Are Our Brains Pre-Wired to See Language? A New Study Suggests, Yes, It Is.

New research has found that humans are born with a part of the brain that is wired already to see words and letters, setting the ground work for reading.

Looking at brain scans from newborns, scientists found that the part of the brain, the visual word form area” or VWFA is connected to the language part of the brain. Researchers say this makes it fertile ground to develop a sense of visual words. Even before exposure to language.

The VWFA is specializes in this way for reading only as individuals that are becoming literate. Some scientists thought that the VWFA only became receptive to language when exposed to it. Like the parts of the brain that sees faces, scenes or other objects as babies learn about them.

Researchers found this wasn’t true though that the VWFA comes out formed to be receptive to language.

Researchers found the VWFA was different because of its functional connection to the language part of the brain and comes preprogrammed unlike the way the visual cortex develops facial recognition.

Office of Student Life Offers Students Off-Campus Housing Safety Kit for Free

At the Ohio State University some students are taking advantage of an offer from the school to increase home security in student housing around campus.

OSU’s Office of Student Life’s program supports off-campus students with things like window and door alarms and light timers. An email reminder recently brought in 500 more requests for the service.

The program has been running for over a decaded and primarily (but not exclusively) targets off-campus students. The Office of Student life stated that most student housing burglaries are crimes of opportunity and simple deterrents will stop many crimes before they start.

Timed lights can convince someone is home, turning lights on and off around the domicile. Audible alarms will scare off many amateur criminals. The tools offered by the program are easy to install and portable as students will often move to different house and apartments throughout their career at the OSU.

Students need only fill out a simple form and pick up their kit from the Student Union.

What Does a Fish Have to Do With Our Brains?

Some researchers at the Ohio State University have been observing the rapidly developing brain in the zebrafish embryo. This is helping them to begin to better understand the basis of brain disorders like autism and schizophrenia.

These researchers are interested in understanding the changes that can take place during neurological development, the kind of changes that come from genetic defects that are often associated with neurological disease. They are particularly interested in figuring out why the loss of the gene Protocadadherin-19. It is already known that this loss-mutation is linked to many brain disorders—this study looks into the mechanics of “why?”

The research demonstrates that a clustering of cell interactions is a likely culprit to healthy brain development.

The study examined normal “wild” zebra fish versus those in which the researchers created PCDH19 loss. They found that, maybe, cell interactions after PCDH19 loss cold be a culprit.

Posted in OSU

Tomato Sauce’s Health Benefits Reduced By Meatballs

If you were eating tomato sauce or otherwise cooked tomatoes for the anit-cancer benefits of lycopene you might want to pay attention.

A new study at OSU concluded that the anti-cancer properties of lycopene could be nulled when combined with iron rich foods, like a meatball.

The Buckeye research team looked at the blood and digestive fluid from a small group of medical students. They examined the students’ samples after eating a tomato extract shake. One with iron, one without. In the samples’ of blood and digestive fluid lycopene levels were far lower in those who drank the extract with an iron supplement. Meaning there was less lycopene for the body to use to fight cancer.

Because iron is absolutely an essential part of our diet (it helps get rid of waste and produce energy) and it also is known to toy with other cellular processes researchers will continue to research iron’s relationship to other compounds with potential benefits.

Posted in OSU