ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Should Your Child Be Seeing a Chiropractor?
Music Therapy For Prehistoric Man?
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
Tai Chi May Help Ward Off Knee Pain in Seniors
Autumn Sees More Women With Bunion Problems
CANCER
Green Tea May Help Prevent Oral Cancer
Smoking Ups Risk of Second Breast Cancer
Selenium, Omega-3s May Stave Off Colorectal Cancer
CAREGIVING
Organ Donation Policies Vary Among Children's Hospitals
Injected Medication Errors a Major Problem
Many Alzheimer's Caregivers Admit to Abusive Behavior
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Firefighters Have Narrower-Than-Normal Arteries, Study Finds
Secondhand Smoke Quickly Affects Blood Vessels
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
COSMETIC
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
DENTAL, ORAL
Study Links Osteoporosis Drugs to Jaw Trouble
Periodontal Disease Impacts Whole Health
Hormones May Be to Blame for Women's Cavity Rates
DIABETES
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
Saliva Test Could Monitor Type 2 Diabetes
Drug May Not Help Diabetes-Related Eye Damage
DIET, NUTRITION
Eating Free Range
Fish Oil's Benefits Remain Elusive
Indian Spice May Thwart Liver Damage
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Accumulated Lead May Affect Older Women's Brains
Bed Bugs Bring No Disease Danger
Vest Monitors 'Individual' Air Pollution
EYE CARE, VISION
Vision Test for Young Children Called Unreliable
Sports Eye Injuries Leading Cause of Blindness in Youths
Don't Lose Sight of Halloween Safety
FITNESS
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
Living With Less TV, More Sweat Boosts Weight Loss
Research Confirms How Valuable A Healthy Lifestyle Can Be
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
GENERAL HEALTH
Vitamin D and Bone Health: Are You Getting Enough of This Important Vitamin?
Go To Work But Skip The Car
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Quitting Smoking Doubles Survival in Early Stage Lung Cancer
How Weight Loss Can Help the Heart
B-Vitamins Help Protect Against Stroke, Heart Disease
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Safety Should Be Priority for Those Involved in Kids' Sports
Green Tea May Help Brain Cope With Sleep Disorders
Should Your Child Be Seeing a Chiropractor?
MEN'S HEALTH
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Countdown to Hair Loss
MENTAL HEALTH
Massage Fosters Healing in Bereaved Relatives
Drink Away Dementia?
Meditation, Yoga Might Switch Off Stress Genes
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
SENIORS
Seniors Cope With Sleep Loss Better Than Young Adults
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Flame-Retardant Chemical Linked to Conception Problems
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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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