Do Neurologists Understand Brain Evolution?

first_imgJane Bradbury wrote a feature piece for PLOS Biology recently,1 entitled, “Molecular Insights into Human Brain Evolution.”  Help us find the insights.  First, she marvels on how “humans sit on top of the pile when it comes to relative brain size.”  Then she marvels at how quickly the human brain apparently evolved compared to apes.  Next, she complains that we don’t have good maps of the differences between ape and human brains, so “it is hard to make meaningful comparisons between our brain and that of chimpanzees.”  She calls on Karl Zilles (Germany) to explain:Already, Zilles has discovered that there is much more interindividual variation in human brain organisation than anyone suspected.  This means, says Zilles, “that a general statement like ‘the neocortex is bigger in human brains than in ape brains’ actually tells us very little.  It gives us the general direction that evolution has taken but not whether an ape brain is different because of its sensory, motor, or association areas.”   (Emphasis added in all quotes.)Still hunting for insights, we find Bradbury finding an apparent case of convergent evolution between whale brain evolution to human brain evolution, but that assumes the brains evolved rather than providing insights into how they could have.  Next, we find Bradbury wondering how a large brain could have evolved, because it costs a lot to run it.  Worse, it would have had to simultaneously get reorganized as it grew bigger:For one thing, a big brain is a metabolic drain on our bodies.  Indeed, some people argue that, because the brain is one of the most metabolically expensive tissues in our body, our brains could only have expanded in response to an improved diet.  Another cost that goes along with a big brain is the need to reorganise its wiring.  “As brain size increases, several problems are created”, explains systems neurobiologist Jon Kaas (Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, United States).  “The most serious is the increased time it takes to get information from one place to another.”  One solution is to make the axons of the neurons bigger but this increases brain size again and the problem escalates.  Another solution is to do things locally: only connect those parts of the brain that have to be connected, and avoid the need for communication between hemispheres by making different sides of the brain do different things.  A big brain can also be made more efficient by organising it into more subdivisions, “rather like splitting a company into departments”, says Kaas.  Overall, he concludes, because a bigger brain per se would not work, brain reorganisation and size increase probably occurred in parallel during human brain evolution.  The end result is that the human brain is not just a scaled-up version of a mammal brain or even of an ape brain.Still hunting for those elusive insights into brain evolution, we find Bradbury wondering how natural selection could have done the job.  “For natural selection to work,” she explains, “the costs of brain evolution must be outweighed by the advantages gained in terms of fitness.”  So were they?  She quotes those who speculate about possible selection pressures, such as the need for better diet and more social group coherence, but provide no data to explain why apes are sociable and physically fit but retain small brains.  Whatever selection pressures there might have been, though, she is sure were not guided: they had to “work on the raw material of random gene mutations,” she reminds us.    Here Bradbury provides a smidgeon of data.  Several teams have suggested that a gene named ASPM, which is implicated in the shrunken-brain disease microcephaly, might have been a factor.  But then again, one researcher said, “we really have no idea yet how or even if ASPM is involved in brain evolution.”  Some other “candidate genes” are being studied, but “functional studies” on genes are “difficult to do,” she cautions, so there are only suggestions at this point.    Considering how much must have changed since humans made their first evolutionary strides from apes, some genes show no clear evolutionary pattern, according to a surprise announcement by the Max Planck Institute.  They recovered DNA from a Neanderthal skull said to be 75,000 years old, and discovered that the gene for osteocalcin was identical to that in modern humans.  Furthermore, they found a marked difference in the sequence for this gene in gorillas compared to other primates in mammals.  All they can promise is that the possibility of additional gene comparisons from fossils might help “better understand the phylogenetic relationships” between primates (implying that they are not well understood now).    But then again, maybe it is not just the genes, but the way they are expressed, that became important sometime in the human evolution saga.  One team has found 100 genes so far that are differentially expressed in human and chimpanzee brains.  That led Todd Preuss (Emory U) to remark, “All told, it seems that the human brain may be more dynamic than ape or monkey brains.  The human brain seems to be running hot in all sorts of ways.”  This still begs the question of how or why that should be so.    We finally reach her last paragraph, subtitled, “Scratching at the Surface.”  Just when we were hoping for a surprise treasure chest full of insights, we find ourselves empty-handed:As far as understanding how our brains evolved, more questions remain than have been answered.  One problem is that we don’t really know enough about how our brains differ from those of other mammals and primates, although work by Zilles and others is helping here.  We also know very little about how the areas of our brain are physically linked up, and we need to understand that before we can see how we differ from our nearest relatives.  And as far as identifying the gene changes that were selected during evolution, although we have several candidates, we don’t know how or if these gene variants affect our cognitive abilities.  It is one thing, concludes Dunbar, to identify genetic or anatomic differences between human and ape brains, but quite another to know what they mean in terms of actual cognitive processes.1Jane Bradbury, Feature: “Molecular Insights Into Human Brain Evolution,” Public Library of Science: Biology, Vol. 3, Issue 3, March 2005.We want our money back.  We were promised some insights, and all we got were excuses.  Pay up, Darwin Party, or we are going to the ID show across the street, where all the crowds are gathered.(Visited 8 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Top seed Meralco comes back to beat Star in semis opener

