Brain

Let’s say a college student enters a classroom to take a test. She probably already has an idea how she will do—knowledge available before she actually takes out a pencil. But do animals possess the same ability to think about what they know or don’t know?

Something about normal, run-of-the-mill plants limits their reach upward. There's been no way to create that magical beanstalk in the fairy tales but no one knows why. For more than a century, scientists have tried to find out which part of the plant both drives and curbs growth: is it a shoot's outer waxy layer? Its inner layer studded with chloroplasts? Or the vascular system that moves nutrients and water? The answer could have great implications for modern agriculture, which desires a modern magical bean or two.

David Houle touched on this in his Berkeley and Nanotechnology article and now lots of other people are wondering the same thing. Will it be regarded as hazardous materials or tools of big corporate evildoers or as benevolent forces for change in society?

Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fatty fish like salmon, are associated with increased grey matter volume in areas of the brain commonly linked to mood and behavior according to a University of Pittsburgh study.

Findings will be presented today by Sarah M. Conklin, Ph.D., postdoctoral scholar at the Cardiovascular Behavioral Medicine Program in the department of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh, at the American Psychosomatic Society’s Annual Meeting, held in Budapest, Hungary.

Scientists have identified a molecular switch that causes the differentiation of neurons in the cerebellum, a part of the brain that helps to regulate motor functions.

A Georgia Tech researcher has discovered that for tasks involving spatial processing, preparing for the task and performing it are not two separate brain processes, but one – at least when there are a small number of actions to choose from. The research appears online in the journal Brain Research.

Genetic tests using blood samples already are used to diagnose some diseases and even personalize treatment.

Now it is possible to develop similar tests that reveal a person's potential to become dependent on nicotine or marijuana or have antisocial personality disorder, University of Iowa researchers report online March 6 in the American Journal of Medical Genetics.

Tooth-brushing may trigger seizures in certain people with epilepsy, and researchers say lesions in a specific part of the brain may be a cause in some people, according to an article published in the March 6, 2007, issue of Neurology®, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Speed daters who romantically desired most of their potential partners were rejected quickly and overwhelmingly, according to a new Northwestern University study.

Using a state-of-the-art technique to map neurons in the spinal cord of a larval zebrafish, Cornell University scientists have found a surprising pattern of activity that regulates the speed of the fish's movement. The research may have long-term implications for treating injured human spinal cords and Parkinson's disease, where movements slow down and become erratic.

As we have seen, penis size matters to female mice and sword size matters to female swordfish but brain size in humans barely gets noticed at all. It's what you do with it that counts.

Researchers have long said they won't be able to understand the brain until they can put together a "wiring diagram" – a map of how billions of neurons are interconnected. Now, researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have jumped what many believe to be a major hurdle to preparing that chart: identifying all of the connections to a single neuron.

Oregon Health & Science University research shows how calcium regulates the recharging of high-frequency auditory nerve cells after they've fired a burst of signals, and it may have implications for neurological disorders.

The study by scientists at OHSU's Vollum Institute and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, which appears in the current issue of the journal Nature Neuroscience, shows that calcium ions play a greater role in keeping in check the brain's most powerful circuits, such as those used for processing sound signals, than previously thought.

Any dieter can tell you: Body weight is a function of how much food you eat and how much energy you use. The trick to maintaining a healthy weight lies in regulating the balance. Now new research from Rockefeller University suggests that brain cell receptors linked to sex hormones may play a role in the process by which we maintain that balance.

The findings show that metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions that includes obesity, insulin resistance and reduced physical activity, occurs in female mice when estrogen signaling in specific areas of the brain is shut down.

A new vaccine delivery system using microspheres of a biodegradable polymer may not only reduce the need for booster shots in some cases, but also appears to stimulate an immune response that traditional vaccines do not. Researchers from Iowa State University report their findings today at the ASM Biodefense and Emerging Disease Research Meeting.