Surely one of the most amazing transformations in nature is the gradual transitioning of a helpless, demanding, and totally-dependent baby into a thoughtful and intelligent adult who can use language, produce art, and create society. The transition is slow, and reversions are known to occur, but for all our knowledge, the manner in which the brain organizes itself to great accomplishment is still mystery. However, much can be learned from studies of the type recently published by Andrew Meltzoff, co-director of the University of Washington’s Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences, and Rajesh Rao.
Understanding infant development is a crucial component More >
Okay, it’s October, I’ve held off long enough. For the past several months, the stores have had Halloween costumes and candy ready for the picking (right next to the last of the Back-To-School inventory that was on display since last June). This has been despite the fact that we were still hitting 80 degrees outside- and it was still September. But it’s now October, and officially Fall, so I guess that Halloween can now be considered. It has been long since I’ve dressed up for Halloween but it has not been long since I’ve partaken in the annual Halloween candy More >
Most everyone has had the pleasure of being stuck in close quarters with a person who feels compelled to speak as loudly as possible into their cell phone. Annoying cell phone conversations are such a popular pet-peeve that it’s not uncommon to have “quiet cars” on trains, or signs banning cell phones in certain public locations. It’s quite likely that you have been on a train or bus where two people were talking to each other, and yet you didn’t have the same reaction you had to a person chatting into his phone. Excepting libraries, people chatting with each other More >
In an earlier post I blogged about the nature of dreams including phases of sleep and why we dream. In the blog I had mentioned a sleep disorder known as REM sleep behavior disorder (or RBD). It’s a mysterious sleep disturbance where the normal atonia (muscle paralysis) during sleep malfunctions, and the dreamer is left to act out their dreams. Those with this disorder (predominantly male) tend to have dreams that are increasingly violent and involve fighting off an attacker. In their sleep, these people act out every punch, kick, twist and scream with their sleeping bodies, often times injuring More >
Having an addiction can be devastating, to those that have it and to those that are exposed to it. The addiction can be to a variety of different things such as alcohol, drugs, gambling, internet shopping, video games or even work. But what causes these addictions? Why do some people have the ability to enjoy these things, yet leave them, while others seem to never be able to stop?
Well, it could be your family and it could be your environment. Studies have shown that addictions run in families. In fact, if a parent has an addiction, the child is 4 More >
Alzheimer’s disease is a debilitating, ultimately fatal neurological disorder which affects more than 5 million Americans. The disease has no cure, but the recent decade has seen many promising treatments which all depend upon diagnosing Alzheimer’s as early as possible.
Typically, Alzheimer’s is diagnosed through cognitive testing. Family members or health care professionals may realize that a person is experiencing forgetfulness, disorientation, or other symptoms. Unfortunately, by the time these symptoms are apparent and a diagnosis is made, the patient may have already experience a great deal of brain damage.
A new method to test for Alzheimer’s at a much earlier stage More >
Here at the DNALC, we work with a lot of bacteria. One bacteria in particular is a harmless strain of E. coli called MM294. This strain, a strain unable to survive outside of its broth and agar domain, is used commonly in our classrooms. As students visit us each year, many have the opportunity to work with the bacteria. Whenever I tell my students that they will be working with E. coli, I tend to be on the receiving end of much criticism.
E. coli gets a bad reputation and I understand that. My students immediately cringe and I know what goes More >
A recent study from Michigan State University claims to find a link between bipolar depression and hypertension (high blood pressure). Results of the study presented at the American Psychiatric Association’s annual meeting showed that the presence of hypertension may impact the severity of the bipolar patient’s disorder and that a diagnosis of hypertension becomes more prevalent the younger a patient is diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder (also known as manic-depressive disorder) is a mood disorder characterized by the experience of manic episodes (which can entail feelings of high energy, racing thoughts, irritability or even optimism raised to at times More >
When your body enters sleep, your brain undergoes several sleep cycles, four to fives times a night. Each cycle has its own purpose. The cycles range from drowsiness and light sleep to deep sleep. After deep sleep, the body (or more technically the brain) will enter a stage called Rapid Eye Movement, abbreviated REM sleep. It is during this REM stage where many of our dreams happen.
Why do we dream? Many More >
Spring arrived on March 20th and it was hard to ignore. It was a hot day in Central Park with fellow New Yorkers rushing out to sit in the sun, play ball, or ride their bikes. In my hometown people rushed to the Bluff just to sit in the sand and stare off into the water of Long Island Sound. There were some die hard jet skiers that took the opportunity to get their jet skies into the water (even though the water was an icy 40 degrees). People are craving to be outside; to shake More >