Biology, Mind & Brain, Neurology, News

The key to patience lies within serotonin

(A) The picture on the left shows serotonin neurons in red. The middle picture shows neurons expressing light sensitive proteins in green. The picture on the right is an overlay of the previous two pictures, showing in orange light sensitive proteins selectively expressed in serotonin neurons. (B) Blue light illumination, 500 microsecond pulse, shown in blue line, induced spontaneous action potentials in the serotonin neuron for approximately 10 seconds. The yellow light illumination, 500 microsecond pulse, shown in yellow line, stopped spontaneous action potentials.

Either when someone’s late for a date or you need to queue in line, our patience becomes tested. Some people handle the waiting better than others, leading us to the idea that patience is a virtue that differs from person to person. But what is it exactly that helps us remain patient, and why do some people remain unfazed even when faced with hours, days even of waiting? The answer might lie in serotonin - one of the most widespread neutransmitter believed to influence a variety of psychological and other body functions. An imbalance in serotonin levels, for instance, has been linked with depression. The finding came after Japanese researchers at the …

Mind & Brain, Neurology, News

Poor cookware might be lead poisoning an entire continent

african_cookware

A study suggests that immense amounts of lead are being ingested in Africa, since extensive use of cookware made from recycled materials leaks lead into the food. This is the first time the extent of lead poisoning has been assessed. Results suggest that in some instances, as much as 200 times the threshold amount for lead poisoning is being ingested. The health hazards following lead poisoning are numerous, most notably causing cognitive impairment. Better check that pot The Ashland University researchers partnered with the Cameroonian NGO Research and Education Centre for Development (CREPD) to assess the damage of makeshift cookware, typically made from  recycled scrap metal; including car and computer parts, cans,…

Health & Medicine, Neurology, News

Baby brains grow to half the adult size in just 90 days

baby_brain

Researchers performed MRI scans on babies to see how their brains developed from birth to later stages. Their findings reveal the explosive growth of the human brain following birth: in just 90 days, the baby brain grows by 64% reaching half the adult size. …

Mathematics, Neurology, News

The road to happiness is paved with many surprises

happiness

Sometimes, we go through situations thinking when we reach the end of the road the outcome will feel gloom. But sometimes, the exact opposite happens and we’re flooded with absolute joy, the kind of which we couldn’t have experienced were we to expect that outcome. In a word, this is called surprise. …

Mind & Brain, Neurology, News

The brain judges face trustworthiness even when we can’t consciously see it

trustworthiness

A new study adds to a body of evidence that suggests the brain is involved in a unconscious process of screening human faces for patterns that suggest trustworthiness or otherwise. Namely, our brains are busy judging other people based on their physical features even when we aren’t even get the chance to properly see those features. Hardcoded prejudice “Our findings suggest that the brain automatically responds to a face’s trustworthiness before it is even consciously perceived,” explains Jonathan Freeman, an assistant professor in New York University’s Department of Psychology and the study’s senior author. “The results are consistent with an extensive body of research suggesting that we form spontaneous judgments…

Mind & Brain, Neurology, News

General intelligence is rooted in social functions

Brain mapping of leisure suffering subjects. Image; Aron K. Barbey et al./BRAIN

Recent findings suggest that our general cognitive abilities are heavily influenced by key regions of the brain involved in social functions, further strengthening the hypothesis that social abilities are primary to general intelligence and not the other way around. …

Health & Medicine, Mind & Brain, Neurology

Regularly exercising reduces risk of dementia by 40%

exercising_brain_Heath

We’ve all read and heard about how exercise can dramatically boost our quality of living, but how many people actually take action? Very few. Less than 20% of Americans over the age of 18 meet the official recommended guidelines. This is really alarming, because what most people don’t know is that mild exercising has fantastic returns, similarly to the 20/80 rule – namely 20% of your input (energy) returns 80% of the output (health benefits). For instance, a study published in the American Heart Association journal Stroke found that regular exercising reduces the risk of developing dementia by 40% and all cognitive impairments by 60%. And this is just one of the many…

Mind & Brain, Neurology, News

Why people love it when the bass drops

drop the bass

Rave parties go crazy when the bass drops, no doubt about it, but what makes people click so well with low frequencies? Canadian scientists at the McMaster Institute for Music and the Mind investigated how our brains react to low-freq pitches and found our affinity has to do with how humans detect rhythm. Basically, the bass is easier to follow, so more enjoyable. “There is a physiological basis for why we create music the way we do,” study co-author Dr. Laurel Trainor, a neuroscientist and director of the institute, said. “Virtually all people will respond more to the beat when it is carried by lower-pitched instruments.” Trainor and colleagues strapped 35 people…

Neurology, News, Science

The family that walks on all-fours does not constitute reverse evolution

Comparison of footfall sequence in primate (baboon, above) and nonprimate (cat, below). Footfall sequence is depicted numerically, beginning with the right hind limb in each animal. The primate is walking in diagonal sequence (RH-LF-LH-RF), and the nonprimate is walking in lateral sequence (RH-RF-LH-LF). Image from Muybridge E (1887) . Animal Locomotion: An Electro-photographic Investigation of Consecutive Phases of Animal Movements, 1872-1885: 112 Plates. Published under the auspices of the University of Pennsylvania.

In 2006 , the BBC aired a fascinating documentary that featured that featured a family of five siblings from a remote corner of Turkey that remarkably solely moved about by walking on all fours. Many anthropologists of the time saw this behavior as evidence of reverse evolution and sought to extensively study the phenomenon in order to gain insights on how human bipedal locomotion can to be. Researchers from the US, however, claim they have proof that the family that walks on all-fours, as they’re commonly referred to in literature, simply adapted to an unfortunate neurological syndrome and their behavior does not constitute backward evolution. Here’s the documentary: At the…