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Psychopathic Violent Offenders’ Brains Can’t Understand Punishment

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Psychopathic violent offenders have abnormalities in the parts of the brain related to learning from punishment, according to an MRI study led by Sheilagh Hodgins and Nigel Blackwood.

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Researchers Identify Brain Circuit That Regulates Thirst

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute scientists have identified a circuit in the brains of mice that regulates thirst. When a subset of cells in the circuit is switched on, mice immediately begin drinking water, even if they are fully hydrated. A second set of cells suppresses the urge to drink.

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Brain’s On-Off Thirst Switch Identified

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Neurons that trigger our sense of thirst—and neurons that turn it off—have been identified by Columbia University Medical Center neuroscientists. The paper was published today in the online edition of Nature.

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Pro-Marijuana ‘Tweets’ Are Sky-High on Twitter

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Analyzing every marijuana-related Twitter message sent during a one-month period in early 2014, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine have found that the “Twitterverse” is a pot-friendly place. In that time, more than 7 million tweets referenced marijuana, with 15 times as many pro-pot tweets sent as anti-pot tweets.

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Classic Psychedelic Use Found to Be Protective with Regard to Psychological Distress and Suicidality, Study Finds

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Classic psychedelic drugs include LSD, psilocybin and mescaline. This new School of Public Health research is published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.

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Intrusive Monitoring of Internet Use by Parents Actually Leads Adolescents to Increase Their Risky Online Behavior

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Intrusive monitoring of Internet use by parents actually leads adolescents to increase their risky online behavior

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Humanity Has Exceeded 4 of 9 ‘Planetary Boundaries,’ According to Researchers

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An international team of researchers says climate change, the loss of biosphere integrity, land-system change, and altered biogeochemical cycles like phosphorus and nitrogen runoff have all passed beyond levels that put humanity in a “safe operating space.” Civilization has crossed four of nine so-called planetary boundaries as the result of human activity, according to a report published today in Science by the 18-member research team.

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The Secret of Empathy

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The ability to express empathy -- the capacity to share and feel another’s emotions -- is limited by the stress of being around strangers, according to a new study published today in the journal Current Biology.

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Difficult Behavior in Young Children May Point to Later Problems

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It’s normal for a very young child to have tantrums and be otherwise disruptive, but researchers have found that if such behavior is prolonged or especially intense, the child may have conduct disorder. The Washington University team, led by senior investigator Joan L. Luby, MD, recommends that children who exhibit these symptoms be referred to mental health professionals for evaluation and possible intervention.

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Depression, Behavior Changes May Start in Alzheimer’s Even Before Memory Changes

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Depression and other behavior changes may show up in people who will later develop Alzheimer’s disease even before they start having memory problems, according to a new study published in the January 14, 2015, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.