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6 posts from November 2010

20 November 2010

Brain size linked to longevity (The Dana Foundation Website - 8 November 2010)

Dana_logo Does the size of your brain say something about how long you'll live?  New research suggests that's the case.

Excerpt:

Many mammals have proportionally large brains in comparison with their respective body sizes. Scientists have long hypothesized that those big brains, found in such animals as primates, cetaceans, and humans, must signify big intelligence. Now, researchers from the Centre for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications (CREAF), part of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, have found a strong correlation between brain size and long life—and that longevity may be related to enhanced cognitive abilities...

(To read the rest of the article, click here).

Conforming opinions activate the brain’s reward center (The Dana Foundation Website - 2 November 2010)

Dana_logo Consider yourself a non-conformist?  New research suggests when your opinions match those of an expert, your brain's reward centers are activated.

Excerpt:

Yesterday, I passed a teenager wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the words, “Reject Conformity.” Conformity gets a bit of a bad rap these days—often, there seems to be more emphasis placed on being individuals, rebuffing peer pressure and challenging the status quo. But new research examining the neural correlates of social influence suggests that conforming behaviors may be a more innate process than previously imagined...

(To read the rest of the article, click here).

Should genes be patented? (Proto Magazine - Fall 2010)

Proto Hundreds of genes have already been patented by various healthcare companies--but the question remains, should they be?

Excerpt:

If women with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer want to check for mutations of their BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which can help predict the likelihood of the diseases, they have exactly one option: undergo a blood test created by Myriad Genetics. That’s because Myriad holds a series of patents relating to both genes, protecting its intellectual property and restricting other laboratories from performing the test. But in March, a federal judge ruled in favor of plaintiffs who argued that genes shouldn’t be patented—a decision that could affect the holders of thousands of gene patents issued since 1982...

(To read the rest of the article, click here).

Effects of genomic imprinting are dynamic throughout life (The Dana Foundation Website - 8 October 2010)

Dana_logo Scientists at Harvard University show that genomic imprinting is a dynamic process, with some genes being affected at different points in the lifespan.

Excerpt:

Every cell in the human body, be it liver cell or blood cell or neuron, develops and runs on the same DNA. Mammals, for the most part, have two copies of every gene, a copy inherited from both the mother and the father, providing a handy backup in case one of the two is damaged. But nearly two decades ago, scientists discovered that for a limited number of genes, only one copy is active—the second is turned off by a regulatory process known as genomic imprinting...

(To read the rest of the article, click here).

Can the Army's new suicide prevention plan really work? (TheAtlantic.com - 29 July 2010)

Atlanticcom Will the pervasive military culture allow the Army's new suicide prevention plan to work?

Excerpt:

The U.S. Army's Task Force on Suicide Prevention released a comprehensive report this morning, assessing the Army's now-acute suicide problem and outlining the leadership's plans to confront it. General Peter W. Chiarelli, the Army's vice chief of staff, briefed Congress on its contents yesterday. Though some are calling the report a blueprint for suicide prevention, Colonel Christopher Philbrick, head of the Task Force under General Chiarelli, maintains it's just part of an ongoing process...

(To read the rest of the article, click here).

Dopamine connections may link creativity, psychiatric disorders (The Dana Foundation Website - 27 July 2010)

Dana_logo Researchers across the country are uncovering new links between creativity and neuropsychiatric disorders.

Excerpt:

Roman philosopher Seneca once penned, “There is no great genius without a tincture of madness.” For centuries, philosophers and scientists have wondered about the nature of the relationship between creativity, a trait critical to genius, and psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder...

(To read the rest of the article, click here).