Latest Science and Society News

A psychology researcher at North Carolina State University is proposing a new theory to explain why older adults show declining cognitive ability with age, but don’t necessarily show declines in the workplace or daily life. One key appears to be how motivated older adults are to maintain focus on cognitive tasks.

 

As part of a multinational, collaborative effort, researchers from the Broad Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), and scores of other institutions from all over the world have helped identify over 100 locations in the human genome associated with the risk of developing schizophrenia in what is the largest genomic study published on any psychiatric disorder to date. The findings, which are published online in Nature, point to biological mechanisms and pathways that may underlie schizophrenia, and could lead to new approaches to treating the disorder, which has seen little innovation in drug development in more than 60 years.

 

Autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disability often occur together and may even share similar genetic causes. Researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Cell Reports have now linked mutations in a particular gene to the two disorders in humans. By revealing these genetic changes and their potential impact on common brain processes, researchers may uncover treatment approaches that could benefit a variety of patients.

 

When we feel mentally stressed, we often also feel physiological changes, including a faster heart rate and an increase in body temperature. This increase in body temperature is known as psychological stress-induced hyperthermia, which is a basic stress response broadly observed in mammals. The response is helpful for warming up the muscles during "fight or flight" situations, such as when wild animals face their enemies; however, stress for people in today's society can last a long time and cause a chronic increase in body temperature, a condition called psychogenic fever, which brings on intense fatigue.

Researchers used quantum theory – usually invoked to describe the actions of subatomic particles – to identify an unexpected and strange pattern in how people respond to survey questions.

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have completed the first comprehensive survey of e-cigarettes for sale online and the results, they believe, underscore the complexity in regulating the rapidly growing market for the electronic nicotine delivery devices.