‘Brain Training’ May Boost Working Memory, But Not Intelligence

Improve your memory, improve your reasoning and observational skills, and many more – brain training games are becoming more and more popular, and it’s not hard to see why – many people want to go to the “brain gym”, giving their mental abilities a boost. But now, a Georgia Tech research suggests that brain training programs might strengthen your ability

Is making cyborg cockroaches immoral?

Through the halls of TedxDetroit last week, participants were introduced to an unfamiliar and unlikely guest – a remote controlled cyborg cockroach. RoboRoach #12 as it was called can be directed to either move left or right by transmitting electrical signals through electrodes attached to the insect’s antennae  via the Bluetooth signals emitted by a smartphone. Scientists have been doing these

Einstein’s brilliance might have been due to strong brain hemisphere connection

Mere hours after his death in 1955, Albert Einstein‘s brain was removed, weighed and analyzed in a lab at Princeton Hospital by pathologist Thomas Stoltz Harvey. Bits of his brains were then sent to other pathologists around the country for analysis in hope that a connection between its physical attributes and the remarkable genius of Albert Einstein might be discovered.

Never before seen brain activity in deep coma detected

Coma patients, be it inflicted from trauma or initiated by doctors to preserve bodily functions, have their brain activity regularly monitored using electroencephalography (EEG). When in a deep coma the brain activity is described by a flat-pattern signal- basically minimal to no response, one of the limits that nearly prompts  establishing brain death. A group of physicians at University of

Stanford scientists build a ‘brain stethoscope’ to turn seizures into music

“My initial interest was an artistic one at heart, but, surprisingly, we could instantly differentiate seizure activity from non-seizure states with just our ears,” Chafe said. “It was like turning a radio dial from a static-filled station to a clear one.” When Chris Chafe and Josef Parvizi from Stanford University began transforming recordings of brain activity into music, they had

Caffeine consumption slows down brain development

Humans and other mammals show particularly intensive sleeping patterns during puberty – this is also the period during which the brain matures the most; but when pubescent lab rats were administered coffee, their brains matured much slower and not so efficient, a new study shows; considering that children’s and young adults’ coffee consumption has increased dramatically in the past decades,

Possibility of erasing unwanted memories emerges

For the first time in history, scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have been able to eliminate dangerous drug-associated memories in mice and rats without apparently affecting other memories. Erasing memories If you’ve ever seen The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (truly a remarkable movie, which I highly recommend) – you probably have mixed

Study of lemur hibernation reveals secrets that might one day help humans hibernate as well

The fat-tailed dwarf lemur, native to the marvelous isolated ecosystem of Madagascar, is the closest human relative known to hibernate. After studying the sleeping behavior of both captive and wild lemur specimens, scientists at Duke University have discovered a great deal about how hibernation works in lemurs. The key discovery is that they can go for days without the  deepest part

Startling alien hand syndrome: when the hand has a mind of its own

In one of Stanley Kubrick’s weirdest movies (even by Kubrick standards), “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)“, one of the characters played by Peter Sellers is tormented by the irresistible and convulsive urge of lifting his right arm in a Nazi salute. He can’t control it, it’s like it has a mind

Brain circuit that silences the voice inside your head discovered

Every time we’re engaged in a certain action, the sounds we produce while walking, eating, even playing music are tuned down a notch in volume by the brain. For instance, during a conversation your voice will be perceived as quieter than it actually is in reality, since our brain want to receive clearer  the information relayed by the other person.

Scientists grow brain-like tissue in petri dish

Most medical research looking to identify the mechanisms of a disease or test treatments rely on animal models. While very useful, mice for instance (a favorite lab pet for researchers) do not have nearly the same brain structure or genes as humans. Even if some genes and proteins scientists target are the same both in mice and humans, it will

Brain-to-brain interface allows first telepathic exchange of information between two humans

In a mind-boggling and, frankly, a bit frightening breakthrough, researchers at University of Washington have devised a brain-to-brain interface that for the first time has allowed the remote exchange of information between two human brains. The test that demonstrated the technology, although simple in nature, shows of a powerful display of force. One researcher (human brain #1), connected through a brain

Crows remember and respond to people’s faces akin to humans themselves

Crows, like most other species from the corvid family (ravens, rooks, etc.), are some of the most intelligent animals on the planet, actually rivaling apes and dolphins. Tool use is common among these birds, but where they shine is in their social and emotional intelligence. For instance, a few years ago I reported how ravens point at things with their beaks

Delusional people actually see the world differently

There’s an extremely fine line between delusion and grand vision – it’s enough just to take a look back in history and you’ll find a myriad of examples where great minds who justly challenged the status quo were labeled insane, and in some even more unfortunate times, heretics. That’s not to say that behind every conspiracy theorist or person who

LSD and other psychedelics not linked with mental illnesses

Researchers  at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s (NTNU) Department of Neuroscience analyzed a massive survey of 130,000 randomly chosen people from the US to see whether there is any association  between psychedelic drug use and mental health problems – a claim that has had large circulation and is often cited, despite little research in this respect. Their findings suggest

Women are more likely to wear pink and red during ovulation

It has been previously shown that during ovulation, women tend to increase their attractiveness to men (though not necessarily conscious). Not only do they change their voice pitch [1], but they also tend to dress more fashionable [2]. A new study published in Psychological Science adds to this growing body of research by suggesting that ovulating women may also choose

This is not SciFi: software update slated for bionic eye will grant higher resolution and colour vision

The Argus II is the first bionic eye implant, designed to grant the blind vision, that has been approved by the FDA in the US. The wearer of such an implant is now capable of distinguishing objects and live an almost independent life, which is absolutely remarkable by itself, however its performance is light years away from the natural counterpart.

‘Sniffing’ cancer: device detects cancer odors in urine

A while ago, ZME Science reported on some mind blowing research in which dogs were trained to literally sniff lung and breast cancer from samples. The dog’s detection accuracy was between 90% and 95% for breast and lung cancer, respectively, compared to biopsy results. Recently, a collaborative team of researchers from University of Liverpool and the University of the West of

Experiment shows that crabs and lobsters feel pain, suggests we don’t really understand animal pain

I have never in my life eaten a crab or a lobster, because ever since I was a kid, boiling an animal alive seemed extremely cruel; it just didn’t make sense that an animal doesn’t feel pain – and even today, it doesn’t, to me. Pain is your body’s way of telling you something is damaged and needs fixing. It

Managers lose track of the big picture, only focus on grades and performance, not context

How many times did you apply for a job or to enter a graduate program in some school somewhere only to find that the position was filled by someone less capable than you? Now, we’re strictly referring to people genuinely less capable than you, otherwise we’d be hitting the same bias exhibited by the manager in charge that renounced you