ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Ginkgo No Shield Against Alzheimer's
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
High Birth Weight Doubles Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis
B Cells Can Act Alone in Autoimmune Diseases
CANCER
Ginger Can Ease Nausea From Chemotherapy Treatments
Breast Self-Exam Rates Go Up With Counseling
Where You Live May Affect Your Cancer Diagnosis
CAREGIVING
Late-Life Fatherhood May Lower Child's Intelligence
Recession Scrambling Health Spending in U.S.
Flu Strikes a Milder Blow This Season
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
High Blood Fat Levels Common in Americans
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
COSMETIC
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
DENTAL, ORAL
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
Most Insured Adults Worry About Health Care Costs: Poll
Scientists Find Gene for Tooth Enamel
DIABETES
Fish Twice a Week Cuts Diabetics' Kidney Risks
Coffee, Tea Might Stave Off Diabetes
Study Shows Turmeric May Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
Just Say No to Nuts During Pregnancy
Vinegar Might Help Keep Off Pounds
Coffee Drinkers Might Live Longer
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Lead Exposure in Childhood Linked to Criminal Behavior Later
Fertilizer Ban Makes a Difference
Agent Orange Exposure Tied to Prostate Cancer Return
EYE CARE, VISION
Vision Test for Young Children Called Unreliable
Retinal Gene Is Linked to Childhood Blindness
Protein Might One Day Prevent Blindness
FITNESS
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Research Confirms How Valuable A Healthy Lifestyle Can Be
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
GENERAL HEALTH
Most Fast-Food French Fries Cooked in Unhealthiest Oil
Mind Exercise Might Help Stroke Patients
More Calcium And Dairy Products in Childhood Could Mean Longer Life
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
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
Omega-3, Some Omega-6 Fatty Acids Boost Cardiovascular Health
Most Fast-Food French Fries Cooked in Unhealthiest Oil
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Time to Remind Teens About Sun Protection
Exercise Eases Obesity and Anger in Kids
Gene Variation Found in Boys With Delinquent Peers
MEN'S HEALTH
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
MENTAL HEALTH
Massage Fosters Healing in Bereaved Relatives
A Simple 'Thank You' Brings Rewards to All
Mind Exercise Might Help Stroke Patients
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
Expectant Mom's Exercise Keeps Newborn's Birth Weight Down
SENIORS
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
Vitamin D May Help Keep Aging at Bay
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Flame-Retardant Chemical Linked to Conception Problems
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
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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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