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Cocaine, Meth Can Mess With Your Morals

Stimulant use is particularly prevalent in criminal populations, researchers say

(Newser) - Which comes first, the hard drugs or the criminal behavior? Researchers asked essentially that in a study just published in the journal Psychopharmacology in which they investigate whether cocaine and meth use might hamper moral judgment on a neurological level. The short answer is probably, though further research is required.... 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 »

Some People Are Born Without a 'Mind's Eye'

Aphantasia impairs one's ability to visualize

(Newser) - When science journalist Carl Zimmer wrote a 2010 article in Discover magazine about English neurologist Adam Zeman's case study of a man who couldn't visualize people or things, the professor was approached by 21 people who saw themselves in the article and wanted to learn more. Now Zeman... More »

Scientists Create 'Alzheimer's in a Dish'

Breakthrough will make drug testing much easier

(Newser) - A huge breakthrough in Alzheimer's research—and one that doesn't involve tests on mice: Scientists have successfully created "Alzheimer's in a dish" using human brain cells in research that will make it much cheaper and easier to test new anti-Alzheimer's drugs, reports the New York ... More »

Kidney Donors Have Brains 'Built for Compassion'

'Empathy zone' is bigger than average, study finds

(Newser) - People who donate kidneys to total strangers aren't just bighearted, they're big-brained compared to most people, researchers say. Neurologists scanned the brains of 39 such donors and found that their brains were 9% bigger than non-donors' brains—with significantly greater volume in the part of the brain that... More »

24-Year-Old Discovers She's Missing Key Part of Brain

Doctors stunned to find patient's cerebellum missing

(Newser) - The cerebellum is a pretty important part of the brain—it plays a key role in walking, among other movements—so doctors in China were more than a little surprised when a 24-year-old patient who lives a relatively normal life turned out not to have one. A CT scan revealed... More »

New Claim: Einstein's Brain Not So Special

Psychologist says no secret in Einstein's brain

(Newser) - Maybe he just knew how to use it right. A new paper by Pace University psychologist Terence Hines picks apart previous studies that claim to have identified that special something in the makeup of Einstein's brain. Hines reviewed—and chipped away at—several prominent studies that looked at Einstein'... More »

Military Working on Brain Chip to Fight Mental Illness

DARPA: 'We think that we have to go well beyond what is currently available'

(Newser) - The US military's research division is turning its considerable might against one of the military's most persistent foes: mental illness . The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency today announced a $26 million effort to develop a brain implant that could treat things like PTSD, anxiety, and depression. "At... More »

Fruit Flies Pause to Think About Decisions

Tiny flies share decision-making gene with humans

(Newser) - The fruit fly's tiny speck of a brain has astonished researchers once again. The flies, given the choice of flying into different chambers with varying levels of a scent they associated with danger, lingered longer over the decision as the differences became smaller, showing signs of the same decision-making... More »

Casual Pot Use Changes Young Brains

Abnormalities seen in 'parts you don't want to mess with'

(Newser) - Even casual use of marijuana could be messing up young people's brains at a time of life when they need to make major decisions, a new study finds. Researchers say that people aged 18 to 25 who used marijuana at least once a week were found to have abnormalities... More »

Autism Starts in the Womb

Finding offers new hopes for treatment

(Newser) - Autism appears to start with changes in the brain months before birth, according to new research that highlights the need for early identification and treatment of the disorder. Researchers studying the brains of deceased autistic children found abnormal patches in the cortex that suggest something went wrong either during or... More »

Scientists Discover 'New' Area of Brain

Region helps us ponder what could have been

(Newser) - Is the grass always greener on the other side of the fence? If you find yourself plagued by the question, thank the lateral frontal pole behind each of your eyebrows, says Oxford researcher Matthew Rushworth. The lateral frontal pole is a newly identified part of your brain which, scientists believe,... More »

Narcolepsy Breakthrough: It's Autoimmune

Researchers find 'smoking gun' confirming long-held theory

(Newser) - A group of researchers has finally found evidence to confirm what many have long suspected: Narcolepsy is an autoimmune disease. The hypothesis has been swirling since 2009, when at least 900 children developed the chronic drowsiness disorder after being given a swine flu vaccine from GlaxoSmithKline, Scientific American and Reuters... More »

2K US Veterans Lobotomized in '40s, '50s

'WSJ' profiles Walter Freeman's medical legacy

(Newser) - In the first detailed account of the Veterans Administration's psychosurgery program, the Wall Street Journal reveals the extent to which lobotomies were used on veterans in the 1940s and '50s, before antipsychotic drugs came on the market and public opinion dipped. Unearthed documents show how one of the... More »

Inside the Fight for Junior Seau's Brain

How the NFL directed Seau's brain to the NIH

(Newser) - An in-depth report from Frontline and ESPN's Outside the Lines describes the fight for Junior Seau's brain following his suicide last year—a fight that ESPN reporters Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru, who are working on a book and documentary about brain injuries in football, call "a... More »

Bored? Experts Want to Study Your Brain

Boring activities can affect your health and productivity

(Newser) - Feeling bored? That's just fascinating to researchers in the little-known field of boredom studies, the Wall Street Journal reports. They gather at events like the third annual Boring Conference in East London, and orate on subjects such as toast and out-of-date portable keyboards. Participants in their studies are asked... More »

Beta Blockers May Cut Alzheimer's Risk

Study finds fewer brain changes in those using blood pressure drugs

(Newser) - A class of drugs already widely used to control high blood pressure may also significantly reduce the chances of getting Alzheimer's disease, according to a new study. Researchers found that men who took beta blockers for hypertension had fewer signs of the brain shrinkage and other changes associated with... More »

Test Spots Alzheimer's Decades Before Start of Symptoms

Brain starts to change many years before problems surface

(Newser) - Researchers have spotted very early signs of Alzheimer's disease in patients decades before symptoms usually appear, raising hopes that the disease can be treated before the brain degenerates badly, the BBC reports. Tests on people in their 20s destined to develop the inherited, early-onset form of the disease revealed... More »

Blood Sugar Might Be Shrinking Your Brain

Even high end of normal appears harmful, researcher say

(Newser) - We've all been told sugar rots the teeth—but the brain as well? A new study has linked blood sugar levels even at the high end of normal to shrinkage of parts of the brain involved in memory and emotions, reports ABC . The "robust" link between blood sugar... More »

Scientists Get Step Closer to Decoding Our Thoughts

Computers track brain activity as words are heard

(Newser) - Scientists have taken a big step toward being able to decode our thoughts. Researchers working with brain surgery patients taught computers to decipher the brain activity that takes place when words are heard. The brain, they found, breaks sounds down into their consistent acoustic frequencies. Using that computer model, they... More »

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