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Aimee Cunningham Knocking back an enzyme swept mouse brains clean of protein globs that are a sign of Alzheimer’s disease. Reducing the enzyme is known to keep these nerve-damaging plaques from forming. But the disappearance of existing plaques was unexpected, researchers report online February 14 in the Journal of Experimental Medicine. The brains of mice engineered to develop Alzheimer’s disease were riddled with these plaques, clumps of amyloid-beta protein fragments, by the time the animals were 10 months old. But the brains of 10-month-old Alzheimer’s mice that had a severely reduced amount of an enzyme called BACE1 were essentially clear of new and old plaques. Studies rarely demonstrate the removal of existing plaques, says neuroscientist John Cirrito of Washington University in St. Louis who was not involved in the study. “It suggests there is something special about BACE1,” he says, but exactly what that might be remains unclear. One theory to how Alzheimer’s develops is called the amyloid cascade hypothesis. Accumulation of globs of A-beta protein bits, the idea goes, drives the nerve cell loss and dementia seen in the disease, which an estimated 5.5 million Americans had in 2017. If the theory is right, then targeting the BACE1 enzyme, which cuts up another protein to make A-beta, may help patients. |© Society for Science & the Public 2000 - 2018.

Keyword: Alzheimers
Link ID: 24666 - Posted: 02.15.2018

By Andy Coghlan Surgical instruments may need to be cleaned more thoroughly after brain operations, following the news that they might be spreading proteins linked to Alzheimer’s disease. There’s no evidence yet that spreading these proteins from one person to another can cause Alzheimer’s disease itself. But a study of eight people suggests that unclean instruments may sometimes lead to a rare and potentially fatal kind of brain bleeding disorder. People who have Alzheimer’s disease typically have plaques of sticky amyloid proteins in their brains, although it remains unclear whether these are a cause or a consequence of the condition. But when amyloid builds up in blood vessels in the brain, it can sometimes make them so brittle that they leak or burst. This condition, called cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA), usually doesn’t develop until people reach their sixties or older. But Sebastian Brandner, at University College London, and his team have been investigating the cases of eight people who developed CAA under the age of 60. Scouring their medical records, the team found that all eight of these people had undergone brain surgery during childhood or their teenage years for a variety of reasons. Of the eight people, at least three have already died from strokes, which can be caused by CAA. They died between the ages of 37 and 57. © Copyright New Scientist Ltd.

Keyword: Alzheimers; Prions
Link ID: 24665 - Posted: 02.15.2018

By Matt Warren The anesthesia medication ketamine has shown promise in treating depression, but its exact effects on the brain are unclear. Now, researchers have discovered that the drug changes the firing patterns of cells in a pea-size structure hidden away in the center of the brain. This could explain why ketamine is able to relieve symptoms of depression so quickly—and may provide a fresh target for scientists developing new antidepressants. “It’s a spectacular study,” says Roberto Malinow, a neuroscientist at the University of California, San Diego, who was not involved in the work. “It will make a lot of people think.” In clinical trials, ketamine appears to act much faster than existing antidepressants, improving symptoms within hours rather than weeks. “People have tried really hard to figure out why it’s working so fast, because understanding this could perhaps lead us to the core mechanism of depression,” says Hailan Hu, a neuroscientist at Zhejiang University School of Medicine in Hangzhou, China, and a senior author on the new study. Hu suspected the drug might target a tiny region in the middle of the brain called the lateral habenula, the so-called “anti–reward center.” This region inhibits nearby reward areas, which can be useful in learning; for example, if a monkey pulls a lever expecting a treat but never receives it, the lateral habenula will reduce the activity of reward areas, and the monkey will be less likely to pull the lever in the future. But research over the past decade has suggested that the area may be overactive in depression, dampening down those reward centers too much. © 2018 American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Keyword: Depression; Drug Abuse
Link ID: 24664 - Posted: 02.15.2018

