Brain

A group of European researchers has developed a spinal cord model of the salamander and implemented it in a novel amphibious salamander-like robot. The robot changes its speed and gait in response to simple electrical signals, suggesting that the distributed neural system in the spinal cord holds the key to vertebrates’ complex locomotor capabilities.The EPFL Salamander Robot walks down to the waters of Lake Geneva. Credit: Photograph by A. Badertscher, courtesy Biologically Inspired Robotics Group, EPFL

Patients admitted to hospitals for ischemic stroke on weekends had a higher risk of dying than patients admitted during the week, in a Canadian study published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

A "weekend effect" has been previously documented when looking at other conditions such as cancer and pulmonary embolism; however, little is known of its impact on stroke death.

University College London researchers have found the first physiological evidence that invisible subliminal images do attract the brain's attention on a subconscious level. The wider implication for the study, published in Current Biology, is that techniques such as subliminal advertising, now banned in the UK but still legal in the USA, certainly do leave their mark on the brain.

Let’s say a college student enters a classroom to take a test. She probably already has an idea how she will do—knowledge available before she actually takes out a pencil. But do animals possess the same ability to think about what they know or don’t know?

Something about normal, run-of-the-mill plants limits their reach upward. There's been no way to create that magical beanstalk in the fairy tales but no one knows why. For more than a century, scientists have tried to find out which part of the plant both drives and curbs growth: is it a shoot's outer waxy layer? Its inner layer studded with chloroplasts? Or the vascular system that moves nutrients and water? The answer could have great implications for modern agriculture, which desires a modern magical bean or two.

David Houle touched on this in his Berkeley and Nanotechnology article and now lots of other people are wondering the same thing. Will it be regarded as hazardous materials or tools of big corporate evildoers or as benevolent forces for change in society?

Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fatty fish like salmon, are associated with increased grey matter volume in areas of the brain commonly linked to mood and behavior according to a University of Pittsburgh study.

Findings will be presented today by Sarah M. Conklin, Ph.D., postdoctoral scholar at the Cardiovascular Behavioral Medicine Program in the department of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh, at the American Psychosomatic Society’s Annual Meeting, held in Budapest, Hungary.

Scientists have identified a molecular switch that causes the differentiation of neurons in the cerebellum, a part of the brain that helps to regulate motor functions.

A Georgia Tech researcher has discovered that for tasks involving spatial processing, preparing for the task and performing it are not two separate brain processes, but one – at least when there are a small number of actions to choose from. The research appears online in the journal Brain Research.

Genetic tests using blood samples already are used to diagnose some diseases and even personalize treatment.

Now it is possible to develop similar tests that reveal a person's potential to become dependent on nicotine or marijuana or have antisocial personality disorder, University of Iowa researchers report online March 6 in the American Journal of Medical Genetics.