Brain

Researchers at the University of Illinois have found that adolescence is a time of remodeling in the prefrontal cortex, a brain structure dedicated to higher functions such as planning and social behaviors.

Unlike most of our sensory systems that detect only one type of stimuli, our sense of smell works double duty, detecting both chemical and mechanical stimuli to improve how we smell, according to University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine researchers in the March issue of Nature Neuroscience.

The origins of modern humans continues to be one of the most hotly debated topics among anthropologists, and there is little consensus about where and when the first members of our species, Homo sapiens, became fully modern. While fossil evidence tells a complex tale of mosaic change during the African Stone Age, almost nothing is known about changes in human 'life history,' or the timing of development, reproductive scheduling, and lifespan.

With an innovative combination of a novel application of synchrotron imaging, high-resolution microtomography, and developmental analysis, the team reconstructed tooth growth and determined the age at death of a fossil juvenile from Jebel Irhoud, Morocco. This study represents the first non-destructive approach to characterize dental development with a high degree of precision, as synchrotron images reveal microscopic internal growth lines without damage to the specimen.

Two Iowa State University botanists and their colleague at the University of North Carolina have discovered a new species of North American bamboo in the hills of Appalachia. It is the third known native species of the hardy grass. The other two were discovered more than 200 years ago.

Sexual victimization can mean several things -- verbal coercion to have sex with an intimate partner, rape by a stranger, a woman fondled in a bar or forced intercourse when a woman is too intoxicated to consent or object.

Perceived attractiveness is the result of compatibility of biological sex and gendered cues--masculinity and femininity as specified within the society—according to a study by researchers at New York University and Texas A & M University. The findings appear in the most recent issue of the journal, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Genetically modified crops were supposed to improve efficiency and make life easier for farmers in poor countries. The opposite may be true, according to a Washington University in St. Louis study. Technology may be racing too fast for farmers to keep up. It may even be linked to higher suicide rates.

The arrival of genetically modified crops has added another level of complexity to farming in the developing world, says a sociocultural anthropologist at Washington University in St. Louis.

The "raging hormones" of puberty are known to produce mood swings and stress for most teenagers, making it difficult to cope with this period of life. Until now, the specific causes of pubertal anxiety have not been identified, making it harder to understand and treat adolescent angst.

Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) hold great promise for benefiting degenerative diseases, and do so by invoking multiple mechanisms. Such cells can be grown in a manner compatible with clinical use (i.e., without animal feeder layers) and even without the need for immunosuppression. These were a few of a number of conclusions arrived at by an international collaboration led by Evan Y. Snyder, M.D., Ph.D., and spearheaded by a member of his lab, Jean-Pyo Lee, Ph.D., of the Burnham Institute for Medical Research ("Burnham").