Head blows and crime, and other brain news
November 11th, 2010
03:54 PM ET

Head blows and crime, and other brain news

How your brain does all the things it does is still mysterious, and scientists are learning more all the time about everything from crime to memory to language. Here's what's new this week:

Brain injury 'more likely' in young offenders
Childhood wounds may have worse effects than you think. British researchers find that traumatic brain injury in children could play a role in subsequent crime, especially in people already susceptible to crime. A study found that this could raise the likelihood that they will repeat offenses. This may be because injury to the brain can result in behavior, memory, and attention problems. The BBC reports on this study in Neuropsychological Rehabilitation.

New tool for rapid screening of dementia
It's called the "Sweet Sixteen," but it's a lot shorter than a party. Researchers are developing a test that may be able to catch problems in just a few minutes. The downside: There are still a lot of false positives, meaning people who don't really have dementia-related difficulties but the test says they do. CNN reports on this study in Archives of Internal Medicine.

Tarantula helps scientists map how brains process fear
If the photo above sends shivers down your spine, just think about how this study went down: Volunteers were in an MRI machine and watched videos of a tarantula that appeared to move closer to them. Researchers found that as the spider seemed to approach participants' feet, their brains turned from "anxiety" to "panic" mode. The Los Angeles Times covers this study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Are You Bilingual? Two Languages May Delay Alzheimer's
Maybe those French classes in high school weren't as useless as you thought. New research suggests that speaking two languages may delay Alzheimer's symptoms by up to five years. EMaxHealth reports on this study in Neurology. Intimidated by the idea of speaking a different language? Here's some tips on learning a language online. And here's more on how language works in the brain.

Traumatized? Playing Tetris may reduce flashbacks
Ah, Tetris - such a simple but addicting puzzle game. But not without benefits, apparently. A new study suggests that people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can get protection against unwanted flashbacks. The game distracts the brain and short-circuits the storage of painful memories, the authors say. Health.com via CNN reports on this study in PLoS ONE.

soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. dwighthuth

    Crime is not related with head trama. Crime is related to the religious trying to social engineer a person to be their follower so that they can extort them for money and property until shame has taken over their mind. Either the person then becomes subjagated as a slave or takes revenge upon the Criminal Master who then imposes laws against the activity that was conducted on the person by the extortionist so that no one else would use the same tactics to achieve power as they did.

    November 11, 2010 at 17:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kathy Smith

      Please–there are many reasons for crime but yours is stupid.

      November 11, 2010 at 19:16 | Report abuse |
  2. Michael

    Here we go again..a left-wing attempt at absolving people of their responsibilities and another reason to giving criminals hugs and blaming the rest of us for owning stuff they don't. The prisons will be empty, the pharmacies will be full, and the rest of us will have our houses locked up like a bank.

    November 12, 2010 at 08:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. TBI Criminal

    Mommie drop me on my head wen I wuz babee. Sew I sneek entwo ur hous end steel you're stuff (lake dis hear conputzer) end I ken cell it for alot ah drugs. Me nut responzible! Mommy is. Kay with CNN. Kay with me. Kay with yoo?

    November 12, 2010 at 11:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Soledad's Sister

    CNN keeps deleting my posts because they are in a dark font.......HOw dare you CNN!!!!

    November 12, 2010 at 12:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Mark Chapman

    CNN well done..I was hit playing dodgeball in gym class so I shot John Lennon....

    November 12, 2010 at 12:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. ClientNumber9

    This is a scientific study people!!!!!
    Please respect the scientific analysis that went behind this health blog...It is also very true ...I was in a car accident ...It made me call escorts and prostitutes...But I fooled them all and wound up with my own talk show...The funny thing is I act like I am Mr.Integrity and people in america have short memories....I also went on Craig's list to find whores which my own station is now ambushing...signed.......Mr Toad

    November 12, 2010 at 12:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. ElizardBETH Crowinn Senior Big DOG Medical Gossip Spreader

    **************************************breaking news************************
    ******************************************************************LETS FEEL SORRY FOR THE CRIMINALS...........

    *****************************************************STAY TUNED********************************

    November 12, 2010 at 16:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. common sense

    It's terrible that no-one seems to be able to apply any common sense when reading this blurb about an article on a SCIENTIFIC STUDY. Surely you people have heard of "Brain Damage"? You do realize that a Brain-Damaged person will act differently from a "Normal" one? Sometimes, even in SHOCKINGLY BIZARRE ways?
    I'll try to give a very simple example: drinking an excessive amount alcohol can cause a "Normal" person's behaviour to mimic that of an actually Brain-Damaged one. Just think about it: I'm sure we all have seen at least one other person get way more drunk than they realize and act like a "jerk". Maybe you've even BEEN that person. Most of those people (who are merely DRUNK, remember – not actually Brain Damaged) then go on to exhibit "criminal" behavior: starting fights, "breaking and entering" (never heard about a guy who got so drunk he broke into his neighbor's house because he thought it was his own? It happens.), and endangering or acting recklessly around others. This is still CRIMINAL behavior, but I'm sure most of you understand the concept of "Diminished Responsibility", and how the person's behavior, while NOT AT ALL condonable, is at the very least UNDERSTANDABLE, because they were not functioning "Normally", but with a serious MENTAL IMPAIRMENT, which decreased their ability to ACT "Normally". In the case of a person who is merely drunk, this "Diminished Responsibility" is COMPLETELY AVOIDABLE, and therefore any criminal behavior that may result from that SELF-INFLICTED MENTAL IMPAIRMENT is also completely avoidable as well (by not getting DRUNK enough to act that way).
    NOW: Understand that this study has examined CHILDREN who have ACTUALLY been Brain-Damaged.
    They are ACTUALLY operating under a NON-SELF-INFLICTED, and there for UNAVOIDABLE, ACTUAL BRAIN INJURY. They are therefore LESS ABLE to control their behavior in order to act "Normally". And they are CHILDREN – not hardened career-criminals, or otherwise-supposed-to-be-responsible-for-their-own-behaviour ADULTS who CHOOSE to self-inflict a state of pseudo (or maybe actual) Brain-Damage by drinking excessively! I would hazard these CHILDREN need HELP early on – instead of being thrown away and herded towards a LIFE in prisons or jails.
    People, please: Read first. Comprehend second. THEN comment, if you have something of value to contribute. Spewing vitriol on Brain-Damaged CHILDREN is a terrible, terrible low. Remember, also: the mercy that you REFUSE to show others might not be given to YOU when you need it.
    So: crucify the Brain-Damaged. They're worthless, right? OK. Fine. Then remember THAT when you need some mercy for yourself the next time you "accidentally" drink too much, or have a bad reaction to your medication, and act in ways the rest of us don't find acceptable.
    "It wasn't all my fault..." you'll say. "I couldn't really help myself."
    But we'll lock you up, too, and then throw away the key. You dirty, dirty, "Criminal".
    After all, if you won't believe it of anyone else, then why should WE believe YOU?

    November 18, 2010 at 15:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Zoila

    You should rerocd relaxation or sleep aid voice overs, your voice is very soothing i think a calm voice before sleep is much better than ocean sounds or such thanks again!

    October 14, 2012 at 02:29 | Report abuse | Reply

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.