REM sleep essential to children’s brain development and learning

By Tracy Brighten

Researchers identify that rapid eye movement or REM sleep, usually associated with dreaming, is critical to converting daytime experiences into memories required for normal brain function

REM Sleep

Researchers say their findings help to explain how children’s learning is affected by inadequate REM sleep, and how medication commonly prescribed for hyperactivity or depression interferes with this sleep. Continue reading

Acetaminophen pain reliever may also dull your pleasure

By Tracy Brighten

Next time you take a painkiller, your sensitivity to pain may not be the only thing reduced. You may also be reducing your sensitivity to pleasure

Science Nutshell - Tylenol capsules

Researchers in the U.S have found that the common pain reliever acetaminophen has a previously unknown side effect of reducing positive emotion.

Previous studies show that acetaminophen reduces both physical and psychological pain, but this new study, published online in the journal Psychological Science, is the first to examine the effect on positive emotions. Continue reading

Art, music and nature good for our health

By Tracy Brighten

If you feel awe on seeing a breath-taking view, joy on hearing a song thrush’s trills, or contentment on listening to Mozart, you may also enjoy good health

Science Nutshell panoramic view

Researchers in a study at UC Berkeley found a biological pathway between positive emotions and good health that involves pro-inflammatory cytokines.

Cytokines are proteins that interact with immune system cells to regulate the inflammatory response to infection, disease and injury. However, sustained high levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines can be damaging and are associated with type-2 diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease and clinical depression. Continue reading

Sleep cleanses the brain of toxins linked to Alzheimer’s

By Tracy Brighten

Research revealing that sleep cleanses the brain of toxins has been awarded a top prize in the advancement of science 

Science Nutshell Sleep

Scientists have long sought to establish the function of sleep, proposing that there must be a more essential function than the storing and consolidation of memories, considering an animal’s vulnerability during the sleep state. Sleep is also known to have a restorative effect on the human brain, and lack of sleep impairs brain function, but how does this occur? Continue reading