Study shows stronger brain activity after writing on paper than on tablet or smartphone

A study of Japanese university students and recent graduates has revealed that writing on physical paper can lead to more brain activity when remembering the information an hour later. Researchers say that the unique, complex, spatial and tactile information associated with writing by hand on physical paper is likely what leads to improved memory. “Actually, paper is more advanced and useful compared to electronic documents because paper contains more one-of-a-kind information for stronger memory recall,” said Professor Kuniyoshi L. Sakai, a neuroscientist at the University of Tokyo and corresponding author of the research recently published in Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience. The research was completed with collaborators from the NTT Data Institute of Management Consulting. Contrary to the popular belief that digital tools increase efficiency, volunteers who used paper completed the note-taking task about 25% faster than those who used digital tablets or smartphones. Although…

SOTT FOCUS: MindMatters: Stalking the Night Stalker: Richard Ramirez, Intraspecies Predator

In 1985, greater Los Angeles and San Francisco were struck with an ever-growing list of brutal murders, rapes and robberies of dozens of individuals, including children. The crimes shocked and terrified not only the families of the victims and the communities where the crimes took place – but also captured national attention – as the viciousness and malevolence involved in these acts were made public. The range of victims, and multiple MOs, stumped investigators and suggested that the serial killer involved was capable of almost anything. This week on MindMatters we discuss the chilling story of Richard Ramirez AKA ‘The Night Stalker,’ as told in a new documentary on Netflix titled Night Stalker: The Hunt For a Serial Killer. Was Ramirez ‘born’ or ‘made’ into the the monster he became, what influenced him psychologically, and what about his very biology may have helped shape him into the serial killer he became? We also look at the effects Ramirez’s acts had on the families of the…

Collected evidence that lockdowns do more harm than good

The Health Advisory and Recovery Team (HART) is a group of highly qualified UK doctors, scientists, economists, psychologists and other academic experts, including sceptical stars whose pieces have been featured or flagged up in Lockdown Sceptics such as Dr John Lee, Dr Clare Craig, Dr Malcolm Kendrick, Joel Smalley, Prof David Livermore, Prof David Seedhouse, Prof David Paton and Dr Gary Sidley. The team has now produced its most devastating piece of work to date. The new report, entitled “COVID-19: an overview of the evidence”, was sent to MPs today to encourage them to vote against the renewal of the Coronavirus Act in the coming week. With over 50 pages of meticulously referenced evidence from specialists in their fields, it shows beyond doubt why the Government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak has been ineffective and disastrous and a new approach is required.

Spain investigating woman’s death two weeks after dose of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine

Spanish health authorities say they are investigating the death of a 43-year-old woman who died on Tuesday after receiving her first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine, as well as two other cases of blood-clotting among recipients. The woman, who lived in Marbella, was reportedly in good health before receiving the vaccine, but fell ill hours after her first dose on March 2. She twice visited emergency clinics over the following 10 days, before a CT scan showed a brain hemorrhage, according to local reports. She underwent surgery but died on Tuesday, and an autopsy will be carried out to determine the specific cause of her illness and death. The government suspended Spain’s rollout of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid vaccine on Monday for two weeks while its regulators and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) investigate a fatality in each of Denmark and Austria, as well as reports of blood-clotting in a small number of people who had received the jab.

Lab-created heart valves can grow with the recipient

A groundbreaking new study led by University of Minnesota Twin Cities researchers from both the College of Science and Engineering and the Medical School shows for the first time that lab-created heart valves implanted in young lambs for a year were capable of growth within the recipient. The valves also showed reduced calcification and improved blood flow function compared to animal-derived valves currently used when tested in the same growing lamb model. If confirmed in humans, these new heart valves could prevent the need for repeated valve replacement surgeries in thousands of children born each year with congenital heart defects. The valves can also be stored for at least six months, which means they could provide surgeons with an “off the shelf” option for treatment. The study was published today in Science Translational Medicine, an interdisciplinary medical journal by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The valve-making procedure has also been…

On the psychology of the conspiracy denier

Why is it that otherwise perfectly intelligent, thoughtful and rationally minded people baulk at the suggestion that sociopaths are conspiring to manipulate and deceive them? And why will they defend this ill-founded position with such vehemence? History catalogues the machinations of liars, thieves, bullies and narcissists and their devastating effects. In modern times too, evidence of corruption and extraordinary deceptions abound. We know, without question, that politicians lie and hide their connections and that corporations routinely display utter contempt for moral norms – that corruption surrounds us. We know that revolving doors between the corporate and political spheres, the lobbying system, corrupt regulators, the media and judiciary mean that wrongdoing is practically never brought to any semblance of genuine justice. We know that the press makes noise about these matters occasionally but never pursues them with true vigour.

No more anal probes? Non-invasive skin swabs are enough to quickly detect Covid-19, new study finds

In a breakthrough that will be welcomed across the globe, University of Surrey researchers claim to have developed a highly accurate Covid-19 test using non-invasive skin swab samples. Much of the world population who have undergone Covid-19 tests have likely experienced the rather unpleasant polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, which, as many recipients attest, feels like the equivalent to having your brains scrambled like an egg or ‘stabbed’ given how far back in the throat and down the nose the swab must go. No penetration of the brain occurs in reality, however. Authorities in China took things a few steps further and anally swabbed over one million Beijing residents for the more infectious UK variant of the coronavirus, insisting that the highly invasive method was more accurate than PCR tests. In a new paper published by The Lancet’s E Clinical Medicine, the researchers took sebum samples from 67 hospitalized patients, 30 of whom had tested positive for Covid-19 and 37 who…

Better way to measure consciousness found by researchers

Millions of people are administered general anesthesia each year in the United States alone, but it’s not always easy to tell whether they are actually unconscious. A small proportion of those patients regain some awareness during medical procedures, but a new study of the brain activity that represents consciousness could prevent that potential trauma. It may also help both people in comas and scientists struggling to define which parts of the brain can claim to be key to the conscious mind. “What has been shown for 100 years in an unconscious state like sleep are these slow waves of electrical activity in the brain,” says Yuri Saalmann, a University of Wisconsin-Madison psychology and neuroscience professor. “But those may not be the right signals to tap into. Under a number of conditions — with different anesthetic drugs, in people that are suffering from a coma or with brain damage or other clinical situations — there can be high-frequency activity as well.” UW-Madison…

Is Gardasil vaccine linked to record birth rate declines?

Birth rates in the U.S. started their decline in 2006 — the same year the CDC recommended every American girl between the ages of 9 and 26 get Merck’s Gardasil HPV vaccine. A CBS News story earlier this week sounded a recurring alarm about the record decline of birth rates in the U.S. The news agency obtained records from health departments in more than two dozen states showing a 7% drop in births in December 2020 — nine months after the first lockdowns began.

Researchers find key to preventing killer allergic reactions – embedded in our own immune systems.

Researchers have discovered a function in the immune system that could hold the key to treating allergic conditions like asthma and stop life-threatening anaphylaxis. Experts from The Australian National University (ANU) have unearthed a natural way the body prevents autoimmune disease and allergies. The process is driven by a protein in the body called neuritin. “We found this absolutely fascinating mechanism of our own bodies that stops the production of rogue antibodies that can cause either autoimmunity or allergies,” senior author, ANU Professor Carola Vinuesa, said. “It’s been known for years that neuritin has a role in the brain and in the nervous system but we found an abundance of neuritin in the immune system and its mechanism – which has never been described in biology. “We have shown it is one of our immune system’s own mechanisms to prevent autoimmunity and allergy and now we have the evidence, we can go on to harness that for treatment.” The researchers say they set…