Brain

Autistic and non-autistic brain differences isolated

Autistic and non-autistic brain differences isolated

The functional differences between autistic and non-autistic brains have been isolated for the first time, following the development of a new methodology for analyzing MRI scans.

Is too much artificial light at night making us sick?

Is too much artificial light at night making us sick?

Modern life, with its preponderance of inadequate exposure to natural light during the day and overexposure to artificial light at night, is not conducive to the body's natural sleep/wake cycle.

It's an emerging topic in health, one that UConn Health (University of Connecticut, Farmington, Conn.) cancer epidemiologist Richard Stevens has been studying for three decades.

Playing music by musicians activates genes responsible for brain function and singing of songbirds

Although music perception and practice are well preserved in human evolution, the biological determinants of music practice are largely unknown. According to a latest study, music performance by professional musicians enhanced the activity of genes involved in dopaminergic neurotransmission, motor behavior, learning and memory. Interestingly, several of those up-regulated genes were also known to be responsible for song production in songbirds, which suggests a potential evolutionary conservation in sound perception and production across species.

This is your brain in the supermarket

Say you're out shopping for basic household goods -- perhaps orange juice and soup. Or light bulbs. Or diapers for your young child. How do you choose the products you buy? Is it a complicated decision, or a simple one?

It could be complex: Factors like price, quality, and brand loyalty may run through your mind. Indeed, some scholars have developed complicated models of consumer decision-making, in which people accumulate substantial product knowledge, then weigh that knowledge against the opportunity to explore less-known products.

MP-MUS: Mitochondrial 'smart bomb' nukes brain cancer cells

An experimental drug that attacks brain tumor tissue by crippling the cells' energy source - the mitochondria - has passed early tests in animal models and human tissue cultures, as reported in ChemMedChem.

After learning new words, brain sees them as pictures

When we look at a known word, our brain sees it like a picture, not a group of letters needing to be processed. That's the finding from a Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, which shows the brain learns words quickly by tuning neurons to respond to a complete word, not parts of it.

Study shows association between migraine and carpal tunnel syndrome

Patients with carpal tunnel syndrome are more than twice as likely to have migraine headaches, reports a study in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery--Global Open. The association also runs in the other direction, with migraine patients having higher odds of carpal tunnel syndrome, according to research by Dr. Huay-Zong Law and colleagues of University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. The findings add a new piece of evidence in the ongoing debate over the use of nerve decompression surgery as a treatment for migraine headaches.

Power naps produce a significant improvement in memory performance

Generations of school students have gone to bed the night before a maths exam or a vocabulary test with their algebra book or vocabulary notes tucked under their pillow in the hope that the knowledge would somehow be magically transferred into their brains while they slept. That they were not completely taken in by a superstitious belief has now been demonstrated by a team of neuropsychologists at Saarland University, who have shown that even a brief sleep can significantly improve retention of learned material in memory.

Our eyes multi-task even when we don't want them to, researchers find

Our eyes are drawn to several dimensions of an object--such as color, texture, and luminance--even when we need to focus on only one of them, researchers at New York University and the University of Pennsylvania have found. The study, which appears in the journal Current Biology, points to the ability of our visual system to integrate multiple components of an item while underscoring the difficulty we have in focusing on a particular aspect of it.

Finger length indicates risk of schizophrenia in males

Research suggests that the ratio of the lengths of the index finger and the ring finger in males may be predictive of a variety of disorders related to disturbed hormonal balance. When the index finger is shorter than the ring finger, this results in a small 2D:4D ratio, pointing to a high exposure to testosterone in the uterus.