A neuroscience conference in Washington, D.C. this week could stress you out all by itself. Lab rats put in stressful situations — like being immobilized and forced to listen to loud rock music — grow fewer fibers that connect neurons. Stress isn’t that great for people, either.
“Stress causes neurons (brain cells) to shrink or grow,” said Bruce McEwen, a neuroscientist at Rockefeller University in New York. “The wear and tear on the body from lots of stress changes the nervous system.”
He said that stress is “particularly worrying in the developing brain, which appears to be programmed by early stressful experience.”
Stress in early life, even in the womb, can later lead to undesirable changes in behavior and the ability to learn and remember. Other consequences may be substance abuse and psychiatric disorders, researchers said…
“Pre-natal stress can change the brain forever,” said Tallie Baram, a neurologist at the University of California, Irvine. “Stress changes how genes are expressed throughout life.”
[1899 drawing of pigeon neurons by Santiago Ramón y Cajal, Wikimedia Commons]
Sven Johnson returns to Futurismic for another instalment of Future Imperfect.
Cyberpunk literature mirrored its era by speaking of the the fetishism of hardware; Sven takes a look at the state of play today, where what were once tools are now toys, and where complex design modeling software is available at the click of a mouse to anyone who wants it … as part of a video game. Continue reading Toys of the Trade
Vincent VanAllen’s new story is an absurdist poke in the eye for egotistical super-parents.
[ IMPORTANT NOTICE: This story is NOT covered by the Creative Commons License that covers the majority of content on Futurismic; copyright remains with the author, and any redistribution is a breach thereof. Thanks. ]
The Baby Window
by Vincent VanAllen
Journal of Prenatal Psychology & Health
Artificially accelerated fetal development in Homo sapiens: what is the role of the baby window?
Authors: Ripley R.C., Hess N.J.
I. IMPLANTATION: The search for a guinea pig
Child psychologist Norman Hess clasped his hands and dropped to a knee. “Angela, please. Just think about watching our baby grow inside your womb, right before our eyes!”
“It doesn’t seem safe,” Angela said. She was six weeks pregnant with their first child, and already Norman insisted on treating the baby like another one of his lab experiments. “What if there’s an infection or something? I don’t know. It just seems so unnatural.” Continue reading THE BABY WINDOW by Vincent VanAllen