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A new Yale study offers hope for parents who have children with autism spectrum disorders. Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the double-blind, placebo-controlled study consisted of 17 children and adolescents considered to have moderate- to high-functioning autism. 

Middle-Age "Senior Moments" Just Part of Aging

Nov 27, 2013
Jordan Harrison Graphic / Connecticut Health I-Team

Everyone occasionally struggles to remember a name, blanks out on an appointment or forgets why they walked into the other room. But somewhere around age 40, those “senior moments” start to take on a new seriousness. They suddenly seem like scary signs of aging, perhaps harbingers of major memory loss to come.

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From Faith Middleton: A neuroscientist has been working on decoding the canine brain, to answer the question of what dogs are thinking and feeling. So, do they love us the way we love them? Does a rescued dog understand you have rescued it, and feel grateful in a specific sense?

Researchers in a memory lab at Texas A&M University noticed that all the older people coming in as volunteers were really worried about how they'd do.

So the scientists decided to measure how taking a memory test affects a person's subjective sense of age.

Before the test, the 22 participants felt pretty darned good. Even though their average age was 75, they said they felt about 58.

Then they were given a list of 30 nouns, told to study them for two minutes, and then asked to recall as many of them as they could in three minutes.

The NFL adopted a new rule this season that makes it illegal for players to hit with the crown of their helmet. In other words, ramming your head into someone.

Flickr Creative Commons, janie.hernandez55

At the heart of a new Frontline documentary is a simple question - does playing football expose you to life-threatening brain damage?

It's a question putting America's most popular sport on notice - raising concerns for moms, players' wives, and all of us who love football. Today we talk with Jim Gilmore, producer for Frontline's new documentary "A League of Denial: The NFL's Concussion Crisis."

When the Pittsburgh Steelers won four Super Bowls in the 1970s, you could argue that no one played a bigger role than Mike Webster. Webster was the Steelers' center, snapping the ball to the quarterback, then waging war in the trenches, slamming his body and helmet into defensive players to halt their rush.

He was a local hero, which is why the city was stunned when his life fell apart. He lost all his money, and his marriage, and ended up spending nights in the bus terminal in Pittsburgh. Webster died of a heart attack, and on Sept. 28, 2002, came the autopsy.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

David Wolman visited a Scottish castle designed for left-handed sword fights, and a Paris museum to inspect 19th century brains. He observed chimps with a primatologist who may help unravel the mysteries of handedness. He met with a left-handed satanist, an amputee whose left hand was reattached to his right arm. He's part of a left-handed episode of The Colin McEnroe Show

Hey Paul Studios, Creative Commons

Connecticut’s governor has talked openly about his developmental struggles. He's also one in five people who has dyslexia. It’s a developmental reading disorder that causes difficulties with spelling, reading and writing.

Dyslexia is something that keeps Malloy from being able to read and write as well as he’d like to this day, but it also drives him.  

For over 100 years, ADHD has been seen as essentially a behavior disorder. Recent scientific research has developed a new paradigm which recognizes ADHD as a developmental disorder of the cognitive management system of the brain, its executive functions. Dr. Thomas Brown's A New Understanding of ADHD in Children and Adults pulls together key ideas of this new understanding of ADHD, explaining them and describing in understandable language scientific research that supports this new model.

Chion Wolf

Tom Coppen/flickr creative commons

For over 100 years, ADHD has been seen as essentially a behavior disorder. Recent scientific research has developed a new paradigm which recognizes ADHD as a developmental disorder of the cognitive management system of the brain, its executive functions. Dr. Thomas Brown's A New Understanding of ADHD in Children and Adults pulls together key ideas of this new understanding of ADHD, explaining them and describing in understandable language scientific research that supports this new model.

frostnova/flickr creative commons

Foxtongue, Flickr Creative Commons

frostnova/flickr creative commons

What Is Now?

Nov 15, 2012
Flickr Creative Commons, Robert S. Donovan

OK, this is potentially one of our weirder shows. 

Tucker Ives

It's the last day of July. Our shows this month were about urban beekeeping, musical mashups as a distinct genre, anxiety, internet trolls, why certain songs get stuck in your head, artificially enhanced athletes, conversion to a different religion, a pervasive pop aesthetic called twee, the history of corn, noise, nudism, the history of the TV remote control.

