Say Ahhhhhh…..

The next time your doctor tells you to breathe deeply, she might be doing more than listening to your lungs. Breath tests for a range of diseases are currently in development. The Journal of Thoracic Oncology reports this month that researchers have established an 88% accuracy in a new breath test for lung cancer. Dr. Cristina Davis of the University of California is developing a breath monitor for children with asthma which can assess the level of inflammation in their lungs. Other breath tests, such as that for bacteria that cause peptic ulcers, require the patient to swallow tagging chemicals beforehand. … Continue reading Say Ahhhhhh…..

Brain Type Determines your Trance State

Hypnosis is a valuable tool for helping us cope with pain, anxiety, addiction, and undesirable behaviours. But not everyone benefits. Some people are simply very difficult to hynotise, and this trait seems to be unconnected to personality or physical attributes. David Speigel and his team at the Cen­ter for In­te­gra­tive Med­i­cine, Stan­ford Uni­vers­ity, wondered why. So they scanned the brains of 12 easily hypnotised people and 12 people who showed little response to hynotitists’ efforts. The team found that people who had very little interaction between the decision-making and attention-paying areas of the brain were also least sensitive to hypnosis, with … Continue reading Brain Type Determines your Trance State

Healing the Brain

The devastating effects of diseases like Alzheimers and Parkinsons are caused by the damage inflicted on neurons within the brain. We can only slow the progress and alleviate symptoms of these neurodegenerative diseases. Repairing or replacing brain cells is impossible. Until now. Scientists at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz have found a way to convert a group of cells called pericytes into neurons. Pericytes function to keep the blood brain barrier intact and in other parts of the body play a role in healing wounds. They have also demonstrated that these new neurons can reach out to other neurons and produce electrical … Continue reading Healing the Brain

Tackling Misinformation

The disadvantage of the public’s increasingly easy access to information is the public’s equally easy access to misinformation. It’s now simpler than ever to promote opinion as fact, and to create doubt and fear when no rational cause exists. The Association for Psychological Science recently published a paper that reviews this phenomenon. The team of researchers highlight how people fail to update their memories in the light of new information, and how we can ignore facts that don’t fit in with our worldview. The paper concludes with suggestions to help counter the effects of misinformation when dealing with the general … Continue reading Tackling Misinformation