Links for Keyword: Miscellaneous

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or subscribe to our mailing list, to receive news updates. Learn more.


Links 41 - 60 of 544

By IAN LOVETT WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — A potentially deadly strain of meningitis, which has left one resident brain dead, has sent a shiver through the large gay community here, as public health officials have urged residents to be on the lookout for any symptoms of the disease. Although only one case has been confirmed in the area, officials said, the onset follows an outbreak of deadly meningitis among gay men in New York City. At least 22 men have contracted meningitis in New York since 2010, 13 of them this year, and 7 have died. Health officials have not yet determined if there is any connection between the cases in New York and the one here. But the similarities have ignited fears that this case could be an early sign of a bicoastal outbreak. “The lesson we learned 30 years ago in the early days of H.I.V. and AIDS is that people were not alerted to what was going on and a lot of infections occurred that didn’t need to occur,” said John Duran, a West Hollywood city councilman and one of the few openly H.I.V.-positive elected officials in the country. “So even with an isolated case here, we need to sound the alarms, especially given the cases in New York.” In New York, the city health department issued a warning last month, urging all men who regularly have intimate contact with other men to be vaccinated for meningitis. Officials here have thus far been reluctant to do the same. At a news conference on Friday, Dr. Maxine E. Liggins, with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, warned residents to watch for early signs of meningococcal meningitis, including a severe headache and stiff neck. The disease, a bacterial infection of the membrane surrounding the brain and the spinal cord, can be effectively treated with antibiotics if detected early, although it can intensify quickly. © 2013 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 2: Functional Neuroanatomy: The Nervous System and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 2: Cells and Structures: The Anatomy of the Nervous System
Link ID: 18034 - Posted: 04.15.2013

By Suzy Gage When I started my PhD a few years ago, I thought that certain psychological findings were established fact. The next four years were an exercise in disillusionment. If the effects I was seeking to explore were so reliable, so established, why could I not detect them? There is growing interest in the need to improve reliability in science. Many drugs show promise at the design and pre-clinical phases, only to fail (at great expense) in clinical trials. Many of the most hyped scientific discoveries eventually cannot be replicated. Worryingly for science (but somewhat comforting for my self-esteem as a researcher) this may be because many of the conclusions drawn from published research findings are false. A major factor that influences the reliability of science is statistical power. We cannot measure everyone or everything, so we take samples and use statistical inference to determine the probability that the results we observe in our sample reflect some underlying scientific truth. Statistical power determines whether we accurately conclude if there is an effect or not. Statistical power is the ability of a study to detect an effect (eg higher rates of cancer in smokers) given that an effect actually exists (smoking actually is associated with increased risk of cancer). Power is related to the size of the study sample (the number of smokers and non-smokers we test) and the size of the real effect (the magnitude of the increased risk associated with smoking). Larger studies have more power and can detect smaller, more subtle effects. Small studies have lower power and can only detect larger effects reliably. © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 1: Biological Psychology: Scope and Outlook
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 1: An Introduction to Brain and Behavior
Link ID: 18019 - Posted: 04.11.2013

By George Johnson The mystery of whether there is a natural resonance between music and our brains, as I mentioned in a post last week, brings up an even deeper question: whether mathematics itself is neurologically innate, giving the mind (or some minds) direct access to the structure of the universe. Thinking about that recently led me back to one of Oliver Sack’s most astonishing essays. It appeared in his collection The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, and is about two twins, idiot savants who appeared to have an almost supernatural ability to quickly tell if a number is prime. Prime numbers are those that cannot be broken down into factors — smaller numbers that can be multiplied together to produce the larger one. They have been described as the atoms of the number system. 11 and 13 are obviously prime while 12 and 14 are not. But with larger numbers our brains are quickly flummoxed. Is 7244985277 prime? I just typed the digits by twitching my fingers along the top row of my keyboard. To test the number by hand I would have to start at the beginning of the number system and begin trying out the possible divisors. There are shortcuts to avoid testing every single one. We know 2 can’t be a factor since 7244985277, like all primes, is odd. For the same reason we can rule out all even factors. And you only have to test factors up to the square root of a number. (The factors of 100 are 2 x 50, 4 x 25, 5 x 20, and 10 x 10. Testing beyond 10 would be redundant.)

