Scientists have solved the mystery of why a specific signaling pathway can be associated with alcohol dependence. The new research shows the gene, Nf1, regulates gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter that lowers anxiety and increases relaxation feelings.
Learning a new skill is easier when it is related to an ability we already have. For example, a trained pianist can learn a new melody easier than learning how to hit a tennis serve. Scientists have discovered a fundamental constraint in the brain that may explain why this happens.
Previous studies that have suggested an increased risk of autism among children of women who took antidepressants during pregnancy may actually reflect the known increased risk associated with severe maternal depression. Now researchers have called that into question with further studies -- and complex answers.
It’s common knowledge that teenage boys seem predisposed to risky behaviors. Now, a series of new studies is shedding light on specific brain mechanisms that help to explain what might be going on inside juvenile male brains.
Social class can account for differences in how parents coach their children to manage classroom challenges, a study shows. Such differences can affect a child's education by reproducing inequalities in the classroom. With the widening gaps in educational outcomes between social classes, the researcher suggested that this study could help schools become more aware of these differences and make moves to reduce the inequalities.
A diet of junk food not only makes rats fat, but also reduces their appetite for novel foods, a preference that normally drives them to seek a balanced diet, reports a study. "The interesting thing about this finding is that if the same thing happens in humans, eating junk food may change our responses to signals associated with food rewards," says an author. "It's like you've just had ice cream for lunch, yet you still go and eat more when you hear the ice cream van come by."
Male and female rats are affected differently by ancestral exposure to a common fungicide, vinclozolin, new research shows. Female rats whose great grandparents were exposed to vinclozolin become much more vulnerable to stress, becoming more anxious and preferring the company of novel females to familiar females.
Although separated by hundreds of millions of years of evolution, flies, worms, and humans share ancient patterns of gene expression, according to a massive analysis of genomic data. Two related studies tell a similar story: even though humans, worms, and flies bear little obvious similarity to each other, evolution used remarkably similar molecular toolkits to shape them.
Many African-Americans may not be getting effective doses of the HIV drug maraviroc because they are more likely than European-Americans to inherit functional copies of a protein that speeds the removal of the drug from the body.
New evidence puts into doubt the long-standing belief that a deficiency in serotonin -- a chemical messenger in the brain -- plays a central role in depression. Scientists report that mice lacking the ability to make serotonin in their brains (and thus should have been 'depressed' by conventional wisdom) did not show depression-like symptoms.
Consumers are increasingly turning to forums, video-sharing sites, and peer support groups to gather anecdotal health-care information and advice, which may distract them from more reliable and trustworthy sources. New research studies the characteristics of consumers who use the Internet to collect health-care information.
Over-confident people can fool others into believing they are more talented than they actually are, a study has found. These 'self-deceived' individuals could be more likely to get promotions and reach influential positions in banks and other organizations. And these people are more likely to overestimate other people's abilities and take greater risks, possibly creating problems for their organizations.
Only recently has it become possible to accurately 'see' the structure of a liquid. Using X-rays and a high-tech apparatus that holds liquids without a container, a physicist has compared the behavior of glass-forming liquids as they approach the glass transition. The results are the strongest demonstration yet that bulk properties like viscosity are linked to microscopic ones like structure.
A comet collision with Earth caused abrupt environmental stress and degradation that contributed to the extinction of most large animal species then inhabiting the Americas, a group of scientists suggests. The catastrophic impact and the subsequent climate change also led to the disappearance of the prehistoric Clovis culture, and to human population decline. Now focus has turned to the character and distribution of nanodiamonds, one type of material produced during such an extraterrestrial collision. The researchers found an abundance of these tiny diamonds distributed over 50 million square kilometers across the Northern Hemisphere.
We live in an odd time. Access to information has never been more readily available, though lack of understanding can cause big problems. That is extremely evident in the field of food sciences, where processed foods, food labeling, and scientific illiteracy have collided into an ongoing Hindenburg-like catastrophe.