Aug 8, 2017

The brain can learn new things while asleep

Scientifilms

A new study found the human brain can recognize sound patterns heard while sleeping, adding evidence to the debate over whether it is possible to learn while we are asleep, the Washington Post reports.

The study: Neuroscientists played white noise with an occasional sound pattern to 20 sleeping subjects. When the sleepers woke up, the scientists played back the recordings and the subjects were asked to identify the patterns. They found people could remember recordings played during the REM and light stages of sleep but if it was played during deeper stages, people's ability to recall them was impaired. It's the first study to show differences in learning across sleep stages.

Yes, but... pattern memorization like that in the study happens automatically and doesn't require the engagement that, say, learning a language does.

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In photos: Trump visits Taj Mahal after massive rally in India

President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump at the Taj Mahal. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump visited India's Taj Mahal on Monday, hours after telling a massive crowd at a rally in Ahmedabad that he hopes to reach a trade deal with his "true friend" Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his two-day visit to the country.

Why it matters: The countries are forging deeper ties as India’s location, size and economic growth make it the "obvious counterweight to China" for American policymakers.

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Coronavirus stress tests drug industry's dependence on China

A Hong Kong commuter wears a face mask. Photo: Miguel Candela/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

It's unclear whether the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus will actually result in prescription drug shortages, but it has undoubtedly highlighted the potential vulnerabilities of having the supply chain for American drugs so dependent on China.

Driving the news: About 150 prescription drugs — including antibiotics, generics and some branded drugs without alternatives — are at risk of shortage if the coronavirus outbreak in China worsens, per two sources familiar with a list of at-risk drugs compiled by the Food and Drug Administration.

Bernie's path to the presidency

Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks yesterday during a rally at Houston University. Photo: Mark Felix/AFP via Getty Images

Lots of Democrats are in full panic that Bernie Sanders will win the nomination and get clobbered in the general election — and bring the party down, too. But the evidence, particularly the polling, doesn't back those doomsday warnings.

Why it matters: Virtually every national and swing state poll shows Sanders tied with or beating President Trump.  And, unlike every rival, he has a huge base of fervent, unshakable supporters he can only grow.