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It may come as a surprise to some, especially those with conventional medical training, but the default state of the body is one of ceaseless regeneration. Without the flame-like process of continual cell turnover within the body – life and death ceaselessly intertwined – the miracle of the human body would not exist.
In times of illness, however, regenerative processes are overcome by degenerative ones. This is where medicine may perform its most noble feat, nudging the body back into balance with foods, Continue reading →
Did you know that so-called “incurable” neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease can be slowed, if not also partially reversed? Regeneration, after all, is the default state of the human body.
With life threatening instances of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections on the rise, many are seeking safe and effective alternatives in the realm of natural medicine. Manuka oil is a shinning example. Continue reading →
Life in the 21st century is full of stress in the form of emotional setbacks, environmental toxins, physical trauma & poor nutrition. This stress depletes the body of critical nutrients and causes oxidation of various cellular elements. Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb that helps the body successfully adapt to stressful conditions.
Ashwagandha is also called Indian ginseng, winter cherry, & Withania Somnifera. Although it grows naturally in North America and Africa, it is most commonly associated with the Ayurvedic traditions of the east. Ayurveda is an ancient philosophy and application of natural health common in India and the Far East. This tradition is known to use the roots of the Withania Somnifera plant to prepare Ashwagandha. This herb has been used for a myriad of health conditions throughout the centuries by Ayurvedic medicine men.
The liver is one of the most critical organs essential to human health. It serves more than 300 functions in the body to detoxify against chemical and environmental intrusions, and it promotes metabolic function as well. Silymarin is commonly known as milk thistle, and new science is emerging to validate the healing potential of this powerful plant. Publishing in the journal Hepatitis Monthly, researchers provide solid evidence that natural milk thistle extracts can halt and even reverse the effects of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), an affliction affecting as much as a third of the adult population. Supplementation with milk thistle will dramatically lower the risks associated with fatty liver disease, atherosclerosis and cognitive dysfunction.
NAFLD is a significant health concern that is growing at an unprecedented rate due to the obesity and diabetes epidemic currently gripping most western societies. The condition is caused in part by excess accumulation of fats (triglycerides) in the cellular matrix of the liver that results in suboptimal function of the organ. Left unchecked, the disease can result in cell injury and damage, in inflammation and ultimately in cirrhosis as the liver becomes less able to perform the multitude of tasks essential to life. Continue reading →
LONDON – An Indian-born neurosurgeon spoke of his great surprise after finding that the severely damaged skull of a British man involved in a car crash 50 years ago has regenerated itself.
Doctors, who operated to treat an infection in GordonMoore’s head, found the bone had grown back beneath the metal plate inserted after the accident – a development thought to be rare among adults.
Moore, a 75-year-old former postmaster, suffered serious head injuries and had to undergo life-saving operations after his car overturned in 1955.
Doctors inserted a metal plate above his eye and on top of his skull, but the plate was dented three years later, when Moore had another accident, this time crashing his car into a lamppost.
His consultant, ParameswaranS.Bhattathiri, a neurosurgeon from Kerala, told the Newcastle-based Evening Chronicle: “It was a great surprise to find the skull had grown back.
“You would expect it in a child, but not in an adult, certainly not in an area of bone so big.”
His new skull reportedly follows the contours of the dent suffered in the second crash.
Moore said the plate had never bothered him, but he was relieved he would no longer “set the alarms off at the airport”.
“They were amazed when they found it. Apparently it is very rare. The neurosurgeon said he had never seen anyone grow a complete skull before. But bone does grow, and it has had 50-odd years to do the growing,” Moore said.
Moore told the paper Bhattathiri had good news after he awoke from the operation: “He said ‘I’m afraid we had to take the plate out. The good news is apparently you have grown a new skull’.”
Brain fitness has basic principles: variety and curiosity. When anything you do becomes second nature, you need to make a change. If you can do the crossword puzzle in your sleep, it’s time for you to move on to a new challenge in order to get the best workout for your brain. Curiosity about the world around you, how it works and how you can understand it will keep your brain working fast and efficiently. Use the ideas below to help attain your quest for mental fitness.
1. Play Games
Brain fitness programs and games are a wonderful way to tease and challenge your brain. Suduko, crosswords and electronic games can all improve your brain’s speed and memory. These games rely on logic, word skills, math and more. These games are also fun. You’ll get benefit more by doing these games a little bit every day — spend 15 minutes or so, not hours.
