Narcolepsy is a disorder characterized by sudden, uncontrollable, and often brief attacks of sleep, sometimes accompanied by paralysis and hallucinations. Its cause is unknown, it has no cure, but it is fairly common—the US alone is home to some 200,000 narcoleptics. People with narcolepsy may abruptly fall asleep at any time, including while talking or even walking. The attacks can range from embarrassing and inconvenient to severely disruptive of daily life. How is narcolepsy diagnosed? More… Discuss
Aphasia is a language disturbance caused by a lesion of the brain that partially or totally impairs the affected individual’s ability to speak, write, or comprehend the meaning of spoken or written words. Often caused by head trauma, tumor, stroke, or infection, aphasia is distinguished from functional disorders—such as stammering or stuttering—and from impaired speech due to physical defects of the speech organs. What is the difference between Broca’s aphasia and Wernicke’s aphasia? More… Discuss
It is not easy to pass up French fries in favor of carrot sticks, but proper brain training can make it easier. Following a high-fiber, high-protein, low-carb diet seems to alter the way people’s brains respond to food, making healthier foods more appealing. After six months of following this diet, overweight and obese men and women showed changes in activity in the reward centers of their brains indicating greater enjoyment of healthier foods and decreased sensitivity to unhealthy, higher-calorie foods. They also lost significantly more weight than a control group not on the diet. More… Discuss
just a thought: “What good is an idea, if it survives its last brain that contemplated it?”
(George B ©always)
Although today’s youth cannot conceive of a world without cell phones, the devices have only been around for a few decades, and little is definitively known about their health effects. Researchers in Britain are therefore launching a study to investigate the effects of cell phones and similar devices on children’s brain development. It will track some 2,500 preteens into early adolescence and evaluate cognitive functions like memory and attention in an effort to discern whether their use of mobile phones, smartphones, or other wireless devices plays a role either in improving or impairing these functions. More… Discuss
Transfusing the blood plasma of young mice into older mice allowed them to perform better on tests of memory than their peers, suggesting that some factor or factors in the blood of the young can reverse certain aging processes. Researchers are now trying to identify which factors accomplish this and whether similar benefits would be seen in human trials. More… Discuss
Autism has been the focus of intense study in recent years, but experts are still far from understanding the root causes of the disorder. For a time, childhood vaccines were thought to be the culprit, but this theory has since been largely debunked. Now scientists have found evidence that the foundations for autism may be set in the womb, during prenatal brain development. Autistic children’s brains show a much higher incidence of cortical abnormalities in regions involved in language and social and emotional communication than their non-autistic peers. Abnormalities were identified in the brains of 90% of the children with autism studied, whereas only 10% of unaffected children exhibited abnormalities. More… Discuss
Burning the candle at both ends can lead to more than a few sluggish, cranky days; it may actually result in permanent brain damage. Just three days of sleep deprivation caused mice to lose a quarter of the nerve cells associated with alertness in a part of the brain stem called the locus ceruleus. If this turns out to be the case in humans as well, it will debunk the long-held notion that getting “catch-up sleep” can make up for night after night of missed sleep. To study this further, researchers plan to examine the brains of deceased shift workers for evidence of this sort of damage. More…Discuss
According to this article, if you see the girl turning clockwise, then you use more of the right side of the brain and vice versa.
Most of us would see the dancer turning anti-clockwise though you can try to focus and change the direction; see if you can do it.
(When I first look at it, I see the dancer turning clockwise, but after a few seconds, it flips to counterclockwise, go figure.)
I started by seeing the girl spinning clockwise (from left to right) and then anti clockwise: THis is a good exercise to keep your brain alert, and balanced: share it with your grandparents too!
Research suggests that eliminating visual stimuli for a period could counter hearing loss. After mice were kept in absolute darkness for a week, they were able to detect softer sounds than mice that were exposed to natural light for that same period. The week of darkness also caused changes to the structure of the brain’s auditory cortex. These effects, though not permanent, lasted for several weeks after they were returned to a lighted environment.More… Discuss
Why do we need to sleep? Obviously, without it we are tired, irritable, and unable to think and function as effectively as we otherwise could, but why is this? What are the underlying biological processes that drive this need? Scientists have long been grappling with this topic, and recent research has yielded some pretty interesting findings. During sleep, the production ofnervous system cells that generate myelin, a substance that insulates the nerves and permits the rapid transmission of nerve impulses, doubles in mice. This suggests that sleep may serve certain reparative and growth functions in the brain. More… Discuss
Using stem cells, laboratory researchers have managed to grow cerebral organoids, essentially miniature brainswith several distinct regions—a scientific first. The mini brains are pea-sized and similar to that of a 9-week-oldfetus. They have already been used to studymicrocephaly, a congenital condition characterized by abnormal smallness of the head and underdevelopment of the brain, and may be a useful research tool in future studies of brain diseases. More… Discuss
Researchers at the University of Washington have achieved what is believed to be the first human brain-to-brain communication, with one researcher using his brain to send a signal to the other’s that caused him to involuntarily move his right index finger. This was achieved by having the “sender” imagine moving his right hand while wearing a device that could read his brain signals. These signals were then sent, via the Internet, to a brain-stimulating device worn by the “receiver.” More…Discuss
Using cocaine just once may change a person’s brain structure, making him or her more likely to seek out or crave the drug again. Within hours of being exposed to cocaine, the brain cells of mice displayed increased development of protrusions called dendritic spines, believed to be involved in memory formation. Those mice whose brains were most changed by the cocaine exposure seemed to develop the greatest preference for the drug, suggesting that this is part of the process of learning addiction. More… Discuss
Henry Molaison, better known as H.M., was an American memory disorder patient whose case played a key role in the development of theories regarding the link between brain function and memory. In 1953, after parts of his brain were removed to treat his otherwise intractable epilepsy, it was found that he was unable to form new long-term memories. He thus became the subject of numerous studies on brain function and amnesia. What did scientists learn about memory by studying H.M.? More… Discuss
The human nervous system is composed of some 200 billion cells called neurons, about half of which are found in the brain. Neurogenesis, the process through which neurons are formed, is most active during prenatal development. Though early neuroanatomists believed that the adult nervous system is fixed and incapable of regeneration, neurogenesis actually continues throughout life. Studies have shown that lack of sleep reduces neurogenesis and exercise increases it. How is it affected by stress? How physical exercise help the aging body and the brain?More… Discuss