Science News: Our Weekly Picks from Around the Web

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Science News: Our Weekly Picks from Around the Web


This is your brain on sugar: UCLA study shows high-fructose diet sabotages learning, memory
“A new UCLA rat study is the first to show how a diet steadily high in fructose slows the brain, hampering memory and learning — and how omega-3 fatty acids can counteract the disruption.” (05/15/2012)

Bird brains teach us a few things about our own brains
“Celebrated by poets and welcomed as a harbinger of spring, the seasonal outpouring of bird song is also a focus of research for scientists. The way birds learn their songs is similar to the way babies learn to talk and adults master a golf swing, University of Washington researchers say.” (05/14/2012)

New Brain Sensor Lets Amputees Move Robotic Limbs
“Robert Siegel speaks with Dr. Leigh Hochberg, neurologist and engineer at Brown University and the VA Medical Center in Providence, R.I. Hochberg is the lead author of a new study that looks at how paralyzed people are able to move robotic arms with their thoughts, due to a microchip that is implanted in their brains that sends neural signals to a computer.” (05/17/2012)

Alzheimer’s focus shifts to testing therapies earlier, before patients show many symptoms
“Look for a fundamental shift in how scientists hunt ways to ward off the devastation of Alzheimer’s disease — by testing possible therapies in people who don’t yet show many symptoms, before too much of the brain is destroyed.” (05/16/2012)

Good And Bad Fats Affect Brain Health, Too
“‘Good’ fats like monounsaturated fats and “bad” fats like trans and saturated fats aren’t just factors in heart health — a new study shows they can affect brain health and memory, too.” (05/19/2012)

Unhurtful Thoughts: A Preoccupied Brain Produces Pain-Killing Compounds
“Spinal scans reveal the mechanism by which intense thinking can block pain receptors in the nervous system” (05/17/2012)