Mysterious Brain Connections
Scientists were recently surprised to find that brains missing a corpus callosum, which links the two hemispheres of the brain, were still able to communicate quite effectively. But how?
What's the Latest Development?
Researchers were recently surprised to find that brains missing a corpus callosum, which links the two hemispheres of the brain, were able to communicate information between the two halves quite effectively. Is the brain capable of using electromagnetic waves to transfer information between hemispheres? Johnjoe McFadden of the School of Biomedical and Life Sciences at the University of Surrey thinks so. He has recently proposed an electromagnetic consciousness theory of the brain.
What's the Big Idea?
Human brains without a corpus callosum are relatively rare, occurring approximately once every 4,000 live births. Composed of 200 million axons, it is the brain's largest fiber bundle. Scientists do not currently understand how information is passed from one hemisphere to another without the specialized fibers but they believe the phenomenon may give insight into clinical conditions including autism and schizophrenia. About a third of individuals missing the corpus callosum are also autistic.
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The 21st century is experiencing an Asianization of politics, business, and culture.
- Our theories about the world, even about history or the geopolitics of the present, tend to be shaped by Anglo perspectives of the Western industrial democracies, particularly those in the United States and the United Kingdom.
- The West, however, is not united. Canada, for instance, acts in many ways that are not in line with American or British policies, particularly in regard to populism. Even if it were united, though, it would not represent most of the world's population.
- European ideas, such as parliamentary democracy and civil service, spread across the world in the 19th century. In the 20th century, American values such as entrepreneurialism went global. In the 21st century, however, what we're seeing now is an Asianization — an Asian confidence that they can determine their own political systems, their own models, and adapt to their own circumstances.
Research has shown that men today have less testosterone than they used to. What's happening?
- Several studies have confirmed that testosterone counts in men are lower than what they used to be just a few decades ago.
- While most men still have perfectly healthy testosterone levels, its reduction puts men at risk for many negative health outcomes.
- The cause of this drop in testosterone isn't entirely clear, but evidence suggests that it is a multifaceted result of modern, industrialized life.
Can sensitive coral reefs survive another human generation?
- Coral reefs may not be able to survive another human decade because of the environmental stress we have placed on them, says author David Wallace-Wells. He posits that without meaningful changes to policies, the trend of them dying out, even in light of recent advances, will continue.
- The World Wildlife Fund says that 60 percent of all vertebrate mammals have died since just 1970. On top of this, recent studies suggest that insect populations may have fallen by as much as 75 percent over the last few decades.
- If it were not for our oceans, the planet would probably be already several degrees warmer than it is today due to the emissions we've expelled into the atmosphere.
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