Saturday November 25, 2017

Contagious yawning: Why we yawn when someone else does? Read to find out

The findings of Research on why is yawning so so contagious?

0
83
Why we yawn when someone else does?
Why we yawn when someone else does? Pixabay
  • Contagious yawning is triggered involuntarily when we observe another person yawn, it is a common form of Echophenomena
  • The  Research findings showed that our urge to yawn is increased if we are instructed to resist yawning
  • Echophenomena isn’t just a human trait, it is found in chimpanzees and dogs too

New York, USA, September 3, 2017:  Ever wondered why even if we are not tired, we yawn if someone else does? Why is yawning so contagious?

It is because the human propensity for contagious yawning is triggered automatically by primitive reflexes in a brain area responsible for motor function, a research suggests.

Contagious yawning is triggered involuntarily when we observe another person yawn – it is a common form of Echophenomena -the automatic imitation of another’s words (echolalia) or actions (echopraxia).

The  Research findings showed that our urge to yawn is increased if we are instructed to resist yawning. And no matter how hard we try to stifle a yawn, it might change how we yawn but it won’t alter our propensity to yawn.

Also Read: Ever wondered why you Itch when another person scratches in front of you?

“This research has shown that the ‘urge’  is increased by trying to stop yourself. Using electrical stimulation we were able to increase excitability and in doing so increase the propensity for contagious yawning,” said Georgina Jackson, a Professor at the University of Nottingham.

“The findings may be important in understanding the association between motor excitability and the occurrence of Echophenomena in a wide range of conditions linked to increased cortical excitability and/or decreased physiological inhibition such as epilepsy, dementia, autism, and Tourette syndrome,” added Stephen Jackson, a Professor at the University.

For the study, published in the journal Current Biology, the team used transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to analyze volunteers who viewed video clips showing someone else yawning and were instructed to either resist yawning or to allow themselves to yawn.

“If we can understand how alterations in cortical excitability give rise to neural disorders we can potentially reverse them. We are looking for potential non-drug, personalized treatments, using TMS that might be effective in modulating imbalances in the brain networks,” Jackson said.

Echophenomena isn’t just a human trait, it is found in chimpanzees and dogs too. (IANS)

Next Story

Why do Our Eyes Water when We Yawn?

Did you know there are three different types of tears that our eyes shed?

0
12
why do our eyes water when we yawn
Teary-eyed after a yawn? We will tell you why! Pixabay

“Why do our eyes water when we yawn?” According to popular opinion, it is because you are tired and you miss your bed, which is why you begin to tear up. Don’t believe us? Well, you shouldn’t.

As much as that rationale seems right (on an emotional level), there is complete science behind the question ‘why do our eyes water when we yawn?’.
To understand this phenomenon, you will first need to understand tear-anatomy. Did you know there are three types of tears that your eyes shed?
1. Emotional Tears: Released upon experiencing intense emotions
2. Reflexive Tears: They serve to remove irritants and contaminants from the eyes like dust, dirt, etc.
3. Basal Tears: They are produced naturally throughout the day to lubricate the eyes.
 
But our question was :

Why do our eyes water when we yawn?

It is these basal tears that are responsible for the tears when you yawn.
Two components of the face are primarily responsible for our eyes to water when we yawn,
• Facial muscles
• Lacrimal glands
Lacrimal glands are glands that are placed beneath our upper eyelids just below the eyebrow bone.
They produce watery component to our eyes’ own natural tears throughout the day to keep the surface of our eyes coated and moisturized. Thus, our eyes remain moist throughout the day because of the functioning of lacrimal glands (This is also the reason why our eyes look glossy)
There are 43 muscles in the face itself that work together to help us emote. When we yawn, the facial muscles around our eyes begin to tighten.  This exerts pressure on the lacrimal glands and squeezes them a little.
In response, the lacrimal glands may release a little quantity of water which had been stored to release later.
Basal tears typically flow diagonally across the eyes and collect in a structure on the opposite corner of the eye called punctum.
But when we yawn, this water has no passage to get absorbed, and hence it falls out of the eyes, which is why it appears as if we are shedding tears.
Now if you shed a tear or two while yawning, don’t feel like it’s a ‘miss you’ call from your bed; it’s just a natural reaction to feeling tired.
And if the next time somebody asks you, ”why do our eyes water when we yawn?”, don’t shy away from sharing the knowledge!

