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Posts Tagged ‘brain’

Hard to Stay Focus at Times? That Might be a Good Thing…

April 27, 2012 3 comments

Do you feel hard to stay focus at times? Hang on, that might actually be a good thing…

In this transcription of a 1-minute podcast news titled “Mind Wandering is Linked to Your Working Memory“, it is reported that our working memory capacity is positively correlated with how often our minds wander. There is a link to the journal article also there. If you have a burning interest on that topic, it might be worthwhile to take a look.

So, that news strikes me personally, because I used to think that the inability to stay focus on 1 task at a time was always a bad thing. And sometimes I just can’t focus on 1 task at a time. “That’s just what my weakness is…” is what I used to think of myself. But then this news brings a new hope. It might be that my inability to focus at 1 task is because I have a good working memory capacity (which I hope is the case!). Which means I can handle a bit more complicated task better than a single simple one. Sometimes I just feel that it’s very difficult for me to sit down and do nothing. I have to do something. If not, my mind has to think about something. And I like to do at least two things at once, for instance lifting my pillow up and down with my legs while I’m lying on the bed and studying for school. It just feels better for me to have my legs busy with something else while my brain focuses on studying. I know this is not a very common habit (in fact I don’t do it so often anymore now), but anyway, yeah, it is worth mentioning I guess since I’m talking about this topic.

So what do you guys think? Do you think that this research is doubtful/not reliable/doesn’t make sense? Or is there anyone else feeling the same way that I feel?

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research on ice-cream headaches: next step for treating migraines

April 23, 2012 2 comments

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Imagine, it is a hot, sultry, dry summer day… You are going to the nearest cafe place and buying a pint of a delicious ice-cream. The first bit of that ice-cream maybe the most enjoyable event of the day! However, suddenly you feel that your teeth are cramped and you get an incredibly intensive brain freeze headache that might even destroy your delight. Why does it happen? In a new study conducted by Melissa Mary Blatt and her colleagues the explanation to this phenomenon is provided.

According to this article, the migraine seems to be triggered by an abrupt increase in blood flow in the anterior cerebral artery and slowly disappears when the artery constricts. We all know that there are different headache types each one associated with a particular problem in your organism. However, the discovery made by Melissa and her colleagues might open a new window into the researches of headache treatments. Another “headache study” discussed in the article is the Serrador’s abstract presented during the Experimental Biology 2012 meeting in San Diego few days ago. The study looked into the speed of a headache, the dilation (the quick constriction) that may be a type of self-defense for the brain. The brain is one of the most important organs of the body and it is highly sensitive to the temperature changes. The vasodilatation might be used as a tool to move the warmth inside the brain to make sure it does not freeze. However, the fact that the skull is a closed structure, the sudden influx of blood could raise the pressure in the skull and increase the pain. That fact could be used when treating migraines and posttraumatic headaches that have the same forming conditions.

What about you, guys? How often do you get the brain freeze syndrome? Do you find anyhow similar to the other migraines that you get for other reasons? How do you feel about current attempts to treat headaches? Are they effective?

ASL and the Brain

April 23, 2012 7 comments

As someone who is hard-of-hearing, I’ve been fascinated for a long time by sign languages and have been learning American Sign Language (ASL) for awhile now.  I find myself constantly trying to dispel misconceptions and increase awareness about the third most spoken language in the United States.  For example, many think that you must spell every word out, that it is just English on the hands and not an independent language, or that there is a universal sign language that deaf people everywhere use–but these are all false.  One aspect I find particularly interesting about sign languages is that even though they are visual and not auditory-based, there are studies that suggest signing uses the same parts of the brain as spoken language.

This article explains that the regions of the brain, Broca’s and Wernike’s areas, are respectively vital to language production an comprehension.  Despite using completely different senses and muscles, stroke damage to these areas in hearing and deaf people had similar negative effects on their ability to communicate.  One possible difference between the brain usage of talkers and signers might exist in the right hemisphere, according to the article.  ASL may use the right hemisphere more due to the spatial processing and facial expression interpreting required.

This and other studies are not conclusive, but it’s fascinating to think how the same areas of the brain may be responsible for such different means of communication!