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Study says brain size of animals does matter

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New York: Animal brain size estimates its problem-solving ability, says a study.

Species with large brains were more successful than species with relatively small brains, the study revealed.

“The results of this study provides important support for the claim that brain size reflects an animal’s problem-solving abilities and enhances our understanding of why larger brains evolved in some species,” said Sarah-Benson-Amram, assistant professor at the University of Wyoming in the US.

Species that are more social or live in big social groups are not necessarily better problem-solvers than those that live alone, highlighted the study.

The study represented a step forward in understanding the evolution of problem-solving in mammalian carnivores, researchers revealed in the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Researchers tested 140 zoo animals from 39 mammalian carnivore species with a problem-solving task.

Animals such as river otters, wolves, bears, African wild dogs and cheetahs tried to open steel mesh “puzzle boxes” baited with food and adjusted to their body size.

The animals opened the puzzle box using a lever, and if they were successful, they received a food reward in the box.

Overall, 35 percent of animals successfully solved the puzzle, with bears as the most triumphant at completing the task 70 percent of the time. Meerkats and mongooses were the least successful.

Although these species also differed in body size, it was their brain size relative to how big they were that primarily influenced whether they solved the puzzle.

Variables such as the social group size for animals, their manual dexterity or work effort failed to predict success at opening the boxes, the study showed.(IANS)

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Non-invasive brainwave technology can potentially cut post-traumatic stress

The technology works through resonance between brain frequencies and the acoustic stimulation, where the brain is supported to make self-adjustments towards improved balance and reduced hyperarousal. It requires no conscious or cognitive activity.

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Brainwaves can now potentially cure PTSD.
Brainwaves can now potentially cure PTSD.
  • The new technology aims to reduce the effect of post traumatic stress in an individual.
  • It can reduce many post-traumatic symptoms, including insomnia, depressive mood and anxiety.

Researchers have developed a non-invasive brainwave mirroring technology that can significantly reduce symptoms of post-traumatic stress, especially in military personnel.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a disorder characterised by failure to recover after experiencing or witnessing a terrifying event.

PTSD can cause Insomnia, Anxiety and many other mental problems.
PTSD can cause Insomnia, Anxiety and many other mental problems. Wikipediacommon

The symptoms include insomnia, poor concentration, sadness, re-experiencing traumatic events, irritability or hyper-alertness, as well as diminished autonomic cardiovascular regulation.

“Ongoing symptoms of post-traumatic stress, whether clinically diagnosed or not, are a pervasive problem in the military,” said lead investigator Charles H. Tegeler, professor, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Centre in North Carolina.

“Medications are often used to help control specific symptoms, but can produce side effects. Other treatments may not be well tolerated, and few show a benefit for the associated sleep disturbance. Additional non-invasive, non-drug therapies are needed,” Tegeler added.

In the study, published in the journal Military Medical Research, the team used a high-resolution, relational, resonance-based, electroencephalic mirroring (HIRREM) — a non-invasive method, in which computer software algorithms translate specific brain frequencies into audible tones in real time.

This provides a chance for the brain to listen to itself through an acoustic mirror, Tegeler said.

The results showed reductions in post-traumatic symptoms, including insomnia, depressive mood and anxiety after six months of using the brainwave technology.

The technology works through resonance between brain frequencies and the acoustic stimulation, where the brain is supported to make self-adjustments towards improved balance and reduced hyperarousal. It requires no conscious or cognitive activity.

The net effect is to support the brain to reset stress response patterns that have been rewired by repetitive traumatic events, physical or non-physical, the researchers said. IANS

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