Brain

A new study has found that mothers who delivered vaginally compared to caesarean section delivery (CSD) were significantly more responsive to the cry of their own baby, identified through MRI brain scans two to four weeks after delivery.

The results of the study, to be published today in The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, suggest that vaginal delivery (VD) mothers are more sensitive to own baby-cry in the regions of the brain that are believed to regulate emotions, motivation and habitual behaviours.

Hospitalized patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) are at higher risk for adverse consequences of medical care compared with those without the disease, according to a study appearing in the December 2008 issue of the Journal of the American Society Nephrology (JASN). The findings indicate that steps should be taken to reduce potentially preventable complications of medical care for CKD patients, a population that is frequently under-recognized in most health care settings.

MANHATTAN, KAN. — There may be a very good reason why coffee and cigarettes often seem to go hand in hand.

A Kansas State University psychology professor's research suggests that nicotine's power may be in how it enhances other experiences. For a smoker who enjoys drinking coffee, the nicotine may make a cup of joe even better.

And that may explain why smoking is so hard to quit.

When cells in the brain are lost through disease or injury, neighboring cells begin to divide and multiply, but only a few areas in the brain are able to produce new neurons. Patients with Parkinson's disease suffer degeneration of certain neurons that reside in an area of the brain called the substantia nigra and project into the striatum. Many of the newborn cells in these areas have not been well described because of limitations of methods used to characterize them.

In an effort to better understand how chronic stress affects the human body, researchers at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center and the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Emory University, have created an animal model that shows how chronic stress affects behavior, physiology and reproduction.

Variation in the gene for one of the receptors for the hormone vasopressin appears to be associated with how human males bond with their partners, according to an international team of researchers.

The researchers found that the "334" allele of a common AVPR1A variation, the human version of avpr1a studied in voles, seemed to have negative effects on men's relationship with their spouses.

Human arteries play distinct roles in the immune system depending on their anatomical location, researchers at Emory University School of Medicine have discovered.

Their findings explain why vascular diseases affect different parts of the arterial network and could help doctors fine-tune the treatment of such diseases as atherosclerosis and vasculitis. Atherosclerosis causes heart attacks and strokes because it occurs preferentially in arteries supplying the heart and the brain.

The results were published online this week by the journal Circulation.

Tampa, Fla. (Sep. 3rd, 2008) – According to an Italian research team publishing their findings in the current issue of Cell Transplantation (17:6),hearing loss due to cochlear damage may be repaired by transplantation of human umbilical cord hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) since they show that a small number migrated to the damaged cochlea and repaired sensory hair cells and neurons.

Research engineers and sleep medicine specialists from two Michigan universities have joined technical and clinical hands to put innovative quantitative analysis, signal-processing technology and computer algorithms to work in the sleep lab. One of their recent findings is that a new approach to analyzing sleep fragmentation appears to distinguish fibromyalgia patients from healthy controls.

Current human exposure to bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical used in many polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins, is of "some concern" for effects on development of the prostate gland and brain and for behavioral effects in fetuses, infants and children, according to a final report released today by the National Toxicology Program (NTP).

Tampa, Fla. (Sep. 3rd, 2008) – Two studies published in the current issue of CELL TRANSPLANTATION (17:6) examine the efficacy of transplanting bone marrow cells (BMCs) for the repair of heart tissue.

So-called 'intelligent' computer-based methods for classifying patient samples, for example, have been evaluated with the help of two methods that have completely dominated research for 25 years. Now Swedish researchers at Uppsala University are revealing that this methodology is worthless when it comes to practical problems. The article is published in the journal Pattern Recognition Letters.

What is it that distinguishes humans from other mammals? The answer to this question lies in the neocortex – the part of the brain responsible for sensory perceptions, conscious thought, and language. Humans have a considerably larger neocortex than other mammals, making it an ideal subject for the research of higher cognition. In this month's issue of PLoS Biology, authors Tamas, et al, reveal new insights into the mysteries of neocortex organization and function.

Experienced Zen meditators can clear their minds of distractions more quickly than novices, according to a new brain imaging study.

After being interrupted by a word-recognition task, experienced meditators' brains returned faster to their pre-interruption condition, researchers at Emory University School of Medicine found.

The results will be published online by the journal Public Library of Science One (PLoS ONE). http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0003083

SCIENTISTS have designed, developed and tested new molecular tools for stem cell research to direct the formation of certain tissue types for use in drug development programmes.

A collaborative team of scientists from Durham University and the North East England Stem Cell Institute (NESCI) have developed two synthetic molecules which can be used to coax stem cells to 'differentiate' - that is, transform into other forms of tissue.

Their use could also help reduce the number of animals used in laboratory research.