• Changing Brains

    Zazetsky & Luria

    Way back in 2011, I reviewed Norman Doidge’s incredibly inspiring book The Brain That Changes Itself. It tells remarkable stories of various individuals who – long before the idea of adult human neuroplasticity had become widely accepted – managed to defy the odds to overcome adversity by physically changing their own brains. One man was able to regain full control of his speech, movements and faculties, ultimately returning to his beloved lecturing job just a few years after a catastrophic stroke in his mid-60’s. He regained the ability to move and speak fluidly, having been completely paralysed for many months down one side of his body, thanks to years of intensive, daily (and mind-numbingly boring) rehabilitation exercises dreamed up by his neuroscientist son.

    One woman – Barbara Arrowsmith-Young – managed to overcome several profound, life-long, learning disabilities; also using brain training approaches of her own design. She was inspired to give it a go by the work of trailblazing Soviet neuropsychologist Aleksandr Luria (on right of photo) investigating brain injured war veterans (on left of photo). These seemingly miraculous achievements enabled patients to use the brain’s tremendous potential for change, even during adulthood, to defy the advice of medical experts of the day and take control of their own fates. In defense of the experts of the time, what these people had managed to do was unprecedented. Regaining lost cognitive capacities, or further developing those that had never flourished in the first place, had simply never been documented at that point in time, so it had been presumed impossible.

    Arrowsmith-Young has written her own account of her adventures in neuroplasticity

    Each and every time the key ingredients to success in the brain re-training stakes was always: tireless adhesion to gruelingly intensive, daily, long-term training regimes for the brain trainee themselves. The impulse to take a leap of faith to try something that, while seemingly logical, was both completely unproven and deemed by most experts to be a fool’s errand. These interventions yielded benefits either by retraining intact brain areas to take over the function of permanently damaged parts, or by improving the processing capacity of certain chronically under-served brain areas. In the case of the young woman who fixed her own learning disabilities, her difficulties with reading clock faces inspired her to developed clocks with hands not just for the hours, minutes and seconds, but also for the days, weeks, months, years, decades and so on.

    It is now a broadly-accepted fact people can change their brains for the better. Not everything that is touted as brain training actually works of course. Certainly the Mozart Effect is a load of old nonsense. The Tellytubbies project didn’t exactly go to plan. And the manufacturers of brain training apps are apt to vastly overstate the benefits of their rather drab games. Yet is an inviolable truth that, through sheer grit and determination, many people have now overcome incredible neurological adversity, which means that for those with brains that are functioning pretty well in the first place some desirable brain changes must surely also be achievable.

    The Mozart Effect – a load of old nonsense

    Indeed, as described in my first book – Sort Your Brain Out – when aspiring cabbies want to drive one of London’s famous Hackney Carriages (a.k.a. a black cab) they memorise all the major routes and landmarks within a 6 mile radius of central London to pass an exam known as: The Knowledge. In so doing, they increase the density of synapses packed into the rear-most parts of their hippocampi: brain areas critical to their ability to successfully navigate the complexities of London’s sprawling road network, without having to look at map ever again! The original brain imaging studies demonstrating that hippocampal grey matter actually physically changes when comparing drivers’ brains before versus after The Knowledge were published back in 2011.

    Sort Your Brain Out

    These findings were subsequently replicated and extended further by comparing taxi drivers brains to bus drivers brains; re-scanning taxi drivers after retirement etc. Eventually these follow up studies convinced even the most hardened skeptics that neuroplasticity in adults might genuinely be the real deal. Broader acceptance of the idea that adult humans aren’t stuck with whatever brains they end up with by the end of adolescence is empowering. That it is within everyone’s power to affect physical changes to the fabric of their own brain, can genuinely inspire people to take the necessary steps to elevate themselves. But, along the way the simplicity of this message has become corrupted by a combination of those wishing to profit from it, and those pushing back against the hyperbole.

    Juggling changes your brain

    The optimism that greeted these early studies was somewhat dampened when the results of studies into other areas of skill acquisition turned out to be much more underwhelming. For example, juggling induces surprisingly fast (but later, it transpires, relatively short-lived) changes in brain areas involved in processing movements of visual objects in space. So while quick brain changes were possible in the first week, beyond that juggling didn’t really seem to confer any benefits. Add into the mix the emergence of various brain training products trying to exploit the newfangled idea that certain games might improve specific cognitive capacities to a degree that delivers benefits in real life, but not a shred of data to prove this, and the baby of neuroplasticity was on the verge of being thrown out with the dirty brain training bathwater.

    Let’s not throw the neuroplasticity baby out with the bathwater

    A large scale study conducted jointly between a couple of high profile Oxbridge scientists failed to show any meaningful benefits from the brain training games and training regime they devised. That is what happened in that widely broadcast news story. But as SCIENTISTS FAIL TO SHOW MUCH is a pretty lousy headline the BBC went instead for: BRAIN TRAINING GAMES DON’T MAKE US SMARTER. I’ve ranted elsewhere about this so I won’t take up any more precious column inches here by repeating myself, save to point out that in the eyes of the general British public the adult neuroplasticity movement was another case of emperor’s new clothes. To redress this cruel imbalance – I offer a few pearls from the the neuroplasticity literature with a view to convincing you that despite the various cases of snake oilsmanship out there – brain’s really CAN physically change in a way that propels you positively forward in life, if only you can adopt the appropriate lifestyle.

    I am of the opinion that, despite the various setbacks, it is still worth keeping an eye on the research hitting the science press that investigates adult human neuroplasticity. It has such huge potential in terms of motivating people to adopt a more positive lifestyle that I find myself determined to wait for a clearer picture to emerge on this potentially revolutionary insight into the nature of the human brain. So this month’s blog is an update on some of the recent published research investigating the potential for neuroplastic change in the adult human brain.

    Keyboard musicians change their brains

    Musical people were among the first to come under the scrutiny of scientists looking for the tell-tale signs of neuroplastic change in the brains of professional versus amateur musicians (e.g. Gaser and Schlaug, 2003). Since then the timing of the grey matter changes in musicians brains have been captured by Groussard et al (2014). They demonstrated observable changes in the left hippocampus and right superior/middle frontal regions after just a few years, but only after more extensive musical training were further structural changes observed in the right insula, supplementary motor area and left superior temporal cortex. Another recent study demonstrated that pro keyboard players brains exhibit clear differences in the volume of gray matter in brain areas dedicated to:

    1) precision control over movements (operating the keyboard, striking correct keys with appropriate timing, rhythm, tempo, expression etc)

    2) sound-processing brain areas (enabling efficient conversion of vibrations into the tones, timbres and musical textures we hear in elaborate music)

    3) brain regions that monitor where everything is terms of time and space.

    Drummers change their brains

    In 2017, Amad and colleagues published a paper demonstrating that: not only did the skill level of the participants improve considerably over the course of eight weeks-worth of half-hourly drumming sessions three times per week, but that their brain’s functional connectivity changed significantly too. Specifically, the resting state functional connectivity between a brain area known to be very important in musical perception – the posterior part of the superior temporal gyrus – and ALL other brain areas (i.e. every other voxel) increased by a significant margin.

    Sanskrit scholars change their brains

    In an interesting tangent in the neuroplasticity research a paper published in 2016 by James Hartzell and colleagues essentially applied the basic logic of the taxi driver study – committing a large amount of information in memory is likely to result in significant brain changes – to a different information domain. Rather than scanning the brains of people who had been engaging in memorising an important body of information for about 2 years, they scanned the brains of people who had been doing it their whole lives. Pandits are Indian scholars who learn 10,000-40,000 word long Sanskrit texts so that they can recite it from memory. They are not just “word perfect” but each word is pronounced absolutely perfectly as well.

    While it was not possible to scan them before and after they underwent all those brain changes, and so it is impossible to know for sure whether the various differences in brain structure occurred over the course of training, or whether they were there all along (i.e. they were accepted into Pandit training due to pre-existing aptitude for verbal memorisation), it is still interesting to note the various huge differences observed in the Pandits versus the age-matched, control subject brains. Firstly, they had significantly larger grey matter volumes in the lateral temporal lobes, on both the left and rights sides, both hippocampi were larger than usual and they found enlargements of the tissue across the entire anterior cingulate cortex. That their brains seemed to have undergone such significant changes is perhaps no surprise given how intensive Pandit training is.

    Action video gamers seem to end up with better connected, more cognitively flexible brains

    Ever since significant differences in cognitive flexibility were found between those who have intensively played action video games compared to a control group who have not (Colzato et al, 2010), the race has been on to find evidence of adult neuroplasticity that might account for these improvements. In 2017, Gong et al published a brain imaging paper where they compared the white matter of hardcore gamers to non-gamers. They found significantly strengthened structural connections between prefrontal, limbic and visual regions known to be involved in cognitive control (e.g. task-switching tasks) and sensorimotor (hand-eye coordination) skills. Another 2017 paper, this time by Schenk and colleagues, showed that the performance of regular video gamers in a “weather prediction” game (a probabilistic learning task) was superior to non-video gamers and this was related to stronger activation of various brain areas involved in semantic memory (hippocampus), visual imagery (precuneus) and cognitive control.

    It is still relatively early days when it comes to realising the full potential (and fundamental limitations) of human neuroplasticity. But what seems abundantly clear is that what was once a trickle of relevant papers is turning into something of a stream and as we head into the 2020’s I have no doubt that it will turn into a torrent. That torrent will hopefully be instrumental in helping to propagate the message that, no matter how old we are, there are always things we can do to change the very fabric of our brain in a meaningful fashion that actually improves cognition.

    In addition to these monthly blogs I also tweet about interesting neuroscience articles I come across on a regular basis (@drjacklewis). And in spring 2019 I will be launching a new YouTube channel called Virtual Vive Sanity. In each episode I explore a new Virtual Reality realm and share some neuroscientific pearls of wisdom to help everyone optimise their experiences. I feel very strongly that VR has huge potential, not just to provide excellent entertainment, but to accelerate various types of therapy, improve cognitive skills, fitness and well being. This channel aims to introduce newcomers to the basics and to open experienced VR users eyes to its transformational potential, while learning from our encounters with the dark potential of other new technologies to maximise the benefits while reducing the risks. Watch this space…

    Read more »
  • Tweet Year in Review

    Each year I review 12 months-worth of articles I’ve tweeted about to get a handle on what’s been hot and what’s not in the world of brain science. My daily scouring of the latest brain news usually results in around 10 to 20 articles per week that I feel merit making a link and posting it on Twitter (@drjacklewis). For an article to be deemed tweet-worthy it has to be real science, usually brain-related and written in an accessible, compelling way so that anyone can get something out of it.

    This year the top three categories of brain-related articles I’ve been tweeting about were on the topics of strategies for improving brain health, brain scanning studies and experiments relevant to understanding how young brains differ from adult brains.

    I’ve pulled out 15 of my favourites from 2017 and beneath these you’ll find the whole year’s worth:

    1. The mere presence of your smartphone reduces brain power, study shows bit.ly/2u8Vxym
    2. Brain training to help people avoid the need for reading glasses in middle age nyti.ms/2nstfhN
    3. To help comprehend just how much complexity is contained within a single cubic millimetre of brain tissue bit.ly/DrJ1CubBrMm
    4. The pen is mightier than the keyboard bit.ly/DrJMightyPen
    5. Influential tech investor slams Silicon Valley for adopting techniques that encourage compulsive media consumption bit.ly/DrJscncmplsv
    6. Neuroscientist Molly Crockett explains Brexit debacle in terms of our aversion to disadvantageous inequality bit.ly/DrJCrockBrex
    7. Fantastic article by Tali Sharot explaining why brains continue to believe info even after it’s revealed to be false bit.ly/DrJFakeNews
    8. Read for 30mins every single day and you’ll (probably) live for two years longer than if you don’t bit.ly/drJReadDaily
    9. Firm body, firm brain: magnetic resonance elastography shows positive correlation between memory & hippocampal firmness! bit.ly/DrJFitBdFitBrn
    10. Two large studies find that heavy coffee consumption predicts reduced mortality ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28693038 & ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28693036
    11. Vagus nerve stimulation implant zaps man back into consciousness after 15 years in post-car crash vegetative state bit.ly/2wPJax6
    12. Using high frequency magnetic stimulation to zap the voices generated by schizophrenic brains: bit.ly/DrJzapthevoices
    13. Fresh human brain, anyone? [don’t watch this if you’re eating, if not -behold the wonderous mass betwixt thine ears] bit.ly/2giJZaL
    14. AI based on organisation of visual brain thwarts CAPCHA “Are you a robot?” security measures bit.ly/DrJCAPCHAbash
    15. An essay on a neuroscience-informed approach to improving the prison service bit.ly/DrJNformedPrisn

    Below is every brain-related article I posted between 1st Dec 2016 and 30th Nov 2017 with clickable links so you can navigate straight to anything you find interesting:

    November 2017

    Opt in or out of old-aged infirmity – the choice is yours bit.ly/DrJ70new50

    Dog ownership makes middle aged people less likely to die or suffer cardiovascular problems according to study of over 3 million swedes bit.ly/DrJDogLifeExt

    Dolphin and killer whale brains reflect their intensely social nature bit.ly/DrJSocialCet

    The man behind Kernel’s efforts to crack the Brain Computer Interface challenge bit.ly/2z7rqhQ

    Monkey amputees trained to use a robotic arm via electrodes implanted into their brains give new insight into the mechanisms of neuroplasticity bit.ly/DrJMnkRobArm

    From American football to football football – study sets out to discover whether all those headers cause long term brain trouble bit.ly/DrJFootyBran

    If you never got around to reading about how avatar therapy can reduce schizophrenic hallucinations bit.ly/DrJSchAvTher you’ll be happy to hear we cover it in the latest episode of our @GCweirdscience podcast! bit.ly/DrJGeekChicPod

    I cannot wait until the longitudinal data on the impacts of allowing technology to constantly interrupt whatever we’re doing is finally published. In the meantime we have articles like this (which at least make people stop and think) bit.ly/DrJCyberSlack

    The record company exec’s dream come true: how much people like a song can be influenced by applying magnetic fields to a listener’s brain (Zatorre lab) bit.ly/DrJMagMusLik

    Do your brain training at the gym, the benefits may well be multiplicative bit.ly/DrJBrTrGym

    Actually, New Scientist covers the story much better… bit.ly/DrJAdHiStakes Brain imaging study highlights difficulties younger adolescents have compared to older adolescents when making (relatively) high stakes decisions

    Neuroscience study compares impact of after-school music lessons versus sports on brain structure and cognitive flexibility in kids from disadvantaged communities bit.ly/DrJMusicBrain

    Brain imaging study highlights difficulties younger adolescents have compared to older adolescents when making (relatively) high stakes decisions bit.ly/DrJAdolStakes

    Being a loner not always associated with bad outcomes. When freely chosen rather than compelled by socially-induced anxiety it predicts superior creativity bit.ly/DrJIsolCreat

    Cognitive training improves innovative thinking, along with corresponding positive brain changes, in healthy adults over the age of 55 bit.ly/DrJCogTrn55pl

    Couples may..have more opportunities for social engagement than single people-a factor that has been linked to better health and lower dementia risk bit.ly/DrJMarryDem

    The Society for Neuroscience conference is always full of surprises – love the study where they taught rhesus monkeys to play chicken and cooperate to maximise their earnings bit.ly/DrJRhesChickn

    Head and/or face pain tends to induce more emotional suffering, new study suggests it’s because neurons from these body parts plug directly into the parabrachial nucleus – others are indirectly connected bit.ly/DrJHdFcPn

    60% of people are pro-socials, meaning they prefer resources to be distributed equally among everyone, but these pro-socials – according to a new study – are more prone to depression bit.ly/DrJProsocDep

    Stress experienced by fathers may alter gene expression in their sperm, potentially leading to less resilient offspring bit.ly/DrJStressSperm

    Where neuroscience meets Virtual Reality, beautiful things can happen bit.ly/DrJNeuroXvr

    Interested in building games in virtual reality? Here’s a great lesson in what NOT to do if you want to create a sense of satisfaction when the player finally cracks the puzzle bit.ly/DrJVRescFAIL [if you don’t like swearing, DO NOT click the link]

    Turns out that smartphone addiction might be a thing after all – Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy study suggests it leads to neurotransmitter imbalance (GABA/glutamate) bit.ly/DrJPhoneAdict

    Head and/or face pain tends to induce more emotional suffering, new study suggests it’s because neurons from these body parts plug directly into the parabrachial nucleus – others are indirectly connected bit.ly/DrJHdFcPn

    “Stress experienced by fathers may alter gene expression in their sperm, potentially leading to less resilient offspring” bit.ly/DrJStressSperm

    Neuroscience study compares impact of after-school music lessons versus sports on brain structure and cognitive flexibility in kids from disadvantaged communities bit.ly/DrJMusicBrain

