Category Archives: Did You Know..?

Interesting facts about our health, discoveries, articles, and interesting news about rare diseases and disorders, surprising studies, innovative treatments, etc.

How the Internet is shaping our “global brain”

How the Internet is shaping our “global brain”.

The South Africans have a beautiful philosophy called Ubuntu, which translates as “I am what I am because of who we all are.” This is a perfect way to think about the way a brain and our cognition develops, influenced by its surrounding people and experiences. It’s also how we should think about the way the Internet is developing, and about the way our choices in how we use technology are shaping this global brain. For both the brain and the Internet, networks are always binding us in new ways and changing our understanding of who we are and how we perceive the world. If we believe that the Internet comparatively is in the same critical stage of early development as a child, making as many connections as possible, then we need to be mindful of how we’re building its foundation.

High blood pressure may cause harmful brain changes in people as young as 40

High blood pressure may cause harmful brain changes in people as young as 40, a study suggests.

In the report, published online Nov. 2 in Lancet Neurology, researchers measured blood pressure in 579 men and women whose average age was 39, then examined their brains with magnetic resonance imaging. After adjusting for smoking, hypertension treatment and total cranial volume, they found that higher systolic blood pressure — the most common form of hypertension — was associated with decreases in gray matter volume and significant injury to white matter. Moreover, there was a dose-response relationship: The higher the blood pressure, the greater the visible changes.

Meditation makes lasting change in brain

Meditation makes lasting change in brain.

A new study has found that participating in an 8-week meditation brain training program can have measurable effects on how the brain functions even when someone is not actively meditating. In their report in the November issue of Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Boston University (BU), and several other research centers also found differences in those effects based on the specific type of meditation practiced.

Your unconscious brain can do math, process language

Your unconscious brain can do math, process language.

The unconscious brain may not be able to ace an SAT test, but new brain research suggests that it can handle more complex language processing and arithmetic tasks than anyone has previously believed. According to these findings, just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, we may be blithely unaware of all the hard work the unconscious brain is doing.

Human brain Is wired for harmony

Human brain Is wired for harmony.

Many creatures, such as human babies, chimpanzees, and chicks, react negatively to dissonance—harsh, unstable, grating sounds. Since the days of the ancient Greeks, scientists have wondered why the ear prefers harmony. Now, scientists suggest that the reason may go deeper than an aversion to the way clashing notes abrade auditory nerves; instead, it may lie in the very structure of the ear and brain, which are designed to respond to the elegantly spaced structure of a harmonious sound.