Study: Strangers Can Spot ‘Kindness’ Gene

People with a certain gene trait are known to be more kind and caring than people without it, and strangers can quickly tell the difference, according to US research published on Monday. The variation is linked to the body’s receptor gene of oxytocin.

Scientists at Oregon State University devised an experiment in which 23 couples, whose genotypes were known to researchers but not observers, were filmed. Read more about the study here.

Entrepreneurially Speaking… You Can Be Self Made in America

Next week, I will be joining with innovators and job creators from 115 countries and 24,000+ partner organizations at the Future of Entrepreneurship Education Summit. The FEE Summit’s credo is to “bring ideas to life, drive economic growth, and expand human welfare.”

Read more here.

Curing an Incurable Form of Blindness

Credit: Jarrod Thacker

Doctors at the Oxford Eye Hospital in Britain conducted the first ever gene treatment that makes use of DNA to correct an incurable form of blindness. The procedure was done for a 63-year old man, leading to hopes that the treatment could be used to cure millions of blind people across the world. The procedure was conducted by researchers from Oxford University who used the treatment to overcome the effects of choroideraemia, a condition in which leads to degeneration of light sensitive lenses due to a missing gene.

Read more here.

Awesome Displays of 3D Printing

3D printing can do some amazing things. Already, it can print tools with moveable parts and even  human skin. In 3D printing, a three dimensional object is created by laying down successive layers of material. See video of some of these printing displays here.

 

How the Brain Makes Memories: Rhythmically

Mehta-Brain

In a discovery that challenges conventional wisdom on the brain mechanisms of learning, UCLA neuro-physicists have found there is an optimal brain “rhythm,” or frequency, for changing synaptic strength. And further, like stations on a radio dial, each synapse is tuned to a different optimal frequency for learning.
The findings, which provide a grand-unified theory of the mechanisms that underlie learning in the brain, may lead to possible new therapies for treating learning disabilities.
The study appears in the current issue of the journal Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience.Read the full article here.

I’m the “Man Who Wants to Mine the Moon”

I had a great interview with foxnews.com earlier this week. Here’s an excerpt and link to the full article.

Credit: Moon Express

From the Moon to Energy and Education?

Jain — a billionaire who made his fortunes first with Microsoft, then with dotcom-era yellow page site InfoSpace Inc. — believes in the power of creative thinking. In addition to MoonEx, he’s the CEO of information-services company Intelius and co-chair of education and global development at the X Prize Foundation.

 ”To have the biggest impact, you have to solve the problem as an entrepreneur,” Jain told FoxNews.com, summarizing a speech he gave Monday in New York at Pivotcon 2011, a conference on the rise of social media.

“We want to solve the problem of energy on Earth by using the moon as the eighth continent,” he told FoxNews.com.

And its not as hard as you might think. The highest expense lies in getting to the moon, he explained. Going from the surface of the moon into orbit is easy. And a solar sail can drive a capsule containing mined resources back  to earth orbit and down to the surface.

“It’s rocket science but it’s well understood rocket science,” he said.

Read the full article here.

Brain Continues to Develop Beyond Adolescence

Brain development doesn’t stop in adolescence, but continues until people are well into their 20s, a new study says. The finding challenges a long-held belief that brain development is completed in the teen years.

For their study, the University of Alberta researchers used MRI to scan the brains of 103 healthy people aged 5 to 32. Each volunteer was scanned at least twice. The results showed that the brains of young adults were still developing wiring to the frontal lobe, which is involved in complex cognitive tasks such as inhibition, high-level functioning and attention.

This continued development of brain wiring may be due to the abundance of life experiences in young adulthood, such as going to college or university, starting a career, gaining independence, and developing new social and family relationships, the researchers suggested.

Read full article here.

 

Neuroscience of Beauty: How Does the Brain Appreciate Art?

Credit: aaM Photography

The notion of “the aesthetic” is a concept from the philosophy of art of the 18th century according to which the perception of beauty occurs by means of a special process distinct from the appraisal of ordinary objects. Hence, our appreciation of a sublime painting is presumed to be cognitively distinct from our appreciation of, say, an apple. The field of “neuroaesthetics” has adopted this distinction between art and non-art objects by seeking to identify brain areas that specifically mediate the aesthetic appreciation of artworks.

However, studies from neuroscience and evolutionary biology challenge this separation of art from non-art. Human neuroimaging studies have convincingly shown that the brain areas involved in aesthetic responses to artworks overlap with those that mediate the appraisal of objects of evolutionary importance, such as the desirability of foods or the attractiveness of potential mates.

Hence, it is unlikely that there are brain systems specific to the appreciation of artworks; instead there are general aesthetic systems that determine how appealing an object is, be that a piece of cake or a piece of music.

Read the full article here.

Princeton Study Matches Brain Scans with Complex Thought

In an effort to understand what happens in the brain when a person reads or considers such abstract ideas as love or justice, Princeton researchers have for the first time matched images of brain activity with categories of words related to the concepts a person is thinking about. The results could lead to a better understanding of how people consider meaning and context when reading or thinking.

The research, which was published Aug. 23, was funded by a grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke, part of the National Institutes of Health.

Read more here.

How the Brain Stores Information for Short Periods of Time

Credit- Albert Ludwigs Universitat Freiburg

Freiburg biologist Dr. Aristides Arrenberg and his American colleagues studied mechanisms used by the brain to store information for a short period of time. The cells of several neural circuits store information by maintaining a persistent level of activity: A short-lived stimulus triggers the activity of neurons, and this activity is then maintained for several seconds. The mechanisms of this information storage have not yet been sufficiently described, although this phenomenon occurs in very many areas of the brain.

Read complete article on ScienceDaily.