    Taste of what’s being talked about at the Society for Neuroscience conference today bit.ly/DrJTasteSfN17

    Study tests whether people recall images they were briefly shown (but not asked to memorise) 10 years previously bit.ly/DrJ10yrsLater

    Going beyond opioids in pain management to avoid the potential for addiction brings us to… snail venom bit.ly/DrJByndOpio

    The more you exercise the less your telomeres shorten, helping you to stay (biologically) young: bit.ly/DrJ70new50

    New brain probe has 1,000 recording sites per millimetre and is likely to be a “game-changer” for neuroscience research bit.ly/DrJBrainProbe

    Tales of a brain detective nyti.ms/2zqhDTj

    Mind-typing is on the horizon bit.ly/DrJMindType

    How the presence of irrelevant alternatives on a menu affect decision-making Decoy effect examined in fMRI-TMS study bit.ly/DrJMktgTrx

    Sleep deprivation makes your brain cells sluggish – literally – according to measurements from human neurons bit.ly/DrJSlpDepSlug

    Don’t spank your kids. What did and didn’t happen in your own childhood is irrelevant, we know better now… bit.ly/DrJDontSpank

    Brains severely damaged by heart attack more likely to recover if brain scans show that core connectivity is intact bit.ly/DrJPostHAbrnscn

    If GABA (in hippo) can reduce neg thoughts & high fat diet reduces GABA,then do high fat diets promote neg thoughts? bit.ly/DrJHiFatHiAnx

    An essay on a neuroscience-informed approach to improving the prison service bit.ly/DrJNformedPrisn

    Re-defining the phrase “Spaced Out” – what happens to an astronaut’s brain over the course of a long trip bit.ly/DrJSpacedOut

    The trouble with clinical trials involving brain implants… bit.ly/2zoOrg7

    Sweet dreams… make those zzzzz’s count bbc.in/2lCppnF

    OCT 2017

    If you’ve heard people moaning about the clocks going back, you may wish to take them out with this bit.ly/DrJBrBenClkBk

    New study demonstrates 40% faster learning with tDCS in non-human primates bit.ly/DrJfstrlrng

    Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) therapy for depression and OCD may trigger transient episodes of rage bit.ly/DrJtDCSrage

    AI based on organisation of visual brain thwarts CAPCHA “Are you a robot?” security measures bit.ly/DrJCAPCHAbash

    All hail the king of brain training, Dual n-back, freely available from brainworkshop.sourceforge.net for almost a decade! bit.ly/DrJDualNking

    I love that dolphins gossip about each other when the subject of the gossip isn’t around bit.ly/2yOjvFA

    Science of the female orgasm revisited bit.ly/DrJFemOrgasm

    Resetting the Circadian Clock Might Boost Metabolic Health ja.ma/2xGe4Z6

    Psilocybin therapy described as feeling like reset button had been pressed for many depressed people in neuro study bbc.in/2ymbV24

    Fresh human brain, anyone? [don’t watch this if you’re eating, if not -behold the wonderous mass betwixt thine ears] bit.ly/2giJZaL

    Activity-dependent plasticity can re-establish voluntary control of movement..after complete paralysis in humans bit.ly/DrJRecovParal

    Plans are afoot to grow a little-known cannabinoid (cannabidivarin) in GM yeast as a therapy to treat epilepsy bit.ly/DrJCBDV

    Cybernetics in action: a robot that can swim… & fly bit.ly/DrJCybernetics

    Feeling connected to others is vital for health so audio brain training for hard-of-hearing could be a real boon bit.ly/DrJAudioTrng

    If the body has to choose between fuelling the brain or the skeletal muscles, brains win every time bit.ly/2yvZjIe

    Waste not want not – how offcuts from human surgery are helping to unravel the #SecretsOfTheBrain bit.ly/DrJHmnBrnRes

    More hope means less anxiety bit.ly/DrJHopeProtects

    A window into the brain’s autopilot mode bit.ly/DrJBrAutoplt

    How to do lucid dreaming more effectively bit.ly/DrJLucidDrms

    Feeling connected to others is vital for health so audio brain training for hard-of-hearing could be a real boon bit.ly/DrJAudioTrng

    If the body has to choose between fueling the brain or the skeletal muscles, brains win every time bit.ly/2yvZjIe

    New GDF15 drugs progressing through pre-clinical testing show good prospects in fight against the obesity pandemic bit.ly/DrJGDF15wtls

    New theory suggests migraines occur when brains sensitive to oxidative stress take steps to protect against damage bit.ly/DrJMigrProt

    Power of touch in soothing social pain bit.ly/DrJTouchSocPn

    Re: artificial retinas…it may actually take less work to enhance human vision than to restore normal vision: bit.ly/DrJEasya2Enh

    non-REM sleep is especially important in clearing plaques involved in Alzheimer’s disease from the brainî bit.ly/DrJNonREMdplq

    Great article to start trying to comprehend how much complexity is contained within1cubic millimetre of brain tissue bit.ly/DrJ1CubBrMm

    If you want to know how people are really feeling, close your eyes bit.ly/DrJHearEmot

    Neuroscientist Molly Crockett explains Brexit debacle in terms of our aversion to disadvantageous inequality bit.ly/DrJCrockBrex

    Phase II clinical trial of FDA-approved antihistamine restores function in patients with chronic multiple sclerosis bit.ly/DrJAntihstMS

    While perception tends to extract simple components and build up to complex features, recall appears to flip this bit.ly/DrJRecallBtoF

    Female brain’s attach more value to prosocial choices than men, whether due to nature or nurture uncertain bit.ly/DrJGendProS

    Who’d have thought there’s a genetic component to propensity to get divorced?!! bit.ly/DrJDivGenes

    Bad news for my high school which has a major A-road running between the 2playgrounds. Pollution & brain development bit.ly/DrJYngBrnPln

    Here’s a cracking (hyperbole-free) article describing where we’ve got to in the epic journey of merging mind&machine bit.ly/DrJBrnCmpInt

    Why do smart people do foolish things? Intelligence is not the same as critical thinking and the difference matters bit.ly/2y6vAUZ

    34,000 Norwegians followed over 11 years suggest exercise reduces incidence of depression -what are you waiting for? bit.ly/DrJExerBrain

    Experiencing traumatic brain injury – from the perspective of a science journalist knocked off her bike by a car bit.ly/DrJTrmBrnInj

    Mindfulness meditation influences different brain areas to compassion-based meditation bit.ly/DrJMedtnBrn

    Google’s DeepMind postulates that hippocampus doesn’t just contain memories of the past, but also visions of future bit.ly/DrJHipoFutr

    Geek Chic Weird Science podcast Ep81 is out now: this week we discuss living in lava tubes, the IgNobels & more… bit.ly/DrJGCWeirdSci

    Experimental transcranial Direct Current Stimulation significantly reduced fatigue in people with multiple sclerosis bit.ly/DrJtcDCS4MS

    Nobel prize for three researchers who unpicked the brain mechanisms of circadian rhythm bit.ly/DrJNobl17Circ

    Pregnancy fundamentally alters female brains, find a summary of the findings of this groundbreaking research here bit.ly/DrJPregBrain

    2,500 pickled human brains harvested from psychiatric patients in Essex now being studied in Belgium bit.ly/DrJBoxedBrains


    SEP 2017

    Being busy ruins creativity http://bigthink.com/21st-century-spirituality/creativity-and-distraction

    MRI study indicates that gamers deal better with uncertainty than those who don’t regularly play action video games bit.ly/DrJGmrsUncrt

    Vagus nerve stimulation implant zaps man back into consciousness after 15 years in post-car crash vegetative state bit.ly/2wPJax6

    A Beginner’s Guide to Machine Learning for Humans chw.ag/2fhexZW

    Fantastic article by Tali Sharot explaining why brains continue to believe info even after it’s revealed to be false bit.ly/DrJFakeNews

    Introducing… The International Brain Laboratory bit.ly/2xcEVZl

    Worrying takes up cognitive resources..get these worries out of your head through expressive writing..become more efficient bit.ly/2wu3BKP

    Researchers uncover mechanism behind calorie restriction and lengthened lifespan bit.ly/2jsCRJr

    Wow – the symptoms of anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis sound out of this world – imagine thinking you’re a T-Rex?! bit.ly/2h1rg3m

    I wrote a blog about the potential for deep brain stimulation without needing to put electrodes inside the brain… bit.ly/DrJFutureDBS

    Using high frequency magnetic stimulation to zap the voices generated by schizophrenic brains: bit.ly/DrJzapthevoices

    Move over stem cells, we can make motoneurons from people’s skin now… bit.ly/DrJmotoNfrmSKN

    MRI study reveals the vast majority of dogs love us “at least as much as food” nyti.ms/2gSbS9h

    Brains using photons for communication using neurons like optical fibres? Now i’ve heard it all… bit.ly/2wJ41ii

    Understand your child’s changing brain as the years go by ind.pn/2iW8pXQ

    All aboard who’s going aboard – wondering whether or not to get on the Brain Train? bit.ly/2x2kRf1

    Healthy glucose levels the key to a healthy ageing brain bit.ly/2x9vYCb


    AUG 2017

    Most of us alive today carry at least some DNA from a species that last lived tens of thousands of years ago bit.ly/2gc5Yzr

    Natural High? Finnish PET scanning study suggests High Intensity Interval Training boosts brain endorphins bit.ly/2ivpVlC

    Artificial Intelligence algorithm can predict dementia two years before onset on basis of single amyloid PET scan: bit.ly/2g5YWfC

    Here we go again: Aussie firm plans to target eSports gamers with their electrical brain stimulation headsets ab.co/2vWpDYk

    Scientists: There IS something you can do to save the world trib.al/n7zvDcl

    Struggle with insomnia? Try the Body Scan meditation shortly before bedtime bit.ly/2uIQ0i1

    In a nutshell: Walnuts activate brain region involved in appetite control bit.ly/2w61nVU

    Apparently cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help procrastinators, personally i’d never get round to it.. bit.ly/2vP2pmO

    Eating walnuts makes brain area activated by unpleasant feelings(eg disgust) light up when people see junk food pics bit.ly/2wTMkfC

    Read for 30 mins every single day and you’ll (probably) live for two years longer than if you don’t bit.ly/drJReadDaily

    Firm body, firm brain: magnetic resonance elastography shows +’ve correlation between memory & hippocampal firmness! bit.ly/DrJFitBdFitBrn

    Thinking of a career change? Why not figure out how to accommodate extra 70k elderly who’ll need care by 2025 bit.ly/drJCare4Eld

    The robots are coming (and this are the places where you’ll see them first) bit.ly/2vwf53g

    Going on holiday soon? Lucky you. Please read this and then as soon as you get to your destination UNPLUG bit.ly/DrJUnplug

    Will the future involve supercomputers made out of networked “brain balls” in vast underground server rooms? bit.ly/DrJBrainBlls

    A brief glimpse into the future of the neurotechnology industry bit.ly/DrJNuroTech

    Memory like a sieve? Imagining the irritating consequences of an action sequence makes memories stickier bit.ly/DrJMemTrix1

    Just when you think you’re getting your head around how complicated brains are..turns out they’re more complex still bit.ly/DrJEvnMreCplx

    Calm down dear the mighty @Neuro_Skeptic provides much needed perspective on male/female brain difference headlines bit.ly/DrJGndBrnSPCT

    Learning in your sleep, very specific phases of sleep, mind bit.ly/DrJSlpLrn

    Are energy drinks the new gateway drug to the hard stuff? Probably not but this makes interesting reading bit.ly/DrJrBllGtwy

    Influential tech investor slams Silicon Valley for adopting techniques that encourage compulsive media consumption bit.ly/DrJscncmplsv

    Cash incentive-based neurofeedback goals enable control over functional connectivity. Could lead to brain therapies! bit.ly/DrJNfdbkConX

    Litmus test for the brain? bit.ly/DrJBrainpH

    Anyone for a brain-controlled Virtual Reality experience? The future will be here next year engt.co/2vfpGOA

    Coming Soon: sub-micron sized Nanoswimmer rockets to ferry drugs across the blood brain barrier bit.ly/2vblYXy

    Hot yoga reduces comfort eating in the mildly depressed bit.ly/DrJHotYog

    Finally someone’s figured out how to remove BPAs from drinking water safely, simply and, it seems, very thoroughly bit.ly/DrJBPAremov

    Specially engineered ceramic skull implant should improve future delivery of ultrasound/laser-based brain therapies bit.ly/DrJUSimplnt

    Who’d have thought: moderate alcohol intake is associated with lower rates of cognitive decline in elderly…cheers! bit.ly/DrJModBooz

    Slowly but surely we’re starting to uncover the biological mechanisms involved obesity bit.ly/DrJObesAdip

    Major breakthrough in our understanding of how brains perceive faces bit.ly/DrJFacePerc

    Neurofeedback can increase the incidence of alpha brainwave spindles but not their duration or amplitude bit.ly/DrJNeuroFdbk

    Aussies invest twice as much in bodily health than in their brain’s wellbeing. What would the figures be for you? bit.ly/2w0R42B

    Virus-restored plasticity – would you? bit.ly/DrJVrsRestPlst


    JUL 2017

    The pen is mightier than the keyboard bit.ly/DrJMightyPen

    Sugar linked to depression & memory problems in men @ERWatkins2 tinyurl.com/y7kvs27x

    A vital step closer to cheating death? Will we all be replenishing our hypothalamic stem cells come 2030? ind.pn/2eO8BqD

    In future schools will have to balance cognitive training with PE & brain stimulation, If this is anything to go by bit.ly/DrJCogXTrain

    Want to have your brain in a jar? And live to tell the tale? Believe it or not, this is now technically possible bit.ly/DrJBrainInJar

    Freeing up time by paying others to do your dirty work makes you happy bit.ly/DrJDechoreJoy

    I’d love to know what brain area this young lady’s therapists are pointing the TMS at – temporal pole? bit.ly/DrJ_TMStreat

    Here are some visual illusions to start the week and to remind you that your brain has no direct access to reality bit.ly/DrJIllusions

    How physical exercise prevents dementia bit.ly/2ukXISk

    I can’t quite believe how many of those born in the 21st century can reasonably expect to see their 100th birthday.. bit.ly/DrJ100isnew80

    Given heart delivers blood2brain 24/7 perhaps unsurprising that healthier heart in 20’s means healthy brain in 40’s bit.ly/DrJHeartHead

    Omega oils can be converted into cannabinoids that target the immune system to reduce inflammation bit.ly/DrJOm3Cann

    Human foetuses can tell the difference between spoken English and Japanese from inside the womb a month before birth bit.ly/DrJFoetLang

    These ravens have better planning skills than some people I know. ow.ly/qjyx30dJbE7

    Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never… oh wait, hang on, that’s not actually true nyti.ms/2u8b8Q0

    Let your kids play in the dirt. Immune systems, like brains, adapt to the local environment through exposure bit.ly/2u983km

    Composition of gut bacteria aged 1 seems to predict cognitive development aged 2. Whether or not this is causal is tbc bit.ly/2vxQ1pX

    WE NOW GO LIVE TO BREXIT pic.twitter.com/edf48mbqmj

    O2 and hyperbaric oxygen therapy reverses brain damage in drowned toddler bit.ly/2u1Bhjz

    Give us this day our daily crossword, forgive us our grammatic inaccuracies, deliver us from tongue-tiedness… bit.ly/2vwXV2I

    Fascinated by the brain? Here are some apps that explain how brains work. In sickness and in health bit.ly/2txqM5N

    A blast of light to spark dmPFC neurons and the previously subordinate mouse’s sumo skills went through the roof bit.ly/DrJSumoMice

    Flatcam: small enough to sit between skull/cortex to sense & deliver signals from ~millions of neurons to a computer bit.ly/DrJ_FlatCam

    Two large studies find that heavy coffee consumption predicts reduced mortality ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28693038 & ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28693036

    Immune cells pass dopamine molecules between them? (T cells -> B cells) Now I’ve heard it all bit.ly/DrJDopImmT2B

    Being generous to others makes us happy and brand new study published in Nature Comms helps to explain why bit.ly/DrJGive2BHap

    Video games and your brains bit.ly/DrJ_GameBrain

    Will we ever manage to simultaneously record activity from 1million neurons? $65M from DARPA says it CAN be done… bit.ly/DrJ_1MilNeur

    Look into my eyes, look into my eyes, your eyelids are starting to feel veeeeery heavy bit.ly/DrJ_Hypno

    I bought BEHAVE on a whim yesterday – now, having read this NYT review, I really can’t wait to get started nyti.ms/2uNCJVQ

    Psychopath brains overvalue immediate gratification over long term consequences even more than the rest of us bit.ly/2sHhuIA

    Brain wiring mapped in unprecedented detail using latest MRI technology bbc.in/2sHC7zC

    Brain training can work after all: 40% improvement in amnesic mild cognitive impairment after a bit of “Game Show” bit.ly/2t7SHfs