Flickr Creative Commons, CarbonNYC

I'm what Daniel Smith, one of today's guests, would call a "stifler."

I have anxiety attacks and  a lot of background anxiety, but most people who know me would have no idea how bad or how recurrent my anxiety is. Because it's embrassing, right? Our culture connects anxiety with a kind of generalized cowardice. You're supposed to suck it up and face life with your shoulders squared up.

digitalbob8, Flickr Creative Commons

The idea of putting a chip in somebody's head invariably conjures up predictable waves of paranoid notions about mind control and the New World Order. 

Catie Talarski

We know that music, pets, and exercise make us feel good - but did you know they can also make our aging brains stronger? 

It used to be that getting older meant forgetting more, slowing down, and acting more and more like our grandparents. But no more. We can add years to our lives and boost our brain power by learning to play an instrument, jog around the block, or even bond with our dog.

Flickr Creative Commons, cmcbrown

"All media work us over completely."  So said Marshall McLuhan.

It was clear to McLuhan in the early 1960s and it's even clearer to us that engagement with fast-moving electronic media is producing changes that are hard to keep track of.

What if somebody wanted to produce certain changes in us that we weren't aware of?  What if someone wanted to persuade us without having to have a conversation with our conscious intellects?

Traumatic brain injury or TBI has been called the signature injury of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Defense Department data indicates more than 233,000 veterans have been diagnosed with at least a mild brain injury. But the number is even higher because not all veterans seek help. A non-profit and the VA have partnered to offer support to these servicemembers in Connecticut.

Flickr Creative Commons, EssjayNZ

If I tell you that today's show looks into the near future and sees a wave of new drugs and other therapies that can enhance moral behavior, maybe you'll tell me: enough with the science fiction. But in some ways, the drugs are already here.

Oxytocin, sometimes known as the love hormone, increases empathy and social bonding.  And oxytocin can already be taken -- for other reasons -- in nasal spray form.

Brunosan, Flickr Creative Commons

As the brain ages, it becomes harder to know when its time to move from one task to the next. That’s according to a new study by Yale University researchers, who say understanding how the brain ages may help an older workforce.

The study is called Lost in Transition. Mark Laubach, an associate professor at the Yale School of Medicine, came up with the title after waiting to buy a ticket at the Washington, DC train station. He was anxious to get back to Connecticut to see his son play in his first Little League game.  

Flickr Creative Commons, Stewart

What is the truth? It's a question that comes up a lot in the news. Is Barack Obama a Muslim? Were there weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?  Did 9/11 happen as we were told? Was JFK killed by a lone gun man? Were there any real instances in which Vietnam veterans were spat upon? Is there any such thing as post-traumatic stress disorder? Do certain vaccines cause autism? Is evolution a theory or a scientific truth?

I could go on.

Chion Wolf

It may be hard for some of you to remember, but there was a time when the correct answers to the clues to the New York Times crossword puzzle were for all intents and purposes out of reach. I mean, you could take the Sunday magazine with you to the library and look stuff up. Or you could wait a week for the answers. But there was no Google. The crossword doer today lives in a constant state of temptation.

Mark Messier's team for 12 years? You could look it up. That Rimsy Korsakov opera title? It's there to be found.


Jan 9, 2012
howthebodyworks, Flickr Creative Comments

Flickr Creative Commons, dierk schaefer

David Weinberger, our guest today, argues that our reservoir of information has become so huge and complicated that one of the standard activities of knowledge-making -- shaping facts into testable theories and equations -- doesn't really work any more. Scientists take data and build models. Then they watch the models to see what happens.

Anesthesiology 101

Dec 29, 2011
Isafmedia, Flickr Creative Commons

Whether it's 30 minutes of 24 hours, time under anesthesia is time you'll never get back. Anesthesia finds the light switch of the brain and flicks it off. We're not conscious, we don't feel pain, we don't remember and we don't move. Even now, 165 years into the age of anesthesia, we know what works but we don't know exactly how. Consciousness is a mystery, so there's no exact road map for his induced and carefully controlled state of unconsciousness is.

Many veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan have suffered some type of brain injury. In 2009, the U.S Department of Defense found up to 90,000 troops had traumatic brain injuries. They require specialized care to regain such skills as concentration and memory. As WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil reports, the VA hospital in Connecticut is one of several in the country that will participate in a clinical trial to help these veterans.