People who can unconsciously predict complex patterns, an ability called implicit pattern learning, are likely to hold stronger beliefs that there is a god who creates patterns of events in the universe, report neuroscientists at Georgetown University. The study spanned two very different cultural and religious groups, one in the U.S. and one in Afghanistan. “Belief in a god or gods who intervene in the world to create order is a core element of global religions.
Gerald Maguire has stuttered since childhood, but you might not guess it from talking to him. For the past 25 years, Maguire — a psychiatrist at the University of California, Riverside — has been treating his disorder with antipsychotic medications not officially approved for the condition. Only with careful attention might you discern his occasional stumble on multisyllabic words like “statistically” and “pharmaceutical.” Maguire has plenty of company: More than 70 million people worldwide, including about 3 million Americans, stutter — that is, they have difficulty with the starting and timing of speech, resulting in halting and repetition.
Astrocyte dysfunction is associated with Parkinson’s disease (PD) pathology in new research using induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology. The study, from the University of Eastern Finland, highlights the role of brain astrocyte cells in PD pathology and the potential of iPSC-derived cells in disease modeling and drug discovery. PD’s exact cause is still unknown, but several molecular mechanisms have been identified in PD pathology. These include neuroinflammation, mitochondrial dysfunction, dysfunctional protein degradation and alpha-synuclein pathology.
It could be possible to predict which young adults would benefit most from behavioral therapy and exercise as a treatment for major depression, a new study has found. Similar to previous studies, the new research also showed that aerobic exercise helps young adults with major depression. “Our study needs to be replicated, but the precision medicine approach of predicting who may or may not benefit from exercise as an antidepressant is provocative.
Languages like Japanese, Korean, Turkish and the indigenous languages of the Amazon, East Africa, and New Guinea build sentences in a way that lets them grow to enormous length. Our research shows learning one of these languages may help children create complex sentences that express multiple ideas at a younger age. Two Ways to Tell a Story Try recounting what you did this morning, or telling a story, and chances are you’ll use a series of several sentences:
Heatwaves undoubtedly bring a certain joy at the opportunity to be out in the sunshine. But as the planet heats and weather records tumble, increasingly normal bouts of baking heat aren’t all sun and games. Aside from the grief and guilt we may feel about the human causes behind increasingly frequent spells of hot weather, heatwaves can also harm our mental health in hidden but surprisingly severe ways. Chief among them is their tendency to make our blood boil.
Nerve cells have a special ion channel that has a key role in starting the electrical impulse that signals pain and is sent to the brain. New research finds that people who inherited the Neanderthal variant of this ion channel experience more pain. As several Neanderthal genomes of high quality are now available, researchers can identify genetic changes that were present in many or all Neanderthals, investigate their physiological effects and look into their consequences when they occur in people today.
A growing body of evidence suggests that processing of language and processing of music make use of similar cognitive abilities. One audacious hypothesis argues that, outside of their basic building blocks, language and music are, in fact, the same phenomenon. This idea could help explain why it can be difficult for some people to focus on reading or carrying on a conversation while music is playing (or vice versa). According to this theory, it would be as if one was listening to two conversations (or two pieces of music) at the same time.