Daily meditation is perhaps the single greatest thing you can do for your mind/body health. Meditation not only relaxes you, it gives your brain a workout. By creating a different mental state, you engage your brain in new and interesting ways while increasing your brain fitness.
3. Eat for Your Brain
Your brain needs you to eat healthy fats. Focus on fish oils from wild salmon, nuts such as walnuts, seeds such as flax seed and olive oil. Eat more of these foods and less saturated fats. Eliminate transfats completely from your diet.
4. Tell Good Stories
Stories are a way that we solidify memories, interpret events and share moments. Practice telling your stories, both new and old, so that they are interesting, compelling and fun. Some basic storytelling techniques will go a long way in keeping people’s interest both in you and in what you have to say.
5. Turn Off Your Television
The average person watches more than 4 hours of television everyday. Television can stand in the way of relationships, life and more. Turn off your TV and spend more time living and exercising your mind and body.
6. Exercise Your Body To Exercise Your Brain
Physical exercise is great brain exercise too. By moving your body, your brain has to learn new muscle skills, estimate distance and practice balance. Choose a variety of exercises to challenge your brain.
7. Read Something Different
Books are portable, free from libraries and filled with infinite interesting characters, information and facts. Branch out from familiar reading topics. If you usually read history books, try a contemporary novel. Read foreign authors, the classics and random books. Not only will your brain get a workout by imagining different time periods, cultures and peoples, you will also have interesting stories to tell about your reading, what it makes you think of and the connections you draw between modern life and the words.
8. Learn a New Skill
Learning a new skill works multiple areas of the brain. Your memory comes into play, you learn new movements and you associate things differently. Reading Shakespeare, learning to cook and building an airplane out of toothpicks all will challenge your brain and give you something to think about.
9. Make Simple Changes
We love our routines. We have hobbies and pastimes that we could do for hours on end. But the more something is ‘second nature,’ the less our brains have to work to do it. To really help your brain stay young, challenge it. Change routes to the grocery store, use your opposite hand to open doors and eat dessert first. All this will force your brain to wake up from habits and pay attention again.
10. Train Your Brain
Brain training is becoming a trend. There are formal courses, websites and books with programs on how to train your brain to work better and faster. There is some research behind these programs, but the basic principles are memory, visualization and reasoning. Work on these three concepts everyday and your brain will be ready for anything.
CHICAGO – Scientists have come up with a new way to watch bacteria as they swim, which is expected to eventually help trap Escherichia coli bacteria and modify the microbes’ environment without hindering the way they move.
The new approach uses optical traps, microfluidic chambers and fluorescence to get an improved picture of how E. coli get around.
YannChemla, a professor of Physics at the University of Illinois, says that the microfluidic chambers provide a controlled environment in which the bacteria swim, and allow them to introduce specific stimuli – such as chemical attractants – to see if the microbes change direction in response to that stimulus.
Chemla, who jointly led the study with physics professor IdoGolding, further says that optical traps use lasers to confine individual cells without impeding their rotation or the movement of their flagella.
The researcher calls the optical traps “bacterial treadmills”.
According to the researchers, movement of the bacterial cell alters the light from the laser, and, thereby, help track its behaviour.
Fluorescent markers enhance visualization of the bacteria and their flagella under a microscope, say the researchers.
While earlier studies have been unable to follow individual bacterial cells moving in three dimensions for more than about 30 seconds, the new approach allows the researchers to track a single bacterium as it swims for up to an hour, and that is why it may offer a new look at questions that so far have been unanswerable.
“For example, some people have asked whether E. coli has a nose. Does it have a front and back?” Nature magazine quoted Golding as saying.
He and his colleagues have observed that while the bacterium can travel in either direction, most E.coli have “a pronounced preference” for one over the other.
The researchers found that after most tumbles, a bacterium usually continued swimming in the same general direction, but that about one in six tumbles caused it to change direction completely.
They were also able to quantify other features of bacterial swimming, such as changes in velocity and the time spent running and tumbling.
They hope that their novel method will allow scientists to address many more questions about this model organism.
“That’s the typical way biology moves forward. You develop a new measurement capability and then you can use that to go back and look at fundamental questions that people had been looking at but had no way of answering,” Golding said.
A research article describing the new technique has been published in the journal Nature Methods.
