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Sun, 05 Feb 2023
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The Human Brain: Detective of auditory and visual change

The human brain is capable of detecting the slightest visual and auditory changes. Whether it is the flash of a student's hand into the air or the faintest miscue of a flutist, the brain instantaneously and effortlessly perceives changes in our environment. Several studies have indicated, however, that even a small span of time in between pre- and post-change images can disturb the brain's ability to detect visual discrepancies.

"The pre-change scene must be memorized in some way," explained psychologists Laurent Demany, Wiebke Trost, Maja Serman and Catherine Semal from the University of Bordeaux and the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS). "In the visual domain, numerous experiments have shown that even a very short gap of less than 100ms can dramatically disrupt our ability to detect a local change in complex images. Following such a gap, local changes can be detected only in very simple images." This phenomenon is known as 'change blindness.'

Health

400 medical plants 'face extinction'

Hundreds of medicinal plants are at risk of extinction, threatening the discovery of future cures for disease, according to experts.

Eye 1

Face facts: People don't stand out in crowds

Why is it difficult to pick out even a familiar face in a crowd? We all experience this, but the phenomenon has been poorly understood until now. The results of a recent study may have implications for individuals with face-recognition disorders and visual-attention related ailments - and eventually could help scientists develop an artificial visual system that approaches the sophistication of human visual perception.

The study is part of the recently completed Journal of Vision special issue titled "Crowding: Including illusory conjunctions, surround suppression, and attention". "Crowding" is a failure to recognize an individual object in a cluttered environment. It may be due to one of the shortcuts our brains use to help us make sense of the vast amount of visual information we take in every second.

Health

Cholesterol-lowering drug linked to increased risk of heart attack

Another belated disclosure from the pharmaceutical industry

Under pressure from media reports, consumer groups and federal investigators, pharmaceutical giant Merck and its partner Schering-Plough released the findings of a long-withheld company-sponsored study of the cholesterol-lowing drug Zetia this week. The study, completed in April 2006, reveals that companies had been falsely marketing the drug as an effective part of heart disease prevention. Moreover, the data indicate a link between the drug - taken by about a million Americans - and increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Comment: The question to ask is: Is there more money to be made from sickness or from health?

For health clubs and fitness centers, health is lucrative. For the medical industry and the pharmaceutical industry, sickness is more lucrative.

Which industry is larger and has more influence?


Health

New Warning Added to Contraceptive Patch

Washington - A new study showing an increased risk of blood clots among women using a contraceptive skin patch prompted the Food and Drug Administration on Friday to add that finding to the drug's label.

Bug

CDC to make call on mystery skin disease

A federal health agency on Wednesday launched a study into an unexplained skin disorder that causes a crawling sensation and lesions that won't heal, the first attempt to determine whether Morgellons is a legitimate illness or caused by the patient's imagination.

Heart - Black

Drug companies suppress trials

The makers of antidepressants like Prozac and Paxil never published the results of about a third of the drug trials that they conducted to win government approval, misleading doctors and consumers about the drugs' true effectiveness, a new analysis has found.

Red Flag

Quiet scientist no more: Scientist Turns FDA Whistleblower

Scientist, father, husband and scoutmaster David Graham recently added another job to his résumé. Unlike the others, though, it's one he never sought.

©Gerald Herbert/AP
Graham: "FDA made me into a whistle-blower. It wasn't my intention to be a whistle-blower."

Attention

FDA: Cold Medicines Too Risky for Tots

Washington - Parents may be left with only love and lots of liquid to give their sniffling babies and toddlers now that the government is declaring over-the-counter cough and cold medicines too risky for tots. The Food and Drug Administration was issuing that warning Thursday to parents of children under 2.

Attention

Calcium pills 'raise heart risk'

Calcium supplements may increase the risk of a heart attack in older women, New Zealand research suggests.