    JUN 2017

    Brain plasticity can occur in a “blastic” or a “clastic” direction. You have the power of controlling the switch -Dr. Merzenich In other words brain plasticity can have positive and negative consequences depending on what you do with your lifestyle choices

    Cockatoo drumming film bitly.com/gcwsDrumming

    High fat diet causes weight gain by increasing microglial cells and inflammation in the mouse hypothalamus bit.ly/2sNfVEj

    For those teaching pre-school kids to read, beware picture overload.. no more than one illustration per page is best bit.ly/2tLL7IT

    Higher IQ aged 11 predicts better chances of making it to 80 bit.ly/2tpqxxc

    Gambling on the Dark Side of Nudges: bit.ly/2tTpm72

    Why our brains need us to keep moving bit.ly/2scBind

    Regular moderately-intense exercise helps to delay onset of Alz, even in genetically-prone people ti.me/2sUbQ2O

    By many accounts, we’re experiencing an epidemic of anxiety, and several experts pin the blame on our smartphones bit.ly/2tku8tR

    The mere presence of your smartphone reduces brain power, study shows bit.ly/2u8Vxym

    Overstated evidence for short-term effects of violent games on aggression ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28639810

    What is cognitive reserve? How we can protect our brains from memory loss and dementia bit.ly/2tWLCvH

    PET study indicates 6 brain areas implicated in OCD exhibit signs of greater inflammation than in non-OCD brains bit.ly/DrJ_OCD_Inflam

    Multitasking reduces efficiency by 40% in the vast majority of humans.. now we know (part of) the reason why bit.ly/2sDPm66

    Now THIS is brain art bit.ly/2rRm9av

    Food for thought bit.ly/DrJFood4Thought

    Short blog on research studying how playing Tetris directly after traumatising experiences can reduce flashbacks bit.ly/DrJTetTerTher

    Brain circuitry of hunger regulation involves intimate relationship between hypothalamus & insula: bit.ly/DrJHungerHypIns

    Great article explaining why development of brain computer interfaces must proceed hand in hand with ethics, or else bit.ly/2sA8J2f

    Don’t Text While Parenting – It Will Make You Cranky dld.bz/eYRf7

    A nice, succinct explanation of the biological processes determining sex and gender bit.ly/DrJSexAndGender

    How to Stay Sharp in Later Life on.dana.org/2sUlOAE

    Blue Brain team discovers a multi-dimensional universe in brain networks bit.ly/2sf3GUx

    Could Einstein’s quirky habits be responsible for his genius? Maybe you have a few of them too…find out here! bbc.in/2rRABO1

    Implanting pig brain chemical manufacturing plant (choroid plexus) into Parkinson’s patients’ brains looks promising bit.ly/DrJPigPrksRmdy

    Temporal interference stimulation to target deep brain areas without opening the skull has HUUUGE potential bit.ly/2satP7D

    New study confirms performance boost in creative thinking task by reducing left frontal brain activation via tDCS bit.ly/DrJcreativeZap

    Seven beers per week increases chance of brain shrinkage and white matter degradation (over the course of decades) bit.ly/DrJ7beersPW

    Temporal interference seems like a much smarter form of brain stimulation than TMS or tDCS: nyti.ms/2rw4HqT

    This is an armadillo’s defense mechanism pic.twitter.com/gUUNaOmu4O

    Memory loss and other cognitive decline linked to blood vessel disease in the brain bit.ly/2rQzVcj

    Einstein’s first wife was a physicist too, who contributed to his work. ow.ly/3JBY30ck9TH

    New! Cassetteboy vs Theresa May – youtu.be/p7iUYWMD77w

    Typing by brain sounds great. Up to the point where,like Trump,every silly idle thought gets broadcast to the world bit.ly/DrJtypebybrain

    Human brain replays memories in fast-forward bit.ly/2rKrOho

    Human faces reconstructed from monkey brain data bit.ly/DrJBrainFaces


    No Tweets In May (Went into hiding to finish new book)


    APR 2017

    Tiny ancient skull has ridges suggesting possibility of Broca’s area therefore speech + self-evident burial instinct bit.ly/DrJ_Naledi

    The coconut octopus uses coconut shells as protection against predators! pic.twitter.com/wInVITqwaG

    Sugary drinks aren’t great for your brain health, neither are diet drinks, probably best to stick to juice and water bit.ly/DrJ_OneDietSoda


    Flying car costing more than $1 million goes on show in Monaco reut.rs/2p1FBPg

    Whether zapping brains improves or degrades memories depends on the timing and AI, it seems, can help with that.. nyti.ms/2pYpgbi

    A new study adds to the oft-controversial research on the apparent antiaging properties of “young blood”: scim.ag/2oW9Qab

    Contraceptive pill reduces quality of life bit.ly/2oraNU2

    ..arrest the progression–>change Alzheimer’s disease into something completely different so it becomes liveable.. bbc.in/2pF4v5h

    Relapse-prevention apps connect recovering addicts to support and use AI to predict when relapse is likely to occur bit.ly/DrJ_RelaPrevApp

    SuperAgers suggest that age-related cognitive decline is not inevitable bit.ly/DrJ_SuperAgers

    Aha! moments observed in eye tracking data bit.ly/DrJ_Aha

    Efficacy of ayahuasca – a hallucinogen usually used in shamanistic rituals – tested in clinical trial for depression bit.ly/DrJ_Ayahuasca

    A UK company is creating edible water blobs that it hopes will eradicate the world of plastic waste. pic.twitter.com/k2jHsYRNND

    Music-induced awakenings in Alzheimer’s patients… surely it’s worth a try?! bit.ly/2odwUxV

    Let your mind roam free bit.ly/DrJ_MindWander

    When people detect a moral conflict, zapping (tDCS) their brain (right dlPFC) helps to keep them honest bit.ly/2onTiaq

    An update on the differences between male and female brains on the basis of an even bigger brain imaging study bit.ly/2p28yIk

    Anti-Parkinson’s virus therapy bit.ly/2oj7b9R

    You can really identify a signature of the dreaming brain” bit.ly/2oj3bWU

    Born to love superheroes: Research into the roots of justice may contain hints for solving social ills bit.ly/2ofjVyb

    Are you a night owl? This could explain why bit.ly/DrJ_NightOwl

    Marmite – not just delicious – new study says a daily dose can significantly change how your brain works: bit.ly/2oB3T3d

    Nearly every disease killing us in later life has a causal link to lack of sleep bit.ly/DrJ_SleepDeep


    MAR 2017

    Science may have got multiple sclerosis all wrong, now they’ve figured out it’s caused by B-cells not T-cells we may be able to nip it in the bud bit.ly/2ola0Fo

    Maturation of white matter connecting front of brain to back key to understanding others around age of 4 years okd bit.ly/2nzk8vP

    Understanding the role of cannabinoids in stress relief, bit by bit bit.ly/2nNKtH9

    tetraplegic man can move his arm again just by thinking about it with device that reads brain –> stimulates muscles bit.ly/2obLKIQ

    I’ve said it once,I’ll say it again: if you want you brain to age gracefully -it’s time to get your dancing shoes on nyti.ms/2njb8Zc

    holotropic breathwork..uses hyperventilation-induced fainting to achieve..an expansion of awareness bit.ly/2nuQLsS

    Without an intact anterior temporal lobe you’d never be able to keep up with all the gossip sciof.us/2ov2HKG

    3min film of Ed Boyden sharing his vision of how the merger between brain&machine will unfold in the coming years bit.ly/DrJ_BoydnCoPro

    Brain training to help people avoid the need for reading glasses in middle age? Now that would be pretty cool… nyti.ms/2nstfhN

    There is a journal called Religion, Brain and Behaviour bit.ly/2nVqV1d

    New Alzheimer’s test can predict age when disease will appear buff.ly/2ne7ySy

    Older mums can often be better mums according to Danish study bit.ly/DrJ_Oldermums

    Ditch the GPS, use your noggin bit.ly/2n4uBhe

    What do smartphones do to our brains? We still don’t know bit.ly/2nNQrW1

    Extract of funnel web spider venom can protect against stroke damage even when given after the event bit.ly/2mngQNd

    Sexual afterglow – still benefits couples 48hrs later bit.ly/2mIrGso

    Imaging neurons in vivo with a needle thin probe… bit.ly/2n6MP3f

    Tea please… any colour will do bit.ly/2nDyqtp

    Humpback whales are organizing in huge numbers, and no one knows why pops.ci/DEYPA6

    Clever fMRI drug smuggling study investigates differences between recklessness & knowingly committing a crime bit.ly/DrJ_DrugSmug

    Cognitive enhancing drugs can improve chess play, scientists show bit.ly/2mGhsfG

    Metacognitive therapy addresses thinking processes 2 help people reduce depressive symptoms by lessening rumination bit.ly/DrJ_MCT4Deprsn

    amateur scientists who like to experiment with their own mixes..aren’t afraid to use their own brains as lab rats bit.ly/DrJ_StackTwats

    HIV can get into brain & interfere with cognitive process by disrupting white matter,MRI can detect this fairly well bit.ly/DrJ_HIV_MRI

    If all the Ice melted: National Geographic’s Interactive map on Rising Seas – Geoawesomeness buff.ly/2mYYkKE

    Blueberry Brain bit.ly/DrJBlubryBrain

    Bigger brains aren’t always better, when you’re a sociable bird or insect, that is bit.ly/DrJSmSocBr

    2017 Winners of The Brain Prize: Peter Dayan, Ray Dolan and Wolfram Schultz for research on brain’s reward system bit.ly/2maRX4b

    Just bought my 1st robot! Although I can control it with my smartphone, sadly I can’t control it with my brain alone bit.ly/DrJBrainRobot

    OCD: Brain fails to send safety signals (vmPFC) as experience demonstrates perceived danger is no longer a threat bit.ly/DrJ_SafetySig

    Uncertainty is in the eye of the beholder (literally) bit.ly/DrJ_UncertEye

    Artificial Intelligence goes ALL IN;but will it wipe out online poker altogether? Would that be a good or bad thing? bit.ly/DrJ_AI_All_In

    Here’s something @mocost wrote about the possible role of the cerebellum in cognition and emotion bit.ly/2mDaM2O


    FEB 2017

    Stem cell transplants for human multiple sclerosis patients. Controversial yet encouraging. But does it last? bit.ly/DrJStemXplant4MS

    Dad’s who take cocaine around time of conception may be damaging their kids’ memory capacities bit.ly/DrJ_CokeDads

    Why parents seem to be blind to their kids’ extra pounds bit.ly/DrJ_PorkyKids

    Novel study investigates brain areas critical to the process of dreaming up funny captions bit.ly/DrJ_HumourGen #creativity

    Newborns can recognize the voices they’ve been hearing for the last trimester in the womb nyti.ms/2m3sgFv

    Digital reconstruction of a giant neuron that encircles the entire mouse brain go.nature.com/2lClhBV by @Sara_Reardon via @kenanmalik

    Never underestimate the power of bee brains. It’s amazing what a million neurons can be trained to do nyti.ms/2lAajNq

    Hair fine electrodes that can send electrical, chemical and/or optical information to and from the brain bit.ly/2mbhM72

    The TRAPPIST-1 star & 7 Earth-sized planets orbiting it, are relatively close to us; located ~40 light-years away: go.nasa.gov/2lvVN7G

    Brains better at divergent thinking tasks (related to creativity) have denser connectivity between left & right side bit.ly/2lGeTKz

    Huge study of 3,242 brains aged 4-63 shows consistent structural differences of those with ADHD vs others without bit.ly/DrJ_ADHDbrains

    Build up of iron in the globus pallidus is positively correlated with duration of cocaine use bit.ly/DrJFeCokeHed

    Standord scientists enable paraplegic man to type,using brain computer interface,at speeds of up to 39characters/min bit.ly/2kIp1mJ

    Many different compartments and barriers in the brain create multiple unique immune environments bit.ly/2lbQr2M #brain

    Sleep is a powerful source of resilience in difficult times bit.ly/2lwV34K …so stop looking at screens late at night sleepyhead

    That dopamine is involved in human bonding is less surprising than dual scanners doing fMRI/PET at the same time!! bit.ly/2kYBlv8

    A computer to rival the human brain – what’s it gonna take? bit.ly/2lNRxmM

    Autism detected in “cerebral cortex” from age<2 (narrowing it down to virtually anywhere on brain’s outer surface!) bbc.in/2lLOdc5

    Neurons in the amygdala fired 120 milliseconds earlier than the hippocampus bit.ly/2laFY8p

    Laughter is important. This made me laugh: bit.ly/2kzOhHD

    Using genetics to personalize diet for effective weight loss & disease prevention @DrJackLewis @DrMichaelMosley tinyurl.com/hhm8d28

    New generation brain implants stimulate neurons with magnetism rather than electricity to get around sticky problem bit.ly/DrJMagBranImp

    If anyone needs me, I’ll be playing with this whale song synthesizer whalesynth.com

    Opioid release vital to process of deriving pleasure from your favourite songs (or any pleasure for that matter?!) bit.ly/DrJMuOpiMusic

    A retinal cell has been identified that might just explain why more and more kids are becoming short sighted bit.ly/DrJMyopiaCell

    Study confirms the assumption that E-Cigarettes are far less toxic than real cigarettes bit.ly/DrJeCigsSafe

    Studying the mysterious condition of mirror touch synaesthesia bit.ly/DrJMirrorTouch

    Sleeping patterns all over the place? Time to go camping! Couple of days in the wilderness resets melatonin cycle bit.ly/2jQ6lvL

    Mini brains spontaneously produce mini blood vessels. All they need now is a mini heart and some blood and we’re off bit.ly/2jZ4W6Y

    How time in space changes brains bit.ly/2jv9o1p


    JAN 2017

    Using psychedelics to treat addiction – how to get the reduction in cravings without the hallucinations? bit.ly/DrJ_Ibogaine

    Hanger – it’s the real deal bit.ly/DrJHanger

    Could problems with the brain’s blood flow gatekeepers be a key part of problems like Alzheimer’s, ALS etc? bit.ly/DrJGateKeep

    Wisdom of the crowd is not always on the money, MIT scientists have figured out how to extract it better bit.ly/DrJBetCwdWis

    Imagine a neuropeptide that can induce gut to burn fat without stimulating appetite (in C. elegans, not humans, yet) bit.ly/DrJFatBurnFLP7

    New angle for treating aggressive form of brain cancer (glioblastoma) suggests prior drug devel. = wild goose chase bit.ly/DrJGlioBlaster

    Metallic hydrogen – it could change the course of humanity across the cosmos if we could use it to fuel our space ships bit.ly/2jf0MeW

    Why an LSD trip lasts so much longer than a cannabis high or magic mushrooms bit.ly/2jei7Vf

    Dreaming (REM) sleep accelerates pruning of certain brain connections, a process vital to reshaping teenage brains bit.ly/2jZz2ul

    A study of 500 MRI scans reveals the links between personality traits and brain structure bit.ly/2khAZjj

    A cautionary tale about the promises of modern brain science econ.st/2jaKI9q

    I’ve often wondered why so many schizophrenic people smoke so fast and intensely; this suggests they might be self-medicating bit.ly/2knNHw8tv

    Peripheral neuropathy (a health complication seen in diabetes, chemo, HIV) could be helped by anti-muscarinic agents bit.ly/2jJ7Eho

    Resensitising brain cancer to chemotherapy using old school anti-malaria drug bit.ly/2k3sCeg

    No meaningful difference in amygdala sizes in male vs female brains across 30yrs of MRI studies bit.ly/2jxgmBC

    Antibody targeting protein in Blood Brain Barrier reduces signs of brain ageing bit.ly/2iDLtap

    ALL ROWS NOW COMPLETE. With 4 new elements discovered Asia enters the hall of fame and the USA jumps to 2nd place. pic.twitter.com/XE5X7un5e0

    Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for psychosis found to be associated with measurable changes in brain connectivity bit.ly/2jVE6fM

    Mixing up names of your nearest & dearest is probably due to them being stored in your “people I love” brain directory n.pr/2jvE417

    Facebook wants in on Brain Control Interfaces bit.ly/2iyPqgR

    Neuroscience in practice to enhance your star gazing experience bit.ly/2iDexCn

    Monkey metamemory bit.ly/2iyA4sD

    Genetically-speaking you are 10% retrovirus – deal with it! bit.ly/2jf5fgE

    Who better than Russ Poldrack to review a book about what MRI can and can’t do? go.nature.com/2jeuDn5

    Turning mice into killers at the flick of an (optogenetic) switch n.pr/2j53LTZ

    The orbits of the stars in the vicinity of the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy buff.ly/2jffcrX

    Increased amygdala activity related to more heart disease (prob via elevated white blood cell-induced inflammation) bbc.in/2jmd1mt

    You can tell how old a person is from their brain’s glial cell health (if you chop their brain out for post-mortem) bit.ly/2icNCPb

    Just how smart is an octopus? Smarter than you think wapo.st/2ifbbW8

    Will nose-witnesses soon play a role in our courts of law? (“Eyewitnesses” are so 20th century) bit.ly/2i9qjG0

    Earth and the moon – as seen from Mars nyti.ms/2jqwQs8

    Mini-brains grown from stem cells taken from kids’ milk teeth can tell you a thing or two about their actual brains bit.ly/2icfvBT

    The mess that is tcDCS therapy 4 depression/addiction/fibromyalgia (good news) tinnitus/stroke (bad news) untangled bit.ly/2ival59

    Believe it or not foetal fMRI has arrived! Yes, that’s right, brain imaging in the womb… bit.ly/2i5LBUQ

    If learn (or revive) a 2nd language is one of your New Year’s resolutions for 2017, this might be motivating for you bit.ly/2iUkPfn

    16 year old’s ovarian tumour found to contain brain tissue that resembles a cerebellum and brainstem bit.ly/2iYwtW6

    Memory and cognition improvements in 65+ year old people if they take a regular 1-hour long siesta after lunch bit.ly/2iPwsqm

    Fusiform gyrus – containing region (FFA) for recognising faces – is ~13% larger in adults than kids bit.ly/2hXxvA6

    Interfering with vagal nerve function can help various health conditions – now it can be done with greater precision bit.ly/2iUpYDZ

    Carbon nanotube electrodes much better than conventional electrodes, but how to jam a “wet noodle” into the brain? bit.ly/2ifDcdq

    “It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance.” Thomas sowell

    Finally FDA restrictions on antibiotic use in livestock. Can’t use the medically important ones anymore, at least. ow.ly/e7Za307Gqr2

    Some people (3-5%) simply get no joy from listening to music – now we know why bit.ly/2idYGHO

    Gaming that can help depressed people to feel better by helping them to focus bit.ly/2i9ICH2

    Prof Van der Meer (Norwegian University of Science&Tech) offers science-based tips for optimal ways to raise infants bit.ly/2iaftvq

    Reduced blood flow to Broca’s area (key area in speech production) in stutterers bit.ly/2iHtFPP

    Brain + Nature = Health bit.ly/2iI7iXX (NB that’s coming from someone who just finished a 1hr cross-country run in Richmond Pk – practise what I preach!)