first_imgRead Next Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC “It’s always gonna be a defensive struggle with Star. They really hit us hard in the beginning of our game and took us out of our offense,” said Meralco head coach Norman Black.“Luckily for us, our defense held up and kept us in the game and eventually, our shots got falling and that gave us in the game. But again, it’s really going to be a defensive struggle against Star.”Meralco recovered from its dismal start when it was held scoreless for the first six and a half minutes of the game as Star took an early 20-3 lead and forced the Bolts to the lowest scoring quarter for the season with just seven points.But with the help of Dillinger, Meralco patiently chipped away the lead eventually tied the game at 41 after a Durham basket with 6:57 left to play in the third quarter.“It shows your ability to get back,” said Black on the Bolts’ third straight come-from-behind win. “We tried to do our best to surround Durham with floor spacers, so if we can just get those guys make their shots in the next games, we’ll be alright.”ADVERTISEMENT Baser Amer had 10 points, four assists, and three rebounds as the Bolts survived the absence of Chris Newsome, who fouled out midway through the fourth quarter.Jio Jalalon paced Star with 15 points on a perfect 9-of-9 clip from the charity stripe, with six rebounds and three assists.Paul Lee and Mark Barroca had 11 markers apiece, but lost their poise in the endgame for the Hotshots. Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president LATEST STORIES BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Meralco aims for a 2-0 lead in the best-of-5 series on Tuesday at Sta. Rosa Multipurpose Complex in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.Jared Dillinger was instrumental in the heist and fired 15 points built on three triples to go with five assists and three rebounds off the bench.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutThe fearless slasher drilled two treys in the final two minutes and sank the go-ahead layup with 1:02 left.Allen Durham topped Meralco with 23 markers, 23 boards, and four dimes, including the game-clinching bucket in the final minute. PBA IMAGESBIÑAN — Defense once again did the trick for Meralco as it drew first blood with a 72-66 comeback win over Star in the 2017 PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals Sunday night at Alonte Sports Arena here.The Bolts locked down on defense down the stretch, forcing the Hotshots to commit six turnovers inside the last three minutes to complete their rally from 12 points down, 59-47, in the fourth quarter.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients  View comments Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary NCAA Season 93’s Best 7: Week 12last_img read more