By SHEILA KAPLAN and KEN BELSON The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved a long-awaited blood test to detect concussions in people and more quickly identify those with possible brain injuries. The test, called the Banyan Brain Trauma Indicator, is also expected to reduce the number of people exposed to radiation through CT scans, or computed tomography scans, that detect brain tissue damage or intracranial lesions. If the blood test is adopted widely, it could eliminate the need for CT scans in at least a third of those with suspected brain injuries, the agency predicted. Concussion-related brain damage has become a particularly worrisome public health issue in many sports, especially football, affecting the ranks of professional athletes on down to the young children in Pop Warner leagues. Those concerns have escalated so far that it has led to a decline in children participating in tackle sports. “This is going to change the testing paradigm for suspected cases of concussion,” said Tara Rabin, a spokeswoman for the F.D.A. She noted that the agency had worked closely on the application with the Defense Department, which has wanted a diagnostic tool to evaluate wounded soldiers in combat zones. The Pentagon financed a 2,000-person clinical trial that led to the test’s approval. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were about 2.8 million visits to emergency rooms for traumatic brain injury-related conditions in 2013, the most recent year for which the numbers were available. Of these, nearly 50,000 people died. Most patients with suspected traumatic brain injury are evaluated using a neurological exam, followed by a CT scan. © 2018 The New York Times Company

Keyword: Brain Injury/Concussion
Link ID: 24663 - Posted: 02.15.2018

By Ricki Rusting, Every morning, Avigael Wodinsky sets a timer to keep her 12-year-old son, Naftali, on track while he gets dressed for school. “Otherwise,” she says, “he’ll find 57 other things to do on the way to the bathroom.” Wodinsky says she knew something was different about Naftali from the time he was born, long before his autism diagnosis at 15 months. He lagged behind his twin sister in hitting developmental milestones, and he seemed distant. “When he was an infant and he was feeding, he wouldn’t cry if you took the bottle away from him,” she says. He often sat facing the corner, turning the pages of a picture book over and over again. Although he has above-average intelligence, he did not speak much until he was 4, and even then his speech was often ‘scripted:’ He would repeat phrases and sentences he had heard on television. Naftali’s trouble with maintaining focus became apparent in preschool—and problematic in kindergarten. He would stare out the window or wander around the classroom. “He was doing everything except what he was supposed to be doing,” Wodinsky recalls. At first, his psychiatrist credited these behaviors to his autism and recommended he drink coffee for its mild stimulant effect. The psychiatrist also suggested anxiety drugs. Neither treatment helped. A doctor then prescribed a series of drugs used for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), even though Naftali’s hyperactivity was still considered a part of his autism; those medications also failed or caused intolerable side effects. © 2018 Scientific American

Keyword: ADHD; Autism
Link ID: 24662 - Posted: 02.15.2018

/ By Dinsa Sachan When reporting a rape to police or testifying during a trial, it’s not uncommon for women to face a barrage of intrusive questions: What were you wearing at the time of the assault? Were you intoxicated? Why were you walking home alone at night? For decades, social psychologists have documented links between the ways society perceives women and their bodies — ones that often lead to this line of questioning — and attitudes towards gender violence. But only recently have neuroscientists begun to investigate what sexual objectification actually looks like in the brain. In a study published in the journal Cortex in December, European researchers explored the relationship between empathy — the ability to feel others’ emotions — and sexual objectification. Their findings, based on measuring brain activity in response to viewing a woman being left out of a social activity, suggest that people feel less empathy for women dressed in revealing clothing compared to those dressed more conservatively. To conduct the research, Giorgia Silani, a neuroscientist at the University of Vienna, Austria, along with her colleagues, asked 36 participants — both men and women — to participate in and watch videos of others playing a digital ball-tossing game. The videos featured a model who either wore long pants, a plain top, and light makeup, or a short dress, high heels, and heavy makeup. At different points in the videos, the model was included or excluded from the game. Copyright 2018 Undark

