Cool Neuroscience and Behavior News

I check Science Daily almost constantly, replacing my need for “news” in general with cool science breakthroughs and space and archeology and stuff. It’s a lot better for the mood than media-hype, I’ve found. This afternoon I found 5 new ones on topics I am super interested in- brain development, omega-3’s role in mood disorders, and the neuroscience of moral behavior. I love reading the findings of the new research being done!! Ideas, potentials for my brain to play with… fascinating methinks.

Deficiency of Dietary Omega-3 May Explain Depressive Behaviors – “To verify their hypotheses, the researchers studied mice fed a life-long diet imbalanced in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. They found that omega-3 deficiency disturbed neuronal communication specifically. The researchers observed that only the cannabinoid receptors, which play a strategic role in neurotransmission, suffer a complete loss of function. This neuronal dysfunction was accompanied by depressive behaviours among the malnourished mice.” Your food, your brain, your mood… all connected.

Bacteria in the Gut May Influence Brain Development

Brain Can Learn to Overcome Sleep Apnea, Study Suggests – This one was particularly of interest…although I have found another way to train my brain to overcome sleep apnea. I occasionally stop breathing in the night. I used to wake up gasping and out of breath after dreaming about drowning, until I  became lucid in one of the dreams and decided I could breathe underwater. I became conscious of my breathing, through lucid dreaming, and haven’t woken up gasping since. I think there are many more ways of training the brain than we realize as a culture!

Understanding the Autistic Mind: Evidence That Autistic Patients Have Trouble Understanding Other People’s Intentions – “For example, in one scenario, “Janet” and a friend are kayaking in a part of ocean with many jellyfish. The friend asks Janet if she should go for a swim. Janet has just read that the jellyfish in the area are harmless, and tells her friend to go for a swim. The friend is stung by a jellyfish and dies.

In this scenario, the researchers found that people with autism are more likely than non-autistic people to blame Janet for her friend’s death, even though she believed the jellyfish were harmless.”

WTF? Aside from loving the “jellyfish” test, I think this research has the potential to tell us a lot about moral decision making and psychological development.

Gestures Provide a Helping Hand in Problem Solving – “Talking with your hands can trigger mental images that help solve complex problems relating to spatial visualization” I love research like this that has instant real-world application! You mean, all I have to do is wave my hands around more and my brain will have an easier time solving problems? I’m hip to that.

That’s it for now, enjoy the dose of brain science. I think I’ll do this more often, I am far too much of a science geek to leave it out ;D

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