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Health & longevity news archive: March-April 2010

How your brain remembers the future
(Apr 3, 2010)

It's like remembering the future. Our brain generates predictions of likely visual inputs so it can focus on dealing with the unexpected. Predictable sights trigger less brain activity than unfamiliar stimuli, bolstering the view that the brain is not merely reactive, but generates predictions based on the recent past. "The brain expects to see things and really just wants to confirm it now and again," says Lars Muckli at the University of Glasgow, UK.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Picking our brains: How strong is the mind-body link?
(Apr 2, 2010)

Why are some diseases more influenced by mental state than others? Could we ever learn to think ourselves well? A team at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in Manhasset, New York, has since found that electrically stimulating the vagus nerve decreases inflammation, a state of immune system high-alert implicated in a large number of diseases, including cancer.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

woman thinking
Magnets 'can modify our morality'
(Mar 30, 2010)

Scientists have shown they can change people's moral judgments by disrupting a specific area of the brain with magnetic pulses. They identified a region of the brain just above and behind the right ear which appears to control morality. And by using magnetic pulses to block cell activity they impaired volunteers' notion of right and wrong.

Read more. Source: BBC

radiologist looking at mammograms
Beta-blockers 'cut cancer spread'
(Mar 29, 2010)

Blood pressure drugs may be able to reduce the ability of breast cancer to spread around the body, researchers have told a European conference. A joint UK and German study found that cancer patients taking beta-blockers had a lower risk of dying. The drugs may block hormones that trigger the spread of cancer cells.

Read more. Source: BBC

massage therapy
Deep breathing 'cuts stress as much as massage'
(Mar 16, 2010)

Massage is no more effective at cutting anxiety than deep breathing and soothing music, say US researchers. The study of 68 people, reported in Depression and Anxiety, showed anxiety symptoms were halved for those given 10 massage sessions over three months. But those given relaxation therapy, which is much cheaper, improved by the same amount.

Read more. Source: BBC

brain scan
Brain scans 'can distinguish memories', say scientists
(Mar 11, 2010)

Scientists say they have been able to tell which past event a person is recalling using a brain scan. The University College London researchers showed people film clips and were able to predict which ones they were subsequently thinking about. The research, published in Current Biology, provides insight into how memories are recorded.

Read more. Source: BBC

Mahbuba Fatullaeva
Azerbaijan's long lifers 'a dying breed'
(Mar 7, 2010)

The famously long-lived people of the Talysh Mountains are now said to be dying younger, reports the BBC's Tom Esslemont from Azerbaijan. A shaft of pale sunlight provides welcome warmth in Mahbuba Fatullaeva's bedroom. At the age of 112, she prefers to recline against a set of fluffy pillows than to sit up and give an interview.

Read more. Source: BBC


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