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 18: Attention and Higher Cognition
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 14: Attention and Consciousness
Link ID: 17847 - Posted: 02.26.2013

By Jason Bittel Bears hibernate. They spend all year eating salmon, blueberries, and picnic baskets and then, sometime around baseball playoffs, they all wander off to a cave full of treasure and explorers’ skulls where they curl up in a big furry ball and snore away the winter. Everybody knows this! Even small children too young to attend to their own biological functions know how these wild animals make it through a period of harsh weather and food shortage. But beyond the fact that bears den up in winter, what do we really know of these lumbering slumber beasts and the secrets they keep beneath the ice and snow? Let’s start with this bit of housekeeping—cursory Googling of bears and hibernation will lead you to all sorts of trash talk saying bears aren’t “true hibernators.” True hibernators, such as Arctic ground squirrels, are capable of dropping their body temperatures below the freezing point of water, conditions so cold that neurons in the brain’s cortex are physically incapable of firing. Not to mention you can do all sorts of awful things to true hibernators while they slumber—like, oh, I don’t know, locking marmots in airtight jars filled with carbonic acid and hydrogen. (Easy, PETA. We’re talking 1832.) I know what you’re thinking: First Lance Armstrong, then Manti Te’o, and now this. But before you sit the kids down and blow their fragile little minds with the message that bears may not be true hibernators, consider that science is something of a moving target. The more we learn, the more questions we raise. © 2013 The Slate Group, LLC

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 13: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 9: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Link ID: 17812 - Posted: 02.18.2013

by Sara Reardon In the Arctic winter, it is not even worth getting up in the morning. It's freezing cold and the sun never rises, making it impossible to tell night from day. So each autumn, when the Arctic ground squirrel (Spermophilus parryii) heads underground to hibernate for eight months, it doesn't even bother setting its circadian clock. During hibernation, the squirrel goes into a state akin to suspended animation. It cuts itself off from the world and allows its body temperature to drop to -3 °C while it sleeps – the lowest ever body temperature recorded in a mammal. Once it wakes up for the summer, however, the squirrel can switch its daily clock back on. The squirrels' sub-zero tolerance was first discovered almost 25 years ago. Curious how the animals manage to survive the frigid Arctic winter where temperatures regularly drop to -30 °C, Brian Barnes of the University of Alaska in Fairbanks implanted radio transmitters into the stomachs of captive squirrels, which transmitted information on their body temperature, before letting them build burrows for the winter. Once the squirrels went into their deep sleep, Barnes found that their core body temperature dropped from about 36 °C to -3 °C. To prevent their blood from freezing, the squirrels cleanse it of any particles that water molecules could form ice crystals around. This allows the blood to remain liquid below zero, a phenomenon known as supercooling. © Copyright Reed Business Information Ltd.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 13: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 9: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Link ID: 17715 - Posted: 01.26.2013

