into Harvard, lace up those sneakers and exercise! Hardly a week goes by without science delivering new evidence that exercise boosts the brain. Studies have linked exercise to brain health in senior citizens , middle-aged adults and kids . A trio of researchers from the University of Montreal figured the same might hold true for babies in utero as well. Dave Ellemberg and Daniel Curnier, two professors from the university's Department of Kinesiology, and graduate student Elise Labonte-LeMoyne recruited women who were in their first trimester of pregnancy and randomly assigned them to an “active” or “sedentary” group.
July 25, 2013 | By Geoffrey Mohan
Could cannibal Hannibal Lecter be capable of empathy? Psychopaths do have empathy, researchers say, but it doesn't come naturally. A brain-imaging study of 18 violent, psychopathic criminals in the Netherlands, the largest such study undertaken, suggests they can summon empathy when prompted. The report, published Wednesday in the journal Brain, showed that empathic circuits   that are unconsciously activated in the brains of normal people may be dormant or switched off in psychopaths -- not absent, as commonly thought.
March 10, 2014 | By Robyn Dixon
PRETORIA, South Africa - Athlete Oscar Pistorius used expanding bullets that mushroom on impact and cause maximum tissue damage when he shot his girlfriend to death, a pathologist testified Monday in a South African court. One of those bullets penetrated Reeva Steenkamp's head and broke up in her brain, causing a catastrophic injury, and another hit her right hip, shattered a hip bone and broke into small pieces in her body, said pathologist Gert Saayman, who conducted the autopsy.
March 4, 2014 | By Matt Wilhalme
Ohio State football Coach Urban Meyer had surgery to drain a brain cyst last weekend but that didn't keep him from supervising the team's first spring practice Tuesday. “I've had it for several years,” Meyer said, according to the Associated Press. “It's a cyst, an arachnoid cyst. It surfaced a couple of times, once in '98 and once in '04 and a couple of other times. It's just something you've got to manage.” The coach had been experiencing headaches for several weeks.
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