Sunday Random Thoughts

The day is done the meal has been eaten and now I have to look forward to a week’s worth of leftovers….since everyone is probably trying to recover from heavy eating and celebration I will offer a few random thoughts on this Sunday after Christmas…

For years people have heard all the rhetoric about rocket scientists and brain surgeons….but are we less than those?

Everyone is familiar with the phrase “It’s not rocket science” or “It’s not brain surgery,” and that got researchers wondering whether rocket scientists or brain surgeons were most justified in saying it. Answer: Neither camp outdid the other in a general cognitive test, reports the BBC. But more interesting is that neither camp outperformed the general population, either. And, yes, this is an authentic peer-reviewed study in the British Medical Journal. But as CNN notes, studies in the year-end edition tend to be lighter fare. In the study, researchers borrowed from the Great British Intelligence Test and assessed subjects in six general areas such as memory, word problems, spatial problems, etc.

Overall, rocket scientists and brain surgeons were “equally matched across most domains,” the researchers found. Brain surgeons were better than rocket scientists at “semantic problem solving,” while rocket scientists were better in “mental manipulation and attention.” The latter might involve “rotating objects in one’s head,” per the Guardian. And when both camps were compared with the general population, only two differences stood out in results: Brain surgeons solved problems more quickly than the average Joe, but their memory recall was slower.

The upshot? “It is possible that both neurosurgeons and aerospace engineers are unnecessarily placed on a pedestal and that ‘It’s a walk in the park’ or another phrase unrelated to careers might be more appropriate,” write the researchers. They further suggest that “other specialties might deserve to be on that pedestal, and future work should aim to determine the most deserving profession.” They do, however, give technical bragging rights: “In situations that do not require rapid problem solving, it might be more correct to use the phrase ‘It’s not brain surgery.”

Maybe there is hope for humanity.

Have heard about docile men and/or aggressive women?

There could be a simple answer…..

Humans emit a compound called hexadecanal (HEX for short) from their skin, saliva, and feces. Newborns release copious amounts of the compound from their heads. Even though HEX has no discernible scent, it can affect the behavior of those who smell it, according to research conducted by Noam Sobel, a neuroscientist at the Weizmann Institute of Science.

Several experiments have shown that women exposed to the chemicals become more aggressive, whereas men become more passive.

An odorless compound emitted by people could make women aggressive and men docile

You would think after centuries of the study of the human body we would have all the answers there is….right?

If you answer yes then you will be mistaken.

Press your fingers behind your cheeks and clench your teeth. What you’re feeling is the masseter muscle, a key muscle allowing humans to chew and eat, which is usually described as being made up of a deep layer and a superficial one, per the Hill. Except researchers say that’s not quite right. Indeed, they say they’ve discovered a third, even deeper layer of the masseter, which is attached to the muscular or “coronoid” process of the lower jaw, according to a release. Hence the proposed name of Musculus masseter pars coronidea, or the coronoid section of the masseter, as revealed in the scientific journal Annals of Anatomy.

Dr. Szilvia Mezey of the University of Basel—part of a team that discovered the layer in fresh and preserved human cadaver heads as well as in MRI data from a living person—says it’s “clearly distinguishable from the two other layers in terms of its course and function.” The deepest layer appears to stabilize the lower jaw and may be the only part of the masseter that can pull the lower jaw backward toward the ear, according to the study. A third layer of masseter has been referenced before, including in a 1995 edition of Gray’s Anatomy. But that book cited non-human studies of jaw musculature, which conflicted with each other, per the release. More recent studies describing three masseter layers have instead concluded that the superficial layer is two layers in itself.

“In view of these contradictory descriptions, we wanted to examine the structure of the masseter muscle again comprehensively,” says study co-author Jens Christoph Türp of the University Center for Dental Medicine Basel. “Although it’s generally assumed that anatomical research in the last 100 years has left no stone unturned, our finding is a bit like zoologists discovering a new species of vertebrate.” The researchers say naming the muscle layer, running from the lower part of the skull to “the root and posterior margin of the coronoid process,” will “facilitate discussion” of this newly-described body part moving forward.

All the news you cannot possible use…..

I hope everyone has a great and restful Sunday….onto the celebration of a new year.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”



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