HEADLINES / TRENDS l STATS l RESEARCH l MEDIA l PEOPLE

July/August 2014

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Lay-Friendly Brain Talk at

World Science Festival

We live in a world where many issues, from climate change to genetic modification of crops, demand a scientifically literate populace. So it’s not comforting to learn, according to a recent National Science Foundation poll, that more than a quarter of all Americans believe the sun revolves around the earth—among other head-scratchers.

Enter the World Science Festival, designed to further science education by bringing together leading researchers in a series of wide-ranging discussions. Topics at this year’s May gathering, held in various New York City venues, included the physics of chocolate, the neuroscience that explains addiction and experimentation aboard the International Space Station.

Two discussions, Brain Science and the Mystery of Time and Downloading the Brain, were held at New York University’s Global Center. The first focused on how the brain keeps time—and how that affects the formation of memories. The second involved a discussion of how researchers are learning to decode patterns of neuron activity in the brain, including video of a disabled woman moving a robotic arm with her thoughts via an electrode. The panelists also talked about how emerging technology is opening up a new world of neuroscience. As one participant, John Donoghue, PhD, of the Brown Institute for Brain Science, put it, “It is one of the most exciting times for understanding the brain.”

Can’t attend a festival in person? Visit worldsciencefestival.com, where you can watch taped discussions, sign up for courses offered through World Science U and find other ways to feed your inner scientist.

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Watercress vs. Kale? Study Says

Watercress Wins

If you’re finding that the produce section of your local market seems to be in short supply of watercress, you have researchers at William Paterson University in New Jersey—and the high nutritional content of watercress—to thank. In a study published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention journal Preventing Chronic Disease, the researchers gave watercress a perfect score of 100 for its nutritional value, putting the little leafy green at the top of a list of 41 “powerhouse” fruits and veggies. The foods were scored by their content of fiber, potassium, protein, calcium, folate, vitamin B12, vitamin A, vitamin D and other nutrients. Chinese cabbage, chard, beet greens and spinach rounded out the top five. And kale? No. 15.

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EDITORS CHOICE

Smokeless LotusGrill

Makes for Healthier BBQ

Each summer, health advocates warn about the possible cancer risks of heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), chemicals formed when muscle meat—beef, pork, fish and poultry—is grilled directly over an open flame. PAHs form when fat from meat drips onto an open fire, causing flames that carry the PAHs to the surface of meat. We like the cleverly designed, portable LotusGrill because it helps resolve that issue by restricting charcoal to a covered inner chamber. Grease drips into an inner bowl but does not reach the charcoal, and no flames are generated. Nor can sparks and embers escape. Visit artlandinc.com to learn more.

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