Whether or not a competitor stands on the podium wearing an Olympic metal can depend on a thousandth of a second difference in finishing time. Greater physical performance may not be what separate winners from losers when the margin is that close. Instead, it can be something beyond the competitor’s will–brainwaves.
The Zika virus, which is spread by mosquitoes and causes severe neurodevelopmental defects in infants who become infected by the virus during fetal development, also attacks neural stem cells in the adult brain according to a new study. The research was performed by a team of researchers at Rockefeller University, UC San Diego, and the Sanford Burnham Institute in La Jolla, and published on-line in advance of print yesterday (August 18, 2016) in the journal Cell Stem Cell.
“He slimed me!” Venkman spits out in disgust, writhing in sticky ectoplasm in a memorable scene from the 1984 movie Ghostbusters.
Ectoplasm, the mysterious stuff of the supernatural world, also makes nerve axons twitch every time they fire, but almost nobody talks about it.
The first dead person I ever saw was a policeman. . .
A surprising outcome of my four-year investigation into the neuroscience of human aggression for my new book Why We Snap, was how the reductionist approach that I took to understand individual violent behavior in terms of the specific neural circuits responsible, exploded in scope to illuminate human aggressive behavior in mass–between groups of people, from gangs to races to nations at war. Brexit is a recent example.
With their heads soaring 60 feet above the ground, Sauropods were gigantic animals, about the same height and length of The White House. Imagine the tremendous bone strength and muscle force required to support their 65 ton mass, equivalent to the crushing weight of a stack of 30-40 automobiles. The necks of long-necked Sauropods were 30 to 40 feet long (10-12 m), the length of the extended arm of the Statue of Liberty bearing the torch (42 feet). A massive heart would have been required to produce the 700 mm Hg pressure needed to pump blood to the Sauropod’s head; the same pressure that is exerted on your body by diving in the ocean to a depth of 30 feet (10 m). It has been calculated that the left ventricle of the dinosaur’s heart would have to weigh 2 metric tons to pump blood that high. That is 15 times heaver than the left ventricle of whales. Such an enormous heart muscle would have consumed 64% of the dinosaur’s energy (basal metabolism), leaving the creature little energy for everything else.
Cochlear implants have restored hearing to thousands of deaf people, but what about when deafness is caused by a damaged cochlea or nonfunctional auditory nerve? A possible solution is to bypass the cochlea and stimulate the brain directly. Scientists are developing a new technology that uses laser light instead of electricity to stimulate brain cells to restore hearing.
We are on the brink of a new understanding of the neuroscience of violence. Like detectives slipping a fiber optic camera under a door, neuroscientists insert a fiber optic microcamera into the brain of an experimental animal and watch the neural circuits of rage respond during violent behavior.