When people use certain quantitative words, such as “more” or “many,” during conversation, the brain activates the same region it uses when working out math problems, according to new research. And that, according to researchers, could make it possible for people to communicate simply by thinking and having another person “read” their mind with a help of a device.
In the study, published in the journal Nature Communications, researchers from Sanford School of Medicine monitored the brains of three volunteers. the participants spent a week in a hospital, during which they were allowed to eat, drink, think, watch videos and talk to family and friends in person or by phone. Researchers used electrodes to pick up their brains’ electrical activity and used video cameras to find out what real-life activities spiked brain activity.
Findings showed that every time a participant said a number or a quantitative word, the region of the brain used for working out math calculations was triggered. This region was not activated when participants were simply talking or laughing.
Researchers said these findings could be a first step towards developing mind-reading devices that allow them to see when someone is thinking about numbers.
Such devices may be particularly significant for people left mute following a stroke, for example, and could one day communicate through passive thinking. However, much more research is needed before such devices are implemented.
Sleep is vital for the brain to wash away built up toxins and restore brain cell function, according to new research.
According to the study, published in the journal Science, this “detox” process in the brain may protect against many conditions which lead to the loss of brain cells.
The researchers examined the brains of sleeping mice and found that while they slept, their brain cells shrunk, thereby increasing the size of the gaps between brain tissue and allowing more fluid to be pumped in to wash the brain’s toxins away.
The findings suggest that people with certain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease, might have problems with the brain’s cleaning mechanism, but the scientists acknowledge that more research is needed.
Here’s an animation with tips to make sure kids with ADHD can learn in class.
Published On: Oct 21, 2013
Women attracted to "low-voiced men who cheat"
A deep voice is often perceived as sensual and masculine. Remember Barry White? And now, a new study, published in _Personality and Individual Differences, _concludes that women are more attracted to men with low-pitched voices, despite the belief that men with those kind of voices are more likely to be cheaters.
Researchers from McMaster University in Ontario asked 87 women to rate a range of male voices. The voices were electronically manipulated to sound high or low. The women were asked to choose which voices sounded like a man who would cheat, and which they would be more attracted to for a long-term or short-term relationship.
The women preferred the low-pitched voices for a short-term relationship, and also picked those voices as probable cheaters. The researchers noted these results may reflect that women have evolved to protect themselves from long-term partners who are unfaithful.
One of the most common bacteria in the world may be a trigger for multiple sclerosis, say researchers from Weill Cornell Medical College and Rockefeller University. They noted in the journal PLOS ONE that the bacterium Clostridium C. perfringens, commonly found in soil, has some dangerous forms that can destroy the neurological system.
Clostrodium perfringens has five types: A through E. Type A is in the human gastrointestinal tract and is harmless. However, types B and D carry a gene, an epsilon toxin, which can have harmful effects. These genes release a protoxin that turns into a potent epsilon toxin in the GI tract that travels via the blood stream to the brain, damaging brain blood vessels and myelin. The results are symptoms that are similar to MS.
Blood, spinal fluid, and stool samples were taken from MS patients to test for antibody reactivity to epsilon toxin. These samples were compared to patients without MS. Researchers discovered that epsilon toxin antibodies were 10 times higher in MS patients than in those without MS. The stool samples also showed 23 percent of MS patients contained the healthy type A bacterium, versus 52 percent of patients without MS.
Researchers believe type B and D of this bacterium can stay dormant in a protective spore in the GI tract, until it grows and travels to the brain. Although this study was small, the team has begun researching treatments for destroying or blocking these bacterium.