News in Brain and Behavioural Sciences
The Weekly Edition of The Human Nature Daily Review
Volume 1: Issue 26 - 11th August, 2001

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Editor's choice Primatology - Primate experts have found more evidence that chimpanzees, like humans, show cultural diversity. [more]

Ethology - Poor housing and extreme inbreeding is taking a toll on the value of mice in biomedical research. [more]

Dreaming - Brains in Dreamland -  Scientists hope to raise the neural curtain on sleep's virtual theater. [more]

Evolutionary psychology - Darwin's own family stimulated his interest in the continuity between human and animal behaviour, making him the first "evolutionary psychologist" says Matt Ridley. [more]

Suicide - Media reports that portray suicide as the inexplicable act of an otherwise healthy person may inadvertently encourage people to act on their own suicidal tendencies, according to a report released Thursday by a coalition of health-care organizations. [more]

Editor's choice Primatology - Should gorillas' needs come before people's? Annette Lanjouw, a Dutch primatologist and director of the International Gorilla Conservation Programme, argues the two are not in conflict. She tells Stephanie Pain that protecting the forest is vital for both. [more]

Anorexia - Anorexic women are most likely to have been born in the spring or early summer, reports a researcher in Scotland. The finding raises the possibility that a common winter infection, such as flu, may predispose an unborn baby to the condition. [more]

Human cloning - Despite warnings from leading experts that the experiments in human cloning would inevitably lead to babies that are deformed, or die soon after birth, a fertility doctor, a chemist and a scientist-entrepreneur nevertheless vowed today to press ahead with separate efforts to create the first cloned human being. New York Times, Nando Times, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post.

Parental involvement - In a survey, released Tuesday, of teens across the country, nearly all of them said they can confide in someone in their family. Almost half would pick a family member - not a pop icon or sports star - as a role model. [more]

Biomedical research - Some of the most prestigious journals in biomedical research are collectively issuing a uniform publishing policy, in order to break drug companies' influence over research results. [more]

Japanese science - Hideki Shirakawa task involves reflecting long and hard on why his country's laboratories have produced so few stars on his level. [more]

Autism - Scientists at Oxford University said on Monday that they are zeroing in on genes that might make children susceptible to developing autism. [more]

Stem cells - Steven Rose: Don't expect miracle cures in stem cell research. Taken from a talk given by the neurobiologist at Gresham College, London, as part of the series of Lectures in Physic. [more]

Memory - One of the keys to locking in a memory is how much emotion is attached to it. [more]

Artificial intelligence - Machines are becoming more intelligent, but there is a reason why they will never think, says Susan Greenfield. [more]

Shyness - People are not born shy, according to Bernardo Carducci, a professor of psychology at Indiana University Southeast. [more] and [more]

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Editor's choice IQ and birth weight - Babies who are a little bigger at birth have a marked advantage in terms of intelligence later in childhood, a study suggests. BBC News Online, British Medical Journal.

Editor's choice Genetics - A new study by researchers at The Wistar Institute provides important experimental data to support a novel theory of gene regulation. The theory holds that coordinated patterns of modifications to DNA-packaging proteins called histones may be a key factor in turning specific genes on or off. EurekAlert, Reuters, The Telegraph.

Placebo effect - Scientists have found the first hard evidence that the placebo effect is not all in the mind: it does produce measurable effects in the body that can help to treat disease. Nature Science Update, The Telegraph.

Genomic imprinting - Genomic imprinting  provides a model system for the analysis of the epigenetic control of genome function. Science.

Biological clock - Neuroscientists at Jefferson Medical College have clarified how the human eye uses light to regulate melatonin production, and in turn, the body’s biological clock. [more]

Homicide - Perhaps because of stress, the number of student homicides is highest at the beginning of the spring and fall semesters and declines over the following months, according to an analysis of data reported by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). [more]

Genetics - RNA silencing is a potent means to counteract foreign sequences and could play an important role in plant and animal development. Science.

Neuroscience - Chess experts and chess amateurs use different parts of their brain when they play. Thomas Elbert and colleagues at the University of Constance, Germany, used a new magnetic imaging technique to study chess players' brains in action. BBC News Online, Nature Science Update, The Independent, Nature, Scientific American, Nando Times.

Autism - A study that screened the genomes of over 150 pairs of siblings with autism has identified two new regions on chromosomes 2 and 17 that may house autism susceptibility genes. [more]

Editor's choice Archaeology - Mathematical modeling implicates mechanical and economic constraints as factors underlying the broad geographic distribution and temporal persistence of Levallois core technologies during the Middle and Late Pleistocene. [more]

Memory - Quantum memories will be like the brain. According to Carlo Trugenberger of InfoCodex in Geneva, Switzerland, quantum-computer engineers should design memories like our own, storing information as patterns rather than putting each item in its own labelled box, as in conventional computers. [more]

Suicide - Adolescents who live with adoptive parents may be more likely than their peers to attempt suicide, researchers report. [more]

Genetics - Anne Magurran reviews The Impact of the Gene: From Mendel's Peas to Designer Babies by Colin Tudge. [more] [first chapter]

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Evolution - Frogs, Flies and Dandelions: Speciation-The Evolution of New Species by Menno Schilthuizen. [more]
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Civilization - George Scialabba reviews Civilizations: Culture, Ambition, and the Transformation of Nature by Felipe Fernandez-Armesto. [more]

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Schizophrenia - Lloyd A. Wells reviews The Madness of Adam and Eve: How Schizophrenia Shaped Humanity by David Horrobin. [more]
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Alzheimer's disease - Aislinn Batstone reviews Decoding Darkness: The Search for the Genetic Causes of Alzheimer's Disease by Rudolph E. Tanzi and Ann B. Parson. [more]
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Medicine - Joe Vander Veer reviews Great Feuds in Medicine: Ten of the Liveliest Disputes Ever by Hal Hellman. [more]

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Evolutionary psychology - Mike Pitts reviews What is it to be human? by Kenan Malik and others. [more]
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Science - Harry Collins reviews Fragile Science: The reality behind the headlines by Robin Baker. [more]
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Evolution - Jerry Coyne reviews The Evolution Explosion: How Humans Cause Rapid Evolutionary Change by Stephen R. Palumbi. [more]

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Fiction - Lisa Jardine reviews The Procedure by Harry Mulisch. [more]

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Psychohistory - A discipline that concerns itself with collective psychology, a field that, surprisingly, has never garnered much interest in both popular culture and the academic world. [more]

Editor's choice Primatology - Frans de Waal clears up confusion over the ancestry and social structure of Bonobos. [more]