Jon Hamilton http://publicradioeast.org en One Scientist's Quest To Vanquish Epileptic Seizures http://publicradioeast.org/post/one-scientists-quest-vanquish-epileptic-seizures In the early 1990s, a young brain researcher named <a href="http://www.anatomy.uci.edu/solteszres.html">Ivan Soltesz</a> heard a story that would shape his career.<p>His adviser told him about a school for children whose epileptic seizures were so severe and frequent that they had to wear helmets to prevent head injuries. The only exception to the helmet rule was for students who received an award.<p>"The big deal for them is that they can take the helmet off while they're walking across the stage," Soltesz says. Fri, 18 Apr 2014 20:41:00 +0000 Jon Hamilton 39287 at http://publicradioeast.org One Scientist's Quest To Vanquish Epileptic Seizures Gene Linked To Alzheimer's Poses A Special Threat To Women http://publicradioeast.org/post/gene-linked-alzheimers-poses-special-threat-women A gene associated with Alzheimer's disease appears especially dangerous to women and may be one reason that more women than men are diagnosed with the disease.<p>The gene, known as APOE4, increases the risk of developing Alzheimer's in both sexes. Mon, 14 Apr 2014 22:00:00 +0000 Jon Hamilton 38928 at http://publicradioeast.org Gene Linked To Alzheimer's Poses A Special Threat To Women The Forgotten Childhood: Why Early Memories Fade http://publicradioeast.org/post/forgotten-childhood-why-early-memories-fade Francis Csedrik, who is 8 and lives in Washington, D.C., remembers a lot of events from when he was 4 or just a bit younger. There was the time he fell "headfirst on a marble floor" and got a concussion, the day someone stole the family car ("my dad had to chase it down the block"), or the morning he found a black bat (the furry kind) in the house.<p>But Francis looks puzzled when his mom, Joanne Csedrik, asks him about a family trip to the Philippines when he was 3. "It was to celebrate someone's birthday," she tells him. "We took a long plane ride, two boat trips," she adds. Tue, 08 Apr 2014 21:25:00 +0000 Jon Hamilton 38429 at http://publicradioeast.org The Forgotten Childhood: Why Early Memories Fade Map Of The Developing Human Brain Shows Where Problems Begin http://publicradioeast.org/post/map-developing-human-brain-shows-where-problems-begin A high-resolution map of the human brain in utero is providing hints about the origins of brain disorders including schizophrenia and <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/03/26/294446735/brain-changes-suggest-autism-starts-in-the-womb">autism</a>.<p>The map shows where genes are turned on and off throughout the entire brain at about the midpoint of pregnancy, a time when critical structures are taking shape, researchers <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature13185">reported</a> Wednesday in the journal <em>Nature</em>.<p>"It's a pretty big leap," says <a href="http://www.alleninstit Wed, 02 Apr 2014 18:24:00 +0000 Jon Hamilton 37920 at http://publicradioeast.org Map Of The Developing Human Brain Shows Where Problems Begin Jump In Autism Cases May Not Mean It's More Prevalent http://publicradioeast.org/post/higher-autism-numbers-may-not-mean-actual-increase-kids The government's latest <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss6302a1.htm?s_cid=ss6302a1_w">estimate</a> shows that 1 in 68 children in the U.S. has an autism spectrum disorder. Thu, 27 Mar 2014 19:30:00 +0000 Jon Hamilton 37469 at http://publicradioeast.org Jump In Autism Cases May Not Mean It's More Prevalent Brain Changes Suggest Autism Starts In The Womb http://publicradioeast.org/post/brain-changes-suggest-autism-starts-womb The symptoms of autism may not be obvious until a child is a toddler, but the disorder itself appears to begin well before birth.<p>Brain tissue taken from children who died and also happened to have autism revealed patches of disorganization in the cortex, a thin sheet of cells that's critical for learning and memory, <a href="http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1307491?query=featured_home">researchers report</a> in the <em>New England Journal of Medicine</em>. Wed, 26 Mar 2014 22:56:00 +0000 Jon Hamilton 37403 at http://publicradioeast.org Brain Changes Suggest Autism Starts In The Womb Alzheimer's Diagnosis Expanding To Catch Early Warning Signs http://publicradioeast.org/post/alzheimers-estimates-draw-attention-how-disease-defined Alzheimer's disease isn't what it used to be. Wed, 19 Mar 2014 20:31:00 +0000 Jon Hamilton 36833 at http://publicradioeast.org Alzheimer's Diagnosis Expanding To Catch Early Warning Signs Alzheimer's Blood Test Raises Ethical Questions http://publicradioeast.org/post/alzheimers-blood-test-raises-ethical-questions An experimental blood test can identify people in their 70s who are likely to develop Alzheimer's disease within two or three years. The test is accurate more than 90 percent of the time, scientists <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nm.3466">reported</a> Sunday in <em>Nature Medicine.