What we are reading today:
“The research was led by Doris Tsao (BS ’96), professor of biology, Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Center for Systems Neuroscience Leadership Chair, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. A paper describing the work appeared online in the March 13 issue of Nature Neuroscience.
“Face cells will produce the maximum response when a subject is observing faces, but they will also produce a small amount of activity when a subject is looking at round objects like an apple or a clock,” says Tsao. “There has been a long debate in cognitive science: Is the brain actually using these small responses to generate perception? Do face cells help us perceive clocks and apples?”
“The lead author, Dr Cassandra Gould van Praag said, “We are all familiar with the feeling of relaxation and ‘switching-off’ which comes from a walk in the countryside, and now we have evidence from the brain and the body which helps us understand this effect. This has been an exciting collaboration between artists and scientists, and it has produced results which may have a real-world impact, particularly for people who are experiencing high levels of stress.””
“Mihaela Pavličev, PhD of the Center for Prevention of Preterm Birth, Perinatal Institute, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and colleagues use the word “negotiation” to describe the unique relationship that must be established early in a pregnancy and then maintained, for a birth to result.
“We cannot understand pregnancy by focusing on the fetal side (placenta) alone, or on the maternal (uterus) alone. How do we maintain stability, not as a war, but rather without damage to mom or fetus? Most pregnancy defects can be seen as interrupting this temporary stable unit. But to be able to study that, we need to know which cells are talking to which other cells,” explains Dr. Pavličev.”
“In a new study, researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and their colleagues have identified a handful of nerve cells in the brainstem that connect breathing to states of mind.
A paper describing the findings were published March 31 in Science. Mark Krasnow, MD, PhD, professor of biochemistry, is the senior author. The lead author is former Stanford graduate student Kevin Yackle, MD, PhD, now a faculty fellow at the University of California-San Francisco.
Medical practitioners sometimes prescribe breathing-control exercises for people with stress disorders. Similarly, the practice of pranayama — controlling breath in order to shift one’s consciousness from an aroused or even frantic state to a more meditative one — is a core component of virtually all varieties of yoga.”
“Hamster pups are born with weakened immune systems and impaired endocrine activity when their parents don’t receive a natural mix of daylight and darkness prior to mating, found researchers at The Ohio State University.
“This suggests that circadian disruptions can have long-ranging effects in offspring and that’s concerning,” said lead author Yasmine Cisse, a graduate student in neuroscience at Ohio State. The study appears in Scientific Reports.