ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture Eases Breast Cancer Treatment Side Effects
When Healing Becomes a Commodity
Uncover Why Turmeric Helps You Heal
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Occupational Therapy Plus Exercise Benefits Osteoarthritis
More Faces Being Spared in Motor Vehicle Accidents
Chronic Low Back Pain Is on the Rise
CANCER
Low Vitamin D Levels May Initiate Cancer Development
Healthy Behaviors Slow Functional Decline After Cancer
Smoking Ups Risk of Second Breast Cancer
CAREGIVING
More Than 60,000 Patients Risked Hepatitis Infections
Most Women Struggle With Rising Health Care Costs
Falls Are Top Cause of Injury, Death Among Elderly
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Secondhand Smoke Quickly Affects Blood Vessels
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
Obesity Linked to Heart Failure Risk
COSMETIC
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
DENTAL, ORAL
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
Laser Technology Spots Cavities Before They Start
Scientists Find Gene for Tooth Enamel
DIABETES
'Standard' Glucose Test May Be Wrong One for Obese Children
Vitamin K Slows Insulin Resistance in Older Men
Insulin Resistance Tied to Peripheral Artery Disease
DIET, NUTRITION
The Best Diet? That Depends on You
To Feel Better, Low-Fat Diet May Be Best
Eat Up, But Eat Healthy This Holiday Season
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Topical Drugs May Pollute Waterways
Restaurant Sushi May Have More Mercury Than Store-Bought Fare
Gene Mutation May Cause Some Cases of Seasonal Affective Disorder
EYE CARE, VISION
Don't Lose Sight of Halloween Safety
Ordinary Chores Cause Half of All Eye Injuries
Green Tea May Ward Off Eye Disease
FITNESS
Women Who Run May Benefit From Extra Folic Acid
Barefoot Best for Running?
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
GENERAL HEALTH
Kids With Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Heart Trouble
Workplace Wellness Seems to Really Work
Heavy Alcohol Use Linked to Cancer
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Psychiatric Drugs Might Raise Cardiac Death Risk
Omega-6 Fatty Acids Can Be Good for You
Lack of Vitamin D Linked to High Blood Pressure
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Scary Toxins Make Halloween Face Paints Questionable
Pool Chemicals Raise Kids Allergy, Asthma Risk
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
MEN'S HEALTH
Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Eight Spiritual Universal Principles in the Art of Practice
Teen Internet Addicts More Likely to Self-Harm: Study
Environmental Chemicals May Affect Male Reproduction
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Expectant Mom's Exercise Keeps Newborn's Birth Weight Down
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
SENIORS
Want Better Health in the New Year, Add Exercise to Your Day
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Heal Your Life® Tips for Living Well
Omega-3 May Reduce Endometriosis Risk
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
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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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