Scientific News

The smell of chocolate: What goes on in kids' brains?

A Mexican team of researchers has found that obesity may be partially linked to a neurological disorder. The smell of food stimulates different areas of the brain in obese children as compared to their normal weight counterparts. How do their brains react to the smell of chocolate and onions? Read on to discover the results of this study and its implications for public health.

In most developed countries, obesity is a public health concern. In the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 18% of children were obese in 2012. Mexico, where the study was carried out, has the highest rate of child obesity worldwide, ahead of the United States. Indeed, ...

Why does a poor night's sleep put us in a bad mood?

Being in a bad mood can be good for your health (a recent study has shown), but out of respect for others, wouldn’t it be nice to know what puts us in a bad mood? All of us have had the opportunity to see what lack of sleep does to our mood the next day. But we know less about the adverse effects of being unexpectedly awoken during the night. A recent study published in the journal Sleep answers just this question: why does interrupted sleep put us in a bad mood?

Earlier studies have already highlighted that sleep interruptions, even short ones, can disturb sleep quality, leading to a sleepless night, with the usual effects on mood (not to mention fatigue and trouble focusing ...

Keep it moving for better memory!

The benefits of exercise on physical health are well established. But to date, few studies have taken an objective look at the effects of physical exercise on cognitive health. Recently, a team of researchers from Boston University established a link between physical health and memory in seniors. Can physical activity boost memory? Does it have an overall positive impact on cognitive aging?

To test the possible link between physical activity and cognitive health, Scott Hayes and his team compared a group of 29 young adults (ages 18 to 31) with a group of 31 seniors (ages 55 to 82). Each participant was equipped with an accelerometer to measure exercise (walking) intensity and ...

Cleaning out your brain while you sleep?

In 2012-2013, preliminary research demonstrated the existence of a specific brain-cleaning system that is most active during sleep. New studies have tried to determine the ideal body posture for promoting this brain waste disposal system. On your back, stomach, side… what position is best for cleaning out your brain? Does brain health depend on the position we choose to sleep in? Let’s first take a look at what happens in rats!

Back to the cleaning system… Research begun in 2012 by a team of scientists at the University of Rochester uncovered the existence of a glymphatic system, which is responsible for brain clearance. The waste produced by neurons is evacuated into ...

Why should we talk to ourselves?

Inner speech is part of our daily life: "I have to remember to get the car inspected," “Don’t forget to pick the kids up from school at 5pm.” All of these things we say to ourselves, whether out loud or internally, are actually quite useful because they improve our performance. In his article, F. Jabr sheds some light on the question: how can speaking to oneself be both natural and beneficial?

Self-talk begins in childhood with what Piaget referred to as “egocentric speech,” and which was the subject of much debate with Vygotsky. Unlike Piaget, Vygotsky insisted that this "egocentric” language does not regress over the years, but qualitatively progresses. He ...

When odor brings back memories…

Every one of us has certainly had the intense experience of diving headlong into a memory triggered by a smell. Generally, it’s an enjoyable moment that brings back the place where we first smelled the odor, and particularly the emotions we were experiencing at that time. Neurologists have identified the brain mechanisms that bring about this flood of memories induced by odor. So how exactly are smell and memory linked in the brain?

The studies (along with Proust‘s apt description of the episode of the Madeleine from Remembrance of Things Past) have already shown that smell and taste are more evocative of memory than the other senses. Led by neurologist Kei M. Igarashi and ...

Can happiness be seen in the brain?

Happiness is the ultimate goal for many. While subjective, psychologists have shown that it can be measured. However, the mechanisms behind emotion remain poorly understood. By using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a scientific team was able to locate an area of the brain involved in the experience of happiness. How were researchers able to find happiness in the brain? Read on as we reveal the secret…

The team of Dr. Waturu Sato from the University of Kyoto wanted to know where happiness comes from and identify the brain structures involved in feelings of happiness. They created an experiment, the principles and results of which were published in November 2015 in ...

Can we really do two things at once?

We are becoming multitasking creatures: we work on computers while listening to music and waiting for that next text message to arrive. A recent study has uncovered new findings on our ability to select relevant information from multiple sources. What mechanism is responsible for filtering several sources of perceptual information? How does our brain choose the right information? Mice have shed new light on the topic...

Depending on the context, we are constantly choosing where to focus our attention. Though scientists were generally in agreement about the role of the prefrontal cortex and the thalamus in focusing attention, it had until now never been proven. But now a team ...

Why do we get up at night to snack?

“It’s not my fault, it’s my brain!” may soon constitute a justified scientific argument to be used the next time your husband or your wife finds you with your head in the refrigerator in search of a little snack. According to the results of a recent study, feelings of fullness linked to food were less pronounced during the night than in the daytime. This may encourage us to overeat in an attempt to satisfy our needs. Why would night time snacking be ‘guided’ by our brains? Read on for the explanation.

The study was led by a team of researchers at Brigham Young University, and published by the scientific review Brain Imaging and Behavior, in March 2015. It ...

Some unusual advice to help you lie….

Planning to tell your boss how much you appreciate him and how lucky you are to work for him? Try drinking lots of water one hour before your meeting, and don’t go to the bathroom. Chances are, he’ll find you more credible! Everyone knows that when you desperately need to urinate it can be complicated to focus on anything else. A recent study by American psychologists showed an interesting secondary effect: waiting to urinate can make us better liars. How can the art of lying be linked to our bladders? Why do we become more convincing when our bladders are full? The following explanation is of public interest.

Life in our society depends on our capacity to resist our ...

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