OK OK I admit, it’s Tuesday already. But being swamped down with work as I am, I’m excusing my failure to meet our self-imposed deadline with a lame “better late than never”. OK, ’nuff said about that. Here aresome of this week’s headlines:
Has the gene for intelligence finally been identified? According to psychiatric researchers at the The Zucker Hillside Hospital campus of The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research a gene that appears to influence intelligence has been identified. “A robust body of evidence suggests that cognitive abilities, particularly intelligence, are significantly influenced by genetic factors. Existing data already suggests that dysbindin may influence cognition,” says Dr. Katherine Burdick, the study’s primary author. Here’s the original press release, a link to the article, and news items from EurekAlert and ScienceDaily.
Alcohol has an impact on brain function. A glimpse around any bar confirms this. But how and where in the brain does it work? In a study by John D. Van Horn and colleagues at Dartmouth the effects of alcohol on visuo-spatial ability was studied. from the press release: “We know that alcohol has a global effect on the brain. This study was unique in that it isolated the specific network that underlies the processing and translation of visual and motor commands. The poor coordination one feels after a couple of drinks is due to the poor feedback processing in brain areas critical for updating the mental models for motor action. While this idea is not entirely new, our demonstration, using functional neuroimaging is a first and likely the start of a more extensive neuroimaging research paradigm into the effects of alcohol on the brain,” says Van Horn. Here’s a link to the article.
Related to the above alcohol story, a new study shows that smoking and alcohol damages the prefrontal cortex. Read about it here, and:
Finally, I’ll link to a book that dropped in the other day. Processes of change in brain and cognitive development is from the Attention and Performance series of Oxford University Press. This volume focuses on neural and cognitive ageing. From the book description: “In recent years there has been a shift within developmental psychology away from examining the cognitive systems at different ages, to trying to understand exactly what are the mechanisms that generate change. What kind of learning mechanisms and representational changes drive cognitive development? How can the imaging techniques available help us to understand these mechanisms?” Read more here.