The facebook page, “I fucking love science” has over 4.8 million fans. Many of whom were surprised or even shocked to find out last month that the writer was a woman and apparently an attractive one at that. But is this sexual stereotyping something that we all do, consciously or otherwise?
But what if both good and bad parenting styles leave marks on the child, and in particular their DNA?
We’ve all seen it, either in ourselves or others: decision making takes longer as we get older.
But a recent study by Rumana Chowdhury and colleagues suggests that there may be something that some of us can do about it.
According to recent reports young people aren’t attracted to science. Added to which, there are not enough women in science, nor men, depending on whom you ask. And those we do have are often criticised for not being very good at communicating their ideas to non-scientists, or for not being inspirational enough for our young people.
But what can we do about it? It often falls to teachers to make science understandable, interesting and attractive to their students; but isn’t it time that scientists did their bit? Well, a team of neuroscientists, led by Gareth Hathway and Ian Devonshire, at Nottingham University has done just that by sending a group of undergraduate students back to school and they were at the BNA2013 festival to explain their findings.
Collecting data from people is often a battle. Subjects don’t turn up, drop out, or your sample is only representative of all the people you could bribe or blackmail into filling out your questionnaire. But there is hope, and as with so many useful tools these days, it comes in the form of a free downloadable app.
It is generally accepted that early diagnosis improves recovery, or, in the case of developmental difficulties, enables us to help a child develop to his or her full potential. But language difficulties may not be picked up until a child is already behind his or her peer group in terms of linguistic ability. So, finding early markers prior to the onset of speech would be ideal for enabling early intervention.
Continue reading “What if you could diagnose language difficulties before a child could talk?”
Back in the early 20th century, Pavlov managed to train man’s best friend to dribble at the sound of a ringing bell. Quite an achievement back in the day.
By continuously pairing the sound of a bell (the conditioned stimulus) with food (the unconditioned stimulus), Pavlov trained his dog to expect the sound of the bell to be followed by food, and therefore salivate each time it heard the bell (the conditioned response). This has since become one of the classic experiments used to train animals to match a conditioned stimulus with an unconditioned stimulus to produce a conditioned response.
These days the same principle is used to train lab rats but the bell has been replaced by a light. Food is still often used and this drops down into a small container. The conditioned response is to go to the container and collect the food. However, researchers have noticed something rather strange.
We all know what it is like to feel anxious; sweaty palms, fast breathing and that wish to run away and hide.
In this month’s Neuropod Kerri Smith talks to Karl Deisseroth about his latest publication in which he and his colleagues describe how they have managed to tune anxiety responses in mice. By stimulating or inhibiting the activity in particular regions within a part of the brain called the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST), they were able make these mice behave in a more or less anxious way.