All Posts Tagged With: "neuroscience"
Research suggests vegetative patients are awake and aware
From the Maclean’s Rethink Issue
On Dec. 20, 1999, Scott Routley, 26, was leaving his grandfather’s house in Sarnia, Ont. His girlfriend was with him. Just a few blocks away, according to his mother, Anne, Routley’s car collided with a police cruiser. The police officer and Routley’s companion were taken to hospital with minor injuries. As for him, “he only had one injury,” she says. “The bump on his head.” That injury would prove devastating. Routley, who’d studied honours physics at the University of Waterloo and had a promising career in robotics, was diagnosed as being in what doctors term a persistent vegetative state: awake, but completely unaware of himself and his surroundings.
Anne Routley, who worked as a lab technologist, retired “the day of the accident,” she says. Her husband, Jim, a former banker and trucker, retired, too. They relocated to a one-storey bungalow outside London, Ont., where Scott could stay part-time. (He spent most days in a long-term care facility.) Despite his diagnosis, Jim and Anne believed that their son, who loved listening to music from The Phantom of the Opera and Les Misérables, was responding to them. “His face is expressive,” said Anne in early September. “He blinks. He does thumbs-up for positives.”
SickKids to bring 2,000-plus scientists under one roof
TORONTO – Light pours in from gracefully curving windows that soar three storeys above the floor, illuminating clusters of comfy couches in a space that soon will be humming with the voices of scientists. It’s a place to chat over coffee, trade details of their latest research and hopefully light the spark of medical discovery.
The lofty space is part of one of several “neighbourhoods” in Sick Kids’ new research tower in downtown Toronto, which will bring together the venerable hospitals’ 2,000-plus scientists under one roof after decades of being scattered in five different locations.
More than 10 years in the planning and construction, the 21-storey Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning officially opens Sept. 17, a mere few minutes walk from the hospital renowned for the invention of Pablum and the discovery of the genes behind Duchenne muscular dystrophy and cystic fibrosis.
Scientists also reveal insights on brain training and aging
Today there’s fascinating news from Western University, where some of the world’s leading brain researchers say the largest-ever study of its kind has discredited the idea of measuring intelligence by standardized IQ tests. From the release:
The findings from the landmark study, which included more than 100,000 participants, were published today in the journal Neuron. The article, “Fractionating human intelligence,” was written by Adrian M. Owen and Adam Hampshire from Western’s Brain and Mind Institute (London, Canada) and Roger Highfield, Director of External Affairs, Science Museum Group (London, U.K).
Utilizing an online study open to anyone, anywhere in the world, the researchers asked respondents to complete 12 cognitive tests tapping memory, reasoning, attention and planning abilities, as well as a survey about their background and lifestyle habits.
Blue Jays trade, essays for sale & bashing Dragon’s Den
1. The Eyeopener at Ryerson University has investigated local “paper mills” that will write student essays for fees. They commissioned one paper on Shakespeare’s The Tempest and found that, in their opinion, the quality wasn’t half bad. Then again, if the immorality and academic consequences of getting caught don’t scare you, the price might: four-pages cost $135.60.
2. The Toronto Blue #Jays are still trending on Twitter, many hours after GM Alex Anthopoulos pulled off what may have been one of the most lopsided trades ever. See fans’ reactions here.
3. Western University neuroscientist Adrian Owen appeared on the high-profile BBC show Panorama last night detailing his revolutionary efforts to communicate with severely brain-injured patients.
Negative news stories may affect stress (but not for men)
It’s said that no news is good news. But what’s the effect of bad news presented by the media?
For women, exposure to negative news stories may make them more reactive to subsequent stressful situations, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal PLoS One, which did not see a similar response in men.
Researchers also found that women had a better recollection of information learned from those so-called bad news stories.
“Nowadays, we are constantly bombarded with news in the newspaper, the radio, on the TV. And now with Facebook and online press and Twitter, you are constantly bombarded with information,” said lead author Marie-France Marin, a PhD candidate in neuroscience at the University of Montreal.
“It’s difficult to avoid the news, considering the multitude of news sources out there.
“And what if all that news was bad for us? It certainly looks like that could be the case.”
Research could have implications for autism
If raw, unbridled emotion is behind some of the world’s best music, then researchers may be on to something with a musical performance drawn directly from nerve activity in the brain.
An artist at Montreal’s Concordia University and a neuroscientist in Australia have collaborated on a project that records emotional response in the body and turns it into music.
Vaughan Macefield, a professor at the University of Western Sydney, came up with a way to measure nerve activity through a single neuron, painting an electronic picture of a person’s emotions.
His research team injects a very fine microelectrode needle into a peripheral nerve in the body that allows researchers to record electrical signals emitted from the brain. Blood flow, heart rate, sweat release and respiration levels are also recorded.
“Of course we are not the first to have thought of this, but this is the first attempt to use direct recordings of sympathetic nerve activity,” Macefield said in an email.
These signals are compiled as data — and sent by email to Montreal as a raw collection of numbers.
That’s where the art comes in.