Brain

The ability to regenerate nerve cells in the body could reduce the effects of trauma and disease in a dramatic way. In two presentations at the NSTI Nanotech 2007 Conference, researchers describe the use of nanotechnology to enhance the regeneration of nerve cells. In the first method, developed at the University of Miami, researchers show how magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) may be used to create mechanical tension that stimulates the growth and elongation of axons of the central nervous system neurons.

When it comes to estimating the intelligence of various animal species, it may be as simple measuring overall brain size. In fact, making corrections for a species' body size may be a mistake. The findings were reported by researchers at Grand Valley State University and the Anthropological Institute and Museum at the University of Zürich, Switzerland.

Scientists at the University of Virginia and the Medical College of Wisconsin have discovered that a gene that participates in the regulation of the body’s biological rhythms may also be a major control in regulating metabolism.

How much money would it take to get you to stick a pin into your palm? How much to stick a pin into the palm of a child you don’t know? How much to slap a friend in the face (with his or her permission) as part of a comedy skit? Well, what about slapping you father (with his permission) as part of a skit? How you answer questions such as these may reveal something about your morality, and even your politics — conservatives, for example, tend to care more about issues of hierarchy and respect, while liberals concentrate on caring and fairness.

People who do well on a series of decision-making tasks involving hypothetical situations tend to have more positive decision outcomes in their lives, according to a study by decision scientists at Carnegie Mellon University and the RAND Corp.

The results suggest that it may be possible to improve the quality of people’s lives by teaching them better decision-making skills.

Yes, there are gender differences in cognitive function, but they're more limited than previously thought. And yes, income does affect cognitive performance – but less than expected when only healthy children are considered. And while basic cognitive skills steadily improve in middle childhood, they then seem to level off – questioning the idea of a burst of brain development in adolescence.

New Danish research has examined the mechanisms behind latent cell memory, which can come to life and cause previously non-existent capacities suddenly to appear. Special yeast cells for example, can abruptly change from being of a single sex to hermaphrodite.

Most animals appear symmetrical at first glance, but we're full of internal lop-sidedness. From the hand used to pick up a pencil or throw a baseball, to where language is generated in the brain, to the orientation of our internal organs, humans are a glut of asymmetries. Worms aren't so different: The roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans has nerves on its left and right sides that perform different functions. Like handedness, the determination of which nerves develop on which side seems random from worm to worm.

Scientists have found evidence that the cox-2 inhibitor celecoxib, a common pain reliever used to treat arthritis, may offer a new way to reduce the risk of the most common cause of brain damage in babies born prematurely.

The work involves shoring up blood vessels in a part of the brain that in premature infants is extremely fragile and vulnerable to dangerous bleeding, which affects an estimated 12,000 children a year, leaving many permanently affected by cerebral palsy, mental retardation, and seizures.

Children who are hyperactive tend to do worse academically than their peers who are not hyperactive. Although the relationship between such behaviors as overactivity, impulsivity, and inattentiveness in children and poor achievement in math, reading, language, and other areas has been well documented, little is known about the reasons for this link. New research shows that the tie may be due to genetic influences.