    Nice synopsis of a few of the more notable achievements in neuroscience to arise over the course of 2016 n.pr/2irU5oA


    DEC 2016

    Vera Rubin, Who Confirmed Existence Of Dark Matter, Dies At 88 n.pr/2iwYGq9

    Hacks often write obituaries before celebs have died for quick release. Turns out brains do a similar thing with DNA bit.ly/2i2ndmj

    How genes can influence music’s impact on mood bit.ly/2hjT6XK

    When does brain development reach completion? nyti.ms/2hjNvB2

    The true hidden home of Christmas is in China bbc.in/1sDLrOC

    Could stoned drivers be more cautious? Maybe.. bit.ly/DrJStndDrivr

    How many different types of neurons there in the brain (even just the hypothalamus) blows my mind bit.ly/DrJHypothalNs

    ..a lesion in exactly the right place..can disrupt the brain’s familiarity detector&reality monitor simultaneously bit.ly/DrJImpstrLsn

    How to grow your own brain bit.ly/DrJGrwURownBrn

    New drug improving longevity & memory in animal studies of prion disease brings hope for fight against Alz. dementia bit.ly/DrJMuscAlzHope

    Schizophrenics more likely to try cannabis, but WHY would delusional people crave yet greater distance from reality? bit.ly/DrJSchizWeed

    Brain-inspired intelligent robotics: The intersection of robotics and neuroscience – a special booklet in @scienmag buff.ly/2i0kni6

    The truth behind baby brain bit.ly/DrJBabyBrain

    Brain Books of 2016 bit.ly/DrJBrainBooks16

    Talk about getting the wrong end of the stick… bit.ly/DrJOMG

    Dear Santa, If I’ve been good enough this year, please may I have a robotic arm controllable via 64 electrode EEG? bit.ly/DrJEEGcntlRobt

    If you want to hang onto your crystalline intelligence in later life don’t forget to eat your greens bit.ly/DrJEatURgreens

    Could thinning of the grey matter really account for risk aversion in older adults? bit.ly/DrJRskAvrsn

    Time passes fast, time passes slow and now neuroscience may finally have pinpointed brain areas that influence this bit.ly/DrJStpFstSloMo

    Could the impact of oxytocin on human behaviour boil down purely to synchrony bit.ly/DrJOxytosync

    Deep brain stimulation soon to use tiny coils (magnetrodes?!) to influence neurons w magnetism rather than electrons bit.ly/DrJMagnetrode

    Could increasing gamma band activity in the brain really help eliminate the beta amyloid plaques of Alzheimer’s? bit.ly/DrJGammaAlz

    Incredible to think that switching one pair of nucleotides in an ancient ancestor’s DNA trebled our brain volume bbc.in/2gZ4lDM

    If the way we breathe influences what we remember,I wonder if there are breathing techniques 2 help students revise? bit.ly/DrJBreathingMem

    Small double-blind trial shows that single dose of psilocybin can give 6 months relief from cancer-related anxiety bit.ly/DrJ_MushCancAnx

    I am Groot: Plants can do associative learning bit.ly/DrJ_IAmGroot

    Finally!! Potential for MDMA (ecstasy) as a therapeutic agent for PTSD to be investigated in a proper clinical trial bit.ly/DrJ_MDMA4PTSD

    Added sugar in our diet is bad, we know that, but I didn’t realise range of negative impacts, like reduced oxytocin! bit.ly/DrJExcessSugar

    Africa’s sunshine could eventually make the continent a supplier of energy to the rest of the world bbc.in/2fMxtwX

    @PainConcern Irene Tracey neuroscience of pain interview is now back up on YouTube. Sorry for the protracted wait! bit.ly/DrJPainStem

    @hugospiers et al have been doing a fantastic job of getting the globe involved in science research through gaming.. bit.ly/SeaHeroQst

    TMS reawakens access to latent memory (link to orig Science paper at end of article) bit.ly/2guWFc1

    Parkinson’s disease may start in gut & nose (ie neurons most exposed to environment) 10yrs before it hits the brain! bit.ly/2glBbOL

    Quite possibly the strangest sex study i’ve ever read about.. and there is a LOT of competition for that accolade bit.ly/2gGJt4v








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  • Another Year of Brain Tweets

    It’s that time of year again!

    Every day I trawl the internet for fascinating, illuminating pearls of brain wisdom to leak out of neuroscience laboratories across the planet.

    So each year I look back on a year’s worth of brain tweets to see what’s been trending recently.

    This year the topic I appear to have been tweeting about the most, with over 50 separate articles shared on this topic via the social networking site Twitter, is brain technology.

    In second spot are the tweets drawing attention to the science podcast I’ve been doing with RadioX’s Lliana Bird for the past 18 months. Incidentally we’re currently turning this into a book. We’re literally writing it right now. She’s sat right opposite me as I type. We’re 50,000 words down and have just 30,000 to go. It’ll be in all good book shops and online repositories in time for Christmas 2016. We’re tremendously excited.

    In third place with just over 40 citations is the topic Youth Brains – which is what I label any cool science that is of relevance to baby brains, infant brains, teenage brains and brain development in general.

    Anyway, I could go on – but a glance at the following histogram should tell you everything you need to know about the topics contained in this digest of my tweets from Feb 2015 to Jan 2016. Enjoy…

    2015 Tweets


    “implant-free means2provide brain stimulation&mapping” magnetic iron oxide particles (22nm diameter)injected in2brain http://bit.ly/1x0TBsq

    Deep brain stimulation of PFC triggers increased growth of new hippocampal neurons – hope is this will help dementia: http://bit.ly/1Jk8Deh

    Digital bee brain flies quadcopter drone (rather well by all accounts) Check out this video clip from BBC news: http://bbc.in/1DLhFSF

    Dissolvable wireless sensors to monitor head injuries http://bit.ly/1RxzdrB

    EEG-controlled telepresence robot for the disabled http://bit.ly/1PVr2EA

    Fantastic interview w/ Karl Deisseroth – psychiatrist, vagus nerve stimulation dabbler, inventor of optogenetics etc: http://nyr.kr/1cI6xu

    Finally a tech innovation that results in fewer rather than more distractions. If your brain’s busy, all alerts off: http://bit.ly/1W5CQoT

    For the proper geeks amongst you – a potted history of the neuromorphic chip; past, present and future: http://tcrn.ch/1DtyCwq

    Forget that article on tiny brain made from skin cells..no evidence. Until we see some..pretend it never happened: http://bit.ly/1Ky91Vg

    Futuristic “rolled up mesh” electrodes inserted into brain frozen don’t cause scarring as very flexible when thawed: http://rsc.li/1RtB39N

    Good Grief:unwinding w/ electrical brain stimulation http://huff.to/1IOm75M “wouldn’t describe the feeling as zen so much as vaguely stoned”

    Hacking the nervous system http://bit.ly/1SA7dC8 New @mosaicscience feature about vagus nerve stimulation by @WanderingGaia

    Human brain + Computing power = better, faster processing of visual intelligence than the sum of their parts: http://bit.ly/1PFsQjk Scary!

    If spiderman was a neuroscientist he’d be using this new injectable electrode webbing from Harvard to wire up brains: http://bit.ly/1GuVLoj

    Imagine knowing what someone else is thinking simply by seeing splashes of light in your mind’s eye: http://bit.ly/1R2LdxD #usetheforceluke

    Making sense of MEG: a different type of brain scan helping us understand how top-down & the bottom-up fit together! http://bit.ly/1P1LOxr

    manipulating the “gatekeeper protein” p53 can ramp up conversion of skin cells into dopamine neurons: http://bit.ly/1N6Be9E

    Memory-boosting devices tested in humans http://ow.ly/UcroE

    Motion sickness may soon be remedied by applying weak electrical current to scalp via wire plugged into mobile phone: http://bit.ly/1KSb0rN

    Neural dust & injectable brain webbing should help circumvent problems associated with conventional brain electrodes: http://bit.ly/1FZhrTM

    neurosurgeon practises surgery on 3D printed patient’s brain: http://bit.ly/1SulGhH ..but without blood vessels,how useful is this really?

    Neurotech overview – (nearly) everything you need to know about the past, present and future of brain augmentation: http://tcrn.ch/1FjvQz9

    Now the parents are at it!! Using DIY brain zapping in the hope it will improve their kids grades: http://ab.co/1D76FNs #sgonnaendintears

    Remote control neurons implanted with gold/iron nanoparticles heated up by infrared/magnetic fields, respectively: http://bit.ly/1Bqb1K5

    SpaceX for the brain: http://bit.ly/1QqAqgy

    Surgically implanted chip translates thoughts into words at average rate of 6 words/minute – MUCH faster than before: http://bit.ly/1N4cBgd

    The tone in this article may be a bit cheesy but some of this neuroscience future-casting gives food for thought: http://huff.to/1tRe4IY

    This book on DARPA’s research over decades into augmenting human brain function with technology looks tantalising: http://fus.in/1PJ4tiJ

    2015, the year a student used EEG to drive a cyborg cockroach along an S-shaped path http://bit.ly/1Pktodi

    7T MRI brain imaging can now identify in which layers of the cortex activations & suppressions are happening: http://bit.ly/1RqHSJb

    A big step closer to communication for those with locked-in syndrome – speech decoded directly from brain activity: http://bit.ly/1J1Ntom

    A paralysed man learns to walk again with the help of a robotic exoskeleton http://bit.ly/1IN2bK3

    addicted2the quick fix..tasty junk food..electronic cocaine of the Internet..painless ease of a credit card purchase http://on.wsj.com/1PdB445

    Blind people in bionic eye trial have “‘ceramic tiles’ the size of a small fingernail implanted into…visual cortex” http://bit.ly/1KJeUAI

    Brain balls: http://wrd.cm/1F6yUs2

    Brain dipstick: http://bit.ly/1M2Twc1

    Brain implants to help” criminals behave better instead of death penalty? Discuss… http://bit.ly/1MrVPXA

    Brain implants to improve memory no longer preserve of films like Jonny Mnemonic – testing in real humans right now!! http://bit.ly/1LvVw8Q

    Brain stimulation in kids holds great promise for those with learning disabilities but could end in tears for others: http://bit.ly/1gNmFM9

    BRAIN ZAP / Transcranial direct current stimulation – who would you rather wire your brain up? Oxford uni or DIY man? http://bit.ly/1OJcDZD

    Brain-controlled computer cursor getting better&better: http://bit.ly/1Re40GC But how long before we find ourselves chucking out the mouse?

    Brain-controlled smart home. I for one have had quite enough of having to manually flick light switches on/off: http://bit.ly/1QIy2SB

    Brain-powered prosthetics: http://tcrn.ch/1R3r6zO

    Cerebellum – involved in fine motor control&balance – may be good target for developing new brain-machine interfaces: http://bit.ly/1uUNG19

    Christof Koch discusses machine intelligence in the cinema, including a review of Ex Machina: http://bit.ly/1BpqRG8

    Computer hackers & neuroscientists join forces in an effort to create algorithms that automatically spot sick neurons http://n.pr/1OWGuxG

    Consumer device “zaps” your brain – this time to change your mood. Reeks of codswallop… http://ind.pn/1BHuGGV

    One day we’ll log onto our computers using super-secure Brainprints http://tcrn.ch/1AQGTht Unique/unfakeable EEG responses to visual stimuli

    Paralyzed Rats Walk Again With Flexible Spinal Implant http://bit.ly/1C279Dr #science

    Pencil-eraser-sized brain, equivalent to 5wk old foetus,engineered from adult human skin cells (no blood vessels yet) http://bit.ly/1EAXNwX


    NASA alien predictions, pointless sport supplements + brontosaural revivals: Geek Chic’s Weird Science Podcast Ep28: http://geekchic.libsyn.com/

    “@PopSci: Scientists are making chocolate tastier&more cancer-fighting http://pops.ci/P50bKk ” __@GCweirdscience @Xfm_Lliana @DrJackLewis

    #GeekChicPodcast Ep30 out now! Midnight feasts,defeating ear worms& 1/6 species to go extinct by 2100 http://bit.ly/1IVQg0M @GCweirdscience

    1st Geek Chic Weird Sci podcast of 2015 is a Superhuman Special courtesy of the lovely @heather_berlin Available now: http://bit.ly/1rpMfIh

    Check out the armor on this #FossilFriday! Panochthus frenzelianus is a giant glyptodont: http://trib.al/zHdKvF2

    Chimps Would “Cook” Food If They Could http://bit.ly/1BJerJp

    Dodging killer robots, reflections on magic mirrors, lego roads & pluto’s tail – all in @GCweirdscience ep40: http://apple.co/1KEJu22

    Don’t do Apple? All episodes of Geek Chic Weird Science podcast still available at the touch of a button: http://bit.ly/1E5JwJY @Xfm_Lliana

    Don’t lie to your dog – he might rumble you. Dogs know if you’re untrustworthy http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20150220-dogs-know-if-youre-untrustworthy …

    EP 28: The return of the brontosaurus,possibilities of alien life & Is fast food actually good for you?Find out NOW! http://geekchic.libsyn.com/

    Ep36 of our Geek Chic podcast covers “Seeing in Tongues, Dangers of Skinny Jeans & Hotties Getting Away With Murder”: http://bit.ly/1EZuvcw

    Finally – a flying car to get excited about – made in…. Slovakia: http://cnn.it/1BQoIpf

    Fluorescing #corals: nature’s glow sticks! Bask in their glow: http://mbayaq.co/1843aez

    For non-apple folks… Geek Chic podcast ep26 rainbow gravity, antibiotic mayhem & panning sewage for precious metals: http://geekchic.libsyn.com/

    Geek Chic podcast ep37: http://apple.co/1rpMfIh

    Geek Chic podcast episode 26 OUT NOW – rainbow gravity, antibiotic mayhem and panning sewage for precious metals: http://apple.co/1rpMfIh

    Geek Chic podcast is back!! ep42 includes Johnny mnemonic brain chips, batband headphones and mice crooning for love: http://apple.co/1gDcwl2

    Geek chic podcast. Very cool range of topics, including this one on BioMusic 🙂 @DrJackLewis http://tinyurl.com/peprmmf

    Geek Chic’s Weird Science made it to iTunes best of 2014 (debut section): http://itunes.com/bestpodcasts2014 … This week: solar planes, robo-roaches et al

    Graphene spacecraft could fly on starlight http://wired.uk/itY6QO

    Have a listen to all the geek chic weird science podcasts by following us on @audioBoom https://audioboom.com/channel/geekchic …

    How creepy a robot seems is strongly influenced by it’s likeness to the human form: http://bit.ly/1OH2n6k

    I gotta get me one of these octopus-inspired marine robots: http://bit.ly/1I8zAoi @GCweirdscience @Xfm_Lliana

    In ep39 we discuss the search for ET, pink rhino horns & the latest from the moon on 46th moon landing anniversary: http://bit.ly/1IoavW3

    In ep51 of @GCweirdscience podcast we discuss our solar system’s newly discovered 9th planet. Ace vid explains more: http://bit.ly/1V8yxGX

    In the latest Geek Chic Weird Science podcast we discuss Pluto pics, a forthcoming mini-ice age & mini-hearts: http://bit.ly/1gK5bAZ

    In this week’s @GCweirdscience podcast we’ve got dogs holding grudges, internet rationing, boozy chimps & philae: http://bit.ly/1E5JwJY

    In this week’s DRUGS SPECIAL podcast we discuss origins & investigations into psychadelics & MDMA with @zoecormier: https://itun.es/i6Lb74f

    In this week’s GCSW podcast (released earlier in the week) we discuss – Should Dolphins Be Granted “Personhood”? http://bit.ly/1rpMfIh

    Is Eminem’s brain different from yours? Find out in ‘The Science of Rapping’ #GeekChicPodcast special – http://geekchic.libsyn.com/

    Kick your week off with a bang (literally) as @gcweirdscience’s @DrJackLewis & @Xfm_Lliana talk the science of music: http://bit.ly/1F2wMkK

    Listen to our new #GeekChicPodcast NOW on iTunes and on http://geekchic.libsyn.com/ !

