White Brain Matter: A Key to Aging Well
The way white matter or brain nerve fibers are connected around the brain affects the longevity of human intelligence in old age. Researchers believe they can now focus on treatments to savor the sharp mind.
Article written by guest writer Rin Mitchell
What’s the Latest Development?
Researchers from the University of Edinburgh have found that people with a well-integrated wiring of myelinated nerve fibers (white matter) in the brain will be sharper well into old age—when mental decline could potentially occur. Researchers used a few different imaging techniques and have found that a lack of these properly-wired interconnected fibers have a negative impact on human intelligence—by changing the networks and slowing down the rate at which the brain processes and performs. Images studied came from a group of 1100 people born in 1936 whose intelligence and general health had been tracked since they were 11 years old. This research, which is part of a large study called the Disconnected Mind Project, identifies the differences in cognitive aging in people.
What’s the Big Idea?
The comprehension of human intelligence for all ages and the connection of white matter allow doctors to focus on effective treatments for pathological and age-related mental complications. In addition, with this knowledge medical experts can identify strategies to keep the human brain in good mental shape in old age.
Here's the science of black holes, from supermassive monsters to ones the size of ping-pong balls.
- There's more than one way to make a black hole, says NASA's Michelle Thaller. They're not always formed from dead stars. For example, there are teeny tiny black holes all around us, the result of high-energy cosmic rays slamming into our atmosphere with enough force to cram matter together so densely that no light can escape.
- CERN is trying to create artificial black holes right now, but don't worry, it's not dangerous. Scientists there are attempting to smash two particles together with such intensity that it creates a black hole that would live for just a millionth of a second.
- Thaller uses a brilliant analogy involving a rubber sheet, a marble, and an elephant to explain why different black holes have varying densities. Watch and learn!
- Bonus fact: If the Earth became a black hole, it would be crushed to the size of a ping-pong ball.
Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.
In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.
- The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
- Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
- Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
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