BrainStuff

Whether the topic is popcorn or particle physics, you can count on the HowStuffWorks team to explore - and explain - the everyday science in the world around us on BrainStuff.
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ucresearch:

The Slingjaw Wrasse
Peter Wainwright is a fish biologist at UC Davis and studies the many ways fish eat their food.  His lab has a YouTube page that shows an array of fish eating their prey. In the animation above the slingjaw wrasse essentially creates a suction tube to eat small fish by unhinging its jaw.

This is also an accurate illustration of how the team reacts when someone brings in donuts.

ucresearch:

The Slingjaw Wrasse

Peter Wainwright is a fish biologist at UC Davis and studies the many ways fish eat their food.  His lab has a YouTube page that shows an array of fish eating their prey. In the animation above the slingjaw wrasse essentially creates a suction tube to eat small fish by unhinging its jaw.

This is also an accurate illustration of how the team reacts when someone brings in donuts.

We’re celebrating Banned Books Week and the freedom to read!

How Banning Books Works, via howstuffworks (by our Cristen Conger)

15 Banned Books for History Buffs (to Read Online for Free), via missedinhistory

More resources from the American Library Association and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund

* * *

What’s your favorite book that’s faced challenges or bans? Lauren particularly recommends Fun Home, a graphic novel for by recent MacArthur Award winner Alison Bechdel.

neurosciencestuff:

Single dose of antidepressant changes the brain

A single dose of antidepressant is enough to produce dramatic changes in the functional architecture of the human brain. Brain scans taken of people before and after an acute dose of a commonly prescribed SSRI (serotonin reuptake inhibitor) reveal changes in connectivity within three hours, say researchers who report their observations in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on September 18.

"We were not expecting the SSRI to have such a prominent effect on such a short timescale or for the resulting signal to encompass the entire brain," says Julia Sacher of the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences.

While SSRIs are among the most widely studied and prescribed form of antidepressants worldwide, it’s still not entirely clear how they work. The drugs are believed to change brain connectivity in important ways, but those effects had generally been thought to take place over a period of weeks, not hours.

The new findings show that changes begin to take place right away. Sacher says what they are seeing in medication-free individuals who had never taken antidepressants before may be an early marker of brain reorganization.

Study participants let their minds wander for about 15 minutes in a brain scanner that measures the oxygenation of blood flow in the brain. The researchers characterized three-dimensional images of each individual’s brain by measuring the number of connections between small blocks known as voxels (comparable to the pixels in an image) and the change in those connections with a single dose of escitalopram (trade name Lexapro).

Their whole-brain network analysis shows that one dose of the SSRI reduces the level of intrinsic connectivity in most parts of the brain. However, Sacher and her colleagues observed an increase in connectivity within two brain regions, specifically the cerebellum and thalamus.

The researchers say the new findings represent an essential first step toward clinical studies in patients suffering from depression. They also plan to compare the functional connectivity signature of brains in recovery and those of patients who fail to respond after weeks of SSRI treatment.

Understanding the differences between the brains of individuals who respond to SSRIs and those who don’t “could help to better predict who will benefit from this kind of antidepressant versus some other form of therapy,” Sacher says. “The hope that we have is that ultimately our work will help to guide better treatment decisions and tailor individualized therapy for patients suffering from depression.”

nprglobalhealth:

It’s All About The Girls: Is The World Listening To Them?

"My shoes wear out from walking to school, and then I can’t go because we can’t afford new shoes," says a girl from Indonesia.

"I want to live freely," says another girl, in Egypt. "I don’t want people to dictate what I do. No one to control us, no one to hit us, no one to tell us what clothes to wear."

In Congo, a girl starts to list her chores: “Tidying the house, fetching water, preparing meals,” she says. “There are so many I can’t even name them all.”

Their voices are part of a chorus of more than 500 girls, ages 10 to 19, from 14 developing countries. They’ve shared their challenges and dreams with the Girl Declaration, a campaign started last year by the Nike Foundation.