</em><p>The finding could lead to a quick and easy way for seniors to assess their risk of Alzheimer's, says <a href="http://explore.georgetown.edu/people/hjf8/">Dr. Howard Federoff</a>, a professor of neurology at Georgetown University. Sun, 09 Mar 2014 18:04:00 +0000 Jon Hamilton 36021 at http://publicradioeast.org Alzheimer's Blood Test Raises Ethical Questions Maybe That BPA In Your Canned Food Isn't So Bad After All http://publicradioeast.org/post/fda-studies-suggest-bpa-food-isnt-health-risk Maybe BPA isn't so bad after all.<p>The plastic additive has been <a href="http://www.ewg.org/New-Research-Fuels-Demand-for-BPA-Free-Food-Cans">vilified</a> by environmental advocacy groups. But the chemical had no effect on rats fed thousands of times the amount a typical person ingests, government scientists are <a href="http://toxsci.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2014/02/20/toxsci.kfu022.abstract">reporting</a> in the journal <em>Toxicological Sciences</em>.<p>The results "both support and extend the conclusion from the U.S. Wed, 26 Feb 2014 22:28:00 +0000 Jon Hamilton 35231 at http://publicradioeast.org Maybe That BPA In Your Canned Food Isn't So Bad After All Orphans' Lonely Beginnings Reveal How Parents Shape A Child's Brain http://publicradioeast.org/post/orphans-lonely-beginnings-reveal-how-parents-shape-childs-brain Parents do a lot more than make sure a child has food and shelter, researchers say. They play a critical role in brain development.<p>More than a decade of research on children raised in institutions shows that "neglect is awful for the brain," says <a href="http://dms.hms.harvard.edu/neuroscience/fac/Nelson.php">Charles Nelson</a>, a professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children's Hospital. Mon, 24 Feb 2014 08:35:00 +0000 Jon Hamilton 35003 at http://publicradioeast.org Orphans' Lonely Beginnings Reveal How Parents Shape A Child's Brain Stricter Autism Criteria Unlikely To Reduce Services For Kids http://publicradioeast.org/post/stricter-autism-criteria-unlikely-reduce-services-kids The clinical definition for when a child has some form of autism has been tightened. Mon, 27 Jan 2014 20:00:00 +0000 Jon Hamilton 32948 at http://publicradioeast.org Stricter Autism Criteria Unlikely To Reduce Services For Kids Mild-Mannered Stingrays Can Inflict A World Of Hurt http://publicradioeast.org/post/mild-mannered-stingrays-can-inflict-world-hurt Want to get away? Thinking about a place with warm water and soft sand? Sounds nice. But think twice before you wade into that inviting surf. Chances are there are stingrays in the area.<p>Every year, these timid, shellfish-eating cousins of the shark inflict excruciating injuries on thousands of swimmers and surfers from the Bahamas to Bahrain to both coasts of the United States.<p>One of last year's victims was Eric Stern, a doctor from Washington, D.C., who was giving a surfing lesson to his sister in August near Santa Monica, Calif. Tue, 21 Jan 2014 08:16:00 +0000 Jon Hamilton 32467 at http://publicradioeast.org Mild-Mannered Stingrays Can Inflict A World Of Hurt Can A Fruit Fly Help Explain Autism? http://publicradioeast.org/post/can-fruit-fly-help-explain-autism For President Obama, 2013 wasn't just the year of Obamacare. It was also the year of the brain.<p>In April, Obama announced his Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies <a href="http://www.nih.gov/science/brain/%3E%3E,">(BRAIN) Initiative</a> — an effort to unlock "the mystery of the three pounds of matter that sits between our ears."<p>But scientists say that in order to explain the human brain, they'll have to learn a lot more about much smaller and simpler brains, like those in mice and insects and worms. Fri, 27 Dec 2013 08:22:00 +0000 Jon Hamilton 30725 at http://publicradioeast.org Can A Fruit Fly Help Explain Autism? Experimental Tool Uses Light To Tweak The Living Brain http://publicradioeast.org/post/experimental-tool-uses-light-tweak-living-brain When President Obama <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/04/02/176060875/obama-s-brain-map-plan-a-most-audacious-project">announced his BRAIN Initiative</a> in April, he promised to give scientists "the tools they need to get a dynamic picture of the brain in action."