Keyword: Emotions; Brain imaging
Link ID: 24661 - Posted: 02.15.2018

By JOANNA KLEIN FEB. 13, 2018 If Cupid wanted to make two songbirds fall in love, he’d have better luck aiming at their brains. That’s because songbirds, which form lifelong mating pairs, have brain systems perfectly tuned to fit together. While you sort through the messages of admirers, deciding who to make your Valentine, consider finches. Young males in this family of feathered crooners learn the song of their father, perfect it and perform it as adults to attract a lifelong mate. It’s loud, elaborate and precise. With their songs they say “chirp, chirp — my brain is healthy, and my body is strong. That’s something you’re into, right?” A female finch also learns the songs of her father from a young age, but she doesn’t perform. She’s the critic. She analyzes every detail of a potential mate’s song, compares it to her father’s example and decides if this performer is one she’d like to keep around. If she detects a song is too simple or off in any way, she’ll have nothing to do with its performer. She’s very picky, as she should be, because the mate she chooses will help raise their young — till death do they part. Over the past decade, researchers looking into the chickpea-sized brains of finches have discovered that each sex uses what’s called its sound control system to convert sound waves to social messages and then use them to find mates, kind of how humans use vocal sounds to communicate. And while these systems are well-developed and finely tuned in both sexes of songbirds, the wiring is different. “The biggest difference between male and female brains of the same species is found in songbirds,” said Sarah Woolley, a neuroscientist who studies finches at Columbia University’s Zuckerman Institute. Dr. Woolley’s lab has been looking into the acoustic systems of zebra, bengalese and long-tailed finches to see how their brains take in and process sounds — learning, performing and analyzing different parts of them to make sense of songs. © 2018 The New York Times Company

Keyword: Sexual Behavior; Animal Communication
Link ID: 24660 - Posted: 02.14.2018

An all-female freshwater fish species called the Amazon molly that inhabits rivers and creeks along the Texas-Mexico border is living proof that sexual reproduction may be vastly overrated. Scientists said on Monday they have deciphered the genome of the Amazon molly, one of the few vertebrate species to rely upon asexual reproduction, and discovered that it had none of the genetic flaws, such as an accumulation of harmful mutations or a lack of genetic diversity, they had expected. They found that the Amazon molly, named after the fierce female warriors of ancient Greek mythology, boasts a hardy genetic makeup that makes it equally fit, or even more so, than fish using sexual reproduction in which both maternal and paternal genes are passed along to offspring. "The Amazon molly is doing quite well," said biologist Manfred Schartl of the University of Wuerzburg in Germany. "Unexpectedly, we did not find the signs of genomic decay as predicted." The fish reproduces using a strategy in which a female's egg cell develops into a baby without being fertilized by a male's sperm cell. But that does not mean the fish does not need some hanky panky. "The Amazon molly female produces clones of itself by duping a male of a closely related species to mate with her. The asexual mode of reproduction termed gynogenesis requires the female to mate with a male but none of the male's genome is passed to the offspring," said geneticist Wesley Warren of the McDonnell Genome Institute at Washington University in St. Louis. ©2018 CBC/Radio-Canada.

Keyword: Sexual Behavior; Evolution
Link ID: 24659 - Posted: 02.14.2018

Dean Burnett The internet is a weird place. Part of this is due to how things linger rather than disappear, as they tended to do with more “traditional” media. Nowadays, people’s jobs can (rightly or wrongly) be endangered for tweets they wrote years ago. The adage about “today’s news is tomorrow’s fish and chip papers” seems no longer to apply. This is particularly true when a headline or story from years ago can be found by a group or community on a social network that missed it previously, so they share it widely and it ends up in your feeds long after it’s been “forgotten”. It can be a bit confusing for those of us who grew up solely with televised news. It’s like watching the weekend football roundup when it’s suddenly interrupted by a report that the Berlin Wall has come down. Case in point: yesterday I saw several examples of a story from 2015 about how scientists have discovered that cheese triggers the same part of the brain as hard drugs. A lot of people seem to be sharing this again (even me, thinking it was new). You’d assume someone well-versed in neuroscience like myself would easily recognise an old story like this. So why didn’t I? Stories like this are hardly uncommon. You can barely go a month without some study or report describing something supposedly innocuous as having the same effect on the brain, or activating the same brain regions, as drugs of abuse, be it sugar, pornography, religion, sex, Facebook, music, or, apparently, cheese. Give it a week, something else will be cited as stimulating our brains just like the most powerful narcotics. Maybe walking on crunchy leaves or taking your bra off after a long day will be described as the equivalent of inhaling a bin-bag full of cocaine? © 2018 Guardian News and Media Limited