The aim: to change the way the world thinks about girls, says Lyric Thompson at the International Center for Research on Women, which worked with Nike on the project.

Writing this week in the journal Science, Melinda Gates says that “no society can achieve its potential with half of its population marginalized and disempowered.”

They are the “engines” of global development, writes the co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. And they should be at the center of development plans and goals.

Continue reading and see more photos.

Photo: "I want to grow up and become a police. But I need to study in a good school for that. I want to become a police to protect the country." - Fiza, 13, India (Courtesy of Nike Foundation)

(via npr)

mothernaturenetwork:

Is your dog an optimist or a pessimist?
Research finds that man’s best friend can also have a positive or negative outlook on life.

txchnologist:

image

by Jared Kershner

This week on Txchnologist, we watched the world’s first 3-D printed car hit the road after being made in a mere 44 hours. The vehicle, called Strati, was sent on a test drive last Saturday after being quickly printed and assembled by a Local Motors team days before. The company plans to offer 3-D printed vehicles for sale in the coming months, paving the way for innovation in automotive design and opening new doors for modern manufacturing.

The creators of an MIT project called Local Warming are pioneering a heating system that uses motion sensing to direct infrared energy beams at occupants of a space, heating them directly while the remaining space stays cold. With current space heating accounting for 37 percent of the total power consumed by U.S. buildings in 2010, funding programs that rethink how to keep people comfortable could spark a radical shift in greater building energy efficiency nationwide.

Smog-producing low-level ozone concentrations are rising globally and bringing with them heightened public health and ecological threats. Scientists studying the environmental dangers of ozone offer a simple solution—plant more trees. Their models have shown that the reforestation of regions directly abutting urban areas provides an effective tool for abating ground-level ozone pollution, and could complement technology-based controls.

Now we’re bringing you the news and trends we’ve been following this week in the world of science, technology and innovation.

Read More

compoundchem:

With autumn on the horizon, this graphic looks at the chemicals behind the myriad colours of autumn leaves; bigger version & download here: http://wp.me/p4aPLT-sn

(via cillianonymous)

What are the implications of today’s biometrics technologies? Check out Part 2 of Jonathan’s interview with Dr. Jon Padfield to hear an expert’s predictions for the future. [Here’s Part 1.]

neuromorphogenesis:

Can your blood type affect your memory?

People with blood type AB may be more likely to develop memory loss in later years than people with other blood types, according to a study published in the September 10, 2014, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. 

AB is the least common blood type, found in about 4 percent of the U.S. population. The study found that people with AB blood were 82 percent more likely to develop the thinking and memory problems that can lead to dementia than people with other blood types. Previous studies have shown that people with type O blood have a lower risk of heart disease and stroke, factors that can increase the risk of memory loss and dementia.

The study was part of a larger study (the REasons for Geographic And Racial Differences in Stroke, or REGARDS Study) of more than 30,000 people followed for an average of 3.4 years. In those who had no memory or thinking problems at the beginning, the study identified 495 participants who developed thinking and memory problems, or cognitive impairment, during the study. They were compared to 587 people with no cognitive problems.

People with AB blood type made up 6 percent of the group who developed cognitive impairment, which is higher than the 4 percent found in the population.

"Our study looks at blood type and risk of cognitive impairment, but several studies have shown that factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes increase the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia," said study author Mary Cushman, MD, MSc, of the University of Vermont College of Medicine in Burlington. "Blood type is also related to other vascular conditions like stroke, so the findings highlight the connections between vascular issues and brain health. More research is needed to confirm these results."

Researchers also looked at blood levels of factor VIII, a protein that helps blood to clot. High levels of factor VIII are related to higher risk of cognitive impairment and dementia. People in this study with higher levels of factor VIII were 24 percent more likely to develop thinking and memory problems than people with lower levels of the protein. People with AB blood had a higher average level of factor VIII than people with other blood types.

(via neuromorphogenesis)

Interesting look at “supermassive” black holes…