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Early Stress Makes Brains Grow Up Too Fast, and That’s Not a Safe Sign

Since 1998, scientists in the Netherlands have been watching 129 people grow up. Over those 20 years, they observed and obsessively measured their patients’ brain matter. Now, the results are in: What they found suggests that childhood stress may accelerate brain maturation, but that’s not necessarily a good thing.

This research, published Friday in Scientific Reports, showed that the brains of people who had experienced stress in early life — like divorce or illness — were more likely to mature faster. To measure brain maturation, they tracked reductions in the volume of gray matter (GMV) — a cellularly dense tissue scattered throughout the brain. While it may sound counterintuitive that a brain gets smaller as it matures, reduction is normal during adolescence, lead researcher Anna Tyborowska, P.h.D student and researcher at , the Behavioral Science Institute (BSI) at Radboud University, tells Inverse. The general idea is that brains are born bigger than they need to be, but as life experiences highlight the most essential parts, the less crucial bits get “pruned” away.

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Here’s How America Let 70,000 Opioid-Related Deaths Go Unaccounted For

The rate of overdose deaths due to opioids is already alarmingly high, killing 40,000 people in the United States in 2016 alone. But a study published Wednesday in Public Health Reports suggests even that number might be a gross underestimate. The University of Pittsburgh biostatisticians behind the study combed through death certificates from all fifty states, looking for places where opioid deaths might have been miscounted. What they found was nearly 70,000 potentially mislabeled deaths from 1999 to 2015, lurking in the fine print.

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US Customs ‘Tender Age’ Shelter is a Nonsense and Nonscientific Term

“Separating children at such a young age is a huge risk factor as it caused attachment disruption,” Counselman Carpenter, Ph.D, LCSW says. “The long term mental health outcomes for young children abruptly taken from their parents can be quite significant.”

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Drug Researchers Find Brain Effects of MDMA Have Been Misread All Along

In recent years, scientists have renewed efforts to study the benefits of MDMA for treating post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as the possible risks associated with taking too much recreationally. Researchers have focused most closely on the way MDMA depletes the neurotransmitter serotonin in people’s brains, finding that heavy, frequent use can have long-term consequences on brain chemistry and physiology that are slow to heal.

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Quantum Computers Pose A Big Threat To Internet Security

If all the world had been water balloons, the guy with the Super Soaker would reign supreme. That’s essentially the situation with the arrival of quantum computers. They’re so powerful that it takes them mere hours to solve problems that would take modern computers years to work through. That means that the moment the first quantum computer turns on, encrypted data across the internet is pretty much up for grabs. That is unless we do something about it.

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Envirobot swims like an Eel to Help Save the World

Suppose you watched a group of scientists build a robot based on an eel and release it into the waterways, you could be pretty sure how that movie would end — probably with the hero grappling with an enraged octo-bot. But this little guy isn’t trying to take over the world. It’s trying to save it.

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