Brain

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.

Elderly men and women who consumed higher levels of calcium and vitamin D are significantly more likely to have greater volumes of brain lesions, regions of damage that can increase risk of cognitive impairment, dementia, depression and stroke.

Duke University scientist Dr. Martha Payne reported this finding at Experimental Biology 2007, in Washington, DC.

A compound derived from green tea greatly diminished the neurotoxicity of proteins secreted by the human immunodeficiency virus, suggesting a new approach to the prevention and treatment of HIV-associated dementia, also known as AIDS dementia complex. The disorder is the most severe form of HIV-related neuropsychiatric impairment.

Electromagnetic fields do not pose a health hazard to workers in the electrical energy supply industry, suggests a large study of 28,000 people, published ahead of print in Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Exposure to low frequency electromagnetic fields of 50 to 60 Hz has been implicated in an increased risk of leukaemia, brain and breast cancers.

The researchers used the health and employment records of more than 22,000 utility workers at 99 different electrical energy supply companies in Denmark.

Sleep remains one of the big mysteries in biology. All animals sleep, and people who are deprived of sleep suffer physically, emotionally and intellectually. But nobody knows how sleep restores the brain.

An international team of scientists led by Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego and the Department of Energy's (DOE) Joint Genome Institute has peered into the genetic makeup of two species of phytoplankton, the tiny plants key in global photosynthesis and carbon cycling, and come away with surprising results about evolutionary engineering and new ideas about the role that a poorly understood chemical element may play in the world's oceans.

Companies selling food products may need to worry about their goods catching "cooties" by coming in contact with certain other products, such as lard and feminine napkins, in shoppers' carts or on store shelves.

Based on their findings, researchers at Duke University and Arizona State University suggest companies may want to reconsider their packaging and shelf positioning strategies in order to safeguard their brands from offending products.

Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have identified an enzyme that pumps up a cell’s ability to maintain healthy muscle and restores normal muscle function in genetically engineered mice with weak muscles. The study, published online in Nature Medicine, is the first to explore the part this enzyme plays in a cascade of events triggered by exercise-induced hormones and other signals.