Keyword: Drug Abuse; Attention
Link ID: 24658 - Posted: 02.14.2018

By NEIL GENZLINGER Anne M. Treisman, whose insights into how we perceive the world around us provided some of the core theories for the field of cognitive psychology, died on Friday at her home in Manhattan. She was 82. Her daughter Deborah Treisman said the cause was a stroke after a long illness. Dr. Treisman considered a fundamental question: How does the brain make sense of the bombardment of input it is receiving and focus attention on a particular object or activity? What she came up with is called the feature integration theory of attention, detailed in a much-cited 1980 article written with Garry Gelade in the journal Cognitive Psychology, then refined and elaborated on in later work. “Perhaps Anne’s central insight in the field of visual attention was that she realized that you could see basic features like color, orientation and shape everywhere in the visual field, but that there was a problem in knowing how those colors, orientations, shapes, etc., were ‘bound’ together into objects,” Jeremy M. Wolfe, director of the Visual Attention Lab of Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, explained in an email. “Her seminal feature integration theory,” he continued, “proposed that selective attention to an object or location enabled the binding of those features and, thus, enabled object recognition. Much argument has followed, but her formulation of the problem has shaped the field for almost four decades.” Dr. Treisman did not merely theorize about how perception works; she tested her ideas with countless experiments in which subjects were asked, for instance, to pick a particular letter out of a visual field, or to identify black digits and colored letters flashing by. The work showed not only how we perceive, but also how we can sometimes misperceive. © 2018 The New York Times Company

Keyword: Attention; Vision
Link ID: 24657 - Posted: 02.14.2018

By BENEDICT CAREY Decent memory is a matter of livelihood, of independence, most of all of identity. Human memory is the ghost in the neural machine, a widely distributed, continually changing, multidimensional conversation among cells that can reproduce both the capital of Kentucky and the emotional catacombs of that first romance. The news last week that scientists had developed a brain implant that boosts memory — an implantable “cognitive prosthetic,” in the jargon — should be astounding even to the cynical. App developers probably are already plotting yet another brain-exercise product based on the latest science. Screenwriters working on their next amnesia-assassin scripts got some real-life backup for the pitch meeting. The scientists are in discussions to commercialize the technology, and so people in the throes of serious memory loss, and their families, likely feel a sense of hope, thin though it may be. These things take time, and there are still many unknowns. But for those in the worried-well demographic — the 40-is-the-new-30 crowd, and older — reports of a memory breakthrough fall into a different category. What exactly does it mean that scientists are truly beginning to understand the biology of memory well enough to manipulate it? Which reaction is appropriate: the futurist’s, or the curmudgeon’s? The only honest answer at this stage is both. The developers of the new implant, led by scientists at the University of Pennsylvania and Thomas Jefferson University, built on decades of work decoding brain signals, using the most advanced techniques of machine learning. Their implant, in fact, constitutes an array of electrodes embedded deep in the brain that monitor electrical activity and, like a pacemaker, deliver a stimulating pulse only when needed — when the brain is lagging as it tries to store new information. © 2018 The New York Times Company

