Brain

Systems biology research study reveals benefits of vacation and meditation

Scientists from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, the University of California, San Francisco, and Harvard Medical School used a rigorous study design to assess the biological impact of meditation compared to vacation. They examined the effect of meditation on gene expression patterns in both novice and regular meditators. The researchers found that a resort vacation provides a strong and immediate impact on molecular networks associated with stress and immune pathways, in addition to short- term improvements in well-being, as measured by feelings of vitality and distress.

Two-photon imaging of Meissner's corpuscle mechanoreceptors in living tissue

Two-photon imaging of Meissner's corpuscle mechanoreceptors in living tissue

Nagoya, Japan - When a fingertip explores the surface of a material, mechanoreceptors called Meissner's corpuscles (MCs) near the surface of the skin mainly respond to low-frequency vibration stimuli such as fluttering or slipping on the skin. Thus they are responsible for sensitivity to light touch.

Amputees' brains remember missing hands even years later

Amputees' brains remember missing hands even years later

Our brains have a detailed picture of our hands and fingers, and that persists even decades after an amputation, Oxford University researchers have found. The finding could have implications for the control of next generation prosthetics.

Psychopaths feel fear but see no danger

Researchers from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and Radboud University Nijmegen found proof that psychopathic individuals can feel fear, but have trouble in the automatic detection and responsivity to threat. For many decades fear has been put forth as a hallmark feature of psychopathy, the impairments in which would lead to bold risk-taking behavior.

Smarter brains are blood-thirsty brains

Smarter brains are blood-thirsty brains

A University of Adelaide-led project has overturned the theory that the evolution of human intelligence was simply related to the size of the brain -- but rather linked more closely to the supply of blood to the brain.

The international collaboration between Australia and South Africa showed that the human brain evolved to become not only larger, but more energetically costly and blood thirsty than previously believed.

Transplantation with human placental stem cells improves diabetes complications in rats

Putnam Valley, NY. (August 30, 2016) - In an effort to determine if stem cell therapy can prevent or improve a condition called "diabetic foot" caused by poor blood flow in patients with diabetes, a team of researchers in China has found that transplanting human placenta-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) into rats modeled with diabetes can affect blood vessel growth, potentially improving blood flow and preventing critical limb ischemia (CLI), a condition that results in diabetic foot and frequently leads to amputation.

Cannabinoid receptor activates spermatozoa

During fertilization, a sperm must first fuse with the plasma membrane and then penetrate the female egg in order to penetrate it. To this end, sperm cells go through a process known as the acrosome reaction which is the reaction that occurs in the acrosome of the sperm as it approaches the egg. In the lab, this so-called acrosome reaction is considered a test for analysing the ability of semen to accomplish fertilisation. A receptor for an endogenous cannabinoid plays a crucial role in this process.

Transplanted bone marrow-derived cells reduce recurrent miscarriage in mice

Putnam Valley, NY. (August 30, 2016) - In a study focusing on the role of self-donated (autologous) bone marrow-derived endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) in placental vascular development, researchers in Japan have discovered that when transplanted into pregnant mice, EPCs can contribute to better blood vessel growth that helps in forming "normalized" placental vascularization, leading, in turn, to reduced recurrent miscarriages by providing a healthier fetal environment during gestation.

IU study: 'Morning people' self-sabotage less at night, night owls' less at sunrise

IU study: 'Morning people' self-sabotage less at night, night owls' less at sunrise

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- A study by psychological researchers at Indiana University shows that people are more likely to undermine their performance at stressful tasks when they're operating at "peak capacity" based on their preferred time of the day.

Addiction cravings may get their start deep in the right side of the brain

Addiction cravings may get their start deep in the right side of the brain

INDIANAPOLIS - If you really want a drink right now, the source of your craving may be a pea-sized structure deep inside the right side of your brain, according to scientists at the Indiana University School of Medicine.