Chronic jet lag alters the brain in ways that cause memory and learning problems long after returning to a regular 24-hour schedule, according to research by Berkeley psychologists.

Twice a week for four weeks, the researchers subjected female Syrian hamsters to six-hour time shifts, the equivalent of a New York-to-Paris airplane flight.   During the last two weeks of jet lag and a month after recovery from it, the hamsters' performance on learning and memory tasks was measured.   As expected, during the jet lag period, the hamsters had trouble learning simple tasks that the hamsters in the control group did well on. What surprised the researchers was that these deficits persisted for a month after the hamsters returned to a normal day-night schedule.
This holiday season, starting today when you bite into the cranberry sauce and the tartness smacks your tongue as hard as that snide comment from your sister, consider the power of sour.
Neurobiology researchers at the University of Southern California have made a surprising discovery about how some cells respond to sour tastes.

Of the five taste sensations — sweet, bitter, sour, salty and umami — sour is arguably the strongest yet the least understood. Sour is the sensation evoked by substances that are acidic, such as lemons and pickles. The more acidic the substance, the more sour the taste.
We know the mouth is a useful orifice for venting our feelings: if we're "hot," speaking our anger can help us "cool off". And so the bigger the mouth, the better the cooling, right? Actually, yes.

When our brain gets hot, we cool it through the mouth, and the best way to cool through the mouth is by yawning.

Researchers showed this by cooking parakeets.

Okay, they stopped short of actually cooking them, but they found that when temperature increased, the parakeet yawn rate doubled (there was no description of researchers' yawn rates).

If you grew up like me you were brought up in a culture based on a dualist metaphysics, one that asserts that there is an objective reality outside of ourselves (whatever “we” are) and that we know about it indirectly through our senses and conscious reasoning.  This is the basis of the Western traditions of science, liberal arts and symbolic systems (such as mathematics and human language).  Essentially anything that can be studied is part of this metaphysics.  Observation and rationality may never lead to complete knowing, though everyone agrees we can continually refine our knowledge and thereby at least asymptotically approach enlightenment.

A new study reveals that ‘introspection’ (thinking about our own thoughts or behavior) is anchored in a specific part of our brain.

The research by scientists from the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience and the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at University College London examined people’s accuracy when reflecting on decisions they had made.
Bridges between dendritic spines in the brain makes neurons talk to each other better and makes you smarter. Patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease or schizophrenia have fewer of these bridges.

A recent study showed that estrogen can make more of these bridges allowing more cross-talk. By switching an estrogen receptor 'switch', scientists were able to demonstrate that the communication between cells can be enhanced.
If only you could ditch that traumatic memory, that craving, that debilitating fear of ventriloquist dummies (autonomatonophobia)! But these tendencies are so deeply ingrained that try as you might, you can't dig them out. Maybe you can drug them out.

The process of recalling a memory is like a rolling snowball——a trigger provides the first ball, which then rolls through various parts of your brain picking up the additional elements it needs to become a full memory.
Researchers say that by applying electrical current to the brain they can enhance mathematical performance for up to 6 months - and there is no impact on other cognitive functions.

Aside from being a new way for kids to cheat on their SATs, the work may lead to treatments for the percentage of the population with moderate to severe numerical disabilities like dyscalculia ('math dyslexia') and for those who lose their skill with numbers as a result of stroke or degenerative disease.
I had the following article in the ICMPC 11 proceedings.


An often cited conclusion that musical chills are mediated by endogenous opioids (endorphins) is based on an experiment that showed the opioid antagonist naloxone reduced the chills rate of music in some subjects. However, we find some experimental problems with its methods, results and conclusion. Dr. Goldstein's experiment with musical chills and naloxone used 10 subjects, all music chill responders, and found that 3 had significant chill reduction related to naloxone. He did not provide the result showing if the other 7 had any reduction at all, and the assumption would be that they had no reduction in chills.

Men and women are different, we know that now (efforts to the contrary in the 1970s aside) but when it comes to neuroscience, differences may be speculation, no matter how many studies you read saying this imaging study or that is correlated to a hypothesis.