Brain

Scientists at CNRS and the Pasteur Institute, collaborating with physicians in Gabon, have just undertaken a study on cerebral malaria in children living in an endemic region. This study, which was published in PLoS ONE, should allow us to better understand this severe form of malaria which affects 20 to 40 percent of people infected by the Plasmodium falciparum parasite, and is fatal in 30 to 50 percent of cases. The study also provides a lead on how to perfect a diagnostic test, which should allow for better patient care.

Drinking heavy amounts of alcohol over a long period of time may decrease brain volume, according to a new study.

The study involved MRI scans of 1,839 people from the Framingham Offspring study, ages 34 to 88, who were classified as non-drinkers, former drinkers, low drinkers (one to seven drinks per week), moderate drinkers (eight to 14 drinks per week), or high drinkers (more than 14 drinks per week). MRI scans were performed and used to measure brain volume, which can be thought of as a measure of brain aging.

Great Tits are, of course, songbirds - specifically Parus major. An international team of researchers have now found evidence for the existence of a "curiosity-gene" in our feathered friends.

Eating disorders may be overlooked in some groups - boys and some ethnicities - by physicians accustomed to diagnosing the condition in white teenage girls, say researchers at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital and the Stanford University School of Medicine.

The problem is compounded when the sufferers don't display the typical symptoms of disordered eating.

Research shows that when soy consumption goes up, weight goes down. A new University of Illinois study may help scientists understand exactly how that weight loss happens.

"We wanted to compare the effects of soy protein hydrolysates and soy peptides with those of leptin because we hypothesized that soy might behave in the body in a similar way. Leptin is a hormone produced in our adipose tissue that interacts with receptors in the brain and signals us that we’re full so we stop eating," said Elvira de Mejia, a U of I assistant professor of food science and human nutrition.

Copper is an essential part of our lives. From copper pipes and wires - to important copper-containing proteins in the body, copper is necessary for healthy growth and neurological development. Researchers at the Montreal Neurological Institute at McGill University are studying how copper is processed in our bodies and its distinct role in early development. Their findings, published in a recent edition of the journal Cell Metabolism, identify a new role for two proteins involved with copper regulation.

Was Chris De Burgh's sexy "Lady in Red," perhaps, ovulating? A new UCLA and University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire study finds evidence that women put more effort into their clothing and grooming during their most fertile periods.

"Near ovulation, women dress to impress, and the closer women come to ovulation, the more attention they appear to pay to their appearance," said Martie Haselton, the study's lead author and a UCLA associate professor of communication studies and psychology. "They tend to put on skirts instead of pants, show more skin and generally dress more fashionably."

When four forensic pathologists tell physiologists about the deaths that puzzle them, they will do so with the hope of sparking laboratory research to help define the cause of these deaths and prevent more of them.

Medicinal plants are an integral part of African culture, one of the oldest and most diverse in the world. In South Africa, 21st century drug therapy is used side-by-side with traditional African medicines to heal the sick. While plants have been used in African medicine to treat fever, asthma, constipation, esophageal cancer and hypertension, scientific analyses of the purported benefits of many plants is still scant.

In order to comprehend the continuous stream of cacophonies and visual stimulation that battle for our attention, humans will breakdown activities into smaller, more digestible chunks, a phenomenon that psychologists describe as "event structure perception."

Event structure perception was originally believed to be confined to our visual system, but new research published in the May issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, reports that a similar process occurs when reading about everyday events as well.