Next Story

This is How Your Brain Works When You are on Meditation!

Researchers have found out how the brain operates on different levels of meditation

0
391
Meditaiton
There is more room for thoughts and memories in non directive meditation. Wikimedia
  • There are two types of meditation techniques- Concentrative and Nondirective
  • A team of Norwegian researchers studied fourteen people’s meditation by MRI scan
  • They have found out how the brain operates in different techniques

July 17, 2017: The Royal Norwegian Embassy in New Delhi mentioned about the latest research in Oslo. MRI scans of 14 people were studied in three different states- Resting, Nondirective meditation and Concentrative meditation. The research sought to find out how meditation affects the brain activity.

Nondirective and Concentrative are the two main groups of meditation techniques. The concentrative meditation, as the name suggests, is when you suppress all other thoughts by focusing intensely on one specific thought. For many, that one specific thought is breathing. In Nondirective meditation, your mind is allowed to wander to all sorts of places beyond reality while the body still balances and focuses on breathing, mentioned ANI report.

Researchers from the University of Oslo, University of Sydney, and Norwegian University of Science and Technology studied to brain scans to determine how the brain was functioning under different states.

ALSO READ: Engaging in Meditation for 10 minutes a day can reduce Anxiety Disorders in Anxious Individuals: Study

The part of the brain responsible for self-thoughts and feelings was more active in the nondirective method as compared to the state of resting. However, in concentrative meditation, the brain activity was the same as resting. Jian Xu, one of the researchers, observed how “the activity of the brain was greatest when the person’s thoughts wandered freely on their own, rather than when the brain worked to be more strongly focused.”

The research concludes that there is more room for thoughts and emotions to process in nondirective meditation.

Prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394

Next Story

Grey Matter Volume generally Decrease with Age, its density actually Increases during Adolescence: Study

Grey matter density, a measure often assumed to be highly related to volume, has not been systematically investigated in development

0
52
Representative Image, Wikimedia

New York, May 26, 2017: While grey matter volume generally decrease with age, its density actually increases during adolescence, new research has found.

Grey matter is found in regions of the brain responsible for muscle control, sensory perception such as seeing and hearing, memory, emotions, speech, decision-making, and self-control.

For years, the common narrative in human developmental neuro-imaging has been that grey matter in the brain declines in adolescence, a finding derived mainly from studies of grey matter volume and cortical thickness –the thickness of the outer layers of brain that contain grey matter.

NewsGram brings to you latest new stories in India.

Grey matter density, a measure often assumed to be highly related to volume, has not been systematically investigated in development.

Th new study published in the Journal of Neuroscience revealed that while volume indeed decreases from childhood to young adulthood, grey matter density actually increases.

“We now have a richer, fuller concept of what happens during brain development,” said Ruben Gur, Professor at Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, US.

Since it has been well-established that larger brain volume is associated with better cognitive performance, it was puzzling that cognitive performance shows a dramatic improvement from childhood to young adulthood at the same time that brain volume and cortical thickness decline.

The new findings can help solve this puzzle. The study also showed that while females have lower brain volume, proportionate to their smaller size, they have higher grey matter density than males, which could explain why their cognitive performance is comparable despite having lower brain volume.

Follow NewsGram on Facebook

Thus, while adolescents lose brain volume, and females have lower brain volume than males, this is compensated for by increased density of grey matter.

In the study, the researchers evaluated 1,189 youth between the ages of 8 and 23 who completed magnetic resonance imaging as part of the Philadelphia Neurodevelopmental Cohort, a community-based study of brain development.

The study includes rich neuroimaging and cognitive data, to look at age-related effects on multiple measures of regional grey matter, including gray matter volume, gray matter density, and cortical thickness.

Neuroimaging allowed the researchers to derive several measures of human brain structure in a noninvasive way.

Observing such measures during development allowed the researchers to study the brain at different ages to characterise how a child’s brain differs from an adult’s.

Follow NewsGram on Twitter.

The study may better explain the extent and intensity of changes in mental life and behavior that occur during the transition from childhood to young adulthood.

“If we are puzzled by the behavior of adolescents, it may help to know that they need to adjust to a brain that is changing in its size and composition at the same time that demands on performance and acceptable behavior keep scaling up,” Gur added. (IANS)