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Rare disease yields clues about broader brain pathology Alexander disease is a devastating brain disease that almost nobody has heard of "” unless someone in the family is afflicted with it. Alexander disease strikes young or old, and in children destroys white matter in the front of the brain. Many patients, especially those with early onset, have significant intellectual disabilities.
How to Teach Children to Share Don't force them: when given a choice, children's sharing behaviour increases in the future.→ Jeremy Dean is a psychologist and author of PsyBlog. His latest book is "Making Habits, Breaking Habits: How to Make Changes That Stick"
Size, connectivity of brain region linked to anxiety level in young children Researchers have shown that by measuring the size and connectivity of a part of the brain associated with processing emotion -- the amygdala -- they can predict the degree of anxiety a young child is experiencing in daily life.
Who are you looking at? Why women recognise more faces than men Numerous studies have reported that women outperform men when it comes to face recognition faces, but most have focused on assessing innate biases in favor of race, gender, and age. Now a major literature review concludes that, in the majority of tests, women are better at face recognition than men, irrespective of all other factors.
Why we need more male primary school teachers Some argue that boys have become the "˜new disadvantaged' as the result of efforts to eradicate female disadvantage in a historically male biased education system. A widely accepted solution is more male teachers /role models in schools for boys. 
When bye bye becomes buy buy: How homophones affect consumer behavior It is possible to affect how someone will think or act simply by priming that person with just a single word, according to a new study that examines the use of homophones in written advertising.
Drug use, decision-making and the blunders of Rob Ford The embattled mayor of Toronto's bad decision-making has all the signs of problem drug and alcohol use, though it could just be incompetenceToronto mayor Rob Ford has had a rough couple of months. He has recently confessed to using crack cocaine "in a drunken stupor", been caught on video making drunken death threats, and commented to reporters about his cunnilingus skills. He has also previously been charged with drink-driving, and admitted on separate occasions to buying illegal drugs and "smoking a lot of marijuana". Other allegations from former staff members include physical assault, making racist and sexist remarks, and sexual harassment.Needless to say, the man has made some questionable choices recently. While Mayor Ford has vehemently denied all accusations of drug or alcohol dependence, this pattern of poor decision-making is reflective of impairments in self-control and impulsivity that are often seen in problem drug and alcohol users.Anecdotally, examples of needle sharing, unsafe sex and driving under the influence are used to demonstrate instances of poor or risky decision-making that seem to be increased in heavy drug users.However, examples such as these can be difficult to empirically measure. So scientists have created behavioural tasks that can be used to objectively quantify poor decision-making in an attempt to determine if such traits really are higher in dependent individuals.Say someone (reliable) offers you a choice: you can either have £10 today, or you can have £20 if you wait another two weeks. Which would you choose, the small immediate payout or the larger delayed reward?In this classic example of a delay-discounting task, individuals who are dependent on alcohol, cocaine or heroin consistently show a preference for the smaller sooner option, even though rationally you should wait for the later greater reward. This is indicative of an increase in impulsivity and difficulty with waiting, perhaps representative of the choice to use drugs now rather than enjoy a healthier life later on.Another test of decision-making involves your penchant for risk. In a mock gambling task, participants can choose between four decks of cards and are instructed to make as much money as they can. Two of the decks give you a smaller payout but also have a smaller risk for loss, resulting in an overall gain, while the other two decks give out large rewards but can also hit you with heavy fines, resulting in an overall loss.Dependent drug users again show impairment on the task, consistently going for those risky decks, even after punishments of up to £1,000. This tendency to consistently gamble on a risky option, hoping to get away with that big reward without experiencing the negative consequences, might help to explain the decision to continue using drugs even in the face of potential punishments, like getting arrested or losing your job.Both of these tasks tap into a part of your brain that is involved in self-control and executive functioning. This area, the prefrontal cortex, is also a region that is known to be smaller in dependent drug users, and activation in this area is often impaired during performance of these tasks. These brain changes are largely thought to be the consequence of long-term drug use, although there is also evidence that differences in this area may predate