..you would think we would learn the way these things work, which is this:
1) Everything that’s already in the world when you’re born is just normal;
2) Anything that gets invented between then and before you turn thirty is incredibly exciting and creative and with any luck you can make a career out of it;
3) Anything that gets invented after you’re thirty is against the natural order of things and the beginning of the end of civilisation as we know it until it’s been around for about ten years when it gradually turns out to be alright really. (Adams, 1999)
An international team of researchers has demonstrated, for the first time, that a particular area of the brain — called the anterior insular cortex — is where human empathy originates.
Over the past decade, scientists have used powerful functional MRI imaging to identify several regions in the brain that are associated with empathy for pain. The current study, however, firmly indicates that the feeling of empathy originates in the anterior insular cortex.
“Our findings provide strong evidence that empathy is mediated in a specific area of the brain,” said Gu, who now works at University College London. “The findings have implications for a wide range of neuropsychiatric illnesses, such as autism and some forms of dementia, which are characterized by prominent deficits in higher-level social functioning.”
The research suggests that behavioral and cognitive therapies can be developed to compensate for problems in the anterior insular cortex and its related functions.
Wired.co.ukIn academia, 'e' can't automatically mean freeWired.co.ukThe impact of "e means free" has the potential to discourage academics, reduce research, hamper innovation in publishing and potentially harm students.
A new milk supplement is showing promise in battling painful gout symptoms. But wait . . . what is it? Why, it's brilliant. Skim milk from powder, reinforced with essential fats found in milk. WHAT? Why not just leave the essential fats in the milk and try it the natural way?
The National Institute of Mental Health, part of the National Institutes of Health, provided a $500000 grant to fund the development of the software and a 12-week study that will begin this summer. Researchers at the University of Central Florida’s Anxiety Disorders Clinic and the Atlanta-based company Virtually Better want to give more children with social anxiety the practice they need to become comfortable in social situations. They have developed a new, one-of-a-kind computer simulation program that enables children to interact with avatars playing the roles of classmates, teachers and a principal.
What they're doing on Marsden Farm isn't organic. It's not industrial, either. It's a hybrid of the two, an alternative version of agriculture for the 21st century: Smart, green and powerful.
“This is a great study,” said John Reganold, a soil scientist at Washington State University who was not involved in the research. “We’ve been pushing the envelope on yields, and not paying as much attention to the environmental and social and economic consequences. This shows that these integrated systems can be profitable, produce high yields, and offer more environmental benefit.”
New research by Dr. Mark Weiser of Tel Aviv University's Sackler Faculty of Medicine and the Sheba Medical Center has revealed that Autism Spectrum Disorder appears share a root cause with other mental illnesses, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Studying extensive databases in Israel and Sweden, the researchers discovered that the two illnesses had a genetic link, representing a heightened risk within families. They found that people who have a schizophrenic sibling are 12 times more likely to have autism than those with no schizophrenia in the family. The presence of bipolar disorder in a sibling showed a similar pattern of association, but to a lesser degree.
A scientific leap forward, this study sheds new light on the genetics of these disorders. The results will help scientists better understand the genetics of mental illness, says Dr. Weiser, and may prove to be a fruitful direction for future research. The findings have been published in the Archives of General Psychiatry.
What role do early childhood experiences in nearby nature play in the formation of brain architecture? It’s time for science to ask that question.
In January, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof reported on the American Academy of Pediatrics’ “landmark warning that toxic stress can harm children for life.” This was, he wrote, a “’policy statement’ from the premier association of pediatricians, based on two decades of scientific research,” and he added that the statement “has revolutionary implications for medicine and for how we can more effectively chip away at poverty and crime.”
From conception through early childhood, brain architecture is particularly malleable and influenced by environment and relationships with primary caregivers, including toxic stress caused by abuse or chronic neglect. By interfering with healthy brain development, such stress can undermine the cognitive skills and health of a child, leading to learning difficulty and behavior problems, as well as psychological and behavior problems, heart disease, obesity, diabetes and other physical ailments later in life.
People in the United States have a slowly eroding relationship with nature, but we could help reverse this trend with a combination of small, easy -- and some perhaps not so easy -- changes. Richard Louv's book Last Child in the Woods suggests that Americans, particularly our children, are increasingly afflicted with what he calls "nature deficit disorder." He recommends we should, from time to time, commit to walking away from our work and electronic devises and spend more time in the outdoors experiencing pure nature.
Renowned landscape painter Clyde Aspevig agrees and suggests we spend much more "aimless" time in nature engaged in what he calls land snorkeling. To land snorkel is to wander in nature with an attitude of wonder and curiosity. All good advice, but a prerequisite is easy and abundant access to nature and that opportunity, as a whole, is slipping away in many parts of this country.
"When my husband was doing chemo and on disability from work, he would keep himself busy by visiting some of the elderly ladies we knew. They all adored him and the highlight of their week was seeing him come down the driveway with a bag of groceries and a tool kit . . . "
The foremost international award recognizing individuals who have increased the quality, quantity, or availability of food in the world.
The 2012 World Food Prize will be awarded to Dr. Daniel Hillel for conceiving and implementing a radically new mode of bringing water to crops in arid and dry land regions - known as “micro-irrigation.”
Dr. Hillel’s pioneering scientific work in Israel revolutionized food production, first in the Middle East, and then in other regions around the world over the past five decades. His work laid the foundation for maximizing efficient water usage in agriculture, increasing crop yields, and minimizing environmental degradation.
Our amazing brain performs harmonious functions and peculiar actions that might seem counterintuitive. What tricks make us think it's okay to cheat or steal? Are we in control of our own decisions? Why do our brains misjudge what will make us happy?
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