Mind & Brain, Neurology, News

Fantasy and Reality – how does the brain tell the difference?

fantasy dreamAC

Some people, like history’s greatest artists or scientists, have a fantastic imagination that long transcends reality. Others have this line completely blurred and can’t make sense of what’s real or not. For most of us, however, fantasy and reality are clearly separated in our mental psyche. Now, a team of neuroscientists have explored the neural pathways that move information pertaining to…

Diseases, Health & Medicine, News

Genetic probe flares cancer directly in the blood stream

NanoFlares light up (red clouds) individual cells if a cancer (in this study, breast cancer) biomarker (messenger RNA, blue) is detected by recognition DNA (green) molecules coated on gold nanospheres and containing a fluorescent chemical (red) reporter flare (credit: Tiffany L. Halo et al./PNAS)

The Nanoflare technology uses a genetic-based approach to detect and image live cancer cells present in the blood stream, well before these had a chance to develop into a tumor. The gene-hunting particles developed at Northwestern University might help doctors develop personalized treatments for their patients and curb cancer spread, according to the paper published in PNAS. Hunting cancer’s genes…

Genetics, News

Study that looked at 409 pairs of Gay Brothers confirms Chromosome X link to Homosexuality

homosexuality_1390638c

A massive independent genetic survey sought to replicate the findings of a 20 year old controversial study which identified a stretch on the X chromosome as being linked with homosexuality. The latest findings, which took into account the genetic makeup of a staggering 409 pairs of gay siblings, confirm the initial reports and further boost the idea that homosexuality is also influenced by…

Health & Medicine, News

Massive study shows that Triclosan, a common antimicrobial in hygiene products can cause cancer

triclosan cancer

Triclosan is a common antimicrobial and antifungal agent found in consumer products, including soaps, detergents, toys and, surgical cleaning treatments. The effectiveness of Triclosan has been questioned many times, with studies showing that in the long run, it may actually have negative effects by creating bacterial resistance. Now, a new study on mice has found that long term exposure to the…

Feature Post, Genetics, Psychology

In the face of Adversity and War, Bonds among Soldiers are as Strong as Kinship

Libyan fighters chants slogans as they take control of Moammar Gadhafi loyalists' villages in the desert some 750 km south of Tripoli, at Gohta, north of the southern city of Sahba on Sunday. Credit: Francois Mori / AP

It’s no surprise for anyone to find that soldiers fighting together on the front-line are tied together by a special relationship. They have to be. Soldiers need to know they can wholeheartedly depend on each other, put faith in the other’s ability. It’s not just about survival. It’s about comfort; knowing there’s someone close to you that can perfectly relate…

Biology, Mind & Brain, News

Is this the first Proof that Meditation alters Cellular Activity?

Meditation

There’s an immense body of evidence that proves that meditation has significant beneficial effects for mental health, but it’s only recently that researchers in Canada discovered a link between mindfulness meditation and altered cellular activity in cancer patients. Biology and meditation: no longer mutually exclusive “We already know that psychosocial interventions like mindfulness meditation will help you feel better mentally,…

Mind & Brain, Neurology, News

Anxiety can damage the brain and foster Alzheimer’s

Studies have shown that anxiety in MCI is associated with abnormal concentrations of plasma amyloid protein levels and T-tau proteins in cerebrospinal fluid, which are biomarkers of Alzheimer’s. Photo: Therapy Ideas

Researchers at Baycrest Health Sciences’ Rotman Research Institute have found that patients diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) who also show anxiety symptoms are at a much greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s. This was the first study of its kind that isolated anxiety in a longitudinal study covering people diagnosed with MCI, painting a clearer picture of how anxiety interferes with cognitive…

Diseases, Health & Medicine, News

Scientists finds a way to halt the spread of prostate cancer with an injection

Prostate cancer could be switched off with an injection which prevents further tumour growth Photo: Alamy

Scientists have found a way to prevent cancerous tumors in the prostate from spreading, effectively switching off the disease. Researchers from Bristol and Nottingham universities found that a single molecule plays a crucial role in the forming of new blood vessels, and the spread of tumors could be halted with a mere injection. A neoplasm (commonly known as a tumor) is…

Biology, Genetics

Scientists find antibiotic-like substance in mushroom that grows on horse dung

mushroom antibiotic copsin

You just have to applaud the researcher that study mushrooms growing on horse dung to see what medicinal properties they have. Microbiologists molecular biologists at ETH Zurich and the University of Bonn have discovered a new agent in fungi that kills bacteria. The substance they found in the mushroom is called copsin. Copsin has a similar effect to antibiotics, but belongs…

Mind & Brain, Neurology, News

Brain’s response to threat silenced when we are reminded of being loved and cared for

Being reminded that you are loved and cared for, even through pictures, makes you feel less threatened. Image via Imgion.

Something as small as seeing pictures of others being loved and cared for silences our brain’s response to threat, a new study has found. The amygdalae, listed in the Gray’s Anatomy textbook as the nucleus amygdalæ, are a group of nuclei in the brain involved in  the processing of memory, decision-making, and emotional reactions. The amygdala is also considered to be…