She seemed so in charge of her balanced life. So I asked my student, this longtime, top producer, exactly how she managed to juggle so much and so well. Her response was the same I’ve heard repeatedly from achievers over the years, “I learned how to really concentrate.” When the vision is clear, braking down specific goals or tasks becomes easier. The ability to concentrate on single issues at a time becomes do-able and the success process becomes easier to control and duplicate.
The basic theme you hear from pro athletes at the peak of their game is the same you hear from great parents, teachers, students, scientists, realtors, doctors, communicators etc. They share a view that it is never the glitches, setbacks, disappointments that hold a person back, but rather the message the person assigns to those events or to any distractions. Stuff happens. How we choose to view and respond to these happenings determines whether we move away from or toward our personal power.
Many don’t feel they run their life. They feel their life runs them. They use others’ actions and opinions as well as their own experiences as excuses for what they choose to do. It’s like using an out-of-town guest as an excuse to do no work, as if the guest is pointing a gun and saying, “Take care of me every moment or I’ll shoot.” Or, we see external changes over which we have no control, like an interest rate change, and suddenly some find the way they sleep, communicate, project the future, view their colleagues or even their family, changes too. We’ve all been cut off in traffic. The driver who did the cutting, whether intentional or inadvertent, drives off focused on his destination. But how often have we, the ones cut off, invited that long gone, other driver to live, rent-free in our head? Learning to “let go” is not a just some random concept. Letting gois a way of coping with our distractions and disappointments in a healthy, productive way.
Letting go is about focusing elsewhere, by conscious choice. We don’t let go by saying, “I don’t want to think about it.” That’s like highlighting with a yellow marker the very thought we want to avoid. Imagine a teacher directing, “OK class… don’t think of a purple elephant…. large orange ears flapping in the breeze.” What did you see.. even if you tried to “let go” of it? Yet, there is a way to let go and it’s simple. We simply turn our attention to something else and keep placing our mind exactly where we want it to be until the mind gets the message. The mind learns by our repetition that we’re serious and in control of the DIRECTION of our attention. Imagine allowing all distractions and challenges to do only one thing: to serve as a reminder to focus and concentrate on those ideas and things about which we CAN do something, and towards those things that have value for own highest, most exciting, magnificent, “worth-it” goals.
And the great news is – this chosen FOCUS and CONCENTRATION is a way of responding and behaving that can be practiced and learned.
Here are a few simple tools to “get ‘er done:”
1. DO the SESSIONS. One way to establish excellence in focus and concentration is to practice the relaxation and self-hypnosis sessions I teach in seminars.
When you relax your mind (relaxing your body is great, but relaxing your mind is the key to excellence), many distractions may pull at you. As you keep bringing your mind back to your chosen focus (positive affirmations, imagery), like a puppy gets the message when you gently and consistently repeat, your mind gets the message and learns. Do these training sessions with yourself and just like muscles in the body, your mind gets stronger and more disciplined. Practice directing your mind to those acts and abilities you want, for example reading fast with perfect comprehension, giving clear presentations that are on target, being inspired by rejection or intimidating tactics of others, prospecting with confidence, experiencing memory that accesses with ease the images and details that serve, playing fluid, powerful, golf, being relaxed and confident taking tests, etc. Being ”present” or ”in the moment” are not just phrases. Like letting go, they are skills which can be learned and perfected for a better way of performing.
2. ASK YOURSELF the MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION. Another way of practicing the development of focus and concentration is to, throughout the day, ask yourself “Is what I am doing the most beneficial thing I could be doing, right NOW?”
Write this question on a 3×5 card and carry it with you for a couple of weeks to ingrain the sense of control you really do have over your time and energy. Don’t wait to be moved by this little reminder. If the answer is “Yes,” continue doing what you’re doing. If the answer is “No,” pay attention and take action that moves you NOW to your best use of your focused attention and resources of time, energy. The beginning of any process of change may be erratic and uncomfortable. It is also totally worthwhile. Look at the people who you think “have it together” and you may not necessarily find the most gifted or brilliant, but you will likely find those who choose to “shift gears” smoothly and be totally present. Copy success. Copy their best attributes.