By Ashutosh Jogalekar G Protein-Coupled Receptors (GPCRs) are the messengers of the human body, key proteins whose ubiquitous importance was validated by the 2012 Nobel Prize in chemistry. As I mentioned in a post written after the announcement of the prize, GPCRs are involved in virtually every physiological process you can think of, from sensing colors, flavors and smells to the action of neurotransmitters and hormones. In addition they are of enormous commercial importance, with something like 30% of marketed drugs binding to these proteins and regulating their function. These drugs include everything from antidepressants to blood-pressure lowering medications. But GPCRs are also notoriously hard to study. They are hard to isolate from their protective lipid cell membrane, hard to crystallize and hard to coax into giving up their molecular secrets. One reason the Nobel Prize was awarded was because the two researchers – Robert Lefkowitz and Brian Kobilka – perfected techniques to isolate, stabilize, crystallize and study these complex proteins. But there’s still a long way to go. There are almost 800 GPCRs, out of which ‘only’ 16 have been crystallized during the past decade or so. In addition all the studied GPCRs are from the so-called Class A family. There’s still five classes left to decipher, and these contain many important receptors including the ones involved in smell. Clearly it’s going to be a long time before we can get a handle on the majority of these important proteins. Fortunately there’s something important that GPCR researchers have realized; it’s the fact that many of these GPCRs have amino acid sequences that are similar. If you know what experimental conditions work for one protein, perhaps you can use the same conditions for another similar GPCR. © 2013 Scientific American

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology; Chapter 8: General Principles of Sensory Processing, Touch, and Pain
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology; Chapter 5: The Sensorimotor System
Link ID: 17692 - Posted: 01.17.2013

By CLAUDIA DREIFUS In a world of proliferating professions, S. Matthew Liao has a singular title: neuroethicist. Dr. Liao, 40, the director of the bioethics program at New York University, deploys the tools of philosophy, history, psychology, religion and ethics to understand the impact of neuroscientific breakthroughs. You’re a philosopher by training. How did philosophy lead to neuroethics? Mine’s the typical immigrant’s story. My family moved to Cincinnati from Taiwan in the early 1980s. Once here, my siblings gravitated towards the sciences. I was the black sheep. I was in love with the humanities. So I didn’t go to M.I.T. — I went to Princeton, where I got a degree in philosophy. This, of course, worried my parents. They’d never met a philosopher with a job. Do you have any insight on why scientific careers are so attractive to new Americans? You don’t need to speak perfect English to do science. And there are job opportunities. Define neuroethics. It’s a kind of subspecialty of bioethics. Until very recently, the human mind was a black box. But here we are in the 21st century, and now we have all these new technologies with opportunities to look inside that black box — a little. With functional magnetic imaging, f.M.R.I., you can get pictures of what the brain is doing during cognition. You see which parts light up during brain activity. Scientists are trying to match those lights with specific behaviors. At the same time this is moving forward, there are all kinds of drugs being developed and tested to modify behavior and the mind. So the question is: Are these new technologies ethical? © 2012 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 1: Biological Psychology: Scope and Outlook
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 1: An Introduction to Brain and Behavior
Link ID: 17614 - Posted: 12.18.2012

By Dwayne Godwin and Jorge Cham Dwayne Godwin is a neuroscientist at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine. Jorge Cham draws the comic strip Piled Higher and Deeper at www.phdcomics.com. © 2012 Scientific American

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 1: Biological Psychology: Scope and Outlook
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 1: An Introduction to Brain and Behavior
Link ID: 17504 - Posted: 11.19.2012

By DENISE GRADY Just when they might have thought they were in the clear, people recovering from meningitis in an outbreak caused by a contaminated steroid drug have been struck by a second illness. The new problem, called an epidural abscess, is an infection near the spine at the site where the drug — contaminated by a fungus — was injected to treat back or neck pain. The abscesses are a localized infection, different from meningitis, which affects the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. But in some cases, an untreated abscess can cause meningitis. The abscesses have formed even while patients were taking powerful antifungal medicines, putting them back in the hospital for more treatment, often with surgery. The problem has just begun to emerge, so far mostly in Michigan, which has had more people sickened by the drug — 112 out of 404 nationwide — than any other state. “We’re hearing about it in Michigan and other locations as well,” said Dr. Tom M. Chiller, the deputy chief of the mycotic diseases branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “We don’t have a good handle on how many people are coming back.” He added, “We are just learning about this and trying to assess how best to manage these patients. They’re very complicated.” In the last few days, about a third of the 53 patients treated for meningitis at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor, Mich., have returned with abscesses, said Dr. Lakshmi K. Halasyamani, the chief medical officer. © 2012 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 2: Functional Neuroanatomy: The Nervous System and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 2: Cells and Structures: The Anatomy of the Nervous System
Link ID: 17449 - Posted: 11.03.2012