All Blacks cut loose against France after yellow card opens floodgates

first_imgA questionable yellow card to the France lock Paul Gabrillagues allowed New Zealand to score three quick tries and set up a thumping 52-11 victory in the first Test of their three-match series at Eden Park on Saturday.With the match locked at 11-11 early in the second half, Gabrillagues was sent to the sin-bin by the English referee, Luke Pearce, for a high tackle on Ryan Crotty, but TV replays showed Gabrillagues was nowhere near the centre’s neck or head. Australia 18-9 Ireland: rugby union international – as it happened Share on WhatsApp … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Read more Share on Messenger Share on Pinterest Share on Facebook Share on Twitter New Zealand rugby union team Topics France rugby union teamcenter_img Codie Taylor and Ben Smith scored tries while Gabrillagues was off the field and Rieko Ioane added a third seconds after the lock returned to ease the All Blacks 19 points clear with 20 minutes remaining.Damian McKenzie, Ngani Laumape, Ioane and Ardie Savea then scored tries as the All Blacks opened the visitors up in the final quarter to clinch a 12th successive win over France and continue their 24-year unbeaten run at Eden Park.“We were behind on the scoreboard and as soon as we drew even, the boys really picked up again and it felt good,” the All Blacks captain, Sam Whitelock, said.“We just had to hold on to the ball. A couple of times in that first half we played, dropped the ball and gave them the opportunities. The second half we were a lot better, we capitalised on those opportunities.”Despite the yellow card blowing the game open, the world champions had started to look ominous by dominating possession and territory and it looked like it would only be a matter of time before the French finally crumbled.That France held an 11-8 half-time lead was testament to their defensive strength, epitomised by their goal-line tackling when the All Blacks hammered away in the final few minutes before the break to no success.Until that point, the visitors had lived on All Blacks mistakes with Remy Grosso’s early try set up after a poor attacking kick had allowed Teddy Thomas to counter and set up field position.The All Blacks, however, had turned the ball over only for Ben Smith to pass the ball straight to Grosso. Both of Morgan Parra’s first-half penalties were also needless with Aaron Smith’s dissent costing his side 10 metres and putting the France scrum-half within kicking range the worst of the transgressions. match reports Despite the All Blacks errors, they looked dangerous with ball in hand and Beauden Barrett’s try was the result of some superb interplay with his two brothers.The All Blacks fly-half evened the score with his second penalty in the 48th minute but when Gabrillagues was shown the yellow card three minutes later, the home side cut loose.“It was difficult, the All Blacks accelerated after the yellow card and for us it was difficult in defence,” the France captain, Mathieu Bastareaud, said. Support The Guardian Share via Email Share on LinkedIn Since you’re here… Sign up for the Breakdown, the Guardian’s weekly rugby union email. Rugby union Reuse this contentlast_img read more

Touch taking off in the Middle East

first_imgExpats around the world play a vital role in the promotion and development of Touch Football in their respective countries abroad. We recently heard from former representative player, Gary Hart, who is doing some fantastic work in the Middle East. On Friday, 28 February, a Men’s, Women’s and social side from Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Al Ain and possibly Qatar will meet in Abu Dhabi for a one day tournament. Hart says that he was in contact with John Larkins from Abu Dhabi Touch late last year and is looking forward to the opportunity. “Saudi Arabia is sending three teams from the Eastern Provence, where Touch is played in three residential communities, Sara, Dhahran and Abqaiq. Players from these communities have been getting together every Friday since early December and training. The training has been all about the basics of Touch, incorporating a couple of rucking moves, and defensive strategies.  Most players are expats from Australia, New Zealand, England and America and mostly over the age of 35, however we do have a couple of local Saudis playing. Socially Touch has been played  for over 20 years in Saudi Arabia, however this will be the first combined Middle East competition, and hopefully the first of many more.”Touch Football Australia would like to congratulate the teams on this initiative and wish them all the best for the tournament. To keep up-to-date with International Touch related news, please visit the Federation of International Touch website – http://www.international-touch.org/ Related LinksInternational Touchlast_img read more

10 months agoMan Utd manager Solskjaer defends Bailly: He won’t do it again

first_imgAbout the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say Man Utd manager Solskjaer defends Bailly: He won’t do it againby Freddie Taylor10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester Untited manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has defended Eric Bailly following his sending off in Sunday’s win over Bournemouth.With United up 4-1, Bailly was shown a straight red for a clumsy challenge on Ryan Fraser in midfieldBut Solskjaer knows it won’t become a recurring theme for the Ivorian.”Eric knows it was a harsh challenge,” Solskjaer told Sky Sports after the match. “He doesn’t have to do that. Just stay on your feet, but once in a while you know the boys are excited, we want to win the ball back and sometimes you can mistime your challenges.”Eric is the first one to accept that he made his mistake.” last_img read more

