March 29, 2011 |
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.
July 25, 2013 |
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 |
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 |
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.
August 22, 2010 |
Catholic nuns are known for their acts of charity, but Sister Adrienne Schmidt has found a way to give beyond the grave: She will donate her brain to science. First, though, she is exercising it in an annual battery of memory tests administered by researchers at Chicago's Rush University. Schmidt, 82, repeats two-digit numbers, then three, four, five, six and seven digits. She names as many animals as she can in a minute. She listens to a 30-second story about a school cafeteria cook who is robbed of $56. Half an hour later, she must repeat as many details as she can. The yearly tests are designed to provide a history of how her brain is aging.