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This is the personal blog of a science writer and journalist. It's for anyone who loves, wants to love or doesn't know how to love science.
Everyone, I’m elated to tell you that Tumblr will be joining Yahoo.
Before touching on how awesome this is, let me try to allay any concerns:...
Dream decoding made possible: Japanese scientists have started to ‘read’ people’s dreams.
Where do I sign up for this? USC neuroscientists have isolated chills at a cellular level, identifying the sensory network of neurons in the skin that relays the sensation of cold. The team managed to selectively shut off the ability to sense cold in mice while still leaving them able to sense heat and touch. If this really could be possible then just think walking about in winter in your summer clothes. Better, no more winter clothes. Skiing in your bikini…now there is a thought!
An illustration depicting the damaging effects of a tumor (red) on structural connections within the brain.
Image credit: Sherbrooke Connectivity Imaging Lab
Working with patients with electrodes implanted in their brains, researchers at the University of California, Davis, and The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) have shown for the first time that areas of the brain work together at the same time to recall memories. The unique approach promises new insights into how we remember details of time and place.
The Super Bowl next week will have millions of viewers tuning in and that’s not just because they want to check if Beyoncé will mime or sing. American Football is a much loved sport across the globe. About a month ago I wrote about a report that linked concussions to brain disease. Today, there are further reports published proving the dangers of repeated concussions, which specifically NFL players are exposed to. I wonder how all of this new evidence will affect the future of the NFL?
A new study led by MIT neuroscientists has found that brain scans of patients with social anxiety disorder can help predict whether they will benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy.
They found that the effectiveness of therapy could be predicted by measuring patients’ brain activity as they looked at photos of faces, before the therapy sessions began.
The findings, published this week in the Archives of General Psychiatry, may help doctors choose more effective treatments for social anxiety disorder, which is estimated to affect around 15 million people in the United States.
Sufferers of social anxiety disorder experience intense fear in social situations that interferes with their ability to function in daily life. Cognitive behavioral therapy aims to change the thought and behavior patterns that lead to anxiety. For social anxiety disorder patients, that might include learning to reverse the belief that others are watching or judging them.
Evidence of the beneficial relationship between brainpower and exercise has been gathered for over a decade and now the latest neuroscience suggests: Exercise makes you smarter.
Why would exercise build brainpower in ways that thinking might not? Your brain is a tissue and so like any other tissue, abuse, lack of use, and especially age causes its performance to decline. Sometime in our late twenties the hippocampus, the portion of our brains devoted to learning and memory, loses about a percent per year in total volume. So it’s no surprise that as we get older we naturally lose some of our memory and learning capacity.
But what is surprising is that, just like with your muscles, exercise can slow or even reverse the physical decay of your brain.
Contrary to previous science statements of once you lose braincells you can’t get them back, new brain cells can in fact be created—and exercise helps trigger that process. By exercising you not only build muscle. You build a bigger brain.
Read the article written by Gretchen Reynolds at the New York Times here.