ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Pharoah's Wine Jar Yields Medicinal Secrets
Supplement Hampers Thyroid Cancer Treatment
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Bone Density Predicts Chances of Breast Cancer
Study Examines How Rheumatoid Arthritis Destroys Bone
Vitamin K Doesn't Slow Bone Loss
CANCER
Massage Therapy Helps Those With Advanced Cancer
Papaya Could Be a Cancer Fighter
Poor Women Seem to Be Skipping Breast Cancer Drugs
CAREGIVING
Depression, PTSD Common Among Lung Transplant Patient Caregivers
3 Steps Might Help Stop MRSA's Spread
Preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
Bye, Bye Back Fat?
Secondhand Smoke Quickly Affects Blood Vessels
COSMETIC
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
DENTAL, ORAL
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
Amino Acid May Be Key to Strong Teeth
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
DIABETES
Doctors Urged to Screen Diabetics for Sleep Apnea
Formula Puts Doctor, Patient Glucose Readings on Same Page
Chamomile Tea May Ward Off Diabetes Damage
DIET, NUTRITION
Trans-Fat Ban In New York City Is Proving successful
Western Diet Linked To Heart Disease, Metabolic Syndrome
Regular Yoga May Improve Eating Habits
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Flame-Retardant Chemical Linked to Conception Problems
Home Renovations by Affluent Families Can Unleash Lead Threat
Staying Slim Is Good for the Environment
EYE CARE, VISION
Protein Might One Day Prevent Blindness
Clues Found to Brain Mechanism Behind Migraines
Gene-Transfer Proves Safe for Vision Problem
FITNESS
Exercise Key Player in Knee Replacement Recovery
Exercise 30 Minutes a Day? Who Knew!
As Temperature Plummets, It's Still Safe to Exercise
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
GENERAL HEALTH
Heavy Alcohol Use Linked to Cancer
Less Education May Mean Poorer Health
Have Fun This Summer, But DO Be Careful
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Brown Rice Tied to Better Heart Health in Study
A Little Alcohol May Help the Heart: Studies
Omega-3, Some Omega-6 Fatty Acids Boost Cardiovascular Health
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Folic Acid Reduces Infant Heart Defects
Gene Variation Found in Boys With Delinquent Peers
Don't Leave Your Kids In The Car !
MEN'S HEALTH
Countdown to Hair Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
MENTAL HEALTH
Cinnamon Breaks Up Brain Plaques, May Hold Key to Fighting Alzheimer’s
Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later
Music Soothes Anxiety as Well as Massage Does
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Breast-Feeding Benefits Moms and Babies
Expectant Mom's Exercise Keeps Newborn's Birth Weight Down
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
SENIORS
Exercise Benefits Even the Oldest Old
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
Want Better Health in the New Year, Add Exercise to Your Day
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Spice Compounds May Stem Tumor Growth
Women Who Run May Benefit From Extra Folic Acid
How Much Fish to Eat While Pregnant?
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Brain Scans Show How Humans 'Hear' Emotion

By Randy Dotinga
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, May 14 (HealthDay News) -- What's in a word? Emotion, especially if it's said with inflection.

Now, Swiss scientists report that they can detect a person's sense of the emotion behind a word by "reading" the brain as it processes sounds from the world around it.

The findings could lead to better understanding of mental illnesses that affect how people interpret the emotions of others, such as autism and schizophrenia, said study co-author Patrik Vuilleumier, a researcher at University Hospital of Geneva.

The researchers scanned the brains of 22 subjects -- 13 women, nine men -- as they listened to the voices of actors saying a "pseudosentence," which is a sentence of words that sound real but are actually made up.

The actors spoke the words in five ways -- with sadness, anger, joy, relief or a neutral tone. Using functional MRIs, the researchers tried to see if they could determine what emotion the subjects heard by looking at the reactions of their brains.

The findings appear in the May 14 online issue of Current Biology.

The researchers discovered that each emotion left a different "signature" in the part of the brain that handles the processing of sound.

"This should give insights into the way emotions are coded in the brain, but also tools to assess how different people experience events in different conditions," Vuilleumier said.

The research suggests that the brain considers emotion early on, as it processes sound, said Duke University neuroscientist Scott Huettel, who's familiar with the findings.

It's not clear whether the brain works the same way when it tries to understand emotion in written words, such as those in e-mails or text messages. "For the vast majority of people [in history], emotion as conveyed in written words is pretty modern," Huettel said. "You can think of how recently literacy has taken hold."

In the future, research like this could help scientists get a better handle on psychiatric disorders that affect how people perceive the world around them, Huettel said.

Autistics, for instance, "don't have a good sense of what other people are thinking, doing or feeling," he said. This research, he said, could allow scientists to better understand exactly what goes wrong in their brains.

The knowledge may not lead directly to a treatment, he said, but could provide "a way to think about a disorder."

More information

Learn more about emotions from thinkquest.org.



SOURCES: Patrik Vuilleumier, researcher, University Hospital, Geneva; Scott Huettel, Ph.D., associate professor, psychiatry and neuroscience, Duke University, Durham, N.C.; May 14, 2009, Current Biology, online

Last Updated: May 14, 2009

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