News Reading a novel may boost brain functionality for days, new research has found

Reading a gripping novel causes biological changes in the brain which last for days as the mind is transported into the body of the protagonist

Care worker 'spat in OAP's face', court hears

A care home worker spat in the face of an elderly resident saying, "she'll learn now, she'll never spit at me again," a prosecutor has told a jury.

Removal of a woman's ovaries 'leads to an increased risk of mental decline in older age'

Removal of a woman's ovaries leads to an increased risk of mental decline in older age, a study has found.

Former NFL linebacker Junior Seau suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy

American Football: Junior Seau suffered brain disease

Former NFL linebacker Junior Seau, who committed suicide in May, had a debilitating brain disease, likely from 20 years of hits to the head, researchers claim.

US jockey Gary Stevens, pictured here back in 2001, is set to to race again at the age of 49

Universal Soldier prepared for National service with the benefit of course recce

Longsdon's young chaser can thwart dual runner-up Giles Cross in Welsh marathon

Loneliness 'can increase Alzheimer's risk'

Feeling lonely can increase the risk of Alzheimer's in later life, a study suggests.

Revealing scans show foetuses yawn in the womb

Spending six months in the womb is evidently a tedious business - so it perhaps comes as no surprise that scientists have discovered that foetuses yawn.

Brain damaged woman allowed to 'die with dignity', judge rules

A woman left with irreversible brain damage and diagnosed as being in a permanent vegetative state is to be allowed to die with dignity after a judge dismissed reports by two “shocked” therapy assistants that she may have repeatedly whispered the word "die".

Employees of Sanofi protest against job cuts

Exclusive: MS drug 'rebranded' – at up to 20 times the price

Pharmaceutical giant withdraws existing treatment to boost profits

Man who doctors said should not receive life-saving treatment is 'no longer' in vegetative state

There was a dramatic new twist today in the case of a Muslim man said to be in a persistent vegetative state who doctors have indicated should not receive life-saving treatment if his condition deteriorates.

What would you do if you couldn't recognise your own family?

Imagine waking up and not knowing who's sharing your bed. Imagine collecting a child from school – but picking up the wrong one. Or being a mother and not being recognised by your own child. These are all the problems faced by around a million people in the UK today. Among the famous sufferers are Duncan Bannatyne of Dragons' Den, playwright Tom Stoppard and Jane Goodall.

Leading article: MPs must update our laws on life and death

Judges seem to recognise that the law as it stands is out of step with public opinion

Obesity was found to have an increasingly negative impact on performance in memory and reasoning tests over a 12-year period

Obesity in middle age linked to higher dementia risk

Study also suggests cognitive ability could be impaired earlier in overweight adults

Muslim man in right-to-life battle

The family of a Muslim man who is in a persistent vegetative state are fighting in the High Court for him to receive - against medical advice - life-saving treatment if his condition deteriorates.

Arifa Akbar: Dementia is unbearable – and the system makes it worse

A deluge of responses trailed this newspaper's dementia campaign last week. Nearly all the stories you shared were heartbreaking and horrifying in equal measure. Most began with the words "I simply had to write…" or "my mother/father had a similar experience" and many described a loved one's last days, months, years, in a system that sucked the dignity out of them. There were stories of over-medication, slow diagnosis, inadequate nursing care and astronomical financial burden.

Scott Jurek during the Ultra Trial race, a 163km race around the Mont Blanc. He's considered by many to be the greatest ultrarunner of his generation

Eat & Run, by Scott Jurek

How did you spend the past 24 hours? Probably not in the same way as Scott Jurek did one day in May 2010, when at the age of 36 he ran non-stop for 165.7 miles, setting an American record.

Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
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The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
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fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
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The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
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Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
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food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
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Residents of Derby Road in Southampton oppose filming of Channel 4 documentary Immigration Street in their community
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voicesSiobhan Norton on why she eventually changed her mind
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
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Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
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Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m