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Archive for the ‘Research’ Category

Babies who had heard the recordings showed the neural signal for recognizing vowel and pitch changes in the pseudoword, and the signal was strongest for the infants whose mothers played the recording most often. They were also better than the control babies at detecting other differences in the syllables, such as vowel length. “This leads us to believe that the fetus can learn much more detailed information than we previously thought,” Partanen says, and that the memory traces are detectable after birth.”This is a well-respected group and the effects are really convincing,” says Patricia Kuhl, a neuroscientist at the University of Washington in Seattle. Combined with previous work, she says, these results suggest “that language learning begins in the womb.”

via Babies Learn to Recognize Words in the Womb | Science/AAAS | News.

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Nanoscientists have developed an array capable of sensing touch with the same sensitivity as a human fingertip. The technology could be used to create smart skin for robots.

 

via Smart skin has the same sensitivity as human fingertips Wired UK.

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Way Too Fascinating

“What all this suggests is that the amygdalae, which are normally thought of as the brain’s “fear” centers, also actually *inhibit* panic attacks.”

“Researchers scare ‘fearless’ patients. Weird science for today. People with amygdala lesions don’t experience fear — they walk in the middle of the street because they are not afraid of getting hit by cars. But if you make them breathe air with extra carbon dioxide, which in normal people just causes them to try to breathe harder, in people with amygdala lesions causes panic attacks.”

via Researchers scare ‘fearless’ patients : Nature News & Comment.

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Brain to Brain interface in real time. It has happened. Now what?

via BBC News – One rat brain ‘talks’ to another using electronic link.

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“Now, it should be noted that the researchers aren’t trying to emulate a complete honey bee brain, but rather two specific and complex functions within it, namely vision and sense of smell.”

“By isolating and modeling these particular functions, the researchers hope to provide their flying robot with the cognitive power required to perform basic tasks — and without a set of pre-programmed instructions. It is hoped, for example, that the robotic bee will be able to detect particular odors or gasses in the same way that real bee can identify certain flowers.”

via New project aims to upload a honey bee’s brain into a flying insectobot by 2015.

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Scientists have taken a step forward in helping to solve one of life’s greatest mysteries – what makes us human?
via New brain gene gives us edge over apes, study suggests.

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Scientists have figured out a way to read our dreams. It is in the preliminary stages, but the knowledge base will continue to expand. Although it seems pretty simplistic, it is a phenomenal step in an understanding of what our unconscious mind is up to during the one-third of our lives spent in slumber. Many people report infrequent memories of dream content, while some report no memory whatsoever. 

via Scientists read dreams : Nature News & Comment.

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UCLA researchers have�discovered that�the activity of a brain region known to be involved in learning, memory and Alzheimer’s disease behaves as if it’s remembering something during sleep, even under anesthesia — a finding that counters conventional theories about memory consolidation during sleep.

His team found that the entorhinal cortex showed what is called persistent activity, which is thought to mediate working memory during waking life — for example, when people pay close attention to remember things temporarily, such as recalling a phone number or following directions.

“The big surprise here is that this kind of persistent activity is happening during sleep, pretty much all the time.” Mehta said. “These results are entirely novel and surprising. In fact, this working memory-like persistent activity occurred in the entorhinal cortex even under anesthesia.”

The findings are important, Mehta said, because humans spend one-third of their lives sleeping and a lack of sleep results in adverse effects on health, including learning and memory problems.

via The sleeping brain behaves as if it’s remembering something | KurzweilAI.

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via Biofunder | Invest with Life Sciences Companies Directly! on Vimeo.

Biofunder | Invest with Life Sciences Companies Directly! from Biofunder on Vimeo.

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As leaders ascend to more powerful positions in their groups, they face ever-increasing demands. This has given rise to the common perception that leaders have higher stress levels than non-leaders. But if leaders also experience a heightened sense of control—a psychological factor known to have powerful stress-buffering effects—leadership should be associated with reduced stress levels. Using unique samples of real leaders, including military officers and government officials, we found that, compared to non-leaders, leaders had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and lower reports of anxiety (Study 1). In a second study, leaders holding more powerful positions exhibited lower cortisol levels and less anxiety than leaders holding less powerful positions, a relationship explained significantly by their greater sense of control. Altogether, these findings reveal a clear relationship between leadership and stress, with leadership level being inversely related to stress.

via Leadership Is Associated with Lower Levels of Stress – Article – Harvard Business School.

