VIEW HEADLINES ONLY

What Would a Man Born Blind See With New Eyes?

The Bible records an instance of a man born blind miraculously healed, who was immediately able to walk and recognize things.  Scientists had doubted whether a blind person suddenly able to see would understand the world of vision at all, or be able to make any sense of his new sense.  Then a real world […]

Humans Lose Some, Win Some in Animal Olympics

Imagine humans competing in Olympic events with animals.  Astrobiology Magazine predicts we would lose many events, but excel in others: “In most cases of physical competition, the animals beat us at our own games,” says the website’s staff writer, Dr. David Noever. 100 Meter Sprint:  Cheetah wins the gold at 3 seconds.  Silver goes to […]

Inner Ear Hairs Provide Optimum Sensitivity

The inner ear cochlea is lined with hair cells that transduce mechanical vibrations into electrical signals for the auditory nerve.  European scientists publishing in PNAS1 measured the sensitivity of inner ear hair cells to mechanical motion, and considering the noise caused by thermal motion, calculated that the ear operates at the optimum level.  The ear […]

Your Brain Learned Physics and Calculus Before You Did

Tilt your head to the right while moving to the left.  The neurons in your brain just solved Newton’s equations of motion, and performed complex vector calculus equations almost instantaneously.  That’s what four neurologists Washington University of Medicine (St. Louis, MO) essentially claimed in Nature July 29,1 describing how your brain interprets the information coming […]

Think Before You Speak

Children are capable of thoughts before they have the words to vocalize them, according to a study published in Nature July 221 (see also summary by Paul Bloom in the same issue2 and report on Science Now).  This contradicts the postmodernist view that thought is conditioned by language, and instead suggests that humans are innately […]

You Have Motorized Sunscreens in Your Eyeballs

The pain of walking suddenly into a bright light sets up an amazing reaction, according to EurekAlert.  An alarm is sent to the fire station in the retinal cell.  There, protein firefighters hop onto a motorized shuttle on the molecular railway, and once firmly attached, are ferried swiftly to the scene of danger.  There, they […]

Blame Evolution

Men can’t help themselves.  Evolution made them that way.  That’s the gist of a science story on ABC news.  Accompanied with a picture of rebel without a cause James Dean, it begins, “Research shows that simply being male means you’re more likely to die as a young adult.  Why?  Blame evolution…and pursuit of the opposite […]

Haemoglobin More Complex than Thought: Regulates Blood Flow

Physiologists have long known that haemoglobin, the molecule that adds the redness to red blood cells and carries oxygen to the tissues, releases its oxygen as the blood vessels constrict.  Now, increasing evidence shows that haemoglobin (composed of four complex proteins that surround a central iron atom) is not just a passive oxygen carrier.  It […]

Babies Walk in the Womb

New vivid ultrasound imaging technologies reveal a nursery of activity inside the womb, reports the BBC News.  Click the link to see the amazingly clear pictures.  Unborn babies have been observed stretching, kicking and leaping from 12 weeks, before the mother is aware, and “From 26 weeks, they appear to exhibit a whole range of […]

Can Natural Processes Create a Mind?

No problemo, says H. Clark Barrett (UCLA), getting a mind from mindless matter.  In a review of a book by developmental psychologist Gary Marcus published in Science June 11,1 Barrett was reassured by Marcus’ book that evolutionary theory working within natural law is up to the task: “The strengths of The Birth of the Mind […]

How Many Neurons Does It Take to See a Picture?

Israeli scientists publishing in Current Biology1 attempted to determine how many neurons participate in the representation of a single image.  At least a million was their conservative answer: probably more like 30 or 300 million or more.  They made careful measurements of neural activity when subjects were shown a face or a house.  In the […]

Neural Darwinism: The Evolution of Truth

Can evolutionary theory build a bottom-up explanation of higher cognitive functions?  David Papineau (King’s College) doubts it.  In his review of The Physiology of Truth: Neuroscience and Human Knowledge by Jean-Pierre Changeux (transl. Malcolm DeBevoise, Belknap Press: 2004), published in the June 3 issue of Nature,1 he gives the author high marks, but concedes that […]

Exercise Your Nerves

A team of neurologists from UCLA and duPont Hospital for Children in Delaware found that voluntary exercise improves regeneration of neurons, both for those who work out, and for those recuperating after injury.  The abstract in PNAS1 states: Recent advances in understanding the role of neurotrophins on activity-dependent plasticity have provided insight into how behavior […]

Male Imparts More to Embryo than Just DNA

A team of biologists have confirmed that male sperm RNAs are delivered to the oocyte along with the DNA.  Specifically, paternal messenger RNAs are delivered to the egg.  These might influence development and put the male’s imprint on the developing zygote.  Writing in Nature,1 the researchers speculate what the finding means: Why should spermatozoa messenger […]

Is It Possible to Be Too Clean?

Mr. Clean may have a bad immune system.  A story in EurekAlert says kids without enough exposure to infectious agents are at greater risk of autoimmune diseases.  “The cleaner everyone is, the less stimulation their immune system gets,” says [Nora] Sarvetnick [of Scripps Research Institute]. “Their immune system tends to be incomplete.”  Stimulation increases the […]
All Posts by Date