Uncovering the neurobiological basis of general anesthesia

The use of general anesthesia is a routine part of surgical operations at hospitals and medical facilities around the world, but the precise biological mechanisms that underlie anesthetic drugs’ effects on the brain and the body are only beginning to be understood. A review article in the December 30 New England Journal of Medicine brings together for the first time information from a range of disciplines, including neuroscience and sleep medicine, to lay the groundwork for more comprehensive investigations of processes underlying general anesthesia.

Prevention of bad lifestyle habits should be tackled before 13 years of age

Bad eating habits, ingestion of alcohol, sedentary lifestyles – all unhealthy life habits that are already being detected in early adolescence and that are especially predominant amongst women and young people between the ages of 19 and 26. The prevention campaigns should take very much into consideration these groups at risk and even take into account those less than 13 years.

Attention woes in kids with Tourette syndrome likely caused by co-occurring ADHD

Co-occurring attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may be at the root of attention problems in children with Tourette syndrome (TS), according to NIMH-funded researchers. Their findings also support the theory that children with TS develop different patterns of brain activity in order to function at the same level as children without TS. The study was published in the November 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

Eyes make faces appear alive

The face of a doll is clearly not human; the face of a human clearly is. Telling the difference allows us to pay attention to faces that belong to living things, which are capable of interacting with us. But where is the line at which a face appears to be alive? A new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, finds that a face has to be quite similar to a human face in order to appear alive, and that the cues are mainly in the eyes.

Past experiences subconsciously influence behavior

Researchers at MIT’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory report for the first time how animals’ knowledge obtained through past experiences can subconsciously influence their behavior in new situations.

Skill in recognizing faces peaks after age 30

Scientists have made the surprising discovery that our ability to recognize and remember faces peaks at age 30 to 34, about a decade later than most of our other mental abilities. Researchers Laura T. Germine and Ken Nakayama of Harvard University and Bradley Duchaine of Dartmouth College will present their work in a forthcoming issue of the journal Cognition.

Genetic variant that can lead to severe impulsivity identified

A multinational research team led by scientists at the National Institutes of Health has found that a genetic variant of a brain receptor molecule may contribute to violently impulsive behavior when people who carry it are under the influence of alcohol. A report of the findings, which include human genetic analyses and gene knockout studies in animals, appears in the Dec. 23 issue of Nature.

Accent shapes our perception of a person

The accent someone talks in plays a crucial role in the way we judge this person, psychologists of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena (Germany) found out recently. The study is based on the PhD thesis of Dr. Rakic in the International Graduate College Conflict and Cooperation between Social groups.