3. CELEBRATE VICTORIES. Think about it: Confidence in this area of developing focus, like confidence about anything else doesn’t necessarily come from belief or faith, it comes from creating victories which we acknowledge. Start from wherever you are and show yourself what you CAN do. When you do something well, avoid the trap of thinking “It’s no big deal.” Acknowledge successes, little or giant, as of equal value relative to your ability to have success. What’s small to you may be huge to someone else.. and vice versa. Celebration of each success, without judgment of its size, continues to move us forward while creating a new habit. This is using our power and strengthening the habit of concentration.
The practice of self hypnosis will greatly facilitate your ability to focus. One of the definitions of self hypnosis is Heightened Awareness. If you commit yourself to practice a couple of sessions each day, within two to three weeks you will find some very interesting shifts in concentration and consciousness take place. Learn how, do it, celebrate your successes, benefit. Start NOW.
Please take a look at my CDs that can help you focus in your business and personal life and prepare you to have the best year ever. The choice is always there and the choice is always yours.
TRENTON – Scientists from University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey have identified a protein that can repair brain damage in Alzheimer’s patients.
They said that a protein called vimentin normally appears twice in a lifetime – when neurons in the brain are forming during the first years of life and, years later when the brain’s neurons are under siege from Alzheimer’s or other neurodegenerative diseases.
“Vimentin is expressed by neurons in regions of the brain where there is Alzheimer’s damage but not in undamaged areas of the brain,” said DrRobertNagele, a professor at UMDNJ and the study’s corresponding author.
“When the patient shows up at the doctor’s office with symptoms of cognitive impairment, the neurons have reached the point where they can no longer keep pace with the ever-increasing damage caused by Alzheimer’s,” he added.
While explaining the study results, Nagele likened neurons to a tree with long strands called dendrites branching off from the main part of the cell.
The dendrite branches are covered with 10,000 tiny “leaves” called synapses that allow neurons to communicate with each other. Vimentin is an essential protein for building the dendrite branches that support the synapses.
“A hallmark of Alzheimer’s is the accumulation of amyloid deposits that gradually destroy the synapses and cause the collapse of dendrite branches,” he said.
“When the dendrites and synapses degenerate, the neuron releases vimentin in an attempt to re-grow the dendrite tree branches and synapses. It’s a rerun of the embryonic program that allowed the brain to develop in the early years of life,” Nagele added.
The researchers also reported some initial findings that indicated a similar damage response mechanism takes place following traumatic brain injury, suggesting the possibility that similar therapeutic agents could be developed to enhance repair both for sudden brain trauma and for progressive neurodegenerative diseases.
The findings are published in journal Brain Research.
SYDNEY – The build-up of iron in a cell centre may lead to debilitating diseases which can cause brain and cardiac disorders, a study has revealed.
The accumulation of iron in mitochondria, which is the centre for cell respiration and energy production, is toxic. The iron can substantially damage the cell and cause death.
Using a mouse model, University of Sydney (U-S) researchers found that the iron loading was caused by its increased iron uptake and decreased release due to reduced iron utilization in two major mitochondrial pathways.
“The terrible part is that these children (with high iron accumulation in cells) grow up knowing the joys of self-sufficiency, being able to walk and function normally before they are struck down,” said DesRichardson.
MichaelHuang, study co-author noted: “It’s great to work on such an intractable disease and by unveiling its underlying nuts and bolts to get results that can potentially help lots of people.”
The study appeared in the latest edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.
Kava is a tall shrub in the pepper family that grows in the South Pacific islands. It has been used there for thousands of years as a folk remedy and as a social and ceremonial beverage.
The part of the plant used medicinally is the root. Although the root was traditionally chewed or made into a beverage, kava is now available in capsule, tablet, beverage, tea, and liquid extract forms.
Why People Use Kava:
Because kava can cause sedation, and in high amounts, intoxication, kava drinks are consumed in some parts of the world in much the same way as alcohol.
How Kava Works:
The main active components in kava root are called kavalactones. Specific types of kavalactones include dihydrokavain, methysticin, kavain, dihydromethysticin, dihydrokawain, yangonin and desmethoxyyangonin.
Although it’s not clear exactly how kava works, kavalactones may affect the levels of neurotransmitters (chemicals that carry messages from nerve cells to other cells) in the blood. Kava has been found to affect the levels of specific neurotransmitters, including norepinephrine, gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) and dopamine.
Scientific Evidence for Kava:
A number of well-designed studies have examined kava’s ability to relieve anxiety compared to anxiety medication or a placebo. The results have been promising.
