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Discussions Discussion Science - Neurology
Mark Collins, Feb. 20, 2012

Regular exercise can improve memory and learning: Scientists

Exercising for up to an hour a day can improve memory and learning in children and the elderly, scientists have found.

Walking or cycling regularly for between six months to a year can improve memory and problem solving skills in the elderly by between 15 and 20 per cent, according to researchers.

Professor Art Kramer, director of the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois, who led the research, said their findings could have major implications for improving children’s performance at school, and it could also be used to help the elderly combat memory loss in old age.

http://www.todayonline.com/Health/EDC120220-0000109/Regular-exercise-can-improve-memory-and-learning—Scientists

http://youtube.com/watch?v=A5-kbfnCq6M
Mark Collins
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Discussions Discussion Science - Neurology
Jill Davies, Feb. 15, 2012

Neurolaw” - A meeting of the minds on brain and law

This emerging area of work was coined “neurolaw” in 1991, and has been bringing together interdisciplinary teams of neuroscientists, scholars, lawyers and judges to explore and deliberate where the science of the brain and the principles of justice intersect. As the understanding of the brain becomes greater, many new questions with potentially game-changing answers arise. How can assemblies of brain cells and the inter-actions between them lead to notions of guilt and punishment? What is the role of our genes and our brains in the courtroom? Will neuroscience change how we feel about criminal responsibility? How is eyewitness testimony affected by aging, neurologic and psychiatric conditions? What can courts and other justice system participants learn from neuroscience to improve eyewitness reliability, including lineup procedures, jury instructions and the use of expert witnesses? How does popular culture affect public perceptions of the meaning of moral and legal responsibility? The answers to these questions, and many more, have great potential to influence how we, as a society, deliver justice and punishment.

http://www.vancouversun.com/health/meeting+minds+brain/6155071/story.html

http://youtube.com/watch?v=0-fMV1UcD-c
Jill Davies
Comments (1)
  • Tony Trevari Tony Trevari Feb. 15, 2012
    Canadian law will be forced very soon to accommodate the fact there is no absolute “free will.” …fascinating implications.

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Discussions Discussion Science - Neurology
Janet Pearson, Feb. 8, 2012

Neuroscience could mean soldiers controlling weapons with minds:

Soldiers could have their minds plugged directly into weapons systems, undergo brain scans during recruitment and take courses of neural stimulation to boost their learning, if the armed forces embrace the latest developments in neuroscience to hone the performance of their troops.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/feb/07/neuroscience-soldiers-control-weapons-mind

These scenarios are described in a report into the military and law enforcement uses of neuroscience, published on Tuesday, which also highlights a raft of legal and ethical concerns that innovations in the field may bring.

Interview with Professor Rod Flower FRS, chair of the Royal Society’s new report.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=wflw_MIKEIc
Janet Pearson
Comments (3)
  • Rajneesh Nair Rajneesh Nair Feb. 8, 2012
    I know this seems like a bit irrelevant, but in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, many of the soldiers are controlled by technology, used to pair their guns to their digital I.D.'s. They also perform in a more uniform manner, never question orders, and show no judgment of their own, for better or for worse. The various ethical dilemmas that arise throughout the game relating to this topic are very interesting. If you're into games and neurobiological weaponry, look into it.
  • Thomas Billingsly Thomas Billingsly Feb. 9, 2012
    The parallel with the world of games is not irrelevant at all. Military drones that hover over distant lands for spying and attack purposes are known to be sometimes controlled by a game-like joystick from a person sitting in an office outside of Washington DC who decides to press the button “kill” button or not. The whole scenario is reduced to a game-like situation for this person. Training for such work also involves game techniques. The parallel is right on point.
  • Thomas Billingsly Thomas Billingsly Feb. 9, 2012
    To this point — Predator Drones and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs): Military ethicists concede that drones can turn war into a video game and, with no Americans directly at risk, more easily draw the United States into conflicts.
    http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/u/unmanned_aerial_vehicles/index.html

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Discussions Discussion Science - Neurology
Jenny Rothberg, Feb. 6, 2012

Big brain, lots of friends?

