Brain

Scientists at the University of California, Santa Barbara have discovered significant clues to the evolutionary origins of the nervous system by studying the genome of a sea sponge, a member of a group considered to be among the most ancient of all animals. The findings are published in the June 6 issue of the online, open-access journal PLoS ONE.

Recent research shows that carbon dioxide (CO2) can offer a new – and completely free – way to prevent fever-related epileptic seizures. The discovery was made by the NordForsk-financed Nordic Centre of Excellence on Water Imbalance Related Disorders (WIRED)

Researchers have discovered a completely new way to treat stroke and head trauma victims, potentially saving the lives of numerous such patients. The discovery was made by the NordForsk-financed Nordic Centre of Excellence on Water Imbalance Related Disorders (WIRED).

After head trauma or after stroke, brain swelling - caused by an influx of water into the brain - is one of the factors most likely to cause death, taking a great toll on society in terms of human suffering and economical costs.

Extracts of the hemp plant cannabis are traditionally used as a popular remedy against inflammation. At the beginning of the last century this natural remedy was even available at every chemist’s. But due to the intoxicating effect of the component THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) the plant was taken off the chemist’s shelves in the 1930s.

Ghost pains, it seems. Why do some people still feel discomfort long after their injuries have healed?

The definitive answer -- and an effective treatment -- has long eluded scientists. Traditional analgesic drugs, such as aspirin and morphine derivatives, haven’t worked very well.

A Northwestern University researcher has found a key source of chronic pain appears to be an old memory trace that essentially gets stuck in the prefrontal cortex, the site of emotion and learning. The brain seems to remember the injury as if it were fresh and can’t forget it.

While recent advances in neurosurgery have made it possible to precisely target areas in the brain with minimum invasiveness -- using a small hole to insert a probe, needle or catheter -- there remains a disadvantage. The small size of the openings reduces or eliminates direct site visibility and requires greater dexterity, stability and precision by the surgeon.Prof. Leo Joskowicz

An architect pursuing a Ph.D. at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and his colleague have devised a low-tech way to collect dew from the air and turn it into fresh water. Their invention recently won an international competition seeking to make clean, safe water available to millions around the world.WatAir, shown here in an artistic rendering, could produce an unlimited supply of fresh water even in remote and polluted places.

To learn a language is to learn a set of all-purpose rules that can be used in an infinite number of ways. A new study shows that by the age of seven months, human infants are on the lookout for abstract rules – and that they know the best place to look for such abstractions is in human speech.

Ecstasy is an illicit recreational drug popular among young people, according to background information in the article. Research in both humans and animals suggests that the drug can harm the brain. Ecstasy may damage nerve cells that respond to the hormone serotonin, which is involved in mood, thinking, learning and memory.

Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have illuminated the path taken by human neural stem cells that were transplanted into the brains of rats and mice, and found that the cells successfully navigate toward areas damaged by stroke.