Meet Us at SMM in Hamburg

first_imgzoomImage by WMN In just one week, the Who’s Who of the maritime industry will meet in Hamburg, Germany for the biennial SMM maritime trade fair, taking place on September 4 – 7, 2018.SMM will open its gates next week to welcome 2,289 exhibitors and around 50,000 visitors from more than 124 countries, displaying and discussing the latest developments in maritime technology. The four-day event is preceded by an inaugural international conference, the Maritime Future Summit (MFS), on September 3, 2018, one day before the exhibition opens.Under the motto of “Trends in SMMart Shipping”, the event will occupy 13 exhibition halls of Hamburg Messe und Congress (HMC) and focus on all the top items on the industry’s agenda.For the first time there will also be a special exhibition on 3D-printing for the maritime industry, as well as a new theme route for the Cruise & Ferry segment. A comprehensive conference programme will accompany the four-day fair, with Smart Shipping and Industry 4.0 taking center stage.As appropriate for the age of the digital revolution and the maritime energy turnaround, this year’s SMM will put its main emphasis on digitalisation and the environment.Novelties at the event will include 3D printing, Cruise & Ferry Route, future-looking topics, cybersecurity, job exchange, new countries and ship-owning companies with the TradeWinds Shipowners Forum taking place at SMM for the first time.World Maritime News team will also be attending this year’s SMM event. For more information please contact:Dzenita Cama, WMN Account Manager, [email protected] and Erna Penjic, WMN Editor, [email protected]last_img read more

Dotting the i Pat Elfleins legacy as a Buckeye

OSU coach Urban Meyer hugs OSU redshirt senior center Pat Elflein before the Buckeyes’ 30-27 win over Michigan. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Photo EditorAt the conclusion of the 2015 Ohio State football season, coach Urban Meyer saw a seemingly endless line of players leaving the Woody Hayes Athletic Facility, in effect, ending their Buckeye careers. Running back Ezekiel Elliott, defensive lineman Joey Bosa and linebacker Darron Lee highlighted nine early departures from the program. However, the line ended with Pat Elflein.The redshirt senior returned for his final season of eligibility and converted to center from his guard position. Redshirt junior OSU quarterback J.T. Barrett said it wasn’t a surprise to him seeing Elflein come back to the Scarlet and Gray when he had the possibility of being a high draft pick.“One of the biggest things that means the most to me is how much he cared,” Barrett said on Monday before the Michigan game. “Not about me, but the guys. That’s why he came back is to be with us. I think that’s selfless and not a lot of people come around like that.”Last Saturday against Michigan, in perhaps his biggest game as a Buckeye, Elflein ran out of the tunnel at Ohio Stadium for the last time. He handed his mother, Lisa Elflein, a rose and greeted the rest of his family with tears coming from his eyes.Elflein predicted on the Monday before the game that it was going to be an emotional day for him, not knowing that his team would pull off a 30-27 double-overtime win over the Wolverines in one of the most memorable games in the history of the program.“I’ll never forget that, Senior Day,” Elflein said. “That was the craziest this place has been ever since I’ve been here. That was the ultimate … it was an electric atmosphere.”OSU trailed for much of the game before the offense took control in overtime. After junior H-back Curtis Samuel’s game-winning touchdown that propelled OSU to a dramatic victory, Elflein was one of the first players to hug Samuel in the end zone. The redshirt senior from Pickerington, Ohio, then went over to the section where his family was sitting. He pulled his mother, Lisa; sister, Heather Elflein; brother, Matt Elflein; and grandfather, Rich Elflein, onto the field to celebrate a rare fifth win over Michigan as a member of the Buckeyes.“That was just amazing,” Pat Elflein said. “My grandpa was here and he hasn’t been here in awhile … it was just very exciting.”Pat Elflein has been a starter on the OSU offensive line for three seasons. He’s been the vocal leader on the unit all of the 2016 season along with the only other returning starter on the unit known as “The Slobs,” redshirt junior guard Billy Price.On Saturday, after the game, Price recalled the last touchdown in a way that meant a lot to his teammate. Price ran into the end zone, joined his teammates, hugged Samuel, then embraced his fellow lineman.“To send Pat out on a senior season like this — he’s got five pairs of gold pants,” Price said. “There are very few people to do that.”Gold pants are given to every member of an OSU team that beats Michigan.Pat Elflein’s first time playing in the rivalry was in 2013 when he entered for Marcus Hall, who was ejected from the game. Then, he became another member of the lineage of Pickerington natives to play in “The Game.” One of his best friends from high school, Michigan tight end Jake Butt, ended his career 0-4 versus OSU. Pat Elflein understood at the time how special it was to win another game against his team’s bitter rival, but the significance of just how great the 2016 edition of “The Game” was for the program’s history and his legacy did not immediately register for the redshirt senior.“It’s an indescribable feeling to beat that team five teams and do it the we did today,” he said. “I can’t thank my teammates enough for sending the seniors out the right way. Now we get to play for it all.”Pat Elflein’s confidence in getting another shot at a national championship will be determined on Sunday during the College Football Playoff selection show. read more

