Brain & Behavior

The opening session was great! Eric Hoffman (Children’s National Medical Center) presented work on chronic inflammatory diseases in children. He mentioned that while diets high in fats and carbohydrates (i.e. Western diets), obesity and sedentary lifestyles are associated with inflammation and related diseases (ex: asthma, type 2 diabetes), another contributor could be hormones. Kids who stay indoors…

The annual American Physiological Society sponsored conference, The Integrative Biology of Exercise is hosting their 7th meeting in Phoenix, AZ this week! I just unpacked my bags and I am highlighting my program book now to see what sessions to attend tomorrow. Can’t wait!

Fevers impair brain activity

You probably already knew that fevers can cause some people to develop seizures. According to the National Institutes of Health, these so-called ‘febrile seizures’ can happen at temperatures of 102.2 degrees F and above and are most-often seen in children. The good news is that this type of seizure is usually short and does not often…

Check out this video from Reuters (via YouTube). It summarizes an exciting study from researchers at Imperial College London who were able to stop the progression of Alzheimer’s disease in mice by administering a modified virus to the animals. The virus worked by preventing the formation of the characteristic amyloid plaques that are responsible for…

Corporal punishment in America’s public schools seems like a relic of the past — a practice we had surely banned long ago. The reality, however, is that it’s perfectly legal to physically discipline students as young as preschoolers in 19 states. And according to a new report, corporal punishment is most often used against black students and students with disabilities.

Heroic Humpback Whales

Scientists have taken notice that humpback whales may shown signs of heroic altruism in this video posted by CNN on YouTube:

Just 10 years ago, it wouldn’t have been possible to bring leading physicians, scientists and advocates together in a consensus on toxic chemicals and neurological disorders in children, says Maureen Swanson. But with the science increasing “exponentially,” she said the time was ripe for a concerted call to action.

Can bees experience positive emotions?

A new study was designed to test whether bees can experience some kind of primordial “emotions”. In the study bees were trained to associate a tunnel marked with a blue flower with a sugar water treat at its end. In contrast, a green flower meant no reward at the end of the tunnel. However, when bees were…

Extreme Physiology: Radiation tolerance

Don’t let their small size fool you. Tardigrades, or ‘water bears’, are really tough animals. According to a review published in the American Scientist, these microscopic invertebrates can survive extreme variations in temperature from near absolute zero (-459 deg F) up to +302 deg F. They can also tolerate pressures that are 6 times greater than the deepest…

Very Smart Birds, Very Smart Bird Book

Crows are smart. Anyone who watches them for a while can figure this out. But that is true of a lot of things. Your baby is smart (not really). Your dog is smart (not really). Ants are smart (sort of). It takes a certain degree of objective research, as well as some serious philosophy of…