Go green, give a boost to employee morale

In a global recession, most people are thankful to have a job, but a new study published in Interdisciplinary Environmental Review suggests that employees are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs if they are working for a company that is perceived to be “green”, whereas the financial performance of companies fails to correlate with employee happiness.

Bacteria in the gut may influence brain development

A team of scientists from across the globe have found that gut bacteria may influence mammalian brain development and adult behavior. The study is published in the scientific journal PNAS, and is the result of an ongoing collaboration between scientists at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and the Genome Institute of Singapore.

Brain can learn to overcome sleep apnea

In a recent study that appeared in the Journal of Neuroscience, scientists from the University demonstrated that repeated obstruction of the airways requires release of the brain chemical noradrenaline. The release of this chemical helps the brain learn to breathe more effectively and purposefully.

Gestures provide a helping hand in problem solving

Talking with your hands can trigger mental images that help solve complex problems relating to spatial visualization, an important skill for both students and professionals, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.

Physical activity linked to political participation

How is going for a jog like voting for president? As far as our brains are concerned, physical activity and political activity are two sides of the same coin. Scientists found that people who live in more active states are also more likely to vote.

Revealing the wiring that allows us to adapt to the unexpected

The brain’s ability to react adaptively, becomes crucial for survival, when faced with potential dangers, such as snakes and spiders, so to what extent does the harmfulness of an anticipated outcome affect our brain’s event monitoring system? Not at all, reveals a new study published in the February 2011 issue of Elsevier’s Cortex: the processes are the same, regardless how scary the anticipated event.

The changing roles of two hemispheres in stroke recovery

Most people who survive a stroke recover some degree of their motor, sensory and cognitive functions over the following months and years. This recovery is commonly believed to reflect a reorganisation of the central nervous system that occurs after brain damage. Now a new study, published in the February 2011 issue of Elsevier’s Cortex, sheds further light on the recovery process through its effect on language skills.

Same behavior, different brain in adolescent and adult rats

A study that measured the activity of single cells in the brains of rats found striking differences between adolescents and adults even when both behaved identically on a task motivated by a reward. The finding offers clues to the neurological underpinnings of adolescent behavior and this age group’s vulnerability to mental illness.

Genetic clues to compulsive, self-injurious behavior in rare childhood disorder

Research from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine provides new clues for the compulsive behavior and cognitive defects associated with a rare childhood neurological disease called Lesch-Nyhan Disease (LND). Two pathways found to be defective in LND are known to be associated with other neurodegenerative disease, such as Alzheimer’s and Parknson’s diseases, suggesting common causes of cognitive and behavioral defects in these neurological disorders.

Presence of peers heightens teens’ sensitivity to rewards of a risk

Temple University psychologists Jason Chein and Laurence Steinberg set out to measure brain activity in adolescents, alone and with peers, as they made decisions with inherent risks. Their findings, published this month in Developmental Science, demonstrate that when teens are with friends they are more susceptible to the potential rewards of a risk than they are when they are alone.