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Here's What Potent Pot Does to Your Brain

Study finds damage in white matter used to send signals

(Newser) - A new study raises concerns for those who indulge in potent forms of marijuana. Researchers out of King’s College London and Rome's Sapienza University studied brain scans of 56 patients who had reported an episode of psychosis and 43 healthy volunteers. They found that those who regularly smoked... More »

Scientists Might've Just Revolutionized Brain Medicine

Canadian scientists breach blood-brain barrier for first time

(Newser) - Inside your head, there's something called the blood-brain barrier—a natural defense system that keeps germs in your bloodstream from entering your brain. While it's great when it comes to preventing bacterial infections, the barrier makes treating some brain diseases impossible, since it prevents drugs from reaching the... More »

Man's Headaches Turn Out to Be Tapeworm in Brain

Tiny, wriggling worm was removed from Luis Ortiz

(Newser) - It's something most of us have done before: ignored a headache. A 26-year-old California man did just that beginning in late August, but then the pain got worse. The cause turned out to be almost unimaginable: a tapeworm larva that had made its way to his brain. The Napa ... More »

Here's Why You Can't Draw a Perfect Circle

It requires the use of several joints, while your brain prefers to move only one

(Newser) - If you've felt disappointed at not being a genius who can draw a perfect circle, well, take solace: BrainDecoder explains the matter in detail, and it's not exactly your fault. The site starts by pointing out that we can recognize a perfect vs. imperfect circle pretty easily, and... More »

150-Year-Old Question About the Brain Is Answered

A bigger brain doesn't equal a bigger IQ, meta-analysis finds

(Newser) - If brain size relative to body size determines IQ, the venerable shrew would be the smartest creature on the planet. But it doesn't, and it's not, and scientists from Austria, the Netherlands, and Germany have combed through 88 studies with more than 8,000 participants to confirm in... More »

Brain Scan 'Fingerprints' Can Show How Smart We Are

Scientists say 'connectivity profiles' may predict how well we do on cognitive tasks

(Newser) - Each person's brain activity, or "connectivity profile," may be as unique as a set of fingerprints, YaleNews reports—and could prove useful in IDing individuals, assessing intelligence, and predicting future success on certain tasks. In a study published Monday in Nature Neuroscience , scientists reviewed fMRI scans for... More »

Scientists Link Brains Over the Internet

They say it's the most successful mind-meld yet

(Newser) - University of Washington scientists say they pulled off the amazing feat of linking two minds over the Internet—and they didn't have to stick electrodes into anybody's brain to do it. Instead, pairs of study participants a mile apart wore caps—one connected to an EEG machine monitoring... More »

Your Liver Is Younger Than Your Brain

Scientists learn what makes our organs age at different rates

(Newser) - It's well established that our most vital organ, the heart, doesn't necessarily age at the same rate as we do—based in part on lifestyle factors, some of us have hearts that are older or younger than our chronological age. Now researchers are reporting in the journal Cell ... More »

First Head Transplant Has a Patient and a Date

A 30-year-old Russian computer scientist has volunteered to be the first in 2017

(Newser) - Italian surgeon Sergio Canavero made headlines in 2013 when he said the first human head transplant is just years away, and again earlier this year when he said the surgery could happen as soon as 2017 . Now he is announcing that, if everything goes "smoothly," he will be... More »

A Small Shock Could Zap Your Motion Sickness

Scientists think they could eradicate travel misery within a decade

(Newser) - Motion sickness is, some scientists think, caused by conflicting messages that our ears and eyes send to our brain when we are in motion. In three out of 10 of us, it can be downright debilitating, resulting in cold sweats, dizziness, severe nausea, and more. But now researchers at Imperial... More »

Could This Discovery End Alcoholism?

Blocking D1 receptors in brain blocks alcohol cravings: study

(Newser) - Scientists say a cure for alcoholism could be on the horizon thanks to the remarkable discovery of neurons in the brain that play a role in whether one glass of wine turns into a bottle. Texas A&M researchers explain the part of your brain known as the dorsomedial striatum... More »

Study of Rare, Terrible Brain Disease Yields Huge Find

Multiple system atrophy quickly destroys the brain

(Newser) - Multiple system atrophy, or MSA, is a rare and horrible disease that will destroy your brain and inevitably kill you, and the study of it has now yielded a major breakthrough in our understanding of brain diseases. Researchers have discovered that MSA is caused by a prion, a kind of... More »

Daydreaming May Be Why Neurotics Are So Creative

So, does this explain Woody Allen?

(Newser) - Is there a reason neurotic people tend to be bigger worriers but also more creative than the rest of us? A newly published theory says yes, and it has to do with daydreaming. Neurotics—famous ones include Isaac Newton, Winston Churchill, and, of course, Woody Allen—get anxious and obsessed... More »

Whistled Language Brings Surprising Brain Discovery

People must use both sides of their brain to understand it, a first

(Newser) - The rapidly disappearing "bird language" that is spoken—or whistled, actually—by about 10,000 residents in the mountains of Turkey is changing the way scientists think about language and the brain. The left hemisphere has always been dominant when interpreting language, be it spoken, written, signed, or even... More »

One Man Lost Most of His Brain and Didn't Even Notice

Doctors astounded as married father of two goes about life with very little brain matter

(Newser) - As it turns out maybe the Scarecrow didn't need that brain after all. Real Clear Science revisits a bizarre case from 2007 in which a relatively normal 44-year-old man—married, two kids, job—turned out to have been going about his life without most of his brain. In fact,... More »

More Kids in Poverty Now Than in Recession: Report

And it could have detrimental effects on brain development, researchers say

(Newser) - The Great Recession may be long over, but things didn't pick up for everyone in the years immediately after, especially not for US children: A new report from the nonprofit Annie E. Casey Foundation says that while 18% of American kids lived below the poverty line in 2008, that... More »

Scientists Figure Out How That Idea Pops in Your Head

Study tracks changes in brain through learning

(Newser) - Scientists using cutting-edge brain imaging technology finally know how that new idea pops into your head and may even be able to read the thought by looking at your brain. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University observed 16 participants' brains as they learned about the habitat and eating habits of eight... More »

Tribe Became Immune to Brain Disease— by Eating Brains

The cannibalistic practice spread disease that some managed to resist

(Newser) - When members of the Fore tribe in Papua New Guinea ate the brains of their extended kin at funerals, it was their way of paying respect. Unfortunately, the ritual also helped spread kuru prion disease, a form of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD)—a rare but fatal brain disease that can lead... More »

MRIs May Be Leaving Toxins in Our Brains

New research raises more questions about contrasting agents

(Newser) - Could some MRIs be doing more harm than good? It's too early to say definitively, but ProPublica points to new research in the journal Radiology showing that a potentially toxic metal is ending up in the brains of patients. The concern revolves contrasting agents, drugs used to make the... More »

Discovery of Hidden Vessel in Brain Called 'Stunning'

It may rewrite textbooks on immune system, has implications for Alzheimer's

(Newser) - It may not sound like much to those without neuroscience degrees: A researcher at the University of Virginia spotted a lymphatic vessel while studying the brain of a mouse. But the reason words like " stunning ," " dazzling ," and " landmark " are being used to describe the... More »

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