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The Complex and Fascinating Sense of Touch

Aug 17, 2015
Stefano Mortellaro/flickr creative commons

Deprive a newborn baby of loving touch and the consequences are dramatic. In fact, touch deprivation can lead to a broad range of developmental problems that, if left uncorrected, will most likely carryover into adulthood. Neuroscientist David Linden tells us touch is not optional for human development.

It's a Left-Handed Show

Aug 13, 2015
Andreas Levers / Creative Commons

Lefties have been scorned as evil, and celebrated as superior. But, like so many things in life, being a southpaw is not so easily defined. 

Harriet Jones / WNPR

    

An invention to treat Alzheimer’s Disease, patented by a Connecticut entrepreneur, could now be in human clinical trials before the end of this year. The development comes just months after the launch of the technology.

There's new evidence suggesting that women's brains are especially vulnerable to Alzheimer's disease and other problems with memory and thinking.

Women with mild cognitive impairment, which can lead to Alzheimer's, tend to decline faster than men, researchers reported this week at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Washington, D.C.

Once upon a time Nancy Butler lived in the Beltway and used her MBA to secure a high paying job with a defense contractor.  But Butler had considered herself a devout Christian since the age of 9, and something about a job with a company that made torpedoes started to bother her. So she left and embarked on a journey that included mission work in Asia and enrollment at Yale Divinity School.

At 28, Jessica Fechtor suffered a life-threatening brain aneurysm that knocked out some of her senses. Now she has written Stir: My Broken Brain and the Meals that Brought Me Home. She'll be our guest today as we talk about life, death, food, and healing.

Agustín Ruiz/flickr creative commons

Deprive a newborn baby of loving touch and the consequences are dramatic. In fact, touch deprivation can lead to a broad range of developmental problems that, if left uncorrected, will most likely carryover into adulthood. Neuroscientist David Linden tells us touch is not optional for human development.

Allan Ajifo/flickr creative commons

New techniques are being used by brain specialists to treat Parkinson's, traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, and stroke.

Digital Vision / Thinkstock

There is a lot of news about the fallibility of memory. Brian Williams is currently out of the NBC Nightly News anchor chair because of problems with some of his war stories. Coincidentally, Maria Konnikova wrote about "flashbulb memories" for the NewYorker.com, which is what Williams' problems may be attributed to.

This weekend, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals granted a request to review the case of Adnan Syed. His conviction of murdering his ex-girlfriend was the subject of the podcast Serial, but in many ways was also about memory.

In many high schools over the last few decades, students have been introduced to author Harper Lee through her debut and only novel To Kill A Mockingbird. Many people never expected a follow-up book but last week, it was announced that Go Set A Watchman will be released later this year.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Our plan, from the  beginning, for today’s episode of The Nose had been to ask the panelists to see “American Sniper” and then discuss this unusual movie – unusual because director Clint Eastwood’s intention was to make an anti-war statement but the movie has been embraced far more ardently by boosters of the Iraq conflict.

By the numbers, it’s a surprising story. “American Sniper” grossed a quarter of a billion dollars in the month of January. Released on December 25, it’s capable of becoming 2014’s highest grossing film, although it would have to catch the latest “Hunger Games” iteration.

Puzzles: The Joy of Being Perplexed

Jan 27, 2015
Lablanco / Flickr Creative Commons

People have been puzzled since the beginning. And while that might sound like a problem, it may in fact be our preferred state of being. Since the first fires needed to be lit with tinder too damp to kindle, we've been problem solving. When one problem was solved, another was found. And when seemingly, we could no longer find enough problems to satiate our appetites, we created puzzles: problems in a box; food for our minds.

Updated at 8:30 a.m. ET on Jan. 23.

Two former World Wrestling Entertainment fighters are suing the company, alleging that it ignored signs of brain damage and injuries.

The lawsuit, dated Jan. 16, was filed by Vito "Big Vito" LoGrasso and Evan Singleton, who wrestled under the name "Adam Mercer."

The suit alleges that LoGrasso has sustained serious neurological damage as a result of wrestling. He says he has headaches, memory loss, depression and hearing impairment. Singleton also says he has tremors, convulsions and migraines.

Tom Woodward/flickr creative commons

Sleeping is studying? Distractions are good?

Turns out both those things can help us learn faster and better. Cognitive scientists have been putting learning to the test, and once you cruise through the most important studies, you see myths about learning popping like balloons. Concentration? Repetition? Not so much.

mrbichel / Flickr Creative Commons

Can playing a game make a person smarter, more alert, and better able to learn? Well, the science on that question isn't clear.

The University of New Hampshire Wildcats are heading into a do-or-die quarterfinal football game this week against the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga.

And whether they win or not, there's one thing you can say about the Wildcats: They are likely the only football team in America trying to reduce concussions by practicing without helmets.

Football has a concussion problem, from the National Football League down to Pee-Wee teams. And there are lots of efforts out there to fix it.

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