Medicine articlesStudy suggests collective religious rituals, not religious devotion, spur support for suicide attacks
In a new study in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, psychologists Jeremy Ginges and Ian Hansen from the New School for Social Research along with psychologist Ara Norenzayan from the University of British Columbia conducted a series of experiments investigating the relationship between religion and support for acts of parochial altruism, including suicide attacks. Suicide attacks are an extreme form of "parochial altruism" - they combine a parochial act (the attacker killing members from other groups) with altruism (the attacker sacrificing themselves for the group).
Blocking protein leads to fewer, smaller skin cancer tumors
New research suggests that blocking the activity of a protein in the blood could offer powerful protection against some skin cancers.
Vitamin supplements may protect against noise-induced hearing loss
Vitamin supplements can prevent hearing loss in laboratory animals, according to two new studies, bringing investigators one step closer to the development of a pill that could stave off noise-induced and perhaps even age-related hearing loss in humans.
Mortality risk greater for elderly women who nap daily
A new study appearing in Journal of the American Geriatrics Society has found that older women who reported taking daily naps had a significantly greater risk of dying. The results of the study are in contrast to a number of prior studies which have indicated that daily napping improves health.
Researchers devise new way to explore DNA
A team that includes researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has found a new way of detecting functional regions in the human genome. The novel approach involves looking at the three-dimensional shape of the genome's DNA and not just reading the sequence of the four-letter alphabet of its DNA bases.
Rabies deaths from dog bites could be eliminated
Someone in the developing world - particularly in rural Africa - dies from a rabid dog bite every 10 minutes.
An end to fear
A team of Dutch researchers under the leadership of Vici-winner Merel Kindt has successfully reduced the fear response. They weakened fear memories in human volunteers by administering the beta-blocker propranolol. Interestingly, the fear response does not return over the course of time. Top journal Nature Neuroscience published the findings on 15 February 2009.
Rice psychologist explores perception of fear in human sweat
When threatened, many animals release chemicals as a warning signal to members of their own species, who in turn react to the signals and take action. Research by Rice University psychologist Denise Chen suggests a similar phenomenon occurs in humans. Given that more than one sense is typically involved when humans perceive information, Chen studied whether the smell of fear facilitates humans' other stronger senses.
The genetics of fear: study suggests specific genetic variations contribute to anxiety disorders
Polymorphisms are variations in genes which can result in changes in the way a particular gene functions and thus may be associated with susceptibility to common diseases. In a new study in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, psychologist Tina B. Lonsdorf and her colleagues from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and the University of Greifswald in Germany examined the effect of specific polymorphisms on how fear is learned and how that fear is subsequently overcome.
Breath or urine analysis may detect cancer, diabetes
A future sensor may take away a patient's breath while simultaneously determining whether the patient has breast cancer, lung cancer, diabetes or asthma. A University of Missouri researcher is developing a device that will analyze breath or urine samples for volatile markers inside the body that indicate disease. These volatile markers, such as alkanes, acetones or nitric oxide, give doctors clues about what is happening inside the body and can be used as a diagnostic tool.
Reward elicits unconscious learning in humans
A new study challenges the prevailing assumption that you must pay attention to something in order to learn it. The research, published by Cell Press in the March 12th issue of the journal Neuron, demonstrates that stimulus-reward pairing can elicit visual learning in adults, even without awareness of the stimulus presentation or reward contingencies.
Cognitive decline begins in late 20s
A new study indicates that some aspects of peoples' cognitive skills - such as the ability to make rapid comparisons, remember unrelated information and detect relationships - peak at about the age of 22, and then begin a slow decline starting around age 27.
UK researcher identifies just 8 patterns as the cause of all humor
Evolutionary theorist Alastair Clarke has today published details of eight patterns he claims to be the basis of all the humour that has ever been imagined or expressed, regardless of civilization, culture or personal taste.
Studies show children can complete treatment for peanut allergies and achieve long-term tolerance
A carefully administered daily dose of peanuts has been so successful as a therapy for peanut allergies that a select group of children is now off treatment and eating peanuts daily, report doctors at Duke University Medical Center and Arkansas Children's Hospital.
Where does consciousness come from?
Consciousness arises as an emergent property of the human mind. Yet basic questions about the precise timing, location and dynamics of the neural event(s) allowing conscious access to information are not clearly and unequivocally determined.
UW scientists one step closer to stopping bone loss during spaceflight
Bone loss in long-duration spaceflight has been identified for decades as a significant problem affecting astronauts. More recently, scientists have found that the absence of gravity is causing astronauts on the International Space Station to lose up to 10 times more bone mass in key regions of the body each month than most post-menopausal women do in the same period of time back here on Earth.
Someone else's experience can make you happy
Researchers say they know what makes you happy. Ask a total stranger. That's the conclusion of a new study led by Harvard psychology professor Daniel Gilbert that says if people want to know how much they will enjoy an experience, they're better off knowing how much someone else enjoyed it than knowing about the experience itself.
Brain wave patterns can predict blunders
From spilling a cup of coffee to failing to notice a stop sign, everyone makes an occasional error due to lack of attention. Now a team led by a researcher at the University of California, Davis, in collaboration with the Donders Institute in the Netherlands, has found a distinct electric signature in the brain which predicts that such an error is about to be made.
Caltech researchers find tiny genetic change keeps nicotine from binding to muscle cells
A tiny genetic mutation is the key to understanding why nicotine--which binds to brain receptors with such addictive potency--is virtually powerless in muscle cells that are studded with the same type of receptor. That's according to California Institute of Technology (Caltech) researchers, who report their findings in the March 26 issue of the journal Nature.
Researchers progress toward AIDS vaccine
Rutgers AIDS researchers Gail Ferstandig Arnold and Eddy Arnold may have turned a corner in their search for a HIV vaccine. In a paper published in the Journal of Virology, the husband and wife duo and their colleagues report on their research progress.