How Pollution Affects the Brain
A pair of recently published USC studies add to our growing understanding of how fine particle pollution — the tiny, inhalable pollutants from cars and power plants — impacts our brains. The first study, published in Environment International, found that these fine particles — known as PM2.5 — may alter the size of a child’s developing brain, which may ultimately increase the risk for cognitive and emotional problems later in adolescence.
Parts of the Human Brain Have Been "Recycled" for Reading, Indicates Study
Humans began to develop systems of reading and writing only within the past few thousand years. Our reading abilities set us apart from other animal species, but a few thousand years is much too short a timeframe for our brains to have evolved new areas specifically devoted to reading.
Rem Sleep Tunes Eating Behavior
Despite our broad understanding of the different brain regions activated during rapid-eye-movement sleep, little is known about what this activity serves for. Researchers have now discovered that the activation of neurons in the hypothalamus during REM sleep regulates eating behavior: suppressing this activity in mice decreases appetite.