Health & Medicine, Neurology, News

Newly discovered ‘sleep node’ in the brain puts you to sleep without sedatives

sing designer genes, researchers at UB and Harvard were able to 'turn on' specific neurons in the brainstem that result in deep sleep. Image: Dreamstime

Neuroscientists at University of Buffalo have identified a sleep-promoting circuit inside the brainstem or the primitive part of the brain, whose activity appears to be both necessary and sufficient to produce deep sleep. This is only the second ‘sleep node’ in the mammalian brain that was identified to serve this function. To demonstrate the sleep node’s function, the researchers used…

Health & Medicine, Mind & Brain, Neurology, News

Vegetative state man responds to Hitchcock clip

Alfred Hitchcock movie

Neuroscientists at University of Western Ontario in London, Canada  found that a man who was thought to be living in a vegetative state for almost twenty years showed response when an Alfred Hitchhock movie was played in the background. The findings suggest that doctors might want to explore more methods to determine whether or not a possibly vegetative state patient is…

Mind & Brain, Neurology, News

Brain-to-brain communication demonstrated for the very first time

Image: CARLES GRAU ET AL., PLOS ONE, 2014

A group of neuroscientists have achieved what some might believe strictly belongs to the realm of science fiction – they’ve successfully transmitted a message relayed by the brain of a person to another directly; no voice, no video, no sound, no text. The information was fed directly to the brain. If that wasn’t enough, the message was transmitted over thousands…

Mind & Brain, Neurology, Science

What happens to the brain after you mix pot and alcohol

Image: quickmeme.com

Both the effects of marijuana and alcohol have on the human brain have been widely studied, but the same thing can’t be said about the combination of the two, which is rather odd considering a lot of people enjoy a drink or two while packing a bowl. Scott Lukas, a professor at Harvard Medical School, investigated what happens in the brain while cross-faded in 2011 and came to some surprising conclusions. …

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…

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….

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…