University College London researchers have found the first physiological evidence that invisible subliminal images do attract the brain's attention on a subconscious level. The wider implication for the study, published in Current Biology, is that techniques such as subliminal advertising, now banned in the UK but still legal in the USA, certainly do leave their mark on the brain.
Using fMRI, the study looked at whether an image you aren't aware of -- but one that reaches the retina -- has an impact on brain activity in the primary visual cortex, part of the occipital lobe. Subjects' brains did respond to the object even when they were not conscious of having seen it.
Tan Ee LynReuters
Sun, 11 Mar 2007 22:33 UTC
Hong Kong - A cheese burger one day, lasagna the next and chicken nuggets instead of a bowl of noodles.
Across the continent, a newly-affluent Asian middle class is splurging after centuries of deprivation, shaking off a diet traditionally high in vegetables and rice and low in meat and opting instead for food loaded with saturated fat.
But the new variety of foods available to affluent Asians, coupled with a less active lifestyle, has a price -- diabetes.
Health experts say Asians are especially at risk for diabetes -- caused by excess weight, fatty foods and lack of exercise -- as the Asian metabolism has over the centuries adapted to a frugal diet and a hard-working lifestyle.
John K. WileyAP
Sun, 11 Mar 2007 19:31 UTC
Spokane -- Preliminary results of an investigation into cow deaths at a Stevens County dairy found no evidence of foreign animal disease infection or mad cow disease, a Washington State Department of Agriculture spokesman said.
State Veterinarian Dr. Leonard Eldridge and agriculture investigators visited the farm, where 50-60 animals have died over the past several months, spokesman Jason Kelly said Thursday.
Mad cow disease - bovine spongiform encephalopathy or BSE - is a brain wasting disease in cattle that is thought to spread to humans through eating infected meat products.
Martyn McLaughlinThe Herald
Sat, 10 Mar 2007 21:20 UTC
UK: Everyday children's medicines found in cupboards up and down the country contain a "cocktail of additives" banned from foods and drinks for youngsters of the same age, a food watchdog has claimed.
Brands widely used by parents such as Calpol, Benylin, Sudafed, and Tixylix have all fallen foul of a survey of medicines for infants under three, amid concerns manufacturers are using synthetic ingredients unnecessarily.
Sun, 11 Mar 2007 17:37 UTC
Washington - This might help explain why teenagers act like, well, teenagers.
Researchers reported on Sunday that a hormone produced by the body in response to stress that normally serves to calm adults and younger children instead increases anxiety in adolescents.
They conducted experiments with female mice focusing on the hormone THP that demonstrated this paradoxical effect, and described the brain mechanism that explains it.
If, as the scientists suspect, the same thing happens in people, the phenomenon may help account for the mood swings and anxiety exhibited by many adolescents, they said.
An alarming new study from the Environmental Working Group analyzed samples of canned fruit, vegetables, soda, and baby formula on sale in the nation's supermarkets and found that more than 50% were tainted with a chemical linked to birth defects, ADHD and cancer. The chemical, bisphenol A (BPA), is an ingredient in plastics that lines food cans.
Toddlers have an easier time learning new words when they figure out the meanings themselves, according to new study reported on Thursday.
Meredith Brinster, an undergraduate researcher at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, compared the effectiveness of two different word-learning strategies on 100 children between the ages of 36 and 42 months.
Her findings indicated that words learned through inference, by the process of elimination, for instance, are more easily retained than when learned through direct instruction.
The results could change the way we think about education and learning, said Justin Halberda, assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences at Johns Hopkins.
A University of Iowa study may provide an explanation for why some people get migraine headaches while others do not. The researchers found that too much of a small protein called RAMP1 appears to "turn up the volume" of a nerve cell receptor's response to a neuropeptide thought to cause migraines.
The neuropeptide is called CGRP (calcitonin gene-related peptide) and studies have shown that it plays a key role in migraine headaches. In particular, CGRP levels are elevated in the blood during migraine, and drugs that either reduce the levels of CGRP or block its action significantly reduce the pain of migraine headaches. Also, if CGRP is injected into people who are susceptible to migraines, they get a severe headache or a full migraine.
The UI study findings are published in the Journal of Neuroscience.
"We have shown that this RAMP protein is a key regulator for the action of CGRP," said Andrew Russo, Ph.D., UI professor of molecular physiology and biophysics. "Our study suggests that people who get migraines may have higher levels of RAMP1 than people who don't get migraines."
A recently discovered class of immune cell may hold the key to new treatments for asthma - and explain why existing therapies sometimes fail.
Asthma occurs when immune cells go into overdrive and release inflammatory chemicals called cytokines. These cause excess production of mucus, which plugs up the lungs. The disease is generally associated with immune cells called T-helper 2 (TH2) cells and the cytokines they release, but their response alone is not enough to trigger asthma.
Natural killer T (NKT) cells produce some of the same cytokines as TH2s, but release them faster and in greater quantities (see Diagram). NKT cells are hybrids: they kill invading microbes, like natural killer immune cells, but they also bind to antigens - foreign substances that trigger an immune response - like T-cells do.
Greg FarrellUSA Today
Sat, 10 Mar 2007 18:30 UTC
Four chemists who worked at a New Jersey manufacturer of generic drugs pleaded guilty Thursday to the pharmaceutical industry's version of "cooking the books."
The four men, who were supervisors at Able Laboratories, admitted in federal court in Newark that they falsified and altered data generated in tests of generic drugs required by the Food and Drug Administration. In addition, one of the men, Shashikant Shah, 65, pleaded guilty to one count of securities fraud, having reaped $909,000 in profit from stock sales during the time when the company was falsifying test results.
The Securities and Exchange Commission also filed inside-trading charges against him.