Keyword: Learning & Memory; Robotics
Link ID: 24656 - Posted: 02.13.2018

By Dina Fine Maron Suspicions of a link between prenatal ultrasound scans and autism spectrum disorder are nothing new. The technology has exploded in recent decades, giving expectant parents more detailed images of their developing offspring than ever before. And as ultrasound use has sharply increased, so too have diagnoses of autism—prompting questions about a potential relationship. A rigorous new study examining the association between ultrasounds during the first or second trimester of pregnancy and later development of autism spectrum disorder, however, delivers some good news. The study, which analyzed the medical records and ultrasound details of more than 400 kids who were born at Boston Medical Center, found there was no increase in the number of prenatal scans or duration of ultrasound exposure in children with autism compared with kids with typical development or separate developmental delays. In fact, the group with autism had less average exposure time during its first and second trimesters of development than individuals without autism did. The finding adds weight to earlier studies that suggested such scans—which use high-frequency sound waves to create an image of the fetus, placenta and surrounding maternal organs—are not a powerful enough environmental risk to cause autism on their own. But the new study, published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics, did leave one question unanswered: Does the depth of the actual ultrasound scan make a difference? The work found the children with autism were exposed to prenatal ultrasounds with greater penetration than the control group: During the first trimester, the group with autism had scans with an average depth of 12.5 centimeters compared with 11.6 centimeters for the control group. And during the second trimester the group with autism had scan depths of 12.9 centimeters compared with 12.5 centimeters for the typical development control group. Ultrasounds may not be uniform for reasons including the position of the fetus in the womb. © 2018 Scientific American

Keyword: Autism
Link ID: 24655 - Posted: 02.13.2018

By KAREN CROUSE — Shortly before Adam Rippon’s breakthrough victory at the United States figure skating championships, Brian Boitano crossed paths with him and asked how he was doing. Boitano, the 1988 Olympic gold medalist, expected Rippon to rave about his jumps or his signature spins. Instead, Boitano said, Rippon pulled back his shoulders, puffed out his chest and proudly proclaimed, “I’ve never been thinner.” It was 2016, and Rippon was subsisting mostly on a daily diet of three slices of whole grain bread topped with miserly pats of the spread I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter. He supplemented his “meals” with three cups of coffee, each sweetened with six packs of Splenda. “It makes me dizzy now to think about it,” Rippon said in a interview last month. In the lead up to the men’s singles competition at the Olympics this week, Rippon has been celebrated for his robust thigh and gluteal muscles, not to mention his tight abs. He weighs 150 pounds, 10 more than he did in 2016, when he took drastic measures to stretch his 5-foot-7 body, as if it were putty, into a leaner frame that he thought would be more aesthetically pleasing to the judges. Rippon, 28, remembers wanting to resemble skaters like Nathan Chen and Vincent Zhou, his teenage Olympic teammates, whose matchstick bodies facilitate explosive quadruple jumps. “I looked around and saw my competitors, they’re all doing these quads, and at the same time they’re a head shorter than me, they’re 10 years younger than me and they’re the size of one of my legs,” Rippon said. © 2018 The New York Times Company

Keyword: Anorexia & Bulimia
Link ID: 24654 - Posted: 02.13.2018

Nicola Davis While you might be tempted to wolf down a sandwich or gobble up your dinner, researchers say there may be advantages to taking your time over a meal. According to a study looking at type 2 diabetics, eating slowly could help prevent obesity, with researchers finding a link to both lower waist circumference and body mass index (BMI). “Interventions aimed at altering eating habits, such as education initiatives and programmes to reduce eating speed, may be useful in preventing obesity and reducing the risk of non-communicable diseases,” the authors write. The latest study is not the first to suggest that taking a sedate pace at the dinner table could be beneficial: various pieces of work have hinted that those who eat quickly are more likely to be overweight, have acid reflux and have metabolic syndrome. The latest study, published in the journal BMJ Open by researchers in Japan, looked at data collected though health checkups and claims from more than 59,700 individuals as part of health insurance plans, with data spanning from 2008 to mid-2013. As part of the health checkup, participants were asked seven questions about their lifestyle, including whether their eating speed was fast, normal or slow, whether they snacked after dinner three times or more a week, and whether they skipped breakfast three times or more a week. © 2018 Guardian News and Media Limited

