Media multitasking 'brain shrink' claims unproven
Are there too many screens in your life?
"Multitasking makes your brain smaller," the Daily Mail reports. UK researchers found that people who regularly "media multitasked" had less grey matter in a region of the brain involved in emotion.
The researchers were specifically interested in what they term media multitasking; for example checking your Twitter feed on your smartphone while streaming a boxset to your tablet as you scan your emails on your laptop. In the study, 75 university students and staff were asked to complete a questionnaire about their media multitasking habits. The researchers compared the results with MRI brain scans and found that people with the highest level of media multitasking had a smaller volume of grey matter in a region of the brain called the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), which is believed to be involved in human motivation and emotions.
Given the option, would you want to think faster and have sharper attention? Research suggests that electrical brain stimulation kits could have just those effects. But now some companies are selling such devices online, leading to calls to regulate the technology.
It may sound too good to be true but scientists say the technology is promising. Transcranial direct current stimulation (TDCS), which passes small electrical currents directly on to the scalp, stimulates the nerve cells in the brain (neurons). It's non-invasive, extremely mild and the US military even uses TDCS in an attempt to improve the performance of its drone pilots.
Sir Bruce Keogh says the provision of 7-day services across the NHS is his “number one priority” Speaking at an NHS Improving Quality event in London, “Delivering Services, Seven Days A Week”, NHS England’s national clinical director told delegates: “We all know in our heart of hearts the service we offer at weekends isn’t as good, and we have to tackle that and do the right thing. “How quickly you have your scan and your tests, or start your treatment, shouldn’t depend on how sick you are or when you turn up. “Speaking personally, the provision of services at weekends remains my number one priority.”
Sir Robert Francis launches new review into NHS reporting culture to make it easier for NHS staff to speak up.
The NHS will for the first time allow the public the opportunity to compare key safety measures across hundreds of NHS Trusts in England.
It shows that the vast majority of NHS hospitals are rated as "good" or "ok" for their reporting culture. However, around one in five acute trusts, or 20 per cent have been rated as "poor" for open and honest reporting, underlining the need to support NHS staff to report and raise safety concerns.
By James Gallagher. BBC
Lasers have been used to regenerate parts of damaged teeth and could one day be used to prevent root canal treatments, claim US researchers.The laser beam triggered a series of changes that led to the formation of new dentin, the layer below the enamel, in animal tests.
The results, in Science Translational Medicine, showed stem cells in the dental pulp were activated. Experts said it was intriguing, but a long way from the dentist's chair. The team at Harvard University used a drill to remove part of a tooth in mice and rats. One dose of laser therapy on the damaged tooth led to the production of a partial layer of dentin 12 weeks later.
It was not a perfect match for natural dentin, but the researchers argue it would be easier to achieve with human teeth, which would be larger, and by refining the laser. The scientists could not produce a new layer of the hard enamel that protects the tooth from wear and tear.