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Think your moral choices are clear, concise and firm? Read this and think again.

Choice Blindness is a phenomena occurring in the areas of taste, smell and aesthetic appeal. Now, moral choice has been shown to be just as malleable. So, what is choice blindness? and why does it matter?

A simple test was conducted by researchers at Lund University. They asked random people walking through a park if they would fill out a simple questionaire about their moral principles. The questions covered topics ranging from prosititution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Surveys were filled out by 160 people, but unknown to the participants, there was a trick to them (see video): While the second page of the survey was being completed, the statements on the first page of the survey were surreptitiously changed to the opposite moral position, while leaving the participants answers the same.

Then, the participants were asked to read three of the moral positions on page 1, including two which had been altered, and discuss their response to them. The results were surprising.

HALF of the participants did not detect the changes at all. 69% accepted at least one of the altered statements. An unimaginable 53% argued unequivocally for the reversed moral position.

This is “choice blindness”. It demonstrates how malleable and flexible people really are.

A psychologist adds, “These findings suggest that if I’m fooled into thinking that I endorse a view, I’ll do the work myself to come up with my own reasons [for endorsing it],” .

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KO_cDCoRACg&feature=player_embedded

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The recent Science Debate poll identified “Should the United States fund a “War on Aging?” as the #1 question the scientific community wants to ask presidential candidates, gathering 3 times as many votes as any other. Yet, it was not included among the “top questions” to “tackle” that the candidates were asked.

I support a full-on war on aging, as well as the Longevity Party,  but must wonder if this question is continually swept to the nether regions because the powers-that-be don’t believe the masses will find it that useful. In reality, it isn’t likely extreme longevity technology or the enhancements therein will be readily available and/or affordable to the masses — it will be another “have” vs. “have-not” issue, only this time it will involve life vs. death on a very real basis.

Another obvious reason is the religious fanatics believe their respective deities are the givers and takers of life, despite the fact they utilize every life extension tool available to them currently (diabetes treatment, bypass surgery, medications, etc.). Any religious person  with an iota of legitimacy to their belief  would be as opposed to extreme life extension as they are to other life-engendering research.

Both of these objections need to be effectively overcome, or at least rationalized in an open and available forum, to move the Longevity Party into the sphere of a party digestable by the masses, I think.

via Death has a great lobby in US – Wikinews, the free news source.

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Water, Water, Everywhere

This wind turbine literally pulls 1,000 gallons of drinkable water out of the air.

“Each unit can create 1,000 liters of drinking water using only moisture and powered only by wind. Let me highlight this word : CREATE. All existing solutions (wells, desalination, lakes/rivers pumping, etc.) only treat an existing source of water. Thus, what happens when there is no or no more water available? The WMS1000 can create water when there is no existing source available. That makes a difference. Our technology integrates water creation, water collection, water treatment and water local distribution.  The WMS1000 can produce and distribute water everywhere.”

via Changing Cities: A Wind Turbine That Creates Fresh Water Out of Thin Air – ABC News.

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Ideally, your immune system should operate like an enlightened action hero, meting out inflammation precisely, accurately and with deadly force when necessary, but then quickly returning to a Zen-like calm. Doing so requires an optimal balance of pro- and anti-inflammatory muscle.

In autistic individuals, the immune system fails at this balancing act. Inflammatory signals dominate. Anti-inflammatory ones are inadequate. A state of chronic activation prevails. And the more skewed toward inflammation, the more acute the autistic symptoms.

 

via Immune Disorders and Autism.

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Mice, constantly stressed by changing their cage composition during adolescence, exhibit anxiety and poor social interactions throughout adulthood. Seems like a no-brainer, right?

This stress was especially prominent in fema

le mice who were stressed in this way. The experiment then proceeded using only the stressed male mice.

And then, along comes this oddity:

The male mouse, when mated with a non-stressed female mouse, passes on the excessive anxiety to *only* his female offspring. Not only that, but his (non-stressed) sons pass it on again, in their own female offspring.

It seems there is a little understood biochemical change in the male’s sperm taking place.

via Male mice exposed to chronic social stress have anxious female offspring.

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