By Cari Nierenberg The strange folds and furrows covering a Brazilian man's entire scalp was neither a funky new look nor a hipster trend. Rather the 21-year-old's bizarre looking scalp with its deep skin folds in a pattern said to resemble the surface of the brain is a sign of a rare medical condition known as cutis verticis gyrata. In this week's New England Journal of Medicine, two Brazilian doctors describe this young man's case and share a picture of its odd appearance. When he was 19, the skin on his scalp started to change. It grew thicker, forming many soft, spongy ridges and narrow ruts. Even his hair had an unusual configuration. It was normal in the furrows but sparser over the folds as is common for this strange scalp condition. No doubt, visits to the barber shop as well as washing his squishy scalp and combing his hair were peculiar experiences. Despite the extent of his scalp affected, "the patient did not have the habit of covering his head," with a hat, for instance, says Dr. Karen Schons a dermatologist at the Hospital Universitario de Santa Maria, who examined the patient and co-authored the case study. In fact, the case study reports that "the condition did not bother him cosmetically." © 2012 NBCNews.com

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 1: Biological Psychology: Scope and Outlook
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 1: An Introduction to Brain and Behavior
Link ID: 17386 - Posted: 10.18.2012

The Crack Team That Removes & Preserves People's Brains Just Hours After They Die by Jeff Wheelwright On average, the residents of Sun City, Arizona, occupy their domiciles for a dozen years. When they depart—almost always by dying—they often leave their brains behind. The stages of physical and mental decline take them from their dream house to a hospital off Del Webb Boulevard, then to a nursing home, and finally back to the medical complex, where researchers harvest their most important organ. Hoping to do good for science, they have enrolled in the Brain and Body Donation Program of the Banner Sun Health Research Institute—widely considered the world’s preeminent brain bank. A large base of well-
documented donors in close proximity sets the Sun City program apart from other repositories, which often have scant information about patients who may be scattered and diverse. Here, healthy, active seniors who eventually die of, say, heart disease, can be compared with others who develop neurodegenerative disorders. Because the two sets of subjects have similar backgrounds, lifestyles, and ethnic traits, changes relating to a brain disease should be easier to detect. The institute is also famed for its crack autopsy team, which responds so quickly that no more than three hours elapse from the time a donor expires to the time that the brain is removed and preserved. “We’re not the biggest brain bank in the world, but we have the highest-quality tissue,” says pathologist Thomas Beach, the program director, who notes that donors must live within a 50-mile radius of the morgue. © 2012, Kalmbach Publishing Co.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 2: Functional Neuroanatomy: The Nervous System and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 2: Cells and Structures: The Anatomy of the Nervous System
Link ID: 17376 - Posted: 10.17.2012

by Michael Marshall THE human brain might be the most complex object in the known universe, but a much simpler set of neurons is also proving to be a tough nut to crack. A tiny wasp has brain cells so small, physics predicts they shouldn't work at all. These miniature neurons might harbour subtle modifications, or they might work completely differently from all other known neurons - mechanically. The greenhouse whitefly parasite (Encarsia formosa) is just half a millimetre in length. It parasitises the larvae of whiteflies and so it has long been used as a natural pest-controller. To find out how its neurons have adapted to miniaturisation, Reinhold Hustert of the University of Göttingen in Germany examined the insect's brain with an electron microscope. The axons - fibres that shuttle messages between neurons - were incredibly thin. Of 528 axons measured, a third were less than 0.1 micrometre in diameter, an order of magnitude narrower than human axons. The smallest were just 0.045 μm (Arthropod Structure & Development, doi.org/jfn). That's a surprise, because according to calculations by Simon Laughlin of the University of Cambridge and colleagues, axons thinner than 0.1 μm simply shouldn't work. Axons carry messages in waves of electrical activity called action potentials, which are generated when a chemical signal causes a large number of channels in a cell's outer membrane to open and allow positively charged ions into the axon. At any given moment some of those channels may open spontaneously, but the number involved isn't enough to accidentally trigger an action potential, says Laughlin - unless the axon is very thin. An axon thinner than 0.1 μm will generate an action potential if just one channel opens spontaneously (Current Biology, doi.org/frfwpz). © Copyright Reed Business Information Ltd