    Missed last weeks #GeekChicPodcast on ‘The Science of Sex’ have a listen here – https://audioboom.com/channel/geekchic @audioBoom

    Monkey ball transplantations, the discovery of clitoris&”posh wanks”… love the latest episode, @GCweirdscience _! @Xfm_Lliana @DrJackLewis

    New #GeekChicPodcast is UP! ‘The Science of Rapping’ explored w/ guests @heather_berlin & @BabaBrinkman. Listen here http://geekchic.libsyn.com/

    New #GeekChicPodcast is UP!! Download here https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/geek-chics-weird-science/id921816230?mt=2 … OR listen here http://geekchic.libsyn.com/ @GCweirdscience @DrJackLewis

    NEW GC! This week we talk flying cars, powdered alcohol & how scientific accidents can help the battle against cancer http://geekchic.libsyn.com/

    NEW GC! We look at why cats & classical music could make surgery safer,how to make chocolate healthier & robot birds http://geekchic.libsyn.com/

    Not yet listened to this week’s @GCweirdscience podcast? Click here for our Marine Special w/ tales from @TheBlowfish http://apple.co/1rpMfIh

    Nursing a hangover? Geek Chic Weird Science podcast BOOOZE episode should sort that out: http://bit.ly/1rpMfIh @GCweirdscience @Xfm_Lliana

    On a more light-hearted note GeekChicWeirdScience podcast is back with memory boost chips, crooning mice & bat bands: http://geekchic.libsyn.com/

    Our @GCweirdscience Marine Special = Jellyfish Apocalypse, Metal-Loving Sharks, Thieving Whales & Guff-Talking Fish: http://apple.co/1rpMfIh

    This week on Geek Chic’s Weird Science: sesame seed clitoris, monkey ball transplantations & more in our Sex Special: http://bit.ly/1rpMfIh

    This week’s @GCweirdscience in emojis gotta be ___, ___, ___, _! Exciting!_here –> http://geekchic.libsyn.com/

    This week’s @GCweirdscience podcast features Underwater Strawberries, Reversing Memory Loss & Heavy Metal Happiness: http://bit.ly/1rpMfIh

    This week’s edition of @GCweirdscience completes our Sex Drugs & RocknRoll trilogy with a Science of Music special: http://bit.ly/1rpMfIh

    This week’s geek chic podcast will enlighten you with weird science tales of dogs,kittens,chimps,satellites&asteroids http://bit.ly/1EZuvcw

    Today’s @GCweirdscience podcast take us from starlight-powered spacecraft to grow-your-own drug kits (using yeast): http://bit.ly/1rpMfIh

    We love this – why IS late-night snacking so tempting? Listen to @Xfm_Lliana & @DrJackLewis finding out why: http://bit.ly/1F6MBvC

    What happens when a neuroscientist marries a rapper & starts experimenting on his brain! Find out here http://geekchic.libsyn.com/ #GeekChic


    “..altering the electrical properties of these cells can dramatically change how the ensuing brain develops..” http://bit.ly/1EU4n4t

    babies’ brains are building connections at an incredible rate..particularly sensitive2changes in the last trimester” http://bit.ly/1bugB8K

    Boys raised in better-educated adopted family end up with higherIQ than brothers raised in lowerIQ biological family: http://bit.ly/1EFwLni

    Brain scanning study differentiates between raw talent (natural predisposition) versus hard graft (neuroplasticity): http://bit.ly/1LXQjvV

    Prof Sarah-Jayne Blakemore did a TED talk in 2012 on the adolescent brain. It’s now been viewed 1.5 million times! http://bit.ly/1fUgG6e

    RESPECT MY AUTONOMY!” Foster closer bonding by giving your 2yr old space OR How to make your offspring like you 😉 http://bit.ly/1zgzu6P

    Sadly, impacts of child abuse don’t just include damaging brains for life, it can even shorten life expectancy too: http://ab.co/1HFPjYC

    Scientists hope..findings will help to drive fresh interventions to boost brain growth in children who need it most http://bit.ly/1EVgY42

    The devastating impact of childhood neglect on the human brain emphasises the vital importance of emotional support: http://bit.ly/1JyukYt

    Two brain cannabinoids are critical for all aspects of brain function, differences in developing brain & adult http://bit.ly/1IDx3gP #brain

    When kids get outside more often, incidence of short-sightedness plummets. Gotta exercise those eyeball lens muscles! http://bit.ly/1NuYZZL

    Why I think it’s irresponsible for advertisers to encourage/normalise use of technology to silence kids: http://bit.ly/1FkJYIK

    “Malaria blocks brain blood flow, inducing inflammation, causing pressure build up on brainstem in infected children”: http://n.pr/1MLoEf5

    10am start at school for 16yr olds, 18yr olds at 11am – could explain why I never made it to morning lectures at uni! http://bit.ly/1UrqusX

    Brain imaging of 1-6 day old babies suggests they probably have better ability to perceive pain than we realised: http://ti.me/1HQhaqg

    Can you detect the signs that your child is cyberbullied? http://bit.ly/1bECeUv #bullying #cyberbully

    Childhood adversity linked2psychiatric disorders via cellular changes e.g. telomere shortening (also assoc w/ ageing) http://bit.ly/1EqMaJO

    correlation between weaker working memory&the likelihood that a teen would have..unprotected sex – at a younger age” http://n.pr/1FnvFMG

    Cunning analysis of very premature baby EEG data “correlated significantly w/ child’s cognitive development at age2”: http://bit.ly/1SAoDOY

    Differences between 1st-borns & “later-borns” are so small that they have no practical relevance to people’s lives”: http://bit.ly/1CIRNHa

    Do you routinely give your infant a smartphone or tablet to play with to keep them occupied? If so, think again: http://bit.ly/169vVF0

    Exciting to think that in the future teens at risk of psychosis might be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs: http://bit.ly/1yg4SSq

    first study suggesting that a mother’s education affects her child at cellular level from birth http://bit.ly/1jNA9Jo

    fMRI evidence suggests:“When kids are hearing stories,they’re imagining in their mind’s eye when they hear the story” http://nyti.ms/1IYUBx5

    From mother to daughter – emotional inheritance http://bit.ly/1NDdEOH

    Give kids more opportunities for unstructured play at school and it may well lead to all sorts of benefits: http://n.pr/1JSbeLE

    Given impacts on brains&impulsivity,might drinking booze whilst pregnant contribute to our overflowing prison system? http://bbc.in/1K92wwK

    Great resources to help teach kids about the human brain: http://bit.ly/1NBcIxV

    How to best build babies’ brains? http://bit.ly/1LTAdyk or just don’t worry too much / give them plenty of emotional support / stimulation

    I’d almost certainly have been diagnosed as ADHD (had it been invented when I was at school) so I love “Squirm2Learn” http://bit.ly/1O7JGso

    If more infants played regularly w/ building blocks,spatial cognition boost might bolster interest in STEM subjects! http://bit.ly/1v8XCtK

    In adolescents with bipolar disorder, key areas of the brain that help regulate emotions develop differently” http://bit.ly/1J8khvP

    Japanese rat study suggest that balance of omega-3 vs omega-6 is key to ensuring healthy foetal brain growth: http://bit.ly/1WmOWJf

    more you read to your child the more you help the neurons in this region to grow and connect: http://cnn.it/1g8PimZ

    Neuroscientist’s Survival Guide To Raising Adolescents and Young Children – sounds like a good read:   http://bit.ly/1AIf32V #SYKBO

    Persistent nightmares aged 2-9 predict higher incidence of psychotic episodes aged 18: http://bit.ly/1Pv6rY1

    Premature baby brains: “immature,fragile blood vessels struggle2provide tissue with enough oxygen4normal development” http://bit.ly/16ufGDA


    Pet lovers – this one’s for you… Having a pet is good for the health of your brain. Here are some reasons why: http://bit.ly/1DTONnt

    70yr study focuses on “how lifetime experiences interact w/ genetics2determine individual’s risk4developing dementia” http://bit.ly/1K4GPhC

    Air Polution / Shrinking Brains… discuss! http://bit.ly/1Owd9g5

    All that daily spinach probably kept Popeye’s brain in very good nick; holding dementia at bay well into old age: http://bit.ly/19vKbK5

    As far as heart disease is concerned “trans” fats (margarine) are more dangerous than saturated fats (meat, dairy..): http://bit.ly/1P7XKOS

    Certain brain cancers grow faster if they are in a region of high as opposed to low activity: http://n.pr/1FiFS1O

    Cheesy but true… The pursuit of gratitude and compassion will make you happier than the pursuit of happiness”: http://youtu.be/GZZ0zpUQhBQ

    Cooling brains of head trauma patients might reduce blood pressure but leads to worse outcomes 6months after injury: http://bit.ly/1RvzsQB

    Craniotomy (trepanning) saves lives by reducing pressure on brain when people suffer brain injury – but is it safe? http://bit.ly/1zPSRSt

    Deep brain electrodes implanted in woman’s reward pathways in an effort to ameliorate her anorexia (oxford uni) http://bit.ly/1NyeajI

    Diabetes… Can play havoc with your brain: http://ti.me/1G7XGbo

    Does the National Academy of Sciences really call glioblastoma multiforme “the Terminator”? Anyway-now there is hope! http://bit.ly/1CGZDdf

    Does TV Rot Your Brain? – via Scientific American – http://bit.ly/1YVCsbk –

    From East to West diabetes is associated with increased cognitive impairment: http://bit.ly/1GwQRAI

    From the tiny Pacific Island of Guam to a potential treatment for neurodegeneration via cyanobacteria: http://bbc.in/1NmnQuL

    Get up&dance: “regular exercise, at least 5 days per week, is a way to sharpen our cognitive ability as young adults” http://bit.ly/1yJwAXR

    Great study investigates PTSD development in people required 2make serious decisions for relatives in intensive care: http://bit.ly/1JgtcKS

    Green Tea – fad or genuine “smart” drug? http://bit.ly/1CetNnX I’ve been reading up on green tea, so I wrote a blog about it.

    Have resisted posting this story cos I hate unnecessary scaremongering, but such white matter loss is worth noting: http://nyti.ms/1LuCg0h

    How much sugar is lurking in your cereal? Here are the top five worst offenders http://bit.ly/15OC3lZ #health

    Imagine being able to pack soldiers off to war with a vaccine that protects against Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder..! http://bit.ly/1LepsI5

    Mugabe effect revisited. How proteins found in young blood might rejuvenate old bodies and brains: http://bit.ly/1M2hhkr #SortYourBrainOut

    Omega-3 Shown to Reduce Antisocial, Aggressive Behavior in Kids http://buff.ly/1JUtYuO #psychology #feedly

    Protect your brain: http://ind.pn/1KjnpFj . #SortYourBrainOut

    Scary how much time some people spend watching telly – time better spent interacting with people: http://on.wsj.com/1MMU5FC #SortYourBrainOut

    Several brain illnesses all involve reduced grey matter in same areas, but why are dACC/bilat. insula so vulnerable?: http://bit.ly/1DIJA17

    Sitting is the new smoking: http://bit.ly/1KHFWvf Sofa sloths and couch potatoes are slowly but surely killing themselves…

    some studies have linked a regular fish habit over a lifetime to..lower risk of cognitive decline” http://n.pr/1EsRKQk #SortYourBrainOut

    Synopsis of Vagus Nerve stimulation treatment for various illnesses plus a great illustration of its meandering path http://bit.ly/1QEzR4B

    The debate over whether or not drug treatments for ADHD can “normalise the brain” http://nyti.ms/1z8nxwC

    These are some of the surest ways to preserve your brainpower, says @d_a_robson http://bbc.in/1hJorPI

    Treadmill desks lead to health benefits overall but for highly demanding cognitive tasks – better to step off: http://bit.ly/1QiSsTa

    Vid on new philosophy on how to be strong and flexible has the ring of truth to it: http://bit.ly/1iCg6gU

    What high blood pressure does to the brain, as revealed by MRI scanning that focuses on white matter tracts (DTI): http://bit.ly/1LCg5Ay

    subgenual prefrontal cortex broodiness assuaged – easy as a walk in the park: http://nyti.ms/1JxCmyl

    The case against e-readers: Why #reading paper books is better for your mind. http://oxford.ly/1ywWPkn by @justbluffing @washingtonpost


    Sponge-filled syringe that plugs gunshot wounds in seconds to be used by US ambulance crews http://wired.uk/yoeWEd

    A repository of recent, useful, high quality, brain research news articles (categorised by theme) at your disposal: http://bit.ly/1zyk8Oq

    All have same mean, variance, correlation, & regression line. Lesson: Always Visualize Data http://bit.ly/1y3MMju

    Also explore @KnowledgeCiv’s website for loads vids & articles http://www.the-knowledge.org

    Although an enormous amount of research has been done on the HIV virus, much is still unknown. http://bit.ly/1AjT9jK

    BBC Radio 4’s Animated Short – No.9 Buddhism’s Four Noble Truths – narrated by Stephen Fry, is ace! http://itun.es/i6L77Ck @GCweirdscience

    Best medical images of the year: a mesmerising nano-world where science becomes art http://bit.ly/1Aa4hR5 #2015wia

    Brain surgery for beginners @GCweirdscience https://instagram.com/p/491ygGjLEN/

    Can you grow a human bone outside the human body? The answer may soon be yes! http://ow.ly/ONtem

    combined action of2naturally-occurring hormones can trigger..conversion of..white fat2brown..which is easier2burn off http://ab.co/1yrPiTZ

    Gastrophysics is changing the way we understand food http://wp.me/p5ozmk-q via @DomNicholls

    GIF (1987) and ZIP (1989) must be some of the oldest file formats that we use every day.

