Health, Mind & Brain:
Tea is one of the most popular drinks in the world. Tea is personal; everyone has opinions about making the perfect cup. But what does science say about getting the most out of your brew?
For a long time people have been told that caffeine is a diuretic. For some, this translates into advice to avoid or remove caffeinated beverages from the diet of people at risk of dehydration, or during periods of extreme summer heat.
Molecular insight into our own DNA is now possible, a field called personal genomics. Such approaches can let us know when we might have cancer-causing alterations in our genes. Well-known examples are the melanoma oncogene BRAF kinase, the breast cancer gene BRCA1 and the prostate specific antigen PSA.
Just as ancient Greeks fantasized about soaring flight, today’s imaginations dream of melding minds and machines as a remedy to the pesky problem of human mortality. Can the mind connect directly with artificial intelligence, robots and other minds through brain-computer interface (BCI) technologies to transcend our human limitations?
Most people have probably encountered someone who appears to use lip-reading to overcome a hearing difficulty. But it is not as simple as that. Speech is “bimodal”, in that we use both sounds and facial movements and gestures to communicate, so deaf or seriously hearing-impaired people often use lip-reading or “speech-reading” – watching facial movement, body language and mannerisms – to understand what people are saying to them.
Who doesn’t like chocolate? While there may be some who claim to prefer savoury – in my experience, crisps are suggested by these strange people as an equivalent – chocolate has a special place in many people’s hearts, and Easter gives them the perfect opportunity to consume vast quantities of it.
Implantable fibers have been an enormous boon to brain research, allowing scientists to stimulate specific targets in the brain and monitor electrical responses. But similar studies in the nerves of the spinal cord, which might ultimately lead to treatments to alleviate spinal cord injuries, have been more difficult to carry out. That’s because the spine flexes and stretches as the body moves, and the relatively stiff, brittle fibers used today could damage the delicate spinal cord tissue.
Moderate drinking is associated with a lower risk of several, but not all, cardiovascular diseases, according to a large study of UK adults led by researchers at the University of Cambridge and University College London published today in The BMJ.
We would all like to boost our cognitive ability beyond the limits set by Mother Nature. So it’s no wonder that brain-training programmes – which typically focus on training our working memory – are a multibillion-dollar industry. But can this kind of training really make us smarter?
People have long been fascinated with sleepwalkers — by those who roam during the night without awareness, climbing out of windows, walking down the street, urinating in a cupboard, or moving furniture.