heavy drug-taking in dependent individuals.As for Mayor Ford, his gaffes do not appear to be one-off errors of judgment, but rather a pattern of faulty decision-making, consistently choosing to do or say the wrong thing.However, it's important to keep in mind that there is no evidence that Mayor Ford is dependent on drugs or alcohol, and he claims to have only smoked crack once. Additionally, by no means does everyone who uses drugs become dependent upon them. In fact, it is estimated that only one in six individuals who try cocaine will ever develop an addiction.Instead, his actions may be more indicative of his apparent "incompetence", rather than having anything to do with his drug use.At least Mayor Ford is in good company. Marion Barry, the former mayor of Washington DC, was also caught using crack cocaine in a sting operation not so long ago, and he went on to be re-elected a couple years later.DrugsRob FordCanadaAmericasAlcoholismHealthAlcoholDrugsNeurosciencePsychologyDana © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
Why I hate neurons | Pete Etchells Pete Etchells: Who inspired your original spark of interest in science? For me, it was my Dad. Strangely, he also gave me an irrational hatred for one of the basic building blocks of the brain.Pete Etchells
Do Good People Turn Evil? Even at war, most people aren't willing to more
Synesthesia is more common in autism People with autism are more likely to also have synaesthesia, suggests new research in the journal Molecular Autism.
Semantics behind sale price: When does 'original' price matter? Consumers love a sale. In fact, when asked what makes a sale appealing, most simply say, "The price was good." But this answer fails to acknowledge that subjective factors also contribute to the perceived value of a deal. According to new research, it's possible to increase the perception of a good deal.
Frontal-lobe damage from alcohol may occur before general mental status challenges Executive performance, such as attention and memory, is associated with the frontal lobes. Researchers found specific structural changes in the prefrontal area and left cerebellum can predict executive performance in alcoholics. These volumes may identify executive dysfunctions even when clinical signs of alcohol dependence are absent or mild and a more general mental status appears normal.
Higher emotional intelligence leads to better decision-making The anxiety people feel making investment decisions may have more to do with the traffic they dealt with earlier than the potential consequences they face with the investment, but not if the decision-maker has high emotional intelligence a recent study suggests.
When You Can't Stand Being Alone with Yourself Some busy people welcome an opportunity to be alone. For others it is painful. But avoiding it completely is a losing battle"”it might be those 10 minutes driving in the car, not being able to fall asleep at night, waiting for someone to show up, wondering if someone will show up"”inevitably everyone will find themselves unaccompanied from time to time. read more
Sex of Speaker Affects Listener Language Processing Grammar and syntax have been thought for decades to be automatic and untouchable by other brain processes and that everything else "” the sex of the speaker, their dialect, etc. "” is stripped away as our brains process the sound signal of a word and store it as an abstract form. A study now suggests that even higher-level processes – in this case, grammar - are affected by information about the speaker.
Natural compound mitigates effects of methamphetamine abuse Researchers have found that resveratrol may also block the effects of the highly addictive drug, methamphetamine.
People with highly superior powers of recall also vulnerable to false memories People who can accurately remember details of their daily lives going back decades are as susceptible as everyone else to forming fake memories, psychologists and neurobiologists have found.
Blood test accurately diagnoses concussion, predicts long term cognitive disability A new blood biomarker correctly predicted which concussion victims went on to have white matter tract structural damage and persistent cognitive dysfunction following a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). If validated in larger studies, this blood test could identify concussion patients at increased risk for persistent cognitive dysfunction or further brain damage and disability if returning to sports or military activities.
Odds of rehospitalization of cognitively impaired varies by discharge destination Cognitively impaired older adults released from the hospital are less likely to be rehospitalized within 30 days if they go to a nursing home than if they return to their own home.
Could saving the traditional pub be the answer to Britain's binge drinking problem? A research study finds evidence for the traditional pub as a site for restrained and responsible social interaction for young adults. The UK government wants further controls to restrict high street bars but on the other hand is concerned about the decline in the number of traditional public houses or pubs. A recent article discusses whether the English Planning System should distinguish between pubs for the "˜public good' and licensed premises associated with "˜social ills'?