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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
March 1, 2014 | By Mike Boehm
Mike Garson obviously takes the piano very seriously, but he can chuckle over some of the contradictory paths that a versatile mastery of the keys has led him down. Maybe the unlikeliest of all is the one he's embarking on Saturday at Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa, where he'll lead 44 instrumentalists, augmented by a 55-voice children's choir, in the premiere of his "Symphonic Suite for Healing. " Even an accomplished musician like Garson, who's best known as a key sideman during David Bowie's 1970s rise to superstardom but who usually plays jazz or a jazz-classical fusion when left to his own devices, can laughingly confess that what he's doing isn't brain surgery or as important as finding a cure for cancer.
February 24, 2014 | By Jason Wells
The mother of the 13-year-old girl who became a   cause celebre  after being declared brain-dead at an Oakland hospital last year defended her decision to keep her daughter on a ventilator, saying the case has brought worldwide attention to her plight. Citing alleged death threats, Jahi McMath's family has declined to say where they transferred the teen's body after she was released by Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland to the county coroner. Jahi was declared brain-dead Dec. 12 after surgery three days earlier  at the hospital  to remove her tonsils, adenoids and uvula.
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.
February 21, 2014 | By Jason Wells
The mother of Jahi McMath, the 13-year-old Oakland girl who was declared brain-dead after a complicated surgery that involved removing her tonsils, insisted in a Facebook post this week that her daughter has improved physically, but that it continues to be an "unbelievably difficult time" for the family. Citing alleged death threats, the family has declined to say where they transferred Jahi's body after she was released by Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland to the county coroner.
February 20, 2014 | By Geoffrey Mohan
You think your dog can sit and stay? You might want to check out the pooches in Budapest, Hungary, that managed to be still for eight-minute stretches in a brain scanner without twitching their tails or moving their bodies more than three millimeters. The 11 border collies and golden retrievers, in fact, equaled or bested their 22 human cohorts in the first-ever comparison of functional magnetic resonance imagery between man and his best friend, said Attila Andics, a neuroscientist at Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest who led the research.
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