<p>An early version of one of those tools already exists, scientists say. Thu, 26 Dec 2013 21:36:00 +0000 Jon Hamilton 30713 at http://publicradioeast.org Experimental Tool Uses Light To Tweak The Living Brain Could Pot Help Veterans With PTSD? Brain Scientists Say Maybe http://publicradioeast.org/post/could-pot-help-veterans-ptsd-brain-scientists-say-maybe Veterans who smoke marijuana to cope with post-traumatic stress disorder may be onto something. Tue, 24 Dec 2013 20:40:00 +0000 Jon Hamilton 30573 at http://publicradioeast.org Could Pot Help Veterans With PTSD? Brain Scientists Say Maybe 'Forecast Bust:' Why 2013 Hurricane Predictions Were So Wrong http://publicradioeast.org/post/forecast-bust-why-2013-hurricane-predictions-were-so-wrong Transcript <p>ARI SHAPIRO, BYLINE: It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Ari Shapiro. The 2013 Atlantic hurricane season ends tomorrow. It'll be remembered as one of the quietest on record. Since June, there have been just two hurricanes, both were relatively weak. As NPR's Jon Hamilton reports, forecasters were expecting something very different.<p>JON HAMILTON, BYLINE: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration told Americans to expect an unusually active year with between seven and 11 hurricanes. Fri, 29 Nov 2013 19:55:00 +0000 Jon Hamilton 28785 at http://publicradioeast.org Brain Cells 'Geotag' Memories To Cache What Happened — And Where http://publicradioeast.org/post/brain-cells-geotag-memories-cache-what-happened-and-where Think back to an important event in your life: a graduation, a birth, a special Thanksgiving dinner. Chances are you're remembering not only what happened, but also where it happened. And now scientists think they know why.<p>As we form so-called episodic memories, the brain appears to be using special cells in the hippocampus to "geotag" each event, <a href="http://www.sciencemag.org/">researchers report</a> in <em>Science</em>. Thu, 28 Nov 2013 19:03:00 +0000 Jon Hamilton 28699 at http://publicradioeast.org Brain Cells 'Geotag' Memories To Cache What Happened — And Where In Pregnancy, What's Worse? Cigarettes Or The Nicotine Patch? http://publicradioeast.org/post/pregnancy-whats-worse-cigarettes-or-nicotine-patch Lots of studies have shown that cigarette smoke isn't good for a fetus. So many pregnant women use nicotine gum or skin patches or inhalers to help them stay away from cigarettes.<p>A few years ago, Megan Stern became one of those women. "I smoked heavily for the first seven weeks of my pregnancy because I didn't know I was pregnant," she says. "It was an accidental pregnancy, and I found out while I was in the emergency room for another issue."<p>Stern, who lives in Massachusetts, was 21 at the time and had been smoking since she was 14. Mon, 25 Nov 2013 07:54:00 +0000 Jon Hamilton 28441 at http://publicradioeast.org In Pregnancy, What's Worse? Cigarettes Or The Nicotine Patch? Federal Brain Science Project Aims To Restore Soldiers' Memory http://publicradioeast.org/post/federal-brain-science-project-aims-restore-soldiers-memory When President Obama announced his plan to explore the mysteries of the human brain seven months ago, it was long on ambition and short on details.<p>Now some of the details are being sketched in.<p>The <a href="http://www.whitehouse.gov/share/brain-initiative">BRAIN Initiative</a> will include efforts to restore lost memories in war veterans, create tools that let scientists study individual brain circuits and map the nervous system of the fruit fly.<p>The Defense Advanced Projects Agency, or DARPA, which has committed more than $50 million to the effort, offered the clearest plan. Fri, 15 Nov 2013 21:01:00 +0000 Jon Hamilton 27854 at http://publicradioeast.org Federal Brain Science Project Aims To Restore Soldiers' Memory The Case Against Brain Scans As Evidence In Court http://publicradioeast.org/post/brain-scans-shouldnt-get-their-day-court-scientists-say It's not just people who go on trial these days. It's their brains.<p>More and more lawyers are arguing that some defendants deserve special consideration because they have brains that are immature or impaired, says <a href="http://law.duke.edu/fac/farahany/">Nita Farahany</a>, a professor of law and philosophy at Duke University who has been studying the use of brain science in court.<p>About 5 percent of murder trials now involve some neuroscience, Farahany says. Tue, 12 Nov 2013 08:02:00 +0000 Jon Hamilton 27521 at http://publicradioeast.org The Case Against Brain Scans As Evidence In Court