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Talking back

Talking back

A science blog, sans blague

STAFF BLOG
Health

Best Evidence for Brain Training Falls Short

Market researcher SharpBrains has predicted that the brain fitness industry will range anywhere from $2 billion to $8 billion in revenues by 2015.That's a wide swath, but the companies that sell brain-tuning software could conceivably hit at least the low end of their sales target by then.The question that persists is whether any of these games and exercises actually enhance the way your brain works, whether it be memory, problem solving or the speed with which you execute a mental task...

STAFFSeptember 25, 2012 — Gary Stix
Mind

Evolution Did Not Snap the Brain Together like LEGOS

Evolutionary psychology has typically tried to identify the piece parts of human cognition shaped by the rigors of natural selection. New questions have arisen in this contentious discipline about what exactly is on that parts list—or whether the list itself really exists.One of the foremost debating points centers on whether the brain consists of a series of Lego-like modules, each one produced from evolutionary adaptations that resulted in mental tools for things like going after Mastodons, forming clans and communicating the daily incidentals related to food, shelter and mating...

STAFFAugust 29, 2012 — Gary Stix
Health

Out of Africa: Startling New Genetics of Human Origins

I love population genetics for its ability to peer back into human history through the medium of DNA's ATCGs.One of the stars of this discipline is Sarah Tishkoff, a standout in African genetics, someone who will readily haul a centrifuge into the bush in Cameroon.Tishkoff of the University of Pennsylvania is lead author on a paper published online July 26 in Cell that details whole-genome sequencing of five individuals each from three extant hunter-gatherer groups—the Pygmies of Cameroon as well as the Hadza and the Sandawe of Tanzania...

STAFFJuly 26, 2012 — Gary Stix
Health

Alzheimer's: A Ray of Hope? Just Perhaps Maybe

The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence has always looked for an anomaly in the persistent cosmic background chatter—a change perhaps in the intensity of a signal that can be taken as a sign that a transmission might be a message to us earthlings from other intelligent beings.Each year, medical researchers who gather at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference search for something similar as they weigh reports of the complex biology of the human brain for some sign that a drug might actually change the relentless course of the disease...

STAFFJuly 18, 2012 — Gary Stix

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