Keyword: Obesity; Attention
Link ID: 24653 - Posted: 02.13.2018

by Alex Horton Michelle Myers's accent is global, but she has never left the country. The Arizona woman says she has gone to bed with extreme headaches in the past and woke up speaking with what sounds like a foreign accent. At various points, Australian and Irish accents have inexplicably flowed from her mouth for about two weeks, then disappeared, Myers says. But a British accent has lingered for two years, the 45-year-old Arizona woman told ABC affiliate KNXV. And one particular person seems to come to mind when she speaks. “Everybody only sees or hears Mary Poppins,” Myers told the station. Myers says she has been diagnosed with Foreign Accent Syndrome. The disorder typically occurs after strokes or traumatic brain injuries damage the language center of a person's brain — to the degree that their native language sounds like it is tinged with a foreign accent, according to the Center for Communication Disorders at the University of Texas at Dallas. In some instances, speakers warp the typical rhythm of their language and stress of certain syllables. Affected people may also cut out articles such as “the” and drop letters, turning an American “yeah” into a Scandinavian “yah,” for instance. Sheila Blumstein, a Brown University linguist who has written extensively on FAS, said sufferers typically produce grammatically correct language, unlike many stroke or brain-injury victims, she told The Washington Post for a 2010 article about a Virginia woman who fell down a stairwell, rattled her brain and awoke speaking with a Russian-like accent. © 1996-2018 The Washington Post

Keyword: Language
Link ID: 24652 - Posted: 02.13.2018

Adam Cole Love is complicated, scientifically speaking. There's no single, specific "love chemical" that surges through our bodies when we see our beloved, and we can't point to a specific corner of the brain where love resides. Still, scientists have measured real changes in our bodies when we fall in love: an ebb and flow of signaling molecules. In that early lustful phase, sex hormones like testosterone fuel the libido (in both men and women). The dopamine highs of new attraction have been compared by some scientists to the effects of cocaine use. The anxiety associated with new romance has been linked to low levels of serotonin in the brain. And some researchers say they see similarities in the way serotonin is regulated in the early phases of love and the way it is modulated in obsessive compulsive disorder. Meanwhile, our brains start producing more oxytocin, a chemical that is crucial to, among other things, the bonding of mothers and infants. Comparisons to drug use and compulsion aren't perfect (obviously there's a lot more fancy chemistry going on in our brains) but they do seem to speak to our experience. In Skunk Bear's new video, we explore the symptoms of love and their neurological causes. Why does your heart race when you see your crush? What gives you that feeling of butterflies? And why does love make us act so dumb? This love ballad is our Valentine's gift to you. © 2018 npr

Keyword: Sexual Behavior
Link ID: 24651 - Posted: 02.13.2018

A mutant species of all-female crayfish taking over the world is not the latest science fiction film but a real-life environmental thriller. A new study has found that marbled crayfish are multiplying rapidly and invading ecosystems across the world. The ten-legged pests are descended from one single female with a mutation allowing it to reproduce without males. These self-cloning ladies are found for sale in North America, despite a warning against keeping them as pets. Sales of the six-inch creature are already banned by the European Union. Procambarus virginalis did not exist three decades ago. Born to a male and female slough crayfish, a species originally from Florida, the original marbled crayfish had an additional set of chromosomes - a mutation that made her distinct from her parents and allowed her to reproduce without having to mate. Now officially a separate species, the marbled crayfish can been found in the wild in Japan, Madagascar, multiple European countries and the US. The new study published in Nature, Ecology and Evolution describes the invasive species as a threat to wild ones, particularly seven native species in Madagascar. "If you have one animal, essentially, three months later, you will have 200 or 300," Dr Wolfgang Stein, one of the researchers, told Canadian public broadcaster CBC. Dr Stein, who is a neurophysiologist at Illinois State University, told the BBC that they compared 11 marbled crayfish, spread through the pet trade to four locations on three continents. He noted that while they all share the DNA of one mother crayfish, there were some differences in "colouring". "The animal sequenced here by us in the US was more blue-ish than the ones from Germany and Madagascar," Dr Stein said. © 2018 BBC.