Scientists have linked the size of the part of the brain that lies just above the eyes with sociability. The bigger that orbital pre-frontal cortex, the bigger a person’s social circle.

This area of the brain is key to “mentalising” - the ability to interpret another’s thoughts and emotions and a skill crucial to making and maintaining friendships.

http://www.iol.co.za/scitech/science/discovery/big-brain-lots-of-friends-1.1228141

Dr Joanne Powell, of the University of Liverpool, said: “What this tells us is that the size of your brain determines your social skills and it is these that allow you to have many friends.”

But, does this also extend to Facebook friends?

http://youtube.com/watch?v=ytdd2l_1GEc
Jenny Rothberg
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Discussions Discussion Science - Neurology
Mark Collins, Jan. 23, 2012

Searching the Brain for the Roots of Fear - an interesting NYT OPED piece about Human anxiety.

Fear and anxiety are in the brain because they helped our ancestors and theirs cope with life’s challenges. But when these states interfere with our ability to survive and thrive, one has an anxiety disorder. These include phobias, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress syndrome, generalized anxiety disorder, among other conditions. While fear plays a key role in some anxiety disorders (phobia, post-traumatic stress), it takes a back seat in others (generalized anxiety).

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/22/anatomy-of-fear/
Mark Collins
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Discussions Discussion Science - Neurology
John Reading, Jan. 2, 2012

Found! Cells that drive brain`s adaptability

Researchers say that glia cells, which had long puzzled scientists, are central to the brain`s adaptability, learning and information storage.

http://esciencenews.com/articles/2011/12/29/brains.connective.cells.are.much.more.glue

Actually, glia cells do much more than hold the brain together, says doctoral student Maurizio De Pittà of Tel Aviv University (TAU) Schools of Physics and Astronomy and Electrical Engineering. “Glia cells are like the brain`s supervisors. By regulating the synapses (junctions of nerve cells), they control the transfer of information between neurons, affecting how the brain processes information and learns,” De Pitta adds.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=YYiyhcZCNxc
John Reading
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Discussions Discussion Science - Neurology
Dan Thompson, Dec. 6, 2011

Scientists discover brain area that controls ability to correct movement after being hit or bumped.

http://www.healthcanal.com/brain-nerves/24136-Scientists-discover-how-brain-corrects-bumps-body.html

The fact that humans rapidly correct for any disturbance in motion demonstrates the brain understands the physics of the limb – scientists just didn’t know what part of the brain supported this feedback response – until now. Researchers have discovered that the pathway through the primary motor cortex provides this knowledge of the physics of the limb… implications for stroke patients.

Dan Thompson
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Discussions Discussion Science - Neurology
Camilla Pashar, Dec. 1, 2011

Exercise helps people eat healthier: physical activity in itself can help someone make better eating choices, according to a study from a Harvard University expert. A review of past research by neurology professor Miguel Alonso Alonso shows that physical activity can help in diet control in a few different ways.

Exercise creates more connections in the prefrontal part of the brain. This improves cognitive functions, including the ability to suppress impulsive eating urges.

http://www.montrealgazette.com/health/Exercise+helps+people+healthier+study/5762617/story.html

Camilla Pashar
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Discussions Discussion Science - Neurology
Jill Davies, Nov. 26, 2011

This is your mind on meditation: less wandering, more doing… The brains of experienced meditators appear to be fitter, more disciplined and more “on task” than do the brains of those trying out meditation for the first time.

http://articles.latimes.com/2011/nov/22/news/la-heb-meditation-mind-wandering-20111122

And the differences between the two groups are evident not only during meditation, but also when the mind is allowed to wander freely. And as you can see in the vidclip, meditation can be practiced almost anytime, anywhere :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3IgUV_7p45s
Jill Davies
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Discussions Discussion Brain Teasers
Mario Zolt, Nov. 15, 2011

Weighing in a Harder Way

You’ve got 27 coin, each of them is 10 g, except for 1. The 1 different coin is 9 g or 11 g (heavier, or lighter by 1 g). You should use balance scale that compares what’s in the two pans. You can get the answer by just comparing groups of coins.
What is the minimum number weighings that can always guarantee to determine the different coin.

[source: http://brainden.com]

Mario Zolt
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