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Sat, 14 Dec 2019
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Stop signs: Study identifies 'braking' mechanism in the brain

As wise as the counsel to "finish what you've started" may be, it is also sometimes critically important to do just the opposite -- stop. And the ability to stop quickly, to either keep from gunning the gas when a pedestrian steps into your path or to bite your tongue mid-sentence when the subject of gossip suddenly comes into view, may depend on a few "cables" in the brain.

Researchers led by cognitive neuroscientist Adam Aron, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of California, San Diego, have found white matter tracts -- bundles of neurons, or "cables," forming direct, high-speed connections, between distant regions of the brain -- that appear to play a significant role in the rapid control of behavior.

Published in the April 4 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, the study is the first to identify these white matter tracts in humans, confirming similar findings in monkeys, and the first to relate them to the brain's activity while people voluntarily control their movements.

Black Cat

Power and Sexual Harassment: Men and Women See Things Differently

In the hands of the wrong person, power can be dangerous. That's especially the case in the workplace, where the abuse of power can lead to sexual harassment.

Issues of power, workplace culture and the interpretation of verbal and non-verbal communication associated with sexual harassment were the focus of a study by Debbie Dougherty, assistant professor of communication in the College of Arts and Science at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Working with a large healthcare organization in the Midwest, Dougherty examined the question: why does sexual harassment occur?

"Power," she said. "It was the common answer. It came up repeatedly. However, what I found were multiple definitions of power."

Attention

Are We Raising A Nation Of Little Egomaniacs?

Stephen Scheck never liked the way some parents lavish praise on their kids in public, so he didn't do it with his two children, now freshmen in high school and college.

"My wife and I pretty early on started to notice this whole thing happening at Brownies, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, 4-H meetings or wherever that many parents seemed very invested in their children always being the star, always having a great time, always feeling successful," says Scheck, a college dean in Monmouth, Ore.

Yet he wanted the children to have high self-esteem, so the youngsters got their share of ego boosts at home. They also were steered toward sports such as swimming where they had a chance to not only compete with other kids but also achieve "personal bests." Both children were urged to play musical instruments, which gave them a sense of accomplishment. He wanted them to feel good and successful, and he certainly told them they were capable and special.

Wine

Meat And Two Neutrons: The Key To A Longer Life

Indulging in an isotope-enhanced steak or chicken fillet every now and again could add as much as 10 years to your life. Scientists have shown for the first time that food enriched with natural isotopes builds bodily components that are more resistant to the processes of ageing. The concept has been demonstrated in worms and researchers hope that the same concept can help extend human life and reduce the risk of cancer and other diseases of ageing, reports Marina Murphy in Chemistry & Industry, the magazine of the SCI.

A team led by Mikhail Shchepinov, formerly of Oxford University, fed nematode worms nutrients reinforced with natural isotopes (naturally occurring atomic variations of elements). In initial experiments, worms' life spans were extended by 10%, which, with humans expected to routinely coast close to the centenary, could add a further 10 years to human life.

Black Cat

Toxoplasma gondii: Bizarre Human Brain Parasite Precisely Alters Fear

Rats usually have an innate fear of cat urine. The fear extends to rodents that have never seen a feline and those generations removed from ever meeting a cat. After they get infected with the brain parasite Toxoplasma gondii, however, rats become attracted to cat pee, increasing the chance they'll become cat food.

This much researchers knew. But a new study shows the parasite, which also infects more half the world's human population, seems to target a rat's fear of cat urine with almost surgical precision, leaving other kinds of fear alone.

This discovery could shed light "on how fear is generated in the first place" and how people can potentially better manage phobias, researcher Ajai Vyas, a Stanford University neuroscientist, told LiveScience.

Attention

Twists and Turns: Passive smoking and Living in the city are worse then Atomic Fallout

Everyday hazards such as inhaling polluted city air or other people's cigarette smoke are potentially worse for your health than being exposed to the radioactive fallout of an atomic bomb, according to new research.

A study of radiation exposure caused by the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945 and the explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant has suggested that they have posed similar or lower health risks to survivors than the more prevalent problems of air pollution, smoking and obesity.

Ambulance

"Studies Show No Link"; Never mind the Mercury

As we've watched autism grow to epidemic levels in the U.S., we have been given one hard-to-swallow explanation after another.

Health

Man With Drug-Resistant TB Locked Up

PHOENIX - Behind the county hospital's tall cinderblock walls, a 27-year-old tuberculosis patient sits in a jail cell equipped with a ventilation system that keeps germs from escaping. Robert Daniels has been locked up indefinitely, perhaps for the rest of his life, since last July. But he has not been charged with a crime. Instead, he suffers from an extensively drug-resistant strain of tuberculosis, or XDR-TB. It is considered virtually untreatable.

Heart

Blood groups 'can be converted'

Scientists have developed a way of converting one blood group into another.

The technique potentially enables blood from groups A, B and AB to be converted into group O negative, which can be safely transplanted into any patient.

Vader

Study Reveals Widespread Office Bully Problem

The office bully has an array of weapons at his disposal, ranging from the subtle silent treatment to not-so-subtle verbal ridicule, the effects of which can ripple through the workplace.

A new study finds that while nearly 30 percent of U.S. workers have endured a punishing boss or co-worker, many individuals would not label themselves as bully targets. For those who do, it's not just the bully victim who feels the heat. Witnesses in nearby cubicles are affected and show an increase in stress and overall dissatisfaction with their jobs.

The prevalence of bullying in the American workplace tops the rates found in Scandinavian countries and is on par with those in Great Britain, the scientists found.