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 6: Evolution of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Link ID: 17335 - Posted: 10.06.2012

Zoë Corbyn Conventional wisdom says that most retractions of papers in scientific journals are triggered by unintentional errors. Not so, according to one of the largest-ever studies of retractions. A survey1 published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has found that two-thirds of retracted life-sciences papers were stricken from the scientific record because of misconduct such as fraud or suspected fraud — and that journals sometimes soft-pedal the reason. The survey examined all 2,047 articles in the PubMed database that had been marked as retracted by 3 May this year. But rather than taking journals’ retraction notices at face value, as previous analyses have done, the study used secondary sources to pin down the reasons for retraction if the notices were incomplete or vague. These sources included investigations by the US Office of Research Integrity, and evidence reported by the blog Retraction Watch. The analysis revealed that fraud or suspected fraud was responsible for 43% of the retractions. Other types of misconduct — duplicate publication and plagiarism — accounted for 14% and 10% of retractions, respectively. Only 21% of the papers were retracted because of error (see ‘Bad copy’). Earlier studies had found that the percentage of retractions attributable to error was 1.5–3 times higher2–4. “The secondary sources give a very different picture,” says Arturo Casadevall, a microbiologist at Yeshiva University in New York, and a co-author of the latest study. “Retraction notices are often not accurate.” © 2012 Nature Publishing Group

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 1: Biological Psychology: Scope and Outlook
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 1: An Introduction to Brain and Behavior
Link ID: 17322 - Posted: 10.02.2012

The brain that revolutionized physics now can be downloaded as an app for $9.99. But it won't help you win at Angry Birds. While Albert Einstein's genius isn't included, an exclusive iPad application launched Tuesday promises to make detailed images of his brain more accessible to scientists than ever before. Teachers, students and anyone who's curious also can get a look. A medical museum under development in Chicago obtained funding to scan and digitize nearly 350 fragile and priceless slides made from slices of Einstein's brain after his death in 1955. The application will allow researchers and novices to peer into the eccentric Nobel winner's brain as if they were looking through a microscope. "I can't wait to find out what they'll discover," said Steve Landers, a consultant for the National Museum of Health and Medicine Chicago who designed the app. "I'd like to think Einstein would have been excited." After Einstein died, a pathologist named Thomas Harvey performed an autopsy, removing the great man's brain in hopes that future researchers could discover the secrets behind his genius. Harvey gave samples to researchers and collaborated on a 1999 study published in the Lancet. That study showed a region of Einstein's brain - the parietal lobe - was 15 percent wider than normal. The parietal lobe is important to the understanding of math, language and spatial relationships. © 2012 Hearst Communications Inc

