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Nature versus nurture: What matters in infant brain development?

New discovery shows a critical role of mother´s presence and grooming in infant brain development
Fri 25 Jul 20:42

Washington Irving wisely remarked, "A mother's love endures through all". True to this adage, new discovery by scientists at Langone School of Medicine, Emotional Brain Institute and Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research based in New York led by senior investigator Dr. Regina Sullivan shows a critical role of mother's presence and grooming in key stages of infant brain development!

Our brain is comprised of several cell circuits similar to an electrical circuit. Just like an improper wiring could lead to a catastrophic electrical failure, so could improper wiring of neural circuits in the infant brain. Additionally, disruption...

Are we averse to thinking?

Thinking is a choice you must train
Tue 15 Jul 22:06
Do you enjoy sitting in solitude and thinking by yourself without fidgeting with your smartphone every few minutes? If your answer is no, do not worry, as it turns out you are not alone! A recent study published in the journal of Science by Dr. Timothy D. Wilson and his team from University of Virginia, shows that people prefer doing mundane activities as opposed to thinking!

One is virtually never alone in this day and age of incessant external inputs via Facebook and Twitter. As a result, perhaps not so surprisingly this study reports statistics from a recent survey that finds 83% of...

Sleep more to learn more

Learning is better if we sleep more hours.
Thu 12 Jun 03:23
Someone once remarked -"I say you work for eight hours and you sleep for eight hours-be sure they are not the same eight hours"! It turns out that recent scientific finding supports the theory that sleep is very vital for learning and memory.

One doesn't have to oversell the beauty of sleep. But in case you need hard evidence, past studies have shown a good night's sleep could solidify memories. Imagine sleeping after visiting a beautiful place and waking up with it etched in your memory ! On the other hand, less or disturbed sleep makes learning and retaining memories difficult. New research...

Science Explains Why You Forgot To Take Out The Trash

A familiar voice is usually recognized between other voices, but as we age, maybe we can select not to hear them
Thu 12 Sep 19:01
It's often nice to hear a familiar voice, but sometimes we're also guilty of tuning out wives, husbands, parents and even some friends. It turns out that our brains help us tune out spouses more effectively as we age.

Ingrid Johnsrude, a psychologist at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, and her colleagues found that a familiar voice helps us organize the voices we hear in a crowd, so we can focus on the familiar voice--or ignore it. As we grow older and/or harder of hearing, we can also use these audio cues as a guide to sorting out voices in a crowd. Another sign of aging,...

Chaos, Not Order, Spark Creativity

Wed 14 Aug 02:27
Being neat and tidy has always been associated with order, tradition and general good sense. But being a slob may have a worse reputation than it deserves, according to a new study suggestig that a disorderly environment can spark creativity.

The study, led by University of Minnesota management professor Dr. Kathleen Vohs and published in Psychological Science on August 1st, found that an orderly environment encourages such "orderly" behavior as healthful eating, charitable giving, and a sense of tradition, while a disorderly environment can trigger creative behavior. In addition,...

Even in the Brain, Practice Makes Perfect

Extensively practicing a given motor skill reduces metabolic activity in the cerebral cortex responsible for managing that skill
Sat 03 Aug 16:25
As any athlete or musician can attest, practicing makes a difficult task easier. In fact, repeating an activity can take us to a point where we a no longer conscious of what we're doing; we've perfected the task so we no longer think actively about it. This kind of efficiency also happens in brain cells, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, have found, and this efficiency can led to some surprising brain activity.

Neurobiologist Peter Strick and his colleagues reported in Nature Neuroscience that extensively practicing a given motor skill reduces metabolic activity in...

Celestial Music, at your fingertips

Crab Nebula, Wikipedia.
Fri 19 Jul 10:31
In the renaissance an scholar was considered educated only after mastering the so-called "quadrivium", which consisted of four subjects: arithmetic, geometry, astronomy and music. Now, a group of astrophysicists has updated the classical quadrivium, by deriving music from astronomical data.

Researchers from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, USA, led by Dr Gerhard Sonnert, have developed a website that produces music made from star-generated sounds. These "star sounds" consist of recordings of X-ray and other signals captured by radiotelescopes that are turned into sound thanks...

Wired for imagination

New research
Sat 05 Jul 01:38

Have you wondered what makes Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Ludwig van Beethoven so different from you and me? Does it imply that people with artistically creative skill sets like writers, musicians, singers etc. have anything in common? One would naïvely guess not so much ! But it turns out that "experts" with varying skill sets, have their brains wired quite similarly. This is what new research led by Dr. Martin Lotze and his team from University of Greifswald, Germany suggests using brain scans.

How do the researchers investigate their theory ? The neuroscientists set an experiment...

Scientists Explain Why Snails Have A Twisted Shell

Snails, as some other gastropods, have coiled shells, Dpp protein seems to be the clue
Fri 13 Sep 02:05
Molecules called morphogens control the shapes of organisms. One morphogen, Dpp, makes most snail shells coil to the right as described in a recent report in the journal EvoDevo. Snails belong to the taxonomic class Gastropoda, the most diverse group of molluscs, originating during the Cambrian period about 500 million years ago. Some gastropods, like snails, have coiled shells while others, like limpets, do not. The uneven distribution of the morphogenic (or shape-determining) protein Dpp is the explanation.
Dpp, the gene carrying the info for making the Dpp protein, (christened...

Researchers Create a Hangover-Free, Rehydrating Beer

Source: Wikipedia.
Wed 21 Aug 05:03
Researchers have crafted a new breed of beer, containing electrolytes like those found in sport drinks, decreasing the risk of dehydration (and hangover) of this popular drink.

Beer, much like any other alcoholic drink, is a natural diuretic, not a good choice to quench your thirst on the summer months or following strenuous exercise. But now, Dr. Ben Desbrow from the Centre for Health Practice Innovation, in Queensland, Australia, is about to change the rules. His research is looking for ways to make beer a healthy choice, by adding electrolytes and reducing alcohol content.

"From our...

Our Alien Gold

Source: Wikipedia.
Mon 05 Aug 23:25
    All the gold on earth is alien. Every atom of the precious metal probably came to us from violent collisions of dying stars, according to a team from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

The research team, led by astrophysicist Dr. Edo Berger, was studying the origins of short gamma ray bursts, two-tenths of a second-long blasts of radiation produced after the collision of two dying stars. Using the Magellan Telescopes at the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile, data from NASA's Swift satellite, and observations from the Hubble Space Telescope,...

An Unlikely New Home For Insects

Credit:  Robert Tropek
Fri 02 Aug 20:48
Fly ash deposits, by-products of coal combustion produced around energy power stations, have been found to serve as an alternative home for many insect species, new research shows. Fly ash refers to the fine silica material that rises with the gases produced during combustion. In the past, this material was simply released into the atmosphere. However, this practice raised many environmental and health concerns and prompted laws aimed at reducing such emissions. With stricter pollution control, fly ash needs to be captured and large deposits now accumulate outside every power plant scattered...

A single gene for claustrophobia?

Source: Wikipedia.
Tue 16 Jul 11:32
Do you panic when you are in a small space? Do you sweat, or shake; does your heart pound? A study in the March issue of Translational Psychiatry reports a genetic defect as the cause of claustrophobia in mice. This is the first time that a single gene has been shown to regulate claustrophobia, moving researchers one step closer to understanding this serious anxiety disorder. The new research, led by Dr Hannelore Ehrenreich at the Max Planck Institute for Experimental Medicine in Göttingen, Germany, identified a defect in the Gpm6a gene associated with claustrophobia-like behavior in mice and...

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