The Brain in the Headlines (Manchettes)

 

Warning:  Readers should be aware that articles which appear in the popular press reporting on brain research are often over simplified and notoriously the cause of misunderstandings and misinterpretations by people too eager to interpret findings in order to make a relevant case for education or other purposes.  For a complete discussion and debunking on the most damaging myths regarding brain research and learning, please refer our section on Neuromyths.

Disclaimer:  The news items on this page have been selected  from recent press articles pertaining to the brain.  The research claims and information in these articles have not been validated by the OECD, nor do they express the opinions and aims of the OECD Brain and Learning Project.  Where possible we have included the links for the original research sources of these media articles.

News items:

  • University of Oxford scientists say that adults may find learning more difficult than children because their brains store memories differently.
    BBC News: 23 November 2006
    Original research source: Neuron
  • Toxic chemicals may be causing a pandemic of brain disorders because of inadequate regulation, researchers say. A report in the Lancet identifies over 200 industrial chemicals, including metals, solvents and pesticides, which have potential to damage the brain.
    BBC News: 7 November 2006
    Original research source: The Lancet
  • Up to one in 20 children have ADHD, which affects concentration and can cause them to be disruptive. Many are being put on medication but unions warn that some schools cannot meet their medical needs. And American scientists have raised concerns about the widespread use of ADHD medications. A recent survey by the National Attention Deficit Disorder information and support service found the exclusion rate for children with ADHD was 10 times higher than that of those without.
    BBC News: 22 October 2006
  • Gene therapy has been shown to have "significant" clinical benefits for people with Parkinson's disease, according to a study.
    BBC News: 17 October 2006
    Original research source: Neurologix
  • Regions of the brain may not communicate with each other as efficiently as they should in people with autism, research suggests.
    BBC News: 14 October 2006
    Original research source: University of Washington
  • What minds should school nurture? According to the world-renowned psychologist, Professor Howard Gardner of Harvard University, there are at least five kinds of minds that we should be developing.
    BBC News: 13 October 2006

  • How could your brain be developed in the future? Should technology be used to stimulate and improve the brain - improving grades for instance? These are just some of the questions posed by a new exhibition at London's Science Museum: NEURObotics - the future of thinking?
    BBC News: 11 October 2006

  • The term schizophrenia should be abolished, experts have said.  They claim the category falsely groups a wide range of symptoms and encourages over-reliance on anti-psychotic drugs rather than psychological intervention.
    BBC News: 9 October 2006 

  • Chemotherapy produces long-term changes in the part of the brain dealing with memory, US research suggests. Scans of women treated for breast cancer five to 10 years earlier suggested the brain was having to work harder during memory tests.
    BBC News: 6 October 2006
    Original research source: UCLA
  • Schools are struggling to cope with increasing numbers of pupils with mental health problems, a study says. The survey commissioned by the NASUWT teachers' union found teachers often had difficulty identifying pupils with problems like anxiety and depression.
    BBC News: 6 October 2006
    Original research source: NASUWT
  • Breast milk 'does not boost IQ'. Breastfed babies are smarter because their mothers are clever in the first place, not because of any advantage of breastfeeding itself, a study suggests.
    BBC News: 3 October 2006
    Original research source: British Medical Journal
  • Using steroids to build bulging muscles can also trigger "catastrophic" loss of brain cells, research suggests.
    BBC News: 2 October 2006
    Original research source: Yale School of Medicine

  • A new computer-aided analysis may help detect the earliest signs of cell damage caused by Alzheimer's disease.
    BBC News: 30 September 2006
    Original research source: Radiology

  • Copper Circuits Help Brain Function -- Could Tweaking The Circuits Make Us Smarter?
    The flow of copper in the brain has a previously unrecognized role in cell death, learning and memory, according to research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
    ScienceDaily: 26 September 2006
    Original research source: Washington University in St. Louis, School of Medicine

  • How Brain's 'Mirrors' Aid Our Social Understanding
    Washington Post: 25 September 2006

     

  • Stimulating a certain area of the brain can produce a creepy feeling that someone is watching you when no one is, scientists said Wednesday.
    Reuters: 21 September 2006

  • Read an Ian Fleming novel, and your brain may be preparing to pull the trigger every time James Bond has a villain in his sights. New research suggests that reading about actions activates the brain regions that plan those actions.
    ScienceNOW: 20 September 2006

  • Music lessons can improve memory and learning ability in young children by encouraging different patterns of brain development, research shows.
    BBC News: 20 September 2006
    Original research source: Brain

  • Hearing voices in your head is so common that it is normal, psychologists believe.
    BBC News: 18 September 2006

  • More than one third of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have been excluded from school, a survey of parents suggests.
    BBC News: 18 September 2006

  • By using an experimental trick to activate certain sets of neurons and effectively substitute activation of these cells for positive or negative experiences, researchers have been able to identify neurons in the fruit fly Drosophila that are responsible for assigning value to stimuli during so-called associative learning.
    ScienceDaily, 17 September 2006
    Original research source: University of Würzburg

  • Strange ducks shape brain science: Although many people might not draw a duck very well, few would include four legs and eyebrows in their picture. But those who suffer from a common type of dementia confuse concepts such as "bird" and "dog", and will produce the strangest drawings.
    BBC News: 8 September 2006

  • Seeing the teenager in the brain : It seems our neural decision-making processes mature quite slowly, and researchers think this might help to explain typical teenage behaviour.
    BBC News: 8 September 2006

  • A study finds that anticipating a gruesome or traumatic event makes it more vivid and deeply imprinted in the memory, if people were aware something was going to happen, a key memory-forming part of the brain fired.
    BBC News: 8 September 2006
    Original research source: PNAS

  • According to a UK/Belgian team of researchers, a patient in a vegetative state can communicate just through using her thoughts.
    BBC News: 8 September 2006
    Original research source: Science

  • A study has concluded that children with older fathers have a significantly increased risk of having autism.
     BBC News: 4 September 2006
    Original research source: Archives of General Psychiatry

  • Anger is one of the seven deadly sins and one of the most toxic emotions which can seriously impair our health.  Read how some of Britain's  angriest people are put to the test in a new UK BBC One TV series, Temper Your Temper.
    BBC News: 4 September 2006

 

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