Neuroscience

"[W]ho you are depends on the sum total of your neurobiology." --David Eagleman


Modern neuroscience is making advances in knowledge that our society is not keeping up with, may not be able to keep up with. David Eagleman explores these new inroads in what we know about the brain, the conscious mind, and free will in the interesting (and at times frustrating) Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain.

Rhythmic activity of nerve cells supports spatial navigation, say a group of researchers who recently showed that cells in the entorhinal cortex, important for spatial navigation, oscillate with individual frequencies. These frequencies depend on the position of the cells within the entorhinal cortex.

Good news for migraine sufferers.  Your treatment may have gotten a little cheaper.  Exercise is often prescribed as a treatment for migraine, though without sufficient scientific evidence that it really works, but research from the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg shows that exercise is just as good as drugs at preventing migraines. And so are relaxation techniques.

Laser Worms!

Laser Worms!

Oct 10 2011 | 2 comment(s)

I'm back, after an extended hiatus due to my big move to Chicago to begin grad school.  I’ve been pummeled by work for the past month, so I’ll keep this one short and sweet.
This weekend is the first episode in a three-part "Brain Games" series on the National Geographic channel.  Since National Geographic does not have a show on the 'science' of ghost hunting, and since statistics show 97% of Internet readers never finish an article, if you are not a regular Science 2.0 reader I am okay endorsing this and telling you in the first paragraph you will enjoy it, so you can set your DVR and move on to reading about the trial of Michael Jackson's doctor.   

It's "Second Life"...for monkeys.  And a lot more real.   Scientists have demonstrated a two-way interaction between a primate brain and a virtual body - they learned to employ brain activity alone to move an avatar hand and even identify the texture of virtual objects. 

Musical cartoons can boost verbal intelligence?  We'll hiatus Science 2.0 and start watching "Phineas&Ferb" right now.

Researchers writing in Psychological Science say pre-schoolers improved their skill after only 20 days of classroom instruction using their interactive, music-based cognitive training cartoons.

Researchers recently monitored the behavior of thousands of people as they sang along to more than a thousand tunes and say they have uncovered the common traits in songs that are most 'catchy'.

That's right. If you like to song along to some songs more than others, there is a sort-of science reason why; it helps to be a man, though ironically with a higher-pitched voice.

The four core elements that trigger people's inclination to sing, according to musicologist Dr. Alisun Pawley and psychologist Dr. Daniel Mullensiefen are:

After a thorough two-year investigation, researchers at UC San Diego and the University of Oregon have identified over 70 genes that play a role in the repair of neurons after injury, specifically when it comes to the growth of axons. A massive genetic screening of 654 genes suspected to be involved, resulted in the identification of 70 genes that promote axon growth and 6 that inhibit it.