In 2003, a review by the Cochrane Collaboration examined the existing research to see how kava fared compared to a placebo in treating anxiety. After analyzing the 11 studies (involving a total of 645 people) that met the criteria, the researchers concluded that kava “appears to be an effective symptomatic treatment option for anxiety.” However, they added that it seemed to be a small effect.
Concerns About Kava and the Liver:
Although rare, case reports have linked kava use with liver toxicity, including hepatitis, cirrhosis, and liver failure.
As a result, the FDA issued a warning about kava in 2002. Several countries have banned or restricted the sale of kava.
Clinical trials have not found liver toxicity. Adverse liver reactions appear to be linked to factors such as pre-existing liver disease, alcohol consumption, excessive doses, genetic variations in the cytochrome P450 enzymes, consumption of other drugs or herbs that, combined, may have a toxic effect, or the use of stem or leaf extracts or extracts made with acetone or ethanol.
Potential Side Effects of Kava:
Side effects include indigestion, mouth numbness, skin rash, headache, drowsiness and visual disturbances. Chronic or heavy use of kava has linked to pulmonary hypertension, skin scaling, loss of muscle control, kidney damage, and blood abnormalities.
Kava may lower blood pressure and it also may interfere with blood clotting, so it shouldn’t be used by people with bleeding disorders. People with Parkinson’s disease shouldn’t use kava because it may worsen symptoms.
Kava should not be taken within 2 weeks of surgery. Pregnant and nursing women, children, and people with liver or kidney disease shouldn’t use kava.
Possible Drug Interactions:
Kava shouldn’t be taken by people who are taking Parkinson’s disease medications, antipsychotic drugs, or any medication that influences dopamine levels.
Kava shouldn’t be combined with alcohol or medications for anxiety or insomnia, including benzodiazepines such as Valium (diazepam) or Ativan (lorazepam). It may have an additive effect if taken with drugs that cause drowsiness.
Kava may have an additive effect if combined with antidepressant drugs called monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI).
Kava shouldn’t be taken with any drug or herb that impairs liver function. Kava also may interfere with blood clotting, so people taking Coumadin (warfarin) or any drug that influences blood clotting should avoid it unless under a doctor’s supervision.
Kava is a diuretic, so it may have an additive effect if combined with drugs or herbs that have diuretic properties.
BUDAPEST – A new study seems to have established a link between psychosis and creativity.
SzabolcsKeri, a psychiatrist at Semmelweis University in Hungary, focused his research on neuregulin 1, a gene that normally plays a role in a variety of brain processes, including development and strengthening communication between neurons.
Writing about the study in the journal Psychological Science, he has revealed that a variant of this gene is associated with a greater risk of developing mental disorders, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
For the study, Keri and his colleagues recruited volunteers who considered themselves to be very creative and accomplished.
The participants underwent a battery of tests, including assessments for intelligence and creativity.
To measure the volunteers’ creativity, the researchers asked them to respond to a series of unusual questions, and scored them based on the originality and flexibility of their answers.
The subjects also completed a questionnaire regarding their lifetime creative achievements before the researchers took blood samples.
According to the researchers, their findings showed a clear link between neuregulin 1 and creativity, for volunteers with the specific variant of this gene were more likely to have higher scores on the creativity assessment, and also greater lifetime creative achievements, than volunteers with a different form of the gene.
Keri claims that his study has for the first time shown that a genetic variant associated with psychosis may have some beneficial functions.
He says: “Molecular factors that are loosely associated with severe mental disorders but are present in many healthy people may have an advantage enabling us to think more creatively.”
His findings also suggest that certain genetic variations, even though associated with adverse health problems, may survive evolutionary selection and remain in a population’s gene pool if they also have beneficial effects.
GENEVA – Prostate cancer patients who belong to low socio-economic status are more likely to die than patients with higher incomes, according to a new study from Swiss researchers.
The study’s findings indicate that poor prostate cancer patients receive worse care than their wealthier counterparts.
The researchers wanted to know how disparities affected prostate cancer mortality in Switzerland, a country with an extremely well developed health care system and where healthcare costs, medical coverage, and life expectancy are among the highest in the world,
Dr. ElisabettaRapiti, of the University of Geneva, and her colleagues conducted a population-based study that included all residents of the region who were diagnosed with invasive prostate cancer between 1995 and 2005.
The analysis included 2,738 patients identified through the Geneva Cancer Registry.
