Brain

The likelihood of developing bipolar disorder depends in part on the combined, small effects of variations in many different genes in the brain, none of which is powerful enough to cause the disease by itself, a new study shows.

Although women consume less alcohol than men, they are more susceptible to some of the negative medical consequences of alcohol use, such as cirrhosis of the liver, cardiac disease, and cognitive impairments. Animal studies have also shown that males and females differ on behavioral as well as electrophysiological measures of alcohol's effects. A study found that female rats are not only less sensitive to the sedating effects of alcohol, but that cycling hormonal levels can mediate alcohol's effects.

Despite research efforts to find modern factors that would explain the different life expectancies of men and women, the gap is actually ancient and universal, according to University of Michigan researchers.

"Women live longer in almost every country, and the sex difference in lifespan has been recognized since at least the mid-18th century," said Daniel J. Kruger, a research scientist in the U-M School of Public Health and the Institute for Social Research. "It isn't a recent trend; it originates from our deep evolutionary history."

Everyday experience and psychology research both indicate that paying close attention to one thing can keep you from noticing something else.

However, a new study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison suggests that attention does not have a fixed capacity - and that it can be improved by directed mental training, such as meditation.

Increasing the amount of SUMO, a small protein in the brain, could be a way of treating diseases such as epilepsy and schizophrenia, reveal scientists at the University of Bristol, UK. Their findings are published online today in Nature.Distribution of kainate receptors (blue) and SUMOylation enzymes (red) in the synaptic areas (green) of a hippocampal neurone. Credit: Stephane Martin

Don't feel bad if you want to be part of the "in" crowd. It may be hardwired in our brain cells.

Diabetes researchers, investigating how the body supplies itself with insulin, discovered to their surprise that adult stem cells, which they expected to play a crucial role in the process, were nowhere to be found. Many researchers had proposed that adult stem cells develop into insulin-producing cells, called beta cells, in the pancreas.

New evidence on sex differences in people’s brains and behaviors emerges with the publication of results from the British Broadcasting Corporation’s (BBC) Sex ID Internet Survey. Survey questions and tests focused on participants’ sex-linked cognitive abilities, personality traits, interests, sexual attitudes and behavior, as well as physical traits. The Archives of Sexual Behavior¹ has devoted a special section in its April 2007 issue to research papers based on the BBC data.

Does the time of year in which a child is conceived influence future academic achievement? Yes, according to research by neonatologist Paul Winchester, M.D., Indiana University School of Medicine professor of clinical pediatrics.

Most Americans are familiar with the popular city rankings of the fattest cities, the fittest cities, the most livable cities and the most expensive cities. Now, in the first-of-its-kind survey, the American Academy of Dermatology (Academy) has identified the cities that take sun protection seriously and those that fail to make the grade despite repeated health warnings.