September 13, 2012 |
Inside the human skull lies a 3-pound mystery. The brain - a command center composed of tens of billions of branching neurons - controls who we are, what we do and how we feel. "It's the most amazing information structure anybody has ever been able to imagine," says Dr. Walter Koroshetz, deputy director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke in Bethesda, Md. For centuries, the brain's inner workings remained largely unexplored. But all that is changing.
January 9, 2012 |
I like to help people. Tell me what's wrong, and I'll take on anyone and anything to try to make it better. Then news came about a boy, and everything changed. A family in our community lost their teenage son when he fell from the fifth-floor balcony of his apartment at college. He was smart, kind and gregarious - a boy with a twin brother, a kid brother and loving parents. One night he leaned too far over his balcony in the darkness and plummeted to his death. Everyone wanted to know the particulars - whether he was drunk or did it purposefully, who was with him, whether it could have been prevented.
June 14, 2011 |
A lack of sleep could be causing you to do more than nod off at work--it could be making you long for carbs and rich foods. Two studies presented this week at the Associated Professional Sleep Societies meeting in Minneapolis show that being sleepy could affect our desire for carb-heavy foods. One study focused on 262 high school seniors who answered surveys on sleepiness, carb cravings, and depression. Researchers discovered that as daytime sleepiness became more acute, so did a craving for carbs.
May 18, 2011 |
Chronic pain can bring on depression , problems of memory and concentration, and general brain fog -- a fact well known to many of the 50 million American adults who live with pain that has settled in for a long stay. But a study published Wednesday finds that changes in the brain that come with chronic pain can be reversed when the hurt is treated effectively. The study , published in the Journal of Neuroscience, looked at sufferers of chronic low-back pain--a substantial slice of those with daily pain -- and compared their brain responses to cognitive tests and their brains' structures before and after they got treatment.
January 24, 2011 |
In 1848, a worksite explosion thrust a 13-pound iron pole through the cheek and into the prefrontal cortex of Phineas Gage, a railway construction foreman working in Vermont. The pole, more than an inch thick, rocketed through his skull with such force that it landed 30 yards away, smeared with blood and brain matter. Minutes after the accident, Gage was conscious and walking. After battling infections, he was reported to have recovered completely. A later clinical account, however, noted that the once-judicious and reliable worker had become an impulsive, bad-tempered ne'er-do-well whose "friends and acquaintances said he was 'no longer Gage.
November 9, 2010 |
Fear is a complicated emotion, and scientists have recruited a scary laboratory aide ? the Brazilian salmon pink tarantula ? to help map out how the feeling is processed in the brain. Using video of the 8.7-inch-long arachnid, British researchers showed that the human brain engages several different systems when evaluating threats. For instance, the part of the brain that engages when a threat is approaching is different from the part that is activated when a threat is receding, they reported Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.