Can you judge a man by his fingers?

Research and Discovery

Maybe you should take a good look at your partner’s fingers before putting a ring on one. Men with short index fingers and long ring fingers are on average nicer towards women, and this unexpected phenomenon stems from the hormones these men have been exposed to in their mother’s womb, according to a new study by McGill researchers.

New hope in the fight against pain

Research and Discovery

An international study led by scientists at McGill reports, for the first time, that drugs that selectively target the melatonin MT2 receptor represent a novel class of analgesic drugs that could be used to treat patients with neuropathic pain.

Revolutionary new probe extends survival times for brain cancer patients

Research and Discovery

Brain cancer patients may live longer thanks to a new cancer-detection method developed by researchers at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital and Polytechnique Montréal. The collaborative team has created a powerful new intraoperative probe for detecting cancer cells. The hand-held Raman spectroscopy probe enables surgeons, for the first time, to accurately detect virtually all invasive brain cancer cells in real time during surgery.

Smoking thins vital part of brain

Research and Discovery

Years ago, children were warned that smoking could stunt their growth, but now a major study by an international team including the Montreal Neurological Institute at McGill University and the University of Edinburgh shows new evidence that long-term smoking could cause thinning of the brain’s cortex. The cortex is the outer layer of the brain in which critical cognitive functions such as memory, language and perception take place. Interestingly, the findings also suggest that stopping smoking helps to restore at least part of the cortex’s thickness.

Fumer amincit une partie vitale du cerveau

Research and Discovery

Cela fait des années que les jeunes sont prévenus des méfaits de la consommation du tabac sur leur croissance. Voilà qu’une étude importante réalisée par une équipe internationale comprenant notamment l’Institut neurologique de Montréal de l’Université McGill et l’Université d’Édimbourg confirme que l’usage à long terme du tabac pourrait causer un amincissement du cortex cérébral. Le cortex est la couche extérieure du cerveau où ont lieu des fonctions cognitives cruciales comme la mémoire, le langage et la perception. Fait intéressant, les résultats de l’étude permettent de penser que cesser de fumer aide à rétablir au moins en partie l’épaisseur du cortex.

Invasive species pose serious threat to health of the Great Lakes

Research and Discovery

The Great Lakes have been invaded by more non-native species than any other freshwater ecosystem in the world. In spite of increasing efforts to stem the tide of invasion threats, the lakes remain vulnerable, according to scientists from McGill and colleagues in Canada and the United States. If no new regulations are enforced, they predict new waves of invasions and identify some species that could invade the Lakes over the next 50 years.

Blame it on your brain: Salt and hypertension

Research and Discovery

An international research team led by scientists at McGill has found that excessive salt intake “reprograms” the brain, interfering with a natural safety mechanism that normally prevents the body’s arterial blood pressure from rising. While the link between salt and hypertension is well known, scientists until now haven’t understood how high salt intake increased blood pressure.

The secret of empathy

Research and Discovery

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 led by psychology professor Jeffrey Mogil.

Music cuts across cultures

Research and Discovery

Whether you are a Pygmy in the Congolese rainforest or a hipster in downtown Montreal, certain aspects of music will touch you in exactly the same ways. Researchers have found that although the groups felt quite differently about whether specific pieces of music made them feel good or bad, their subjective and physiological responses to how exciting or calming they found the music to be appeared to be universal.

Parasites and the evolution of primate culture

Research and Discovery

Learning from others and innovation have undoubtedly helped advance civilization. But these behaviours can carry costs as well as benefits. And a new study by an international team of evolutionary biologists sheds light on how one particular cost – increased exposure to parasites – may affect cultural evolution in non-human primates.