When the mind is at work, the brain literally gets heavier.That fact may be surprising, but it isn’t new: In the 1880s, Italian scientist Angelo Mosso built an intricate full-body balance and reported that mental activity tips the scales. Now, a modern-day version of Mosso’s “human circulation balance” backs him up. Compared with a brain at rest, a brain listening to music and watching a video is...
01/17/2014 - 10:22
An implantable gizmo can halt obstructive sleep apnea, a nighttime breathing disorder that disrupts rest and robs the body of oxygen. The experimental device, an electronic pacemaker that syncs breathing with opening of the throat, relieved sleep apnea in two-thirds of people who tested it.The volunteers had moderate-to-severe sleep apnea but couldn’t tolerate a standard treatment with a...
01/09/2014 - 08:30
News in Brief
Poor fetal growth in the first trimester is associated with cardiovascular risk factors in childhood, Dutch researchers report. While far from conclusive, the findings suggest that impaired early fetal growth — even before a woman knows she is pregnant — might have long-term consequences, the scientists report January 23 in BMJ.Physician...
01/23/2014 - 18:30
Efforts to make sense of the morass of cells and signals that populate the brain have come a long way in the last 50 years. Scientists have examined the signaling of single neurons in great detail, revealing much about the electrochemical mechanisms that carry messages from one cell to the next. Modern scanning technologies have enabled unprecedented if high-altitude views of the brain’s inner...
01/28/2014 - 08:30
Mapping the human brain is a noble goal, but a rather ill-defined one. It’s like making a map of the United States. You could just show political boundaries and the locations of cities. Or you might depict geographical features like mountains and rivers. Or transportation routes, like interstate highways and railroad tracks. You might even go Google Maps all the way and show the location of every...
02/07/2014 - 14:00
It’s enough to make you think twice about roughhousing with a cat.When a cat bites a person’s hand and the skin turns red, the wound needs prompt attention to prevent a deep-set infection that’s difficult to treat, a study finds. Nearly one-third of such bites that drove people to seek medical attention required the patient to be hospitalized, and many required surgery, researchers report....
02/10/2014 - 14:05
I love eavesdropping on people’s overly detailed coffee orders. You, sir, with the temerity to order a skinny split quad shot latte no whip no foam, with a side of lemon? Your extreme customizing just made my day.Such personalization was running through my mind as I read a recent study on cows. It turns out that another beverage is also subject to the specific, exacting standards of its drinker:...
02/10/2014 - 18:00
Human Development, Nutrition
Blood clotting is helpful to seal up a scrape. But platelet buildup can be dangerous during certain medical procedures such as dialysis. Now, a new graphene-based material could keep blood flowing.The material — made of blood-based and sugar-based enzymes attached to graphene, a single-atom-thick sheet of carbon — can produce hydrogen peroxide from blood sugar. The hydrogen peroxide then gets...
02/11/2014 - 14:20
There are times when science is a painful experience. My most excruciating moment in science involved a heated electrode placed on my bare leg. This wasn’t some sort of graduate school hazing ritual. I was a volunteer in a study to determine how we process feelings of pain. As part of the...
02/11/2014 - 14:55
News in Brief
People who survive a heart attack are often left with damage to the heart muscle and an increased risk of heart failure. Injections delivered directly into the heart after a heart attack may limit this damage, a test in pigs shows.A heart attack typically occurs when a blood clot shuts off the flow of blood and oxygen to a section of the heart muscle. When the flow is restored, enzymes called...
02/12/2014 - 14:00