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 12, 2012 |
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)
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.
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.
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.
March 18, 2013 |
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.