Scientific News

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 ...

The artificial neuron: A promising technological feat

Imagine a few years from now: a microscopic artificial brain implant capable of releasing substances that can support a diseased brain just like biological nerve cells. Research carried out at the Swedish Medical Nanoscience Center, part of the famous Karolinska Institute, may well turn this fantasy into reality. The scientists designed a micro-device that perfectly mimics the function of human neurons. How were they able to achieve this technological feat that could revolutionize the treatment of Parkinson's and other neurological disorders? What would this near-human neuron look like?

Our brains function thanks to the hundred billion neurons that communicate with one another ...

How is brain palpation possible without touching the brain?

Inspired by seismology, researchers from the French Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm) have developed an MRI method to virtually palpate the brain, a crucial step in diagnosis. The approach is a major step forward for brain diseases. But what’s the link between tectonic plates and our brains? How can we palpate the brain without opening the skull?

Physical palpation is often used by doctors during medical examinations to detect structural tissue changes, particularly in regards to elasticity. For example, cancerous tumors often take on the form of nodules that are much harder than the surrounding tissues. This palpation can be replaced by wave propagation ...

Don't stop fidgeting!

A study conducted by a British research team could lead us to change the way we see people that are constantly fidgeting in their chairs. Often associated with rudeness or a lack of concentration, this activity may soon be seen as a survival reflex! From kindergarten, we are expected to stay quietly seated in our chairs. But what if fidgeting were good for your health?

At the outset, G. Hagger-Johnson and his colleagues tried to determine if there was a possible link between time spent sitting and mortality rate among nearly 13,000 English, Scottish, and Welsh women. They tried to determine whether or not fidgeting in one's chair had an influence on this link.


Two human brains connected : when science fiction becomes reality

This isn't science fiction, but rather science non-fiction. Imagine: two people are sitting in different rooms and must cooperate to save a city from enemy rockets solely through the use of an interface linking the two brains. How did scientists from the University of Washington manage to connect two human brains and allow them to communicate effectively?

The brain-to-brain interface (BBI) combines electroencephalography (EEG), which records brain signals, with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), which delivers the information to the other brain. To illustrate the method, the researchers use a visual-motor task in which two people must communicate through an interface. ...

Does today's youth have a different brain?

In an interview with AFT (Agence France Presse), Olivier Houdé, a psychologist and specialist in child development, explains what's different about the brains of children who were born and have grown up in the digital age (ages 12-24). What do the brain capacities of this “generation Z" look like? Have they improved or worsened due to contact with computers, tablets and smartphones?

The director of the Laboratory for the Psychology of Child Development and Education at CNRS-La Sorbonne explains that digital “natives” have developed cognitive abilities in terms of speed and automation to the detriment of critical reasoning and self-control. This “struggle” between ...

Why does falling asleep feel like falling?

Have you ever gone to bed for a good night’s rest only to close your eyes and suddenly jerk awake because you feel as if you're falling into the void? These rather unpleasant feelings can disrupt sleep. What happens in our body and mind at that precise moment? How can this phenomenon be explained? Let’s take a closer look...

This phenomenon known as “hypnic jerk” physically results in an increase in muscle activity that varies in intensity based on the individual. Dr. Carl Bazil, director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Colombia University in New York, explains: “One of the things that happens as you fall asleep is your muscles relax, but the awake part may still be ...

Why do we mix up the days of the week?

It’s easy to remember when it’s Monday or Friday: one is depressing, the other exciting! These two days of the week are clearly identified, and we rarely confuse them with other days. But what about the middle of the week? It’s a bit hazy. We’re often lost. Especially when we’re on vacation! How many times have you said to yourself: “What day is it anyway?" Researchers have recently examined the question.

Mixing up the days of the week is a common phenomenon of daily life that occurs more frequently on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. During these three days, it isn't unusual to have the feeling we’re experiencing a particular day of the week when in reality ...

Controlling your mind to sharpen your senses

We may dream of having an owl's hearing or a cat's vision. But if certain senses are more highly developed in animals, it's largely thanks to their anatomy. However, we do know that it's possible to sharpen our senses, as is the case for the visually impaired, whose senses of hearing and touch are well above the norm. What if it were possible to sharpen our senses using only the power of the mind?

German researchers at Ruhr-Unviersity Bochum and Ludwig-Maximilians-University München used a group of meditators to study the impact of mental concentration on the sense of touch. The goal was to determine whether it would be possible to improve tactile perception through targeted ...


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