Afarensis: Making Mapmaking Illegal:

According to National Geographic Malaysia and the Philippines have passed laws making it illegal for anybody other than certified specialists to make maps. The laws are aimed at indigenous groups fighting for their land rights

Gosh, and I thought the US was good at not collecting embarrassing data.

ScienceDaily: Prosthetic Arm Can Be Controlled Naturally, Provide Sensory Feedback:

Targeted Muscle Reinnervation (TMR) […] involves the transfer of residual nerves from an amputated limb to unused muscle regions in appropriate proximity to the injury. In this case, the nerves were transferred to the pectoral area of the patient’s chest. This procedure provides for a more intuitive use of a prosthetic arm and allows for the natural sensation of grip strength and touch. During clinical evaluation of the limb at RIC, Jesse Sullivan, a patient of Dr. Kuiken, demonstrated substantial improvements in functional testing, such as the ability to reposition his thumb for different grips, remove a credit card from a pocket, [and] stack cups while controlling his grip force using sensory feedback[…] The limb system also includes a natural-looking artificial covering that was created using photographs of the patient’s native limb taken before the accident.

This is actually pretty cool. Don’t you wish there weren’t quite so many thousands of people who will be needing prostheses like this?

This one seems full of  crap to me: Cannabis ‘disrupts brain centre’:

They then carried out brain scans, and a battery of tests, and found that those who took THC showed reduced activity in an area of the brain called the inferior frontal cortex, which keeps inappropriate thoughts and behaviour, such as swearing and paranoia in check.

When people get high the part of the brain that holds back inappropriate behavior has lower activity? I’m shocked, shocked.  Good thing that kind of disinhibition never happens with other recreational drugs, like alcohol. (And even taking the report at face value, how do we know that the reduced activity really marks disinhibtion? Perhaps potheads just have less desire to swear or feel paranoid…)

Another piece of crap: Hope for sex-boost slimming pill:

The hormone-releasing pill has so far only been given to female monkeys and shrews who displayed more mating behaviour and ate less.

Because humans and shrews have exactly similar libidos, and nothing other than libido affects the frequency of mating behavior.

BBC NEWS | Health | Scientists ‘reverse’ memory loss:

‘Playground’ test

Scientists had previously given the mice tests where they learnt to avoid an electric shock and how to find their way through a maze to reach food.

After six weeks with the brain disease, the mice were no longer able to remember how to perform these tasks. Some of the mice were then placed in a more stimulating environment with toys, treadmills and other mice. Even if the brain suffered some very severe neurodegeneration… there is still the possibility to improve learning ability Li-Huei Tsai Neuroscientist The playground mice were able to remember the shock test far better than the mice in other cages. They were also better at learning new things.

This is very nice, but it goes along with an earlier story about mice bred for heart disease that says they didn’t develop the disease when given plenty of room to move around and exercise rather than being held in regular cages. It’s a little sobering to think that it’s news you should keep alzheimer’s patients or stroke victims in sensorily-deprived environments.


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