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How the grid cell system of the brain maps mental spaces

It has long been known that so-called place cells in the human hippocampus are responsible for coding one’s position in space. A related type of brain cell, called grid cells, encodes a variety of positions that are evenly distributed across space. This results in a kind of honeycomb pattern tiling the space. The cells exhibiting

Two seemingly opposing forces in the brain actually cooperate to enhance memory formation

The brain allows organisms to learn and adapt to their surroundings. It does this by literally changing the connections, or synapses, between neurons, strengthening meaningful patterns of neural activity in order to store information. The existence of this process—brain plasticity—has been known for some time. But actually, there are two different types of brain plasticity

New study finds thalamus wakes the brain during development

Consciousness requires continuous, internally generated activity in the brain. The modulation of this activity is the basis of the electroencephalogram (EEG) and of generation of sleep, dreams, and perception. Achieving such activity is thus an important milestone in normal brain maturation, which occurs around birth. Successful transition to this activity indicates a good prognosis for

The skinny on fats

(HealthDay)—Even when you’re trying to lose weight, you need some fat in your diet for good health. While fat in general has gotten a bad rap, some types of fat—particularly plant-based fats—are good for you in moderation. Good-for-you fats: Olive, flaxseed oil and other plant-based oils. Fatty fish. Avocados. Walnuts, other nuts and their oils.

10 Times Reese Witherspoon Nailed the Working Mom Experience

When it comes to celebrity moms, it’s hard to find a more accomplished example than Oscar-winning actor/producer/designer/author/lifestyle guru Reese Witherspoon. The star of Big Little Lies juggles a loaded work schedule with the responsibilities of being a mother to her three kids: 19-year-old Ava, 14-year-old Deacon, and 5-year-old Tennessee. Even as a massively famous celeb

Diet affects the breast microbiome in mammals

Diet influences the composition of microbial populations in the mammary glands of nonhuman primates, researchers report October 2 in the journal Cell Reports. Specifically, a Mediterranean diet increased the abundance of probiotic bacteria previously shown to inhibit tumor growth in animals. “We showed for the first time that breast-specific microbiome populations are significantly affected by

Alternative medicines may aid in the treatment of psoriasis

(HealthDay)—Some complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs) may be helpful in the treatment of psoriasis, according to a review published online Sept. 5 in JAMA Dermatology. A. Caresse Gamret, from the University of Miami, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review to identify studies evaluating all documented CAM psoriasis interventions. Included interventions had more than one

The dark side of sports final weekend

The biggest weekend on Australia’s sporting calendar is likely to be a fearful time for vulnerable women and children, with incidents of domestic violence expected to spike with the AFL and NRL grand finals. Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education's chief executive Michael Thorn said increased consumption of alcohol at parties celebrating season finales would

Breaking the link between obesity, gastrointestinal cancers

Studies have demonstrated a connection between obesity and a person’s risk of developing colon and other gastrointestinal cancers. Now, scientists are investigating approaches that can break this relationship. In an article in the journal Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology, UNC Lineberger’s Stephen Hursting, Ph.D., MPH, along with Cornelia Ulrich, Ph.D., MS, the director of the

HIV Infection Diagnoses on the Rise in Young Homosexual Men

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 26, 2018 — Among men who have sex with men (MSM), the change in the annual number of HIV diagnoses from 2008 to 2016 varies with age, according to research published in the Sept. 21 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Andrew Mitsch, M.P.H.,

The 2018 Starbucks Holiday Cups Are Here

While many of us are busy buying pumpkins and all things Halloween, it seems retailers want us to start thinking about another holiday: the winter holidays. And Starbucks is no exception. In fact, the purveyor of PSLs just announced a few of the chain’s 2018 holiday gifts. The line, which at this time consists entirely

Does our environment affect the genes in our brains?

Is there a link between differences in IQ test performance and the activity of certain genes? Researchers from Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin have shown that modifications in the structure of a specific gene have a negative impact on individual test performance. This suggests that environmentally induced epigenetic changes to our genetic material have a greater

How the smell of disease can affect healthy people

Disease and infection can alter bodily odor. This mechanism is an important tool, albeit one that we are not usually aware of, in guiding social interactions self-preservation mechanisms. If we can “sense” that a stranger on the bus has a cold, we may instinctively avoid sitting down next to them. Previous research has shown that

The BMJ questions transparency of information surrounding safety of Pandemrix vaccine

An investigation published by The BMJ today raises fundamental questions about the transparency of information surrounding the safety of GlaxoSmithKline’s Pandemrix vaccine used in 2009-2010. Eight years after the 2009 H1N1 “swine flu” outbreak, new information is emerging of a striking difference in the number and frequency of adverse events reported for three GSK pandemic

PMS vs. pregnancy symptoms: How to tell the difference

Symptoms of both premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and pregnancy can vary from person to person, but they often include tenderness in the breasts, cramping, and changes in mood. In this article, we compare the symptoms of PMS with those of early pregnancy and explore the differences between the two. Mutual symptoms of PMS and pregnancy Symptoms

Why the brain struggles to get off the sofa

About 30% of adults and 80% of teenagers today do not meet the minimum levels of daily physical activity for staying healthy, as recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Previous studies have already demonstrated that there is a gap between the intention to play sport and actually playing it among individuals with a leaning