    Greenland is basically a great lie MT @flashboy: How map projections are weird http://thetruesize.com

    Huge prehistoric monument found near Stonehenge http://on.mash.to/1VItZIz

    I like memes – this one deserves particular attention due to it’s cultural multiplicity! (Spanish, Arabic & Ukranian) http://bbc.in/1LwUOOp

    If only there were always a dolphin to fetch your phone when you drop it into the lagoon http://on.mash.to/1FEzJ2z

    If viruses never existed, neither would you “8% of our genetic material is made up of absorbed forms of retroviruses” http://bit.ly/1KXJmZe

    Imagine how it would feel to discover that your embryonic twin had been hitching a ride in your brain for 26 years!!: http://huff.to/1Gik6wA

    Interesting that murderous neuroscience student chose2research topics that could shed light on his own brain errors: http://yhoo.it/1EexQ89

    It often occurred to me during my PhD that without excellent maths I’d never be a great neuro researcher – here’s why http://bit.ly/1h05PKl

    Just press play” to watch living standards rise around the world over time. http://buff.ly/1Mm2VYm #progress

    Nearly two-thirds of Earth’s minerals were created by life http://to.pbs.org/1W5f37d

    Neural waves: http://bit.ly/1ntn5ew

    Now I’ve heard it all! Ayahuasca (S.American psychedelic) may promote growth of pancreatic BetaCells (cure4diabetes?) http://bit.ly/1BxkeUe

    Offspring of Inside Out, this one imagines a brain’s inner stakeholder meeting as it struggles through a typical day: http://nyr.kr/1gPCi69

    Oslo will be completely car-free by 2019 http://wired.uk/aLSeZ3

    Podcasting is perfect for people with big ideas. Here’s how to do it http://gu.com/p/4fy7b/stw #HE #SciComms

    Protect Your Cat With a Suit of Armor – http://bit.ly/1BUDmgb

    This extreme slow motion of a paint-covered drill is mesmerising http://on.mash.to/20eepa4

    Understanding the human brain – the story so far… http://bit.ly/1Su85bN

    Wake up & smell the @Neuro_Skeptic – Is Your Brain Really Necessary? [revisited]: http://bit.ly/1U1O0ce

    Why do we hate waiting in some queues more than others… even if they’re the same length? http://bbc.in/1LOgHTF

    Why people leave their bodies to medical research – and what happens http://gu.com/p/466b3/stw

    Brain speedometer discovered: http://bit.ly/1K8WFVF

    Nobel Prizes in Science for 2015 done and dusted. Catch up on all three here: http://bit.ly/NobelSci2015

    Numbers processed in both brain hemisphere’s not just the right as previously thought: http://bit.ly/23u9DYm


    “obese teens are especially vulnerable to…brand seduction” http://onforb.es/1LBAx5P

    “overeating..partially a matter of our fullness meters being unknowingly broken by the abundance of fat in out diets” http://bit.ly/1NNYGqW

    “you eat to get rid of the unpleasant feeling of hunger” – relevant neurons to target for obesity therapy established http://nbcnews.to/1zg21gt

    Don’t usually post worm articles but this one on dopamine circuits for increasing appetite for risk is mind-boggling: http://bit.ly/1aQxg71

    Eat yourself happy: http://bit.ly/1OAgAjQ

    FOOD PORN – why do people obsess over taking beautiful photos of every single delicious meal that is set before them? http://theatln.tc/1HnJLCR

    Food provides less pleasure (less reward activation) when consumed late vs early -> eat more at night2feel satisfied http://bit.ly/1JtdVUm

    Food-related reward processing in obese brains assoc w/ “neural changes similar 2 those found in substance addiction” http://wb.md/1fUUgTM

    Great NYT blog concisely explaining the “effect of stress on food choices/brain responses” study: http://nyti.ms/1UUW2UO #SortYourBrainOut

    High fat and high sugar diets may lead to loss of cognitive flexibility: http://bit.ly/1Rss6Mb

    How does gastric bypass change people’s taste for sugary and fatty foods? #obesity #RYGB #WLS http://tinyurl.com/ppz748a via @BariatricNews

    Impact of food porn” on your poor defenceless brain by @Psych_Writer http://sciof.us/1jyKb1J

    individualised medicine coming soon? “same food would cause huge sugar spikes in some people…tiny blips in others” http://theatln.tc/1HbCsRJ

    infusion of oleic acid..in the brain ‘triggers’..signal from the hypothalamus 2 the liver 2 lower its fat secretion” http://bit.ly/1Bn2lVi

    Investigating how stimulating obese kids with scent of tasty food impacts brain areas associated with impulsiveness http://bit.ly/1OduYz0

    Keeping food visible throughout the house is linked to obesity: Low self-esteem also identif… http://bit.ly/1Et96t9 #psychology #news

    Knowing You’re Overweight May Lead to Further Weight Gain: http://neurosciencenews.com/obesity-weight-gain-psychology-2386/ … #psychology

    MILK+BRAINS: http://bit.ly/1BPzpVu It just makes me happy to know NHS Choices are always there to rain clarity down upon the sensationalism

    MSG/umami – is probably not too bad for us after all & it may even help stimulate a healthy appetite in the elderly: http://bit.ly/1ykIrrU

    New fMRI study examines brain mechanisms involved when control over impulse to eat tasty snacks is reduced by stress: http://reut.rs/1IYBdWe

    Our favourite foods are not the ticking time bomb we’ve been led to believe (even bacon) http://bbc.in/1GAKG5G

    Poor diet assoc. w/ accelerated shrinkage of hippocampus in humans for 1st time (animal studies showed this earlier): http://ab.co/1VRyDnS

    The basis of a “sweet tooth” is…… the liver! (and its FGF21 production) http://bit.ly/1OfLhet

    This guy thinks we could curb overeating by eating more delicious food. I’m skeptical, but…I volunteer anyway. 🙂 http://ow.ly/T6gxA

    Unravelling the mechanisms by which brains interact with body fat via hormones to generate stress-eating behaviours: http://yhoo.it/1eFYCgY

    Volunteers consume 6000 calories/day to induce insulin-resistance (in just 2days!) in study to investigate mechanisms http://bit.ly/1L3YANy

    Why does food taste different on planes? http://bbc.in/1EM6q8L

    Why is late night snacking so tempting? Find out NOW! #GeekChicPodcast http://bit.ly/1IoavW3

    Our #POSTnote on Novel Food Production http://bit.ly/1e8HnWr Insects for dinner anyone?


    11 Odd Facts About ‘Magic’ Mushrooms http://www.livescience.com/48704-odd-facts-about-magic-mushrooms.html …

    2 for the price of 1: Could this be the drug breakthrough we’ve all been waiting for? Targeting mis-folded proteins.. http://bit.ly/1fhzZIi

    Aversive memories dependent on cannabinoid receptors in habenula – perhaps accounting for paranoia assoc w/ high THC? http://bit.ly/1P1k5QE

    Brain in a dish” technology could save time, money & millions of animal lives when it comes to screening new drugs: http://bit.ly/1LF1M2C

    Clever way of using anti-insomnia drugs so that they are effective for longer, w/ fewer side effects & less addiction http://bit.ly/1KVlVPL

    Contraceptive pill associated with thinning of specific brain areas possibly accounting for emotional side effects: http://ind.pn/1FS6qmE

    Death by deliberate caffeine overdose: 258 empty blister packs (200 mg/tablet) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4337497/ … over 50 grams of caffeine!

    diabetes patients who took Viagra for erectile dysfunction had fewer symptoms of peripheral neuropathy”: http://bit.ly/1Cs3Doi

    Does a fry-up really help a hangover? @d_a_robson explores http://bbc.in/1OvQdb5

    doses required to achieve..same anesthetic state in older patients can be..half what is needed for younger patients http://bit.ly/1J8wPSV

    Drinking the pain away? Those who work longer hours tend to drink more booze: http://bit.ly/1yj9Pd3

    Good to try&account for effects tobacco separately from cannabis but a smaller hippo correlating with better memory?! http://bit.ly/1LlpoHw

    Have we reached peak coffee? Climate change is threatening the source of our caffeine fix http://bbc.in/1DOcFaT

    I’ve never ever heard MDMA referred to as “Molly”..so ..here’s an interesting article on the brain effects of “Mandy” http://bit.ly/1C4cnRA

    Insights into the experiences of the world’s only psychiatrist allowed to prescribe LSD for therapeutic purposes: http://bit.ly/1kXAZUN

    Lancet study evaluating 24yrs of data concludes that legalizing cannabis does NOT lead to increase use in teens: http://bit.ly/1R3KACq

    Medics do it, school kids do it, even educated silicon valley entrepreneurs do it… Nootropics are all over the place: http://bit.ly/1CvySzq

    More intrinsic brain connectivity means more anaesthetic required to knock you out: http://bbc.in/1RJMqhe

    Poorly thought through legislation will yet again hamper research into new therapeutic uses for psychoactive drugs: http://bit.ly/1HWjJGc

    Runners high more to do with endocannabinoids than endorphins: http://bit.ly/1NsVg0F (i.e. more cannabis-like than opium-like so to speak)

    Smoking lots of skunk (v strong weed) seems to knacker the bundle of cables that connects L/R halves of the brain: http://bit.ly/1jmrUne

    St John’s Wort -why you shouldn’t mix prescription drugs with alternative medicines willy nilly (ask your doctor 1st) http://bit.ly/1GO0jku

    Still drinking too much booze? Might be time to get married… http://bit.ly/1IDscLX

    The chemistry secrets behind the perfect cup of #coffee | Andy Brunning http://gu.com/p/4dh5q/stw

    The pleasure of sex, drugs AND rock n roll all seems to depend upon the old opiods: http://bit.ly/1OTxqI0

    Until cannabis is legalised, users will risk brain damage | Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett http://gu.com/p/4etc2/stw

    Ultra detailed site for caffeine geeks http://www.caffeineinformer.com/ via @SamOltman @danielas_bot

    Are you a tea or a coffee person? What do you think it says about your philosophical outlook? http://bbc.in/1eaQ6XH


    5 arguments backing the importance of complex carbs consumption in driving evolution of our over-sized brains: http://bit.ly/1IQToeG

    Ancient Ancestor of Humans With Tiny Brains http://dlvr.it/C6TspH

    Brain folding arises “not from subtle developmental processes.. but rather from the same simple physical process”: http://bit.ly/1RVUBSH

    Check out how dolphin brains compare to human brains in terms of the complexity of the ridges and folds of the cortex

    Choroid plexus cells are the center of activity between brain & immune – determining what enters the brain http://bit.ly/1iqZRTm #brain

    Forget 1.5T, Cardiff Uni to get 7T MRI scanner & world’s 2nd Connectom3T MRI to trace brain’s white matter highways: http://bbc.in/1DuntL7

    Functional anatomy of interhemispheric cortical connections in the human brain http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2100336/ …

    Glia are no longer considered to be “just” support cells; they’re critical in various aspects of neuroplasticity too http://bit.ly/1QpDUR0

    Human brain evolution with tennis ball scale to depict size – 8-balling ain’t bad – but neanderthals were 9-balling! http://bit.ly/1KIYqNh

    IBM neuroscientist proposes interesting hypothesis to explain why the human brain consumes so much energy at rest http://bit.ly/1Ph5LG1

    If injectable webbing isn’t futuristic enough for you, how about using 20 billion nanoparticles to measure the brain? http://bit.ly/1IrZZdR

    In the search for better measures of brain cell activity: “activated neurons swell due to the massive entry of water” http://bit.ly/1geMepy

    Injecting microbubbles into bloodstream enables 3D pic of rat brain to be constructed from 5000 coarse images / sec: http://bbc.in/1Nf76tT

    Is your brain a quantum orchestra? A question usually posed by crackpots. But this guy seems very cogent: http://huff.to/1LZ2GHB Just maybe…

    It is now possible to predict a person’s “genetic ancestry based on the geometry of their cerebral cortex” http://bit.ly/1SiEaA6

    Living without a cerebellum provides clues to what the cerebellum actually does: http://n.pr/1DrRGim

    Looking at brain circuitry in intimate fine detail reveals some surprises re: how one neuron is wired up to others.. http://bit.ly/1GbbtVu

    Micro-map of hippocampus lends big hand to brain research http://bit.ly/1leNeNj

    New maths helps unravel fundamental organisation of brain areas, even for neurons whose functions remain a mystery: http://bit.ly/1hQaXAQ

    New technique for preparing brain for study with electron microscopes reveals it’s not as squished as we 1st thought: http://bit.ly/1L2fLxk

    Project to find consensus on how many different types of neuron there are likely to get scientists’ axons in a twist: http://bit.ly/1CsjakT

    Protein imaging reveals detailed brain architecture: http://bit.ly/1NJEF9H

    Radio Thalamus – broadcasting to the rest of your brain on multiple frequencies: http://stan.md/1RdVzxM

    Retracing white matter pathways likely to have been severed in most famous cases of brain damage (HM, “Tan”, Phineas) http://bit.ly/1UwsDOA

    The Candy Anatomy project http://bit.ly/1HVfE7a

    World’s first deep brain microscope can magnify structures deep within a living brain: http://bit.ly/1IyGt09


    19 patients’ medial temporal lobe recordings during REMsleep suggests eye movements = ‘moving onto..next dream frame’ http://bbc.in/1hx3nvw

    Analysis of Crocodile behaviour suggests that – like dolphins – they sleep half their brain at a time: http://bit.ly/1jVNPlY

    Brain scanning study identifies mechanism that could account for why we react more emotionally when sleep deprived: http://bit.ly/1Fv9pro

    Further from recent talk at #EphMRA in Amsterdam.. more on the relationship between work strain & sleep disturbances: http://bit.ly/1It3lPH

    Getting plenty of sleep in ur young-adult&middle-age yes..can actually boost mental health&lessen chance of disease http://fxn.ws/15ORyKN

    high spindle activity helps sleepers resist waking/low spindle activity predicts development of insomnia post-stress: http://bit.ly/1GsmZXW

    Histamine & GABA – two neurotransmitters fighting it out over how awake & energised you should feel: http://bit.ly/1MUyfQa

    Insomnia and the brain: http://bit.ly/1Trnn1L

    New research suggests that,when sleep deprived,little pockets of your brain really do go into slow wave “sleep” mode http://bit.ly/1PrwLAw

    Poor sleep quality in elderly people associated w/ hardening of brain’s arteries http://bit.ly/1RSamx3 (brains were examined after death)

    Short sleepers may catch more colds http://nyti.ms/1JQrQlQ @nytimes

    Side sleeping double bubble – not only does it prevent snoring but it even facilitates toxin removal from the brain: http://bit.ly/1KTB2fe

    SLEEP CLEANS YOUR BRAIN: http://bit.ly/1e3Khf8 If you want your brain to serve you well… give it the sleep it needs!! #SortYourBrainOut

    Sleep deprivation dulls our ability2accurately read facial expressions: http://bit.ly/1J02lCQ (should we encourage CU kids2get more sleep?)

    Sleep is incredibly important for your brain, so why don’t you stop (compulsively) using your smartphone at bedtime?! http://bit.ly/1FaGlFl

    Sleep is vital for memory; we all know that. The mechanisms at play,however,are only just unfolding http://bit.ly/1JPNdc7 #SortYourBrainOut

    Small study indicates that obstructive sleep apnoea (blocked airways during sleep) might damage blood brain barrier: http://bit.ly/1JJGMXl

    Study links healthy sleep duration to less sick time from work http://www.psypost.org/?p=27851

    The six strangest sleep studies ever performed at http://ift.tt/1UWkqnb

    Time to get nap happy: http://bit.ly/1ha3I7u Napping good for brains but don’t go over 20mins & try to do it on the regs #SortYourBrainOut

    What happens in your brain when you sleep and which bits see the greatest change: http://bit.ly/1GL3snR #SORTYOURBRAINOUT

    When it comes to sleeping we get an awful lot done in a comparatively short space of time http://bit.ly/1QN7eCb

    Why a good night’s sleep helps memory – Melvyn Bragg explores circadian rhythms #inourtime http://bbc.in/1T3rxdZ

    Why you shouldn’t wear “not needing much sleep” like a badge of honour: http://bit.ly/1MR29HO

    Your brain flushes out neurotoxins as you sleep: http://bit.ly/1dOb91R #SortYourBrainOut #GetMoreSleep @polarbearpirate


    “..predictions about how participants made social judgements by gauging activity in..dorsomedial prefrontal cortex” http://onforb.es/1BzZ7yR

    ~1yr old babies appear to have more sophisticated grasp of the rules of social interactions than previously thought: http://bit.ly/1D65PQz

    A Scientific Theory of Humour http://bit.ly/201hjSF

    An Invisible” Body Could Reduce Your Society Anxiety http://ift.tt/1EJHnYr

    Another “neurological footprint of gratitude” – this time with long term benefits: http://sciof.us/1Ry70iD

    BEWARE: Loneliness kills… http://bit.ly/1ByIDc4

    Brain areas involved in empathising with others’ pain are not activated when person in question has outclassed us: http://sciof.us/20yP3oc

    Brains and blame: http://bit.ly/1NBJXxG

    Excess serotonin in amygdala implicated in studies of social phobia (shame it’s been treating with SSRIs up ’til now) http://wb.md/1JZAWCe

    Feeling cold is contagious: http://bit.ly/1AYPD3H

    Friendships keep you healthy http://bit.ly/1O3ix7i

    How dark is your personality? Put your Machiavellianism to the test in our quiz http://bbc.in/1NrT7Bf

    Human brain area specifically sensitive to moving faces confirmed in non-human monkey using fMRI: http://bit.ly/1DtmWwO

    Humans are wired for cooperation as much as for competition. Via research @Stanford by primatologist Robert Sapolsky http://buff.ly/1Qg3qGZ

    I concur re: specific features of medium used to find a date fundamentally influences how people engage with them http://ow.ly/VmjAb

    I feel your pain (with the same brain networks that generate my own feelings of pain): http://bit.ly/1LZGnwY

    Importance of striking the right tone: “brain detects & assesses confidence in another’s voice in as littles as 0.2s” http://onforb.es/1yvGGts

    Octopi are misunderstood: They’re surprisingly social animals, study finds http://on.mash.to/1PF2AC1

    Researchers are still working out the nuances of #oxytocin in the brain, http://bit.ly/1LrNXDR

    When you move in synchrony with another person, your brain starts to blur its sense of self http://bbc.in/1Wd1a7i

    When You Think Your Brain Is Doing Nothing, It’s Really Getting You Ready To Socialize http://onforb.es/1JkByjQ