Eusebio echoes Ancelottis sentiments on Italian abuse

first_imgEusebio Di Francesco shares the thoughts of Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti about the verbal abuse players and Coaches suffer in Italian stadiums.The Napoli boss pointed out after Jose Mourinho’s cupped ear to the Juventus fans that there were too many insults in all Italian stadiums, and his colleague agrees.“I’m in total agreement,” Roma Coach Di Francesco told RAI as cited by Football Italia as he arrived for the Panchina d’Oro award ceremony.“I’ve been talking to the lads at the Universities about it. We need to cheer on our heroes, but no-one likes these insults.”Sacchi explains Sarri, Conte, and Ancelotti Manuel R. Medina – September 14, 2019 Arrigo Sacchi talked about how Sarri has a tougher time at Juventus than Conte at Inter; while Ancelotti’s “blood is boiling” at Napoli.Arrigo Sacchi…Di Francesco also discussed yesterday’s game with Atalanta, which featured a controversial VAR call.“VAR needs to be used in the right way, but I’m in favour of technology. I’m happy with the performance yesterday and the way the team is growing.”Roma and Napoli both enjoyed wins in the Serie A last weekend while league leaders Juve beat AC Milan at the San Siro to consolidate top spot.last_img read more

CANADIAN GOVERNMENT ADDS CARICOM NATIONS TO WATCH LIST

first_img MORE THAN PREGNANT WOMEN need to be concerned about Zika Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Airliners spraying for Zika prevention; Zika impacting tourism arrivals Condom use now recommended as a prevention to Zika; sexually transmitted case found in Dallas Related Items:Canadian government issues watch list, CARICOM nations added to Canadian watch list, zika virus Recommended for you Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppCARICOM Nations are now added to a watch list issued by the Canadian Government and that includes the Turks and Caicos; again this stems from the outbreak of the mosquito borne and sexually transmitted Zika Virus.  The Bahamas, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago are among the CARICOM member states named; the Turks and Caicos is named in a separate notice from Public Health Agency of Canada where pregnant women and those considering pregnancy are told they should avoid travel to the Turks and Caicos, among others.  While Zika and its threats are causing serious health concern within these territories for its residents, the Zika Virus is also a major blow to travel to the region.  In a PBS News Hour article, the Caribbean Tourism Organization or CTO, Secretary General, Hugh Riley is quoted saying what worries him more than the cancellations is the missed business, ‘That is the unknown number of people who may opt out of booking travel to the Caribbean altogether.”CARPHA Executive Director, Dr. James Hospedales is also quoted in the piece from February with, “We’re very concerned about it. And it’s hard to avoid the media amplification, even a 2-to-3 percent decline in tourism is a huge blow, especially for countries that are already in debt or whose economies are struggling.” The article also shared some statistics on the region:  ‘The Caribbean is one of the most tourism-dependent regions in the world, it says. Comprised of more than 700 islands spanning 30 territories, the West Indies sees more than 25 million visitors annually and the U.S. is its No. 1 source. About 15 million Americans visit the Caribbean for vacation every year, contributing nearly $50 billion toward the region’s overall GDP.’According to the Caribbean Public Health Agency or CARPHA, 45 Caribbean and Latin American countries are now reporting Zika.  As of August 30, the CARICOM countries were cited in the Canadian travel notice.last_img read more