Breaking News

Well-Connected Hemispheres of Einstein's Brain May Have Sparked His Brilliance

The left and right hemispheres of Albert Einstein's brain were unusually well connected to each other and may have contributed to his brilliance, according to a new study conducted in part by Florida State University evolutionary anthropologist Dean Falk.

"This study, more than any other to date, really gets at the 'inside' of Einstein's brain," Falk said. "It provides new information that helps make sense of what is known about the surface of Einstein's brain."

The study, "The Corpus Callosum of Albert Einstein's Brain: Another Clue to His High Intelligence," was published in the journal Brain. Lead author Weiwei Men of East China Normal University's Department of Physics developed a new technique to conduct the study, which is the first to detail Einstein's corpus callosum, the brain's largest bundle of fibers that connects the two cerebral hemispheres and facilitates interhemispheric communication.

"This technique should be of interest to other researchers who study the brain's all-important internal connectivity," Falk said.

Men's technique measures and color-codes the varying thicknesses of subdivisions of the corpus callosum along its length, where nerves cross from one side of the brain to the other. These thicknesses indicate the number of nerves that cross and therefore how "connected" the two sides of the brain are in particular regions, which facilitate different functions depending on where the fibers cross along the length. For example, movement of the hands is represented toward the front and mental arithmetic along the back.

In particular, this new technique permitted registration and comparison of Einstein's measurements with those of two samples -- one of 15 elderly men and one of 52 men Einstein's age in 1905. During his so-called "miracle year" at 26 years old, Einstein published four articles that contributed substantially to the foundation of modern physics and changed the world's views about space, time, mass and energy.

The research team's findings show that Einstein had more extensive connections between certain parts of his cerebral hemispheres compared to both younger and older control groups.

The research of Einstein's corpus callosum was initiated by Men, who requested the high-resolution photographs that Falk and other researchers published in 2012 of the inside surfaces of the two halves of Einstein's brain. In addition to Men, the current research team included Falk, who served as second author; Tao Sun of the Washington University School of Medicine; and, from East China Normal University's Department of Physics, Weibo Chen, Jianqi Li, Dazhi Yin, LiliZang and Mingxia Fan.

Source:Sciernce Daily

R.S

Role of Brain Stress in Obesity, Type 2 Diabetes Development

Joslin researchers have gained new insights into how obesity and type 2 diabetes can create a stress response in the brain, especially in the hypothalamus (the brain region that regulates appetite and energy production), that may contribute to altering metabolism throughout the body. The findings are reported in the October issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

The researchers investigated the role of the molecular chaperone heat shock protein 60 (Hsp60) in hypothalamic insulin resistance and mitochondrial dysfunction in type 2 diabetes. Hsp60 is a stress response protein that protects the mitochondria, the "power plants" of the cell that produce energy. They found that in type 2 diabetes and obesity, the level of Hsp60 goes down, making mitochondria less efficient and leading to insulin resistance in the brain and altered metabolism throughout the body.

In the study, mice genetically engineered not to produce Hsp60 also exhibited mitochondrial dysfunction in the brain which led to insulin resistance in the hypothalamus. "This is the first time a study has shown that mitochondrial dysfunction can cause insulin resistance in the hypothalamus and how this can lead to altered metabolism throughout the body," says Andre Kleinridders, Ph.D., study lead author and an Investigator in the Joslin Section on Integrative Physiology and Metabolism.

The investigators also showed that leptin, the hormone produced by fat cells that regulates appetite, is one of the key factors that regulate Hsp60 expression in the hypothalamus and that in obesity this regulation is lost. "These findings link obesity and the fat cell hormone leptin to the process of altered Hsp60 levels in the brain and this appears to start the ball rolling toward altering metabolism in other tissues of the body as well," says C. Ronald Kahn, M.D., study senior author and Joslin Chief Academic Officer and Head of the Section on Integrative Physiology and Metabolism, and Mary K. Iacocca Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

"It's a vicious cycle: people become obese, obesity disturbs the way the hypothalamus responds to stress, which makes people more likely to stay obese and become diabetic. The brain not only controls metabolism but the body's metabolism affects the brain and aspects of brain function," says Dr. Kahn.

Joslin researchers are also investigating how mitrochondrial dysfunction and insulin resistance affect the brain as it ages. "Mitochondrial dysfunction and insulin resistance in the brain are associated with neurodegenerative diseases. If we could treat mitochondrial dysfunction in the brain, it could increase cognitive performance," says Dr. Kleinridders.

Source: sciencedaily.com

B.N

 

Researchers Identify Switch That Controls Growth of Most Aggressive Brain Tumor Cells

Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have identified a cellular switch that potentially can be turned off and on to slow down, and eventually inhibit the growth of the most commonly diagnosed and aggressive malignant brain tumor.

Findings of their investigation show that the protein RIP1 acts as a mediator of brain tumor cell survival, either protecting or destroying cells. Researchers believe that the protein, found in most glioblastomas, can be targeted to develop a drug treatment for these highly malignant brain tumors. The study was published online Aug. 22 in Cell Reports.

"Our study identifies a new mechanism involving RIP1that regulates cell division and death in glioblastomas," said senior author Dr. Amyn Habib, associate professor of neurology and neurotherapeutics at UT Southwestern, and staff neurologist at VA North Texas Health Care System. "For individuals with glioblastomas, this finding identified a target for the development of a drug treatment option that currently does not exist."