    Prof Wang “created a camera that shoots at 100Bn frames/sec,fast enough2freeze an object traveling at speed of light” http://n.pr/1fz8tG4

    “..it looks like he & Jessie J are interacting & singing together this is not actually the case” http://bbc.in/1J8Lu1n #welcometothefuture

    21st Century Falconry; amazing autopilot camera drone hovers overhead to capture ultimate in action sports narcissism http://bit.ly/1EDKsTi

    A Visual Introduction to #MachineLearning, with examples: http://bit.ly/207c55s #abdsc #BigData #DataScience

    Acoustic levitation! – How cool is this?! http://youtu.be/669AcEBpdsY

    Designer brain circuits drawn in thin air using 3D pen with “ink” containing immature neurons PHENOMENAL: http://bit.ly/1EmFYBM via @mocost

    Disney’s robot car uses propellers to climb walls http://wired.uk/qHWz2C

    Ehang says it has built a drone you can ride inside #CES2016 http://wired.uk/mLgW8B

    Forget wires. You can use Wi-Fi to power your gadgets at home http://ow.ly/NKYXs

    Get ready for Li-Fi, a technology 100 times faster than Wi-Fi: http://on.mash.to/1IeBiVM

    In 1963, a French engineer built a hovercraft on rails. http://on.mash.to/20hxrfA

    Intelligent food factory robots perform dazzling movements and expert feats of coordination http://bbc.in/1CUmORI

    L’Oreal is 3D printing human skin tissue in order to test cosmetics http://wired.uk/wEKkEs

    Meet the neurosurgeon who uses a 3D printer before operating http://wired.uk/xneHZk

    Organ-On-Chip wins prestigious Design Museum award and could revolutionise future development of pharmaceutical drugs http://ind.pn/1LqZi89

    releases of a virtual reality film for Oculus and Samsung Gear VR http://on.mash.to/1MCjuzo

    Scrap over Onewheel/Surfing Electric Scooter patent infringement results in firm setting US marshals on rival at CES http://bbc.in/1O8kf7s

    Smart knife: http://bbc.in/1KvpH4k

    Smart shoe devices generate power from walking http://ow.ly/I4hyC

    The DJI Phantom 3 Standard is the drone you’re looking for: http://on.mash.to/1M43rAE

    This braille watch enables blind people to read their smartphones! http://bit.ly/1SJa6Ol


    Twin study (males, mid-30’s) indicates that exercising more regularly increases grey matter volume (in PFC/striatum): http://huff.to/1c60ijl

    What is Cognitive #Enhancement? https://www.academia.edu/10090218/What_is_Cognitive_Enhancement … via @academia

    “We think leg strength is a marker of the kind of physical activity that is good for your brain” Claire Steves, KCL http://bbc.in/1Y1oLsx

    10 perfectly reasonable tips on how to improve your brain function: http://bit.ly/1AKmKEf #SortYourBrainOut @polarbearpirate

    15 mins daily mediation will keep those newly formed connections strong and those unhelpful ones of the past at bay” http://bit.ly/17Vlpmy

    5 (not-particularly-unique-but-nonetheless-relevant) ways to keep your brain in shape;for anyone keen2age gracefully http://huff.to/1NEY87d

    BBC reporter suspects brain training might work after being cognitively trounced by one of Kawashima’s octogenarians http://bbc.in/1JEfwqs

    Born to run – incentivised by hedonistic chemical release – if only we’d get up off our arses&find out for ourselves: http://bit.ly/1LTnVpy

    Brain training improves memory and performance of everyday tasks in older people: Playing on… http://bit.ly/1Hpg1TM #psychology #news

    Brain training studies are finally getting their act together… http://bit.ly/1PrgF9I

    Brain Twisters anyone? There are some classics in this selection: http://bit.ly/1KU9Z26

    Differences in MRI brain activations induced by talking a walk in the park vs along a busy road: http://wapo.st/1U3UVCU

    I wrote a blog about the Runner’s High & the brain benefits of regular exercise, hope you like it: http://bit.ly/1Lkrp5y #SortYourBrainOut

    If you can bare the lame title/slightly cheesy writing style – these 5 tips to “improve brain growth” are not untrue: http://bit.ly/1R2JlJd

    Immersive, exploratory, problem solving video games can boost memory beyond world of game itself: http://for.tn/1M2ZzJm #SortYourBrainOut

    Now that you’re all gonna have to ditch your rubbish brain drinks here’s some real brain foods that may benefit you: http://bit.ly/1BQU7d7

    Omega-3 can now be made from algae, not overfished sardines http://wired.uk/pXUC8z

    Reminder of some of the many simple lifestyle tweaks that can keep your brain in shape: http://entm.ag/1Nr23H2 #SortYourBrainOut

    We knew exercise increase rate at which new brain cells are born.Now it seems to have +’ve functional consequences:) http://bit.ly/1QKb7cp

    What goes on in the brains of generous, giving people? http://bit.ly/1N4PQJ2 #SortYourBrainOut


    AlzCycle? Ageing compromises Blood Brain Barrier – interfering w/ beta-amyloid removal which further compromises BBB: http://bit.ly/1Gpny4U

    Alzheimer’s spares brain’s music regions: http://bit.ly/1FWCDtA

    Amyloid plaques might be screwing with the brain’s blood supply in Alzheimer’s disease: http://bit.ly/1QFsLhf

    Beware of using over-the-counter anti-cholinergic drugs long term, it might accelerate brain decline into Alzheimer’s http://bit.ly/1CIJ2u3

    Chemicals plants make “to ward off pests stimulate nerve cells in ways that may protect..brain against..Alz’s&Park’s” http://bit.ly/1Lft1Qk

    Could proliferation of microglia really be the main cause of Alzheimer’s disease symptoms? http://bbc.in/1mHhZv9

    Detecting Alzheimer’s with computerised voice analysis is surprisingly accurate (82% hit rate) http://bit.ly/1ORZgpp

    Direct evidence linking brain injury from bangs-on-head to development of protein pre-cursor of Alz (misshapen tau): http://bit.ly/1O6ZQ0O

    Earlier this week Alzheimer’s from leaky brain blood vessels, now depression from overactive inflammatory response: http://bit.ly/1y9gx36

    Experimental treatment uses ultrasound to break up amyloid plaques of Alzheimer’s: http://cbsn.ws/1BAaEBa – but will that improve anything??

    High iron levels in brain may accelerate development of Alzheimer’s (as 1st indicated in clinical trial decades ago) http://bit.ly/1KjjqZq

    How brain fires (fMRI) whilst navigating a virtual environment may predict risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease http://bit.ly/1W8gzJG

    Insulin nasal spray shows promise as treatment for adults with dementia and Alzheimer’s http://www.psypost.org/?p=30657

    Interesting Alzheimer’s blog on study that measured decrease in rate of beta-amyloid removal aged 80 vs those in 30’s http://bit.ly/1W11OFQ

    Might we become a little less cavalier with our eating habits if we accept insulin resistance speeds us towards AD? http://bit.ly/1MvV5kc

    One town in Columbia has the highest density of early onset Alzheimer’s in the world, now we know who’s to blame: http://bit.ly/1HcAssD

    Research trying to untangling the link between diabetes & dementia finds increased tau protein in those with type II: http://bit.ly/1N58aQv

    Traces of fungus discovered in the brains of Alzheimer’s sufferers raise the question of infectious origin http://bit.ly/1jrzC0f #brain

    Women appear to be more vulnerable to Alzheimer’s than men http://n.pr/1HPbLN0


    Fascinating new clues about how brains integrate current experiences with memories of previous experiences: http://bit.ly/1Qs3FAh

    How does the brain’s memory system work?

    Humans file away trivial sights & sounds just in case they’re useful later. Who knew? http://nyti.ms/1CBJLdP @bencareynyt

    Imagine getting lost in your own house http://theatln.tc/1ESOXcN ..that’s what happens when the hippocampus & prefrontal cortex aren’t synch’ed

    Its mind-blowing to think that every human brain potentially has a memory capacity equivalent to the world wide web! http://onforb.es/1SLJpwF

    Keeping your memory banks organised, efficient & clutter free. Brain deletes memories that have low predictive power: http://bit.ly/1DPFftF

    Memory: “an adaptive process, continually updating itself according to what knowledge may be important in the future” http://nyti.ms/1CgE9rU

    Novel theory about how brains store long term memories (and why we recall so little of the first few months of life) http://bit.ly/1O2DZpR

    Phenomenal research in humans aims to bypass damaged areas of hippocampus to turn short-term memories into long-term: http://bit.ly/1h9coKk

    Repeated remembering now thought to *actively* wipe similar memories in effort to keep most recent ones clutter-free: http://bbc.in/1BQiAyy

    Resting brain connectivity differs according to how strong your autobiographical memory is http://bit.ly/1NfMIYz

    Short-term memory – like writing your name with a sparkler http://bit.ly/1YbsdSp

    Sniffing rosemary improves memory (&lavender makes it worse) Statistically significant results from Northumbria Uni: http://bbc.in/1K5WZ7E

    Some people can remember everything, says @d_a_robson, and it’s a blessing and a curse http://bbc.in/1lNxLTV

    The ability to forget is arguably as important as the ability to remember: http://bit.ly/1Rz5VaH

    The brain forgets in order to conserve energy http://bit.ly/208ylvL

    Watching the human hippocampus make new memories and perform pattern completion: http://bbc.in/1CiveJd #neuroscience

    What goes on in the brain of a super-memoriser versus untrained (mere mortal) brains like yours and mine? http://bit.ly/1MGuSjB

    Where did I put those 30kg dumbbells?” Anabolic steroid use among body builders is associated with memory problems: http://bit.ly/1HfzDLS


    ..depressed feelings & lots of time on Facebook & comparing oneself to others tend to go hand in hand” Steers M.-L.: http://bit.ly/1NQ6Eis

    “People hospitalised 4 anorexia [show greater activation of dorsal striatum] while making decisions between..foods” http://reut.rs/1Lnzmsc

    $217 million says time is right for Genetech neuro-heavyweights to branch off and tackle Alzheimer’s / Parkinson’s: http://onforb.es/1Fghc9V

    1/5 of the Chinese population suffers from a neurological disorder,” Nancy Ip – Hong Kong University of Sci&Tech: http://bit.ly/1Jvvsvq

    1st:new arthritis drug that could slow cognitive decline http://bit.ly/Wq88MT Now:similar hope 4 anti-asthma drug http://bit.ly/1OuQ8Zc

    Brains of psychopaths have reduced grey/white matter in areas implicated in empathy and don’t learn from punishment: http://bit.ly/1v2uMLt

    hyperconnectivity between thalamus&sensory areas of the brain” seems to precede development of full blown psychosis: http://wb.md/1Tx20J7

    Neurosurgeon Emad Eskandar Thinks He Can Cure Complex Psychiatric Disorders Using Implanted Electrodes | MIT Techno http://ow.ly/T9Fda

    New research investigating causes of Seasonal Affective Disorder points to dorsal raphe nucleus (brain serotonin hub) http://bit.ly/1E1VTUi

    Retinal neurodegeneration may be associated w early signs of frontotemporal dementia (FTD) http://ow.ly/HzpGw and http://bit.ly/1J3r6Kg

    Science finally starting to understand why autistic brains have more/less brain cells&different connectivity pattern http://bit.ly/1P2Wq11

    Study shows that ‘testosterone can help people with social anxiety’ http://bit.ly/1Wa1h3F

    Trying to gain a better understanding of the suicidal brain: http://bit.ly/1IPj9ZQ

    Two different fear pathways in the brain? … with implications for post-traumatic stress disorder: http://bit.ly/1yDotfE

    Victims of childhood bullying AND the bullies themselves have increased incidence of adult mental health issues http://bit.ly/1lSywLM

    Weak link between month of birth and dementia risk uncovered in data analysis of 150,000 German medical records: http://bit.ly/1RFcnv1

    Ever suspected someone you know of being psychopathic? Simply yawn in front of them x100 & see if they ever yawn back http://bit.ly/1Lm2n7i

    A window into what it’s like to work with neurologically compromised individuals: http://bit.ly/1X0Gtzp


    “single most important lesson my colleagues & I have learned is that you can literally change people’s brains..” AMEN http://bit.ly/19b4dIZ

    “Brains are as unique as snowflakes” – @davideagleman http://bit.ly/1gJqYYJ

    “Fairness seems a bit like air – its absence is a lot more noticeable than its presence” from SOCIAL by Matthew D Lieberman @social_brains

    “It is easier to ship recipes than cakes and biscuits” John Maynard Keynes

    “Just as kidneys produce urine, the brain produces mind” Jacob Moleschott (1822-1893) via Dick Swaab in We Are Our Brains

    “Making milk is a costly process-mums quite literally liquify their own bodies to churn out this fluid” Ed Yong http://bit.ly/1GKDyk4

    “Science must be put first. These data are not scientific, they’re not evidence-based & this is a bad law” Prof Nutt, Daily Politics, BBC2

    “The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient while nature cures the disease” Voltaire (1694-1778) via Swaab (2014)

    “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven” Milton

    “The mind of the bigot is like the pupil of the eye; the more light you pour upon it, the more it will contract” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

    “There’s increasing evidence that what’s good for the heart is also good for the brain” Prof Manson, Harvard Uni: http://n.pr/1JcF2Fd

    “We are pulled by many currents, but it is the people we swim with who make us who we are” Michael Bond (2015)

    Give a man a fire and he’s warm for a day, but set fire to him and he’s warm for the rest of his life.” – Terry Pratchett

    He who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals” I. Kant

    Hippocrates:”Proper exercise & nourishment, not too little or too much, is safest way to good health”. Best sol’n for diabetes

    Kahneman on writing Thinking, Fast and Slow: ‘it was an acutely miserable experience’ #BX2015

    Life is a sexually transmitted disease that is invariably fatal” Mark Twain (who always cracks me up) via Dick Swaab in We Are Our Brains

    Vernon Mountcastle, Brain Explorer “no greater thrill in life than to make an original discovery,no matter how small” http://nyti.ms/15kV688


    Kiwi strategy for reducing prisoner re-offending factors in high incidence of traumatic brain injury in this pop’n: http://bit.ly/1T37omV

    People who suffer brain injuries tend to heal quicker if they get up and moving again as soon as they are able to: http://n.pr/1exDN7J

    People with damage to sagittal stratum don’t “get” sarcasm: http://bit.ly/1a5BVR2 FYI here is the sagittal stratum: http://bit.ly/1yd6jol

    People with past traumatic brain injury more likely to have ADHD than those who’ve never had a major bang on the head http://bit.ly/1NoqKVe

    Perhaps rugby medics should have telmisartan on touchline to suppress production of brain swelling-inducing protein?: http://bit.ly/1gFRbrd

    RWC2015 rugby players will be happy to hear MRI’s getting better at spotting brain micro-bleeds/prompting treatment: http://bit.ly/1KcAoGN

    Shape memory alloy implant designed2protect brain aneurysms before they burst (haemorrhage) goes into clinical trial http://bit.ly/1PN1Jnq

    Strategic cognitive training programme at Uni of Texas Centre for Brain Health boosts performance after brain injury: http://bit.ly/1JcbTd5

    Study tracking pro fighters for 5yrs shows greater brain shrinkage/compromised cognition in boxers vs martial artists http://bit.ly/1A6aQsy

    Two-minute flashcard test detects concussions in athletes http://nyti.ms/19bnviP

    Using Virtual Reality to investigate what networks are affected by brain trauma, establishing best course of therapy: http://bit.ly/1LZPgMl

    When a brain injury makes you forget how to read: http://bit.ly/1gzJ0gD – can you imagine having Alexia? Dunno what I’d do with myself…!

