Albert Einstein explained that what we perceive as the force of gravity in fact arises from the curvature of space and time.
He found that space and time were actually interwoven into a single continuum known as space-time.
As he worked out the equations for this general theory of relativity, Einstein realised that massive objects caused a distortion within this continuum.
Imagine a large body in the centre of a trampoline. The body would press down into the fabric, causing it to dimple. If a marble was then rolled around the edge, it would spiral inward toward the body, pulled in much the same way that the gravity of a planet pulls at rocks in space.
He proposed that objects such as the sun and the Earth work in a similar way. In the presence of matter and energy they can evolve, stretch and warp, forming ridges, mountains and valleys that cause things moving through to zigzag and curve.
Einstein determined that massive objects (like the Earth) cause a distortion in space-time which is felt as gravity.
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Background: Global brain atrophy is present in normal aging and different neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease (AD) and is becoming widely used to monitor disease progression. Summary: The brain volume/cerebrospinal fluid index (BV/CSF index) is validated in this study as a measurement of global brain atrophy. We tested the ability of the BV/CSF index to detect global brain atrophy, investigated the influence of confounders, provided normative values and cut-offs for mild, moderate and severe brain atrophy, and studied associations with different outcome variables. A total of 1,009 individuals were included [324 healthy controls, 408 patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and 277 patients with AD]. Magnetic resonance images were segmented using FreeSurfer, and the BV/CSF index was calculated and studied both cross-sectionally and longitudinally (1-year follow-up). Both AD patients and MCI patients who progressed to AD showed greater global brain atrophy compared to stable MCI patients and controls. Atrophy was associated with older age, larger intracranial volume, less education and presence of the ApoE ε4 allele. Significant correlations were found with clinical variables, CSF biomarkers and several cognitive tests. Key Messages: The BV/CSF index may be useful for staging individuals according to the degree of global brain atrophy, and for monitoring disease progression. It also shows potential for predicting clinical changes and for being used in the clinical routine.
Reference: Camila Orellana, Daniel Ferreira, J.-Sebastian Muehlboeck, Patrizia Mecocci, Bruno Vellas, Magda Tsolaki, Iwona Kłoszewska, Hilkka Soininen, Simon Lovestone, Andrew Simmons, Lars-Olof Wahlund, Eric WestmanMeasuring Global Brain Atrophy with the Brain Volume/Cerebrospinal Fluid Index: Normative Values, Cut-Offs and Clinical Associations. Neurodegener Dis (DOI: 10.1159/000442443)
Objective: To improve current understanding of the mechanisms behind thalamic amnesia, as it is unclear whether it is directly related to damage to specific nuclei, in particular to the anterior or mediodorsal nuclei, or indirectly related to lesions of the mammillothalamic tract (MTT).
Methods: We recruited 12 patients with a left thalamic infarction and 25 healthy matched controls. All underwent a comprehensive neuropsychological assessment of verbal and visual memory, executive functions, language, and affect, and a high-resolution structural volumetric MRI scan. Thalamic lesions were manually segmented and automatically localized with a computerized thalamic atlas. As well as comparing patients with controls, we divided patients into subgroups with intact or damaged MTT.
Results: Only one patient had a small lesion of the anterior nucleus. Most of the lesions included the mediodorsal (n = 11) and intralaminar nuclei (n = 12). Patients performed worse than controls on the verbal memory tasks, but the 5 patients with intact MTT who showed isolated lesions of the mediodorsal nucleus (MD) only displayed moderate memory impairment. The 7 patients with a damaged MTT performed worse on the verbal memory tasks than those whose MTT was intact.
Conclusions: Lesions in the MTT and in the MD result in memory impairment, severely in the case of MTT and to a lesser extent in the case of MD, thus highlighting the roles played by these 2 structures in memory circuits.
Objective: We hypothesize that the major consciousness deficit observed in coma is due to the breakdown of long-range neuronal communication supported by precuneus and posterior cingulate cortex (PCC), and that prognosis depends on a specific connectivity pattern in these networks.
Methods: We compared 27 prospectively recruited comatose patients who had severe brain injury (Glasgow Coma Scale score <8; 14 traumatic and 13 anoxic cases) with 14 age-matched healthy participants. Standardized clinical assessment and fMRI were performed on average 4 ± 2 days after withdrawal of sedation. Analysis of resting-state fMRI connectivity involved a hypothesis-driven, region of interest–based strategy. We assessed patient outcome after 3 months using the Coma Recovery Scale–Revised (CRS-R).
Results: Patients who were comatose showed a significant disruption of functional connectivity of brain areas spontaneously synchronized with PCC, globally notwithstanding etiology. The functional connectivity strength between PCC and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) was significantly different between comatose patients who went on to recover and those who eventually scored an unfavorable outcome 3 months after brain injury (Kruskal-Wallis test, p < 0.001; linear regression between CRS-R and PCC-mPFC activity coupling at rest, Spearman ρ = 0.93, p < 0.003).
Conclusion: In both etiology groups (traumatic and anoxic), changes in the connectivity of PCC-centered, spontaneously synchronized, large-scale networks account for the loss of external and internal self-centered awareness observed during coma. Sparing of functional connectivity between PCC and mPFC may predict patient outcome, and further studies are needed to substantiate this potential prognosis biomarker.