Secret of brain control: Practice makes perfect

Illustration: Henry Wong

It turns out we learn to move a robotic arm or computer cursor with the same neurons we use to learn to ride a bicycle or catch a ball. On a neurobiological level, that deceptively simple truth could have profound effect on how future devices could help those who have suffered a stroke or paralysis.

Sunday, 16 June, 2013, 4:07am

Mindfulness meditation adapted for city life

Illustration: Henry Wong

Meditation can still a restless mind, better prepare us for the challenges life throws at us, even make us more creative. But did you know it can actually change the structure of your brain?

9 Jun 2013 - 2:37am

Japanese scientists can read dreams in breakthrough with MRI scans

Scientists in Japan say they can use MRI scanners to unlock some of the secrets of the unconscious mind.

Forget Freud and psychotherapy. You want to read dreams, get an MRI and a pattern recognition program for your computer. Researchers have managed what they said was "the world's first decoding" of nighttime visions.

7 Apr 2013 - 9:55am

Mapping human brain may unravel mystery of the mind

Mapping human brain may unravel mystery of the mind

Although humans have explored the earth and gained insights into far flung reaches of the universe, our brains remain mysterious. Indeed, the human brain has been described as the most complex structure known to mankind.

17 Mar 2013 - 2:20am

Ask the Doctors

Can fasting (or eating very lightly) a couple of days per week do wonders for one's health?

I have read that fasting (or eating very lightly) a couple of days per week can do wonders for one's health, and for the brain in particular. Is this true?

29 Jan 2013 - 9:09am

Brain uses tiny moment of shut-eye to rest, scientists find

Why do we spend 10 per cent of our waking hours with our eyes closed - blinking far more often than is necessary to keep our eyeballs lubricated?

Scientists have pried open the answer to this mystery, finding that the brain uses that tiny moment of shut-eye to power down.

29 Dec 2012 - 6:03am

Cooking gave humans larger brains than primates, researchers say

Though gorillas typically spend up to eight hours feeding, supporting big bodies and big brains would be almost impossible on a raw food diet. Photo: AFP

If human beings had not invented cooking as a way of increasing the number of calories they consumed, they could only have evolved the 86 billion neurons in our big brains by spending an impossible nine hours or more each day eating raw food, according to a scientific paper.

24 Oct 2012 - 4:31am

Childhood stimulation key to brain development, says study

Early childhood stimulation is the key to a better brain.

An early childhood surrounded by books and educational toys will leave positive fingerprints on a person's brain well into their late teens, a 20-year research study has shown.

16 Oct 2012 - 4:19am

Study finds molecules that help long-term memory

Study finds molecules that help long-term memory

A study led by University of Pennsylvania researchers has identified key molecules that help convert short-term memories into long-term ones.

11 Sep 2012 - 9:33am

Future science or silly trend?

Is this the latest craze in headgear? A Japanese device shows your mental state via a pair of ears that change direction based on your mood. Neurowear is the name of a project to develop fashion items and gadgets using brain waves and other biosensors. 

29 Aug 2012 - 3:06pm


You may be trying to hide it, but a new study shows that people can actually sniff out your age. Research from the Monell Chemical Senses Centre in Philadelphia, the US, reveals that humans can identify another human's age based on differences in body odour.

5 Jun 2012 - 12:00am

Chance to let the mind speak for itself

Language sculpts the brain - physically. On this premise, a revolution in linguistics and neuroscience has been taking place right under our noses.

14 Jan 2012 - 12:00am

Changed man had something on his mind

Retirement can be the start of a whole new relaxing phase of life or a chance to pursue dreams sacrificed for a lifetime of toil. For others it casts a pall over their sense of worth as a productive member of society and can lead to depression.

11 Oct 2011 - 12:00am

Science is being served

A NEW addition to New York's culinary landscape is giving people something to think about. Romera, which opened last month in the Meatpacking District, is about brain food. But don't be intimidated: chef Dr Miguel S?nchez Romera doesn't want to dazzle diners - e wants to satisfy the brain by shunning high fats and combining emotion-filled flavours in 12 courses.

2 Sep 2011 - 12:00am

All the rage

It's been said that a gentleman never offends unintentionally. But the converse is also true - that he never takes offence unless he chooses to. It is ungentlemanly - and unladylike - to take offence easily; and it is barbaric if being offended throws one into a murderous rage.

10 Jun 2010 - 12:00am