In the study, researchers used animal models to examine the interactions of the cell receptor EGFRvIII and RIP1. Both are used to activate NFκB, a family of proteins that is important to the growth of cancerous tumor cells. When RIP1 is switched off in the experimental model, NFκB and the signaling that promotes tumor growth is also inhibited. Furthermore, the findings show that RIP1 can be activated to divert cancer cells into a death mode so that they self-destruct.

According to the American Cancer Society, about 30 percent of brain tumors are gliomas, a fast-growing, treatment-resistant type of tumor that includes glioblastomas, astrocytomas, oligodendrogliomas, and ependymomas. In many cases, survival is tied to novel clinical trial treatments and research that will lead to drug development.

Source:Science Daily

Sh/Kh

Humans sense 10 basic types of smell, scientists say

When it comes to aromas, the whole may simply be the sum of 10 basic parts

The thousands of aromas humans can smell can be sorted into 10 basic categories, US scientists say.

Prof Jason Castro, of Bates College, and Prof Chakra Chennubhotla, of the University of Pittsburgh, used a computerised technique to whittle down smells to their most basic essence.

They told the PLoS One journal they had then tested 144 of these and found they could be grouped into 10 categories.

The findings are contentious - some say there are thousands of permutations.

The 10 proposed smells

  • Fragrant
  • Woody/resinous
  • Fruity (non-citrus)
  • Chemical
  • Minty/peppermint
  • Sweet
  • Popcorn
  • Lemon
  • Pungent
  • Decayed

Prof Castro said: "You have these 10 basic categories because they reflect important attributes about the world - danger, food and so on.

"If you know these basic categories, then you can start to think about building smells.

"We have not solved the problem of predicting a smell based on its chemical structure, but that's something we hope to do."

He said it would be important to start testing the theory on more complex aromas, such as perfumes and everyday smells.

In reality, any natural scent was likely to be a complex mix - a blend of the 10 different categories, he said.

Prof Tim Jacob, a UK expert in smell science at Cardiff University, said: "In the 1950s a scientist called John Amoore proposed a theory which involved seven smell categories based upon molecular shape and size.

"He eventually withdrew it, to the poorly suppressed glee of his rival R W Moncrieff, who said there was 'never much solid evidence to support it, and there were difficulties all along the line, but it did stimulate a lot of useful thought'.

"I'm sure that Castro et al's paper will 'stimulate a lot of useful thought'."

Source: BBC

N.H.Khider

New Exercises to Triple Your Calorie Burn

Mix up your workout with challenging new moves that burn fat, tone your muscles, and shake up your routine.

Build a better body

Your body is a marvel of efficiency: Do something over and over and, before long, you get so good at it you do it on autopilot. That’s a wonderful thing when it comes to learning a new language, it’s not so great when it comes to your workout.

There’s a simple way to get your body back in fat-blasting mode: Temporarily ditch your go-to moves. "When you change up your workout, your body works harder because it’s in unfamiliar territory," explains Amy Dixon, a Santa Monica, California–based trainer and exercise physiologist. "That’s what causes it to burn more calories and build more muscle."

Use the pro's tips

Do this series two to three times per week, alternating with cardio days; you’ll start to see results in as little as two to three weeks. Each move hits the same major muscle groups as the old standbys, but challenges them more, giving you a stronger, sleeker body in the same amount of time. So it’s efficient—in the best way possible.

Skip squats, do: Bridge drag

Lie on your back with heels and calves on a stability ball, arms by your sides. Press shoulder blades into floor and lift hips so body forms a straight line from shoulders to heels. Tighten core and slowly drag both heels in toward butt, bending knees and keeping body lifted.

Without dropping hips, slowly extend both legs back to previous position. Do 3 sets of 15 reps.

 

Why it’s better: It challenges your core more than a squat does.

Skip lunges, do: Knee-cross curtsy

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Lift right leg straight back and up; at same time, hinge at waist and bring hands or fingertips to floor in front of left foot. Bend both knees, bringing right knee behind left knee. Press back up through left foot to return to previous position. Do 15 reps, keeping leg raised, then switch sides and repeat. Do 3 sets.

Why it’s better: It allows for a greater range of motion than a basic lunge (adding flexibility to the mix), plus challenges your balance, strengthening your core. sculpts and defines the same muscles without the impact on your knees.

Skip push-ups, do: Ball fly

Sit on a stability ball with a 5- to 10-lb dumbbell in your right hand. Slowly roll down and back until head and shoulders are on the ball, feet hip-width on floor with knees bent. Brace core, press heels into floor, and raise hips up to bridge position.

Extend right arm toward the ceiling so weight is directly above your shoulder with palm facing in; lift and straighten left leg. Keeping leg raised, slowly lower right arm out to the side until it’s at shoulder level. Use chest muscles to bring right arm back up. Do 15 reps, keeping leg raised, then switch sides and repeat. Do 3 sets.

Why it’s better: More muscle challenge in the hips and butt, thanks to extra work needed to keep you stabilized.

Skip plank, do: Get down, get up

 

Stand with feet hip-distance apart in front of a bench, back to bench, hands together in front of chest. Bend knees and push hips back (keep knees over ankles) to come to sitting on bench.

Brace core and lean torso back while lifting and straightening legs to come into V-position, balancing on sitting bones; open arms out to sides. Slowly lower feet and return to starting position. Do 3 sets of 15 reps.

Why it’s better: This move elevates your heart rate much more than a plank and is more challenging to your leg, hip, butt, and deep core muscles.

Source: Health.com

R.S