Mar 23, 2009 | 1
SAN FRANCISCO—We may all have a little bit of Narcissus in us. If the mythological figure were a modern-day pretty boy—say a Brad Pitt or a Matt Damon--a neuroscientist might interpret the infatuation with self not as a tragic flaw, but rather as a normal manifestation of the functioning of the superior temporal sulcus, the inferior frontal gyrus or some other brain structure lifted straight out of TV's Grey’s Anatomy.
Like Narcissus, neuroscientists have found that our own faces capture our rapt attention. We recognize emotions from sadness to disgust more readily on our own faces than in the same expressions made by others. And when we don’t, something may be very wrong. This insight, presented yesterday at the Cognitive Neuroscience Society meeting here, seems fairly obvious at first glance.
Nov 18, 2008 | 1
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Scientists for years have been scratching their heads over the cause of itching. There were theories that it shared a nerve pathway with pain to the brain – and now comes news that different forms of itching apparently have their own neural routes. The question is how to block their way. Sure there are some treatments like Benadryl and its ilk that stop itching induced by histamines, biological compounds known to cause itching. But no treatments exist for other forms of itching that drive patients to the doctor’s office.
Despite the fact that itching is the No. 1 complaint that dermatologists receive, there had been little research into the phenom until relatively recently. The reason: the puzzling ailment may be terribly uncomfortable but it's rarely cause for alarm. In certain cases it may be a sign of an underlying problem as serious as cancer – but it was often dismissed because it was not considered to be life threatening.
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