The researchers found that as compared with patients of high socio-economic status, those of low socio-economic status were less likely to have their cancer detected by screening, had more advanced stages of cancer at diagnosis, and underwent fewer tests to characterize their cancer.
These patients were less likely to have their prostates removed and were more likely to be managed with watchful waiting, or careful monitoring.
Patients with low socio-economic status also had a 2-fold increased risk of dying from prostate cancer compared with patients of high socio-economic status.
“The increased mortality risk of patients of low socio-economic status is almost completely explained by delayed diagnosis, poor work-up, and less complete treatment, indicating inequitable use of the health care system,” said Rapiti.
The authors say lead time and length time biases linked to early detection through PSA screening may partially explain the survival advantage observed among high SES patients.
The study has been published in the latest issue of Cancer, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society.
TUBINGEN – A German team of neurobiologists has found that rhesus macaques can engage in abstract mathematical reasoning using specific brain cells dedicated to the comprehension of math rules and relationships.
The finding could provide insight into the neurology behind human ability to comprehend much more complex mathematics, German scientists said.
“Even simple mathematical operations are highly abstract mental operations on quantities that are governed by overarching concepts and principles,” explained study co-author AndreasNieder, a professor in the department of animal physiology at the University of Tubingen’s Institute of Neurobiology. “Monkeys can adopt abstract mathematical rules, and they can switch between them.”
“That means they understand very fundamental, non-symbolic mathematical principles, such as ‘greater than’ and ‘less than’,” Neider added. His team traced this ability to neurons in the prefrontal cortex region of the primate brain — an area that appears to be devoted to encoding the basic rules of math.
Neider and co-author SylviaBongard reported their findings online Jan. 18 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
To assess primate math skills and isolate the neurology behind them, the team trained two rhesus monkeys to assess when groups of various objects, such as dots, were either “greater than” or “less than” another grouping of the same object.
Having learned these two basic mathematical rules, the monkeys were then tracked as they worked levers to indicate which grouping was the larger or smaller of the two displayed.
During the course of 160 different trials, the authors also recorded neural activity among 484 randomly selected cells located in the monkey’s cognition center in the brain, the prefrontal cortex.
Neider and his team found that the monkeys were able to successfully execute the “greater than” and “less than” rules — and switch back and forth between the two — between 83 and 92 percent of the time.
What’s more, 20 percent of the monitored neurons appeared to be specifically tasked with facilitating this type of abstract math-rule comprehension. The cells did so independently, while other cells focused on the processing of sensory information, such as visual and/or or memory cues.
This isn’t the first indication that primates possess some degree of mathematical talent. Last year, Duke University researchers working with macaque monkeys found that the primates are capable of basic math despite their lack of language skills. And in 2007, researchers from Japan’s Kyoto University found that young chimpanzees actually out-performed human adults in tracking numbers and remembering sequencing.
And math proficiency may not be unique to primates.
“Number crunching is a widespread skill among animals,” Neider said. “So far, several mammalian and bird species have been shown to possess it, as well as salamanders, fish, and even bees. This ability has obvious survival advantages. In foraging, for instance, it is an advantage to choose the food source with more items compared to few. Also in social interactions, it pays to know the number of individuals in one’s own group as compared to an opponent party before deciding whether to flee or attack.”
Nevertheless, Neider noted that human mathematical cognition remains leaps and bounds ahead of that of other animals.
“In all animals,” he said, “set size is never represented in a precise way — exactly five objects — but always approximately, ‘about’ five items. Amongst other things, this sets us apart from all other animals. Guided by the development of language, we acquire a very precise understanding of numbers. We denote numbers symbolically, a skill beyond the scope of any animal.”
“With such mental tools at hand and sophisticated logical abilities, we structure and process numerical information in the most sophisticated ways,” Neider observed, “and with the most impressive results.”
“It’s simply a question of the much greater extent to which we, as humans, use abstract reasoning to maneuver in our environment, relative to other animals,” added Joe Verghese, associate professor of neurology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City.
“So while the idea that monkeys can perhaps specifically engage in abstract mathematical reasoning is, I believe, something new, there have been many previous experiments that have shown that primates do engage in abstractions,” he added. “Which means that we are — humans and animals — probably all hardwired to do some kind of abstract reasoning. But it’s a question of the pecking order, of sophistication. The question then is, do primates consider what is life? What comes after death? Unfortunately, I don’t think there are experiments on that level yet.”