Thursday, October 19, 2006

Parkinson's may include problems with touch

News from an Emory University press release says that although Parkinson's disease is most commonly viewed as a "movement disorder," scientists have found that the disease also causes widespread abnormalities in touch and vision.

Scientists studying Parkinson's disease previously have focused on the brain's motor and premotor cortex, but not the somatosensory or the visual cortex. But Emory neurologist Krish Sathian had earlier discovered, through tests of tactile ability, that these patients have sensory problems with touch.

Dr. Sathian believes the study shows that the traditional boundaries between brain systems involved in touch and vision, and between those involved in sensation and movement, are artificial constructs that break down with more in-depth study. From a practical standpoint, it shows that patients with PD and other movement disorders have considerable problems in addition to movement control.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Scientific American Mind covers innovation

In a new report in Scientific American Mind, writers Guenther Knoblich and Michael Oellinger cover "The Eureka Moment." They pose, .... "people who possess the least possible knowledge are in the best position to crack the case. And, ... "Yet although knowledge and experience in the problem area are indispensable, they can be a hindrance if they become so fixed that they block new ideas."

Read more by going to Scientific American Mind online, but you will need to buy a subscription to read the whole article - the publication is worth much more than the low price.

Hubble finds 16 extrasolar planet candidates

I am intrigued by adventures and discovery in space, and this story attracted me. As I may have mentioned before, I hope to be an astrophysicist in my next life.

The European Space Agency says in a recent press release, "The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has discovered 16 extrasolar planet candidates that are orbiting a variety of distant stars. In accomplishing this, Hubble looked farther into our Milky Way galaxy than has ever successfully been done before in searching for extrasolar planets.

The Hubble observations reach all the way into the central bulge of our galaxy, 26,000 light-years away, or one-quarter the diameter of the Milky Way’s spiral disk.

This tally is consistent with the number of planets expected to be uncovered from such a distant survey, based on previous exoplanet detections made in our local solar neighbourhood that only encompasses six percent of the Milky Way’s disk.