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 2: Functional Neuroanatomy: The Nervous System and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 2: Cells and Structures: The Anatomy of the Nervous System
Link ID: 17302 - Posted: 09.26.2012

by Carrie Arnold More than a kilometer below the ocean's surface, where the sunless water is inky black, scientists have documented one of nature's most spectacular living light shows. An underwater survey has found that roughly 20% of bottom-dwelling organisms in the Bahamas produce light. Moreover, all of the organisms surveyed by the researchers proved to have visual senses tuned to the wavelengths of light generated by this bioluminescence. The work speaks to the important role self-generated light plays in deep-sea communities, marine biologists say. Bioluminescence has evolved many times in marine species and may help organisms find mates and food or avoid predators. In the middle depths of the ocean—the mesopelagic zone that is located 200 to 1000 meters below the surface—the vast majority of organisms can bioluminesce. Much less was known about bioluminescence in organisms living close to the sea floor. Such benthic organisms are harder to visit or sample and therefore study, says Sönke Johnsen, a marine biologist at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. With Tamara Frank, a marine biologist at Nova Southeastern University in Florida, and colleagues, Johnsen recently explored four sites in the northern Bahamas in a submersible. The researchers collected the benthic organisms by suctioning them gently into a lightproof box with a vacuum hose. Once back in their shipboard labs, they stimulated bioluminescence in the captured organisms by softly prodding the animals. Those that glowed were tested further to determine the exact wavelength of light emitted. © 2010 American Association for the Advancement of Science

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 6: Evolution of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 0:
Link ID: 17239 - Posted: 09.10.2012

by Douglas Heaven Nanoparticles often meet a sticky end in the brain. In theory, the tiny structures could deliver therapeutic drugs to a brain tumour, but navigating the narrow, syrupy spaces between brain cells is difficult. A spot of lubrication could help. Justin Hanes at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, was surprised to discover just how impermeable brain tissue is to nanoparticles. "It's very sticky stuff," he says, similar in adhesiveness to mucus, which protects parts of the body – such as the respiratory system – by trapping foreign particles. It was thought that the adhesiveness of brain tissue limited the size of particles that can smoothly spread through the brain. Signalling molecules, nutrients and waste products below 64 nanometres in diameter can pass through the tissue with relative ease, but larger nanoparticles – suitable for delivering a payload of drugs to a specific location in the brain – quickly get stuck. Now Hanes and his colleagues have doubled that size limit. They coated their nanoparticles with a densely-packed polymer shield, which lubricates their surface by preventing electrostatic and hydrophobic interactions with the surrounding tissue. "A nice hydrated shell around the particle prevents it from adhering to cells," says Hanes. Using this approach, they were able to observe the diffusion of nanoparticles 114 nanometres in diameter through live mouse brains and dissected human and rat brain tissue. Hanes believes the true upper size limit now lies somewhere between 114 nm and 200 nm. "Things were starting to slow down at 114," he says. © Copyright Reed Business Information Ltd.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 2: Functional Neuroanatomy: The Nervous System and Behavior; Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 2: Cells and Structures: The Anatomy of the Nervous System; Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Link ID: 17219 - Posted: 08.30.2012

A Brazilian construction worker has survived after a 2m (six-foot) steel rod fell from above and pierced his head, doctors who treated him say. Eduardo Leite was taken to a Rio de Janeiro hospital, where the rod was removed after five hours of surgery. The doctors said Mr Leite, who is expected to spend some two weeks under their care, had responded well to surgery. He narrowly escaped partial paralysis and loss of an eye, they added. The rod is said to have fallen from the fifth floor of a building under construction. It pierced Mr Leite's hard hat, then the back of his skull, before exiting between his eyes. Luiz Alexandre Essinger, chief of staff at the Miguel Couto hospital, said Mr Leite was conscious when he arrived there and explained what had happened to him. "He was taken to the operating room, his skull was opened, they examined the brain and the surgeon decided to pull the metal bar out from the front in the same direction it entered the brain," he said. Mr Leite had "few complaints" after the surgery, Mr Essinger added, saying "it really was a miracle" that he survived. BBC © 2012

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 18: Attention and Higher Cognition
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 14: Attention and Consciousness
Link ID: 17183 - Posted: 08.20.2012

