what's the buzz

what's the buzz

Brain scans can help read dreams

Researchers in Japan have found a way to “read” dreams after using MRI scans to predict the images that people see when they enter into an early stage of sleep.
They reported that they could do this with 60 percent accuracy.

The team now wants to see if brain activity can be used to predict other aspects of dreaming, such as the emotions experienced during sleep, the BBC reported. Professor Yukiyasu Kamitani, from the ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories, in Kyoto, said, “I had a strong belief that dream decoding should be possible at least for particular aspects of dreaming... I was not very surprised by the results, but excited.”

People have been trying to decipher dreams since ancient Egyptian times, but the researchers who have carried out this study have found a more direct way to tap into our nighttime visions.

Cutting down on salt reduces stroke risk

Cutting down on salt and, at the same time, increasing levels of potassium in our diet will have major health and cost benefits across the world, a new study suggests.

Such a strategy will save millions of lives every year from heart disease and stroke, experts said.

Much evidence shows that reducing salt intake lowers blood pressure and thereby reduces the risk of stroke and heart disease.

Less is known about the potential benefits of increasing potassium intake, but lower potassium consumption has been linked with elevated blood pressure. The World Health Organisation has therefore set a global goal to reduce dietary salt intake to 5-6 g (about one teaspoon) per person per day by 2025, yet salt intake in many countries is currently much higher than this.

Playing boys games help girls do well in science and math

 Why men have better spatial ability than women may be explained by individual differences in gender-role identification, according to a new review. Development of spatial ability is refined through play and recreational activities, with traditionally masculine activities helping to promote development of spatial ability.

Therefore the researchers behind the new study suggested that improving girls' performance in subjects which require good spatial ability may involve the deliberate inclusion of what are commonly seen as stereotypically male activities into their daily lives, rather than encouraging sex-segregation of activities.

The observation that males appear to be superior to females in some fields of academic study has prompted a wealth of research hoping to shed light on whether this is attributable to nature or nurture. Although there is no difference in general intelligence between the sexes, studies over the past 35 years have consistently found that overall men do much better in tests of spatial ability than women. This difference may have something to do with why there are still fewer women in tertiary education studying science, technology, engineering and math.

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