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Here is what I am reading today:

“Scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine have determined the precise anatomical coordinates of a brain “hot spot,” measuring only about one-fifth of an inch across, that is preferentially activated when people view the ordinary numerals we learn early on in elementary school, like “6” or “38.””

“Sediment in a deep-sea core may hold radioactive iron spewed by a distant supernova 2.2 million years ago and preserved in the fossilized remains of iron-loving bacteria. If confirmed, the iron traces would be the first biological signature of a specific exploding star.

Shawn Bishop, a physicist at the Technical University of Munich in Germany, reported preliminary findings on 14 April at a meeting of the American Physical Society in Denver, Colorado.”

“”These discoveries in mice may eventually pave the way towards understanding autism in human patients and devising new treatments,” said co-senior author, Elliott H. Sherr, MD, PhD, a pediatric neurologist at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital and professor of neurology at UC San Francisco (UCSF). The findings are reported in a study published on April 15 in PLOS One.”

“Summer means longer days, warmer weather and, apparently, relief for people suffering from a variety of mental health problems. That’s the takeaway from a study that tracked Google searches about mental health subjects.

Researchers used Google’s public database of queries to identify and monitor searches related to a variety of psychological issues in the U.S. and Australia between 2006 and 2010.”

“ORLANDO, Florida (Reuters) – South Florida is fighting a growing infestation of one of the world’s most destructive invasive species: the giant African land snail, which can grow as big as a rat and gnaw through stucco and plaster.

More than 1,000 of the mollusks are being caught each week in Miami-Dade and 117,000 in total since the first snail was spotted by a homeowner in September 2011, said Denise Feiber, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.”

“Men are traditionally thought to have more problems in understanding women compared to understanding other men, though evidence supporting this assumption remains sparse. Recently, it has been shown, however, that meńs problems in recognizing women’s emotions could be linked to difficulties in extracting the relevant information from the eye region, which remain one of the richest sources of social information for the attribution of mental states to others.




n_angel · April 17, 2013 at 11:28 pm

In response to autism and genetics:

It is curious to me how scientists can differentiate what characteristics an autistic mouse would have in comparison to a human and be able to pick apart and “pinpoint” the exact location of different chromosomes and their relations to genetics. However I am not sure these discoveries will in fact pave the way for treatment of autism because it is such a complex disorder. I do however support more research in this field because finding treatments for otherwise impossible to treat disorders is a great discovery.

n_angel · April 18, 2013 at 2:24 pm

In response to Men read Emotions of Other Men Better than Women:

In considering the differences in men and woman, it would be interesting to see if that because of differences in the brain, plasticity, and cultural stereotype that men’s brains have been built to decipher male emotions better than female emotions. The idea being that male’s have an easier time deciphering other male brains because that is what society has taught them, and they believe it.

jhaskett · April 18, 2013 at 3:34 pm

Response to Autism Linked to Genes Article:
I do agree that this seems like a new breakthrough. Although only mice were tested, it can be inferred that humans would have similar results. Autism in mammals is very similar, though there are many different kinds. I think it is great that we are getting closer to localizing the genes/chromosomes that are responsible in determining if a child will be autistic or not. Though this study does not mention finding ways to change or prevent autism, it is definitely a step in the right direction.

jhaskett · April 18, 2013 at 3:40 pm

Response to Men Reading Other Men Better Than Women:
It is already pretty well known that men are stereotypically not the best when it comes to reading women’s emotions, but I honestly just assumed the emotional side was the problem and not the gender they were “reading.” This article however made me re-think this. It does make sense though that they would have a greater advantage in this aspect considering they are of the same gender and understand many traits women may not. I also did not know that the majority of emotional reading comes from the eyes and the amygdala was more active when men looked at pictures of other men versus pictures of women. This article was really fascinating and makes me question a lot of our gender stereotypes.

jhaskett · April 23, 2013 at 8:51 am

Response to “Florida battles slimy invasion by giant snails” article:
Never would I have thought that there would be an article relating to giant snails. I guess it is true that you learn something new every day. Not only do they attack over 500 different types of plants but they also carry a “parasitic rat lungworm that can cause illness in humans.” One of these illnesses is meningitis which is how this article is cleverly related to neuroscience and biological psychology. This has become problematic in Florida and authorities realize it is important that people know about this rising problem. To do so they have been advertising on billboards, buses and just about anywhere else public. Now that would really be something to see. This was a fascinating article and I never knew that snails could cause such a huge uproar from people, but for good reason to.

jhaskett · April 23, 2013 at 8:59 am

Response to “Mental Health-Related Google Searches Decline in Summer”
The wide breadth of Google sometimes just amazes me. They seem to be in absolutely every facet of our daily lives. I think this is a very pertinent article to biological psychology since it links mental health issues to searches on the web. The conclusion of the study was that summer is a bit of relief for people suffering from these mental health problems. Now since this was an observational study Google cannot make any cause and effect conclusions, just say that there was an association between more eating disorder and ADHD searches in the non-summer months. This is not to say that those people searching necessarily had an eating disorder or ADHD themselves, but it could be inferred. A possible factor or reason for this is the sun. It is the similar reason that more people in Seattle, for example, on average are more depressed than those from California. This was a great article and I learned about the expansive powers of Google and how they can learn so much about their users without much effort.

mparisi · April 23, 2013 at 2:34 pm

In response to the article about men reading other men’s emotions better than women’s emotions:

I wonder if this applies to women in the same way. It makes sense to me that men can comprehend other men’s emotions, but I would think that women understand other women’s emotions better as well. I would attribute this to the fact that we are raised more often being surrounded by friends of the same sex, so we learn to interpret their behavior better. The fact that certain parts of the brain are stimulated differently when men interact with men, however, is fascinating.

mparisi · April 23, 2013 at 2:40 pm

In response to the article about mental health google searches during the seasons:

Growing up in a family where many close immediate members had depression and other mental illnesses, I understood the impact of seasons on mood from a young age. Before I even really understood the implications of the illness, I watched my older brother’s mood change dramatically in the summer. Now, his depression didn’t completely disappear, but his mood seemed somewhat lighter and his fits of rage were less common. I usually atributed this to the absence of stress from school, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the fact that his summer job working outside at a golf course, and overall more time spent outside, impacted his depressive swings as well.

christina.pschorr · April 23, 2013 at 9:50 pm

Comment for Men Reading Other Men Better Than Women:

I feel like same sex relationships/friendships are easier to understand than non same sex relationships/friendships for one reason: we tend to understand the emotional responses of our fellow gender better. If you are a woman, it is less likely of a complaint that you don’t understand how another woman feels when she is angry or when she is sad. Men trying to understand these same emotions portrayed by a woman tend to get the emotions wrong. I never took the time to think that men might have the same relations with their own gender. I usually just account their lack of understanding with women to be linked to the fact that they are less emotional beings. Reading that men are actually NOT less emotional but rather, they operate the same way women do with women, is quite shocking to me. I guess the emotional connection with their own gender works for the same reason we think women understand women better. The emotional response between men and other men is biological. Guess we can’t blame men for being less emotional people!

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