By Maria Konnikova It’s 1879, and psychology is just about to be born. The place: the University of Leipzig. The birth parent: Wilhelm Wundt. The deed: establishing the first official university laboratory for the study of psychology, an event taken by many as the line that marks unofficial explorations from empirical, accepted science. The laboratory has four rooms and a handful of students. By the early 1880s, it will grow to an astounding six rooms—and a total of 19 students. In 1883, it will award its first doctoral degree, to the first of Wundt’s advisees, Max Friedrich, on the topic of the time-course of individual psychological processes. That same year will see the publication of the first issue of the Journal Philosophische Studien, the first journal of experimental psychology, established—fittingly—by none other than Wundt. From that point on, the future of the discipline will be assured: psychology will survive, and perhaps even flourish, with the dawn of the new century. It will not be just another experiment gone wrong. That, at least, is the most straightforward story. It’s difficult to pinpoint a date for the birth of Psychology as such. That 1879 laboratory is but one contender, and Wundt, but one possible father. But just think of how many paved the way for Wundt’s achievements. Is it fair to call him the start, or is he rather more of a point of coalescence (if that)? And how far back must we go, if we’re to be really fair? © 2012 Scientific American,

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 1: Biological Psychology: Scope and Outlook
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 1: An Introduction to Brain and Behavior
Link ID: 17114 - Posted: 08.01.2012

By Brian Alexander When news broke that singer Sheryl Crow has a benign brain tumor called a meningioma, her representative swatted away concern by saying that “half of us are walking around with [a meningioma] but you don’t really know unless you happen to have an MRI.” Well, no. Despite that unnamed representative’s effort to make a brain tumor sound like a pimple, meningiomas are not anywhere near so universal, and, despite the “benign” designation, can be dangerous, leading to severe disabilities, and, in rare cases, death. “About 2 to 3 percent are malignant,” Dr. Elizabeth Claus, director of medical research at the Yale School of Public Health, a neurosurgeon at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and the principal investigator for the multi-institution Meningioma Consortium, explained in an interview. “Then that is a very serious situation because there’s not much in the way of great treatments. They can metastasize, say to the lungs, and no chemotherapy will work for it.” As the name indicates, a meningioma is a cancer of the meninges, the protective lining that surrounds the brain and spinal cord, often also called the dura. It’s true that meningiomas are one of the most common types of brain tumors, comprising about one-third of all benign brain tumors, but meningiomas are not nearly as common as Crow’s rep would have you believe. As of 2005, approximately 138,000 Americans were known to have been diagnosed of meningioma. © 2012 msnbc.com

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 2: Functional Neuroanatomy: The Nervous System and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 2: Cells and Structures: The Anatomy of the Nervous System
Link ID: 16882 - Posted: 06.07.2012

By Melissa Dahl If you can't stomach the thought of guzzling down eight glasses of water every single day, here's some good news: You're off the hook, more health experts are saying. A new editorial in an Australian public health journal is the latest to bust the widely-repeated health myth we need to guzzle 64 ounces, or eight 8-ounce glasses, of water each day just to stave off dehydration. Actually, we get enough fluids to keep our bodies adequately hydrated from the foods we eat and the beverages we drink -- even from caffeinated drinks like coffee and tea. Turns out, the whole "eight glasses a day" thing "really is no longer the recommendation; the recommendation is drinking to thirst," explains Madelyn Fernstrom, a registered dietitian and TODAY's diet and nutrition editor. Drink when you're thirsty! What a novel idea. It's not a bad idea to consume 64 ounces of fluid a day, but it's not a scientifically proven idea, either. It likely comes from a 1940s recommendation from the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council, which said that adults should ingest about 2.5 liters of water a day. "But the often ignored second half of that statement pointed out that most of the water you need is in the foods you eat," explains Dr. Aaron Carroll, associate professor of Pediatrics and the associate director of Children's Health Services Research at Indiana University School. © 2012 msnbc.com

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 13: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 9: Homeostasis: Active Regulation of the Internal Environment
Link ID: 16879 - Posted: 06.06.2012