Keyword: Sexual Behavior; Evolution
Link ID: 24650 - Posted: 02.13.2018

By NICHOLAS BAKALAR Increasing blood sugar levels are associated with cognitive decline, a long-term study has found. Researchers assessed cognitive function in 5,189 people, average age 66, and tested their blood sugar using HbA1c, a test that accurately measures blood glucose levels over a period of weeks or months. (The finger-prick blood test, in contrast, gives a reading only at a given moment in time.) They followed the group for up to 10 years, tracking blood glucose levels and periodically testing cognitive ability. The study is in the journal Diabetologia. There was no association between blood sugar levels and cognition at the start of the study. But consistently over time, scores on the tests of memory and executive function declined as HbA1c levels increased, even in people without diabetes. The study controlled for many other variables, among them age, sex, cholesterol, B.M.I., education, marital status, depression, smoking, alcohol consumption, hypertension and cardiovascular disease. This is an observational study that does not prove cause and effect, and the lead author, Wuxiang Xie, a researcher at the Peking University Health Science Center, said that the underlying mechanism is still unknown. Still, he said, “Diabetes-related microvascular complications might be, at least in part, the reason for the subsequent cognitive decline. Future studies are warranted to reveal the precise mechanisms.” © 2018 The New York Times Company

Keyword: Learning & Memory; Alzheimers
Link ID: 24649 - Posted: 02.13.2018

By John Horgan I’ve been writing for decades about the mind-body problem, the deepest of all mysteries, and I’m trying to finish a book tentatively titled Mind-Body Problems. And yet only recently have I realized that few people outside philosophy and mind-related scientific fields are familiar with the phrase “mind-body problem.” I also realized that I knew nothing about the origins of the phrase. Google didn’t provide an immediate answer, so I reached out to David Chalmers, a prominent philosopher of mind. “Good question,” he said when I asked on Facebook who coined mind-body problem. He passed my query on to other scholars. I’ve culled the information below from responses of Chalmers, Galen Strawson, Eric Schliesser, Charles T. Wolfe, Godehard Bruntrup, Victor Caston and Paolo Pecere, to whom I am very grateful. A Google N-gram on “mind-body problem” shows the phrase spiking from 1910 to 1925, dipping for a couple of decades and then rising again in the 1950s. The earliest reference I can find on Google Books dates back to 1879, when the prominent American scholar Felix Adler lectured on atheism to the Ethical Culture Society. An excerpt: Advertisement If then, consciousness, or mind, in something like its traditional sense, cannot successfully be explained away by the new epistemology, we must resolutely face the metaphysical question of the relation of the mind to the physical world in which it has its setting. The central and crucial part of this question is, of course, to be found in the mind-body problem… If we refuse to accept the pan-objective epistemology already considered which would do away with consciousness in the traditional sense, we must recognize that the relation of the mind to the body forms a real and inescapable problem… How can two things so different from each other as mind and body interact? To which, it seems to me, the sufficient answer is to be found in the rather obvious query, Why can they not? Are we so sure that unlike things cannot influence each other? The only way really to decide this question is to go to experience and see. [Bold added.] © 2018 Scientific American

Keyword: Consciousness
Link ID: 24648 - Posted: 02.12.2018

Rachel Hoge I’ve heard the misconceptions for most of my life. “Just slow down,” a stranger told me as a child. “You’re talking too fast – that’s why you stutter!” Later on, as my stutter carried on into adolescence and adulthood, strangers and loved ones alike offered up their own judgments of my speech –usually incorrect. Some have good intentions when it comes to sharing their opinions about my stutter. Others ... not so much. But everyone shares one defining characteristic: they’re misinformed. Stuttering is a communication and disfluency disorder where the flow of speech is interrupted. Though all speakers will experience a small amount of disfluency while speaking, a person who stutters (PWS) experiences disfluency more noticeably, generally stuttering on at least 10% of their words. There are approximately 70 million people who stutter worldwide, which is about 1% of the population. Stuttering usually begins in childhood between the ages of two and five, with about 5% of all children experiencing a period of stuttering that lasts six months or more. Three-quarters of children who stutter will recover by late childhood, but those who don’t may develop a lifelong condition. The male-to-female ratio of people who stutter is four to one, meaning there is a clear gender discrepancy that scientists are still attempting to understand. The severity of a stutter can vary greatly. The way it manifests can also differ, depending on the individual. Certain sounds and syllables can produce repetitions (re-re-re-repetitions), prolongations (ppppppprolongations), and/or abnormal stoppages (no sound). © 2018 Guardian News and Media Limited

Keyword: Language
Link ID: 24647 - Posted: 02.12.2018