Scientific News

Is late retirement the secret to long life?

While there’s much debate about retirement age, research conducted by Chenkai Wu, a doctoral student in public health at the University of Oregon has shown that pushing back retirement age could increase life expectancy. The researcher explained his work during an interview with Nicole Torres for the Harvard Business Review (HBR) in October 2016. Why would ‘late’ retirement have an impact on longevity?

Working with professors Robert Stawski and Michelle Odden (University of Oregon), along with Gwenith Fisher (University of Colorado), C. Wu based his research on a longitudinal study (carried out between 1992 and 2010) on health and retirement. The study evaluated 2,956 ...

How does hypnosis affect the brain?

You are getting sleepy, very sleepy… Besides these ‘entertaining,' spectacular, and often funny (but equally frightening) aspects, hypnosis is also a real medical approach used to reduce pain or as a cure for phobias. But hypnosis remains an enigma. A study published in the British review Cerebral Cortex is helping to uncover part of the mystery. So what happens in the brain during hypnosis?

For their study, researchers from Stanford first gave a test to 545 students and then selected 57 for further experimentation. Among them, 36 were considered to be easily hypnotizable, while the others (n=21) were considered to be insensitive to hypnosis. According to psychologist and ...

A new map of the brain unveiled

Until today, 83 brain areas had been identified. You can now double this number because we’ve just discovered 97 others! It goes to show that the brain hasn’t finished revealing all of its mysteries. Scientists have taken yet another step toward understanding its complexity. The new map of the brain has just been published in Nature. How did researchers come upon this major neurobiological discovery?

To develop this new brain map, the research team of neurologists, engineers and computer scientists used data from the Human Connectome Project, a huge program in which highly sophisticated scanners recorded the brain activity of 1200 participants. With this partnership, the ...

How do you explain a false scare?

You’re calmly walking along in the forest and all of the sudden you jump and scream at the sight of a snake... that is actually only a stick. It’s this type of split-second reaction that an international team of scientists wanted to study, under the hypothesis that the fear response could be activated in our brains even before we’re aware of what triggered it. What happens in our heads? Let’s find out.

To explain the “false scare,” neurobiologist Constantino Méndez-Bértolo and colleagues from the universities of Madrid and Geneva (the study was directed by researchers at the Campus de Excelencia Internaciol Moncloa) hypothesized (on the basis of a previous study ...

How do horses communicate with humans?

Just as dogs can attract our attention to direct us to their empty food bowl, horses can also look to humans when they have a “problem,” as if to request our help. Rachel Malavasi and Ludwig Huber decided to find out more about “referential heterospecific communication” in domestic horses; that is, their capacity to communicate information about their environment. How do horses try to talk to us? To find out more read on.

This research was jointly led by a cognitive researcher at the Study Center for Ethical Equitation, Moncigoli Di Fivizzano, Italy, and a professor at the University of Veterinary Medicine of Vienna, Austria. The results were published in the review ...

When your right hand doesn't agree with your left…

blocking the movement and forcing you to turn right! This was a frustrating reality for one atypical patient whose case was presented in the online review Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. The patient, who was followed by a medical team in Marseille, was suffering from diagonistic dyspraxia or a conflict between his right and his left hand. But what made his case unique?

These types of behavior, also known as ‘diagonistics’, are principally observed in epileptic patients who have undergone surgery to sever the corpus callosum either partially or completely. This operation is usually used to treat refractory epilepsy by stopping interference between the left and the ...

How a baby's cry affects the adult brain

When a baby cries we react quickly to the needs of the child. A team of researchers from the University of Toronto and the National Institute for child health and human development (Maryland) studied the effects of infant vocalizations on adult cognitive performance. What happens to the brain when a new born baby laughs or cries?

While the majority of publications have emphasized the role of the baby’s face as a powerful means of attracting adult attention, the sounds of a baby’s cry are also significant. The acoustics of a baby’s cry trigger vigilance, and research on brain imagery shows that infant vocalizations activate cortical regions affecting cognitive control ...

Who wants new neurons?

It’s the beginning of a new school year and time to make some new resolutions, so we wanted to share with you the major principles behind enhancing neuron growth. According to Professor Pierre-Marie Lledo, head of the department of neuroscience at the Pasteur Institute, we all have the capacity to enhance our neuron growth regardless of our age. Here are the six main rules stated during the colloquium S3 Odeon.

1. Avoid routine

New neurons are only produced when we try out new activities. Change is a stimulant for neurogenesis. Motivation, a motor for learning, stimulates and solicits the brain, which in turn forces stem cells to produce ...

Live a normal life with only 10 per cent of your brain?!

While the astonishing case of a French man living a normal life despite having lost 90% of his brain was first reported in 2007 in the journal The Lancet, the story is resurfacing as part of the international conference of the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness. The portrait of this unusual subject was presented during the event, provoking new questions amongst the scientific community. How can a human lead a normal life with only 10% of his brain? The specialist Axel Cleeremans from the Université Libre de Bruxelles sheds light on the question.

Listening to Cleeremans paint the portrait of the patient during the conference held in June in Buenos Aires, one ...

Why are birds so smart?

Scientists have long questioned the cognitive abilities of birds in relation to their tiny brain size; in certain areas they resemble or even outperform mammals. A new study carried out by researchers from the Universities of Prague, Vienna, and Rio de Janeiro has revealed how birds are able to perform such cognitive feats with brains the size of a walnut. What if Hitchcock were right?

Among birds, corvids (crows, magpies, and jays for example) and parrots appear to be cognitively superior; they may even rival the great apes. They are able to make and use tools, understand cause and effect mechanisms (in both directions), recognize themselves in a mirror, plan for future ...

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