what's the buzz

Pain is all in the brain

Researchers are working on a project that “teaches” patients to control pain with their minds.

Scientists from Stanford University in California placed volunteers suffering from chronic pain in a scanner that allowed them to see activity in an area called the ACC, the Daily Express reported.

ACC is in the middle of the brain just centimetres from the forehead.
When the ACC gets more active pain gets fiercer, but when activity drops pain subsides.

Researchers asked the volunteers to focus on a small, handheld screen, which shows a flame representing their pain.

Through generating thoughts and emotions to reduce the flame, researchers believe it is possible to control it.

Sean Mackey, Redlich Professor of pain medicine at Stanford said that though some people calm themselves with a sandy beach and a cool breeze, shifting focus from the pain is also a good technique.

Life on Earth started 2.2 billion years ago

A new study suggests that life on land is four times as old, pushing the date back to 2.2 billion years ago than earlier believed - almost half way back to the inception of the planet.

That evidence involves fossils the size of match heads and connected into bunches by threads in the surface of an ancient soil from South Africa.

They have been named Diskagma buttonii, meaning “disc-shaped fragments of Andy Button,” but it is unsure what the fossils were, the authors say.

“They certainly were not plants or animals, but something rather more simple,” lead researcher Gregory J. Retallack, professor of geological sciences and co-director of paleontological collections at the University of Oregon’s Museum of Natural and Cultural History, said.

The fossils, he added, most resemble modern soil organisms called Geosiphon, a fungus with a central cavity filled with symbiotic cyanobacteria.

“There is independent evidence for cyanobacteria, but not fungi, of the same geological age, and these new fossils set a new and earlier benchmark for the greening of the land,” he said.

“This gains added significance because fossil soils hosting the fossils have long been taken as evidence for a marked rise in the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere at about 2.4 billion to 2.2 billion years ago, widely called the Great Oxidation Event,” he added.

Breastfeeding could protect against ADHD

Breastfed children are less likely to develop Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), later in life, new research has found.

Seeking to determine if the development of ADHD was associated with lower rates of breastfeeding, Dr. Aviva Mimouni-Bloch, of Tel Aviv University's Sackler Faculty of Medicine and Head of the Child Neurodevelopmental Center in Loewenstein Hospital, and her fellow researchers completed a retrospective study on the breastfeeding habits of parents of three groups of children: a group that had been diagnosed with ADHD; siblings of those diagnosed with ADHD; and a control group of children without ADHD and lacking any genetic ties to the disorder.

The researchers found a clear link between rates of breastfeeding and the likelihood of developing ADHD, even when typical risk factors were taken into consideration. Children who were bottle-fed at three months of age were found to be three times more likely to have ADHD than those who were breastfed during the same period.
In their study, the researchers compared breastfeeding histories of children from six to 12 years of age at Schneider's Children Medical Center in Israel. The ADHD group was comprised of children that had been diagnosed at the hospital, the second group included the siblings of the ADHD patients, and the control group included children without neurobehavioral issues who had been treated at the clinics for unrelated complaints.

In addition to describing their breastfeeding habits during the first year of their child's life, parents answered a detailed questionnaire on medical and demographic data that might also have an impact on the development of ADHD, including marital status and education of the parents, problems during pregnancy such as hypertension or diabetes, birth weight of the child, and genetic links to ADHD.

Taking all risk factors into account, researchers found that children with ADHD were far less likely to be breastfed in their first year of life than the children in the other groups.

Comments (+)