    100yrs later cause of ShellShock found:’distinctive honeycomb pattern of broken&swollen nerve fibres’in frontal brain http://ind.pn/154kuPs

    A scarily high proportion of US soldiers with Mild Traumatic Brain Injury show evidence of brain scars in MRI scans http://bit.ly/1ROUdJ1

    All in the dose…Carbon monoxide can be neuroprotective for subarachnoid haemorrhage (brain bleed) in small amounts: http://bit.ly/1RnISy1


    Ever experienced body parts seem to suddenly change size? Me neither.. but it’s called Alice In Wonderland Syndrome! http://theatln.tc/1EKgpNL

    Cool multisensory trick enables punters to feel like they’ve teleported out of the MRI scanner: http://bit.ly/1JX9cdF

    Human inferior frontal gyrus responsive to changes in sound patterns that monkey brains just don’t seem to register: http://bit.ly/1gRkmZ5

    I’ve never really thought of hearing as “vibration sensitivity” before, now I feel a greater kinship with bacteria: http://n.pr/1KFYVaK

    For Nick Johnson, losing his sense of smell was a bigger loss than he could ever have imagined http://bbc.in/1DJKq2o

    Limbic system reimagined: “you see (& hear & smell & taste) what you believe…believing is largely based on feeling” http://bit.ly/1Qp1ZW5

    Noradrenaline tunes&filters auditory cortex sensitivity in noisy environments to pick out” sounds from the clamour: http://bit.ly/1CtPfak

    Occipital face area is activated by visual perception of single features of face, Arcurio et al (2012), FFA is more interested in whole face

    Occipital lobes (back of head) enable you or I to see, yet process language by age of 5 in those blind from birth!: http://bit.ly/1gXMZDL

    Social media meme inspires serious scientific investigation into.. The Dress Effect (blue/black, white/gold or both?) http://ind.pn/1PocDks

    The Purpose of Our Eyes’ Strange Wiring Is Unveiled http://bit.ly/1FAm0XJ #science

    When it comes to writing well “there are things the ears pick up which the eyes don’t” – I couldn’t agree more: http://bit.ly/1H3P0a8

    Why scratching that itch feels so good: http://bit.ly/1KVaRDA

    Ever wondered if you have synaesthesia? University of Radboud, Netherlands have created an App so you can find out: http://bit.ly/1P24NKR

    For some people, chocolate smells pink and stripey – how radical is that?! http://bit.ly/1RJT2ca


    ..vocabulary skills, written and verbal, require many more years before they peak in our 60s and 70s..” http://onforb.es/1xrM1an

    Curiosity may kill cats but it might just help us humans to dodge age-related cognitive decline: http://bit.ly/1DjMj60 #SortYourBrainOut

    If you want to live to the grand old age of 100 then you’d better try and, er, keep your inflammation down… http://bit.ly/1NiUiQT

    Imagine eyedrops that can treat cataracts without surgery &protect against need for reading glasses in old age? Wow! http://bit.ly/1HEUQwS

    It might not feel like it but having more children actually seems2slow the ageing process (via telomere lengthening) http://bit.ly/1UIXqc3

    Keeping coffee intake steady appears 2b key in keeping mild cognitive impairment at bay for longer: http://onforb.es/1OOy8Hg #SortYourBrainOut

    Molecule implicated in old age memory loss identified, becomes drug target for halting age-related cognitive decline: http://bit.ly/1dKtg8x

    most physically active elderly volunteers..better oxygenation & healthier..brain activity than the more sedentary” http://nyti.ms/1L4BQbY

    Older people getting smarter, but not fitter-http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/08/150831144100.htm

    Twice weekly “light resistance training may also slow the age-related shrinking of some parts of our brains” http://nyti.ms/1hSTXK8

    What properly-controlled, clinical investigations into interventions trying2help elders improve cognition have found: http://nyti.ms/1K46RAW

    Who’d have thought that your blood type could affect your cognitive function in later life?! http://bit.ly/1uvLRNs

    Yet more evidence suggesting that playing music in youth protects brains against cognitive decline in later life: http://bit.ly/1z7rypG

    ..age-related cognitive decline seems to be mostly associated with loss of myelin rather than loss of neurons..” http://bit.ly/1GL2YfB


    “..that mammalian crying serves as a cue 4 maternal support rather than as a dinner bell,is a major evolutionary difference Lieberman(2015)

    Whilst language predominantly relies on left brain hemisphere for most, ancient whistling languages use both sides: http://bit.ly/1TRaa4w

    “The rise of audio-only narratives & why stories told in just the right way are so engaging to the human brain”: http://theatln.tc/1PRBSJO

    Dimensions are..encoded in..sound of..words kekere vs tobi – guess which means big/small in Yoruba language?! http://bit.ly/1LIn6nF

    Is it funny or sad that computers can now detect sarcasm in text yet whole nations of English native speakers cannot? http://bit.ly/1HBYYTn

    Linguistic analysis of email phrases that signal hierarchy in the workplace http://bit.ly/1MyM7l3

    Neurons in Broca’s area (just above left temple) become active when you read aloud, but also when you read silently: http://bit.ly/15EIMyY

    Never heard of “octopus cells” before – yet they might well lead to cochlear implants with better speech recognition: http://ab.co/1JZZcCu

    Pro motor mouths show less activity in Broca’s area reflecting “fact that they simply find speech less effortful” http://bit.ly/1Hzf1Po

    Resting brain connectivity between various language areas predict how quickly people will pick up a 2nd language http://bit.ly/1OF8naZ

    Some of the many brain benefits of speaking more than one language: http://bbc.in/1NsA21P

    Speech Quilts – they might not keep you warm at night but are helping us understand how brains process spoken words http://bit.ly/1Gr0FRB

    Talk to me: Humans and birds share language-producing brain structures http://bbc.in/1QJbX6B   (via @BBCEarth)

    Two words is all you need to hear to recognise a good friend or relative’s voice: http://bit.ly/1jgTmDh ..still 1 step ahead of AI…just!


    I wrote a blog on “brain benefits of mindfulness” based on a review of latest neuroscience studies -hope you like it! http://bit.ly/1iOdeNN

    mindfulness meditation has been linked with shrinkage 2 the amygdala..neural region involved in processing emotions” http://sciof.us/1L6tOnc

    Mindfulness meditation may make people more susceptible to false memories http://bit.ly/1JWddBS

    Mindfulness study to track effect of meditation on 7,000 teenagers http://gu.com/p/4ay58

    Mindfulness treatment as effective as CBT for depression and anxiety http://www.psypost.org/?p=29751

    Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy may reduce the demand for primary care visits http://thementalelf.net/?p=10069 #mhaw15 @ag2460

    Mindfulness-based stress reduction diminishes chemo brain http://ln.is/ift.tt/p4pzB #feedly

    How to do mindfulneess meditation: http://ti.me/1QOhZ6X .. if Steve Jobs found it stimulated his creativity, surely it’s worth your time

    I had no idea that a neuroscientist pioneered flotation tanks way back in the 1950’s: http://bit.ly/1K4aBDp

    Nice synopsis of brain benefits of meditation: http://onforb.es/1M6fP07 – inspires me to actually do some whilst on holiday later this month..

    TED-ed’s latest video “How stress affects your brain” & how exercise / meditation can reverse the damage: http://bit.ly/1OEgzwZ

    The Neuroscience of Meditation, and the Virtues of Just Shutting Up http://www.snsanalytics.com/1rliy3

    We think mindfulness could recalibrate the imbalance in the brain connections associated with childhood obesity” http://bit.ly/1PjVPvi

    Yoga and your brain: http://huff.to/1Fwmk5k


    The extraordinary tale of the neurosurgeon who hacked his own brain: http://bit.ly/1QpmF2e

    The Future Is Here – Paraplegic man walks again via EEG decoding brain’s intention to move -> relayed to leg muscles: http://bit.ly/1LaIKlT

    More on consumer brain-wearables: http://onforb.es/1JUcbqG

    Wanna upload your brain to evade death? It may be a trickier undertaking than you ever imagined: http://nyti.ms/1Pad017

    Wearing an EEG baseball cap to monitor fatigue/reduce accidents in dangerous jobs is a great idea -but does it work? http://bit.ly/1I8UaG0

    Will we soon be ditching remote controls for our brain machine interfaces to switch between shows on the BBC iPlayer? http://bit.ly/1H0gQa8

    Wireless brain-machine interface is a great stride forward in giving paralysed folks control over their environment: http://bit.ly/1DGHKRG

    Worrying surge in neurotechnology patents indicates intention2measure consumer brain openness to advertising on sly: http://yhoo.it/1QpDfib

    You have to ask whether you’d want to have invasive surgery to not have to press a button on a remote control” http://bit.ly/1PPpBrG

    Would you consider freezing your brain at death in hope that medicine would catch up with sci-fi&bring you back2life? http://nyti.ms/1gm7DNh

    Firing patterns in inferotemporal cortex perfectly match human visual object recognition in many different contexts: http://bit.ly/1KVZDxt

    Nice synopsis of research into electrical brain stimulation to help Alzheimer’s, memory, smokers, stroke repair&more: http://bit.ly/1YyHahz

    Hero or nutcase? US doc has electrodes he made himself implanted in his own brain to do research on thought decoding http://bit.ly/20GYVwn

    Using focused ultrasound & gas microbubbles to temporarily break blood brain barrier to help treat aggressive glioma http://bit.ly/1HqDNUv


    In case you missed it here’s a blog I wrote about books, podcasts & my appearance on BBC1 doing the Marshmellow Test: http://bit.ly/1xVucQw

    “..damage to the LOFC leads people to base their vote on simpler information, namely the candidate’s good looks” http://bit.ly/1FENtEm

    after making lots of insignificant decisions, we can end up making truly bad decisions about something important http://bit.ly/1zpraEk

    Ask Ariely: Surge Charges, Moving Costs, and Expiration Dates http://wp.me/p5oiR-1l1

    Boom/bust of global financial cycles attributed to brain’s penchant for quick small gains over greater long term ones http://ti.me/1V7sW8o

    Brain training for weight loss? In principle this could work (despite reputation of the newspaper it’s printed in 😉 http://dailym.ai/1CkmwKn

    Love the concept that Cookie Monster taught infants principle of delayed gratification -but didn’t he always give up? http://econ.st/1I8Z0N3

    New study sheds light on how “serotonin and dopamine affect people’s willingness to harm others for personal gain” http://bit.ly/1epipBD

    Nucleus accumbens stimulation gets mice coming back for more, but stimulation 1mm alongside leads to strong aversion: http://bit.ly/1EBU47P

    Old but still fascinating: judges suffer cognitive bias too i.e. more lenient when they’ve returned from a nice break http://bit.ly/1JjSa9d

    On 2nd thought “A person’s decisions are not at the mercy of unconscious & early brain waves” Prof John-Dylan Haynes http://bit.ly/1ZLNIt5

    Should you rely on first instincts when answering a multiple choice exam? http://goo.gl/etVsoZ

    Marshmallow Test with cute kids from last night’s show: http://bbc.in/1x47cJl @BBCWatchdog Remember: Deferring gratitude wins bigger prizes


    11 years ago @esa’s #Huygens probe landed on Titan http://go.nasa.gov/1P3cS4H

    A new look at Saturn’s moon Prometheus, one of the highest resolution views ever. Details: http://go.nasa.gov/1m8Vs9T

    Check out some of the closest ever views of Mars, Charon, and Pluto http://wired.uk/K0yS9Q

    Exciting. First exoplanet visible light spectrum http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-04/e-fev042015.php …

    In 2018 Hayabusa2 will collect samples of asteroid Ryugu, reenacting a Japanese fairy tale. http://bit.ly/1Pe7omt

    Nasa is looking for new astronauts — here’s how to apply http://wired.uk/N8Uo1h

    Our cover story: how Babylonians tracked Jupiter with geometry 1400 years ahead of its time http://scim.ag/1nqRVEh

    Peering at the ‘heart,’ @NASANewHorizons reveals evidence of carbon monoxide ice: http://go.nasa.gov/1KbzMB4 #PlutoFlyby

    Planet Earth now has a flag. Take that, several billion other planets. http://wired.uk/PKuli1

    Sweet! Deep-Space Sugars May Reveal Clues About Origins of Life http://shar.es/1bgqRl by @cqchoi for @SPACEdotcom

    Thank you @newscientist for the link to the Live Pluto flyby on 14th July (at ~50,000km/hr): http://bit.ly/NSpluto #worldfirst

    What we can see of Pluto, and what’s to come: New Horizons’ Pluto Flyby http://nyti.ms/1HqUHip

    You can now look at over 130,000 pages of declassified US Air Force files related to UFO sightings – http://www.theblackvault.com/


    Anatomy of addiction: opiods http://n.pr/1OK261c

    Brain circuits for loss prediction disrupted in cocaine users, accounting for not taking steps to avoid losses? http://bit.ly/1D1I23R

    Brain scans show compulsive gamers have hyperconnected neural networks http://sco.lt/7qbChV

    Cocaine addiction is often compulsive (not primarily motivated by pleasure seeking) & new studies might explain why http://bit.ly/1TREK9W

    Everything you think you know about addiction is wrong | via TED Talk | http://bit.ly/1To8xrk by @johannhari101

    Happy birthday, William James! The father of American psychology on habit http://buff.ly/1DLdpi4

    If stroke damages the insula more people manage to quit smoking cigarettes, so it might be a good target for therapy: http://bbc.in/1KYscMk

    Increased ventral-striatal activity during monetary decision making is a marker of problem poker gambling severity http://bit.ly/1CK7cEY

    Insula functional connectivity differs in brain scans of people who successfully quit smoking vs those who relapsed: http://bit.ly/1EeIjgp

    Medical treatment for cocaine addiction on horizon after breakthrough in basic science of dopamine transporter: http://bit.ly/17E4AMz

    Scientists are giving hallucinogens to smoking addicts to help them quit: http://bbc.in/1R07Lxw

    Step closer to understanding mechanisms of alcoholism: http://bit.ly/1JDB7AI (booze potentiates dm-striatal “go” neuron D1 receptors)


    10Hz (alpha wave) transcranial Alternating Current Stimulation boosts creativity (slightly): http://bit.ly/1DnBmcJ

    A step-by-step guide to stimulation creative breakthroughs courtesy of @sciammind http://bit.ly/1KFS4LH #behindthepaywall @Xfm_Lliana

    Capturing the moment an idea is recorded in the human brain… http://bit.ly/1IJoeXL

    Creativity can be thought of as a capacity, independent of intelligence, that enables assimilation of contradictions http://bit.ly/1Z0SuAH

    Creativity is really about neuroplasticity and this might actually be helpful in preventing and healing disease http://ab.co/1T1bTSs

    How our brains comes up with original, creative & workable ideas: http://bit.ly/1I2q8n2

    New research reveals unexpected brain regions contribute to #creativity, http://bit.ly/1GFP411

    Overseas travel can increase creativity and openness – so long as you actually engage with the local culture: http://bit.ly/1ZGOxXr

    Surely there’s a huge confound in this fMRI study that finds greater cerebellum activity in more creative drawings? http://bit.ly/1FPU1ne

    Taking pen to paper inspires more creative thought..it is a slower process than just typing something on a keyboard” http://on.mash.to/1CdoF7u

    The excuse we’ve all been waiting for: Want to be more creative? Go travelling: http://theatln.tc/19ENs9G …like Hemmingway, Huxley, Twain…

    When your brain gets knackered it can think more creatively, allegedly.. http://bit.ly/1B30GKy Personally I nap to come up with novel ideas


    I do love a counterintuitive headline.. High intensity interval training helps ease pain of arthritis: http://bit.ly/1KAPsAN

    Chilli Pepper Jeckyl & Hyde: http://bbc.in/1j8VbTc

    Dorsal posterior insula brain region identified as key to generating “hurting” aspect of pain says Prof Irene Tracey: http://bit.ly/1FFnsWw

    Grey matter thickness changes in various important brain areas after just a month on morphine pills for back pain! http://reut.rs/1PtEmut

    Ice cream head explained..consensus points to: dynamics in blood flow to brain when back of palate is rapidly chilled http://bbc.in/1iRDdV1

    Mo Costandi on chili peppers: Catching fire http://bit.ly/1HRp0hi

    New research points to novel drugs that might reduce pain & declutter cognition for peripheral neuropathy sufferers: http://bit.ly/1L7t3Ji

    Studying roots of migraine..protein regulating trigeminal nerves (which innervate face) could be key to future cure: http://bit.ly/1WNI3kN

    Teasing apart the brain networks for physical vs psychological aspects of pain: http://bit.ly/1u6uRNW

    The burn of wasabi could lead to new pain meds http://wrd.cm/1IKpaqV

    These findings demonstrate a novel role for how dopamine contributes to maintaining chronic pain states: http://bit.ly/1PpmXn4

    yoga can be an important tool for preventing or even reversing the effects of chronic pain on the brain” http://bit.ly/1ELwrTS


    “The breadth of circumstances that seem to be affected by facial attractiveness is mind boggling”: http://bit.ly/1QatVy4

    Denmark bans bestiality in move against animal sex tourism http://uk.mobile.reuters.com/article/idUKKBN0NC1Z620150421?irpc=932 …

    Don’t skip sex when you have a headache” http://fxn.ws/1zQyBnm 30% cluster-headache sufferers reported partial or total relief thru’ sex

    Dutch study finds the more sexually active older people are, the better their memories and brain function” http://bit.ly/1BvH1AY

    How much human brain cortex is dedicated to processing touch sensations arising in the penis versus other body parts? http://bit.ly/1H7dvAi

    Human pheromone debate: Hedione (magnolia/jasmine) scent “..generates sex-specific activation patterns in the brain”! http://bit.ly/1NWJfMl

    Just discovered the supporting actor’s 1st scene in “Epic of Gilgamesh” involves a marathon 7day/6night sex session #GoodInnings #6000BCporn

    Love is…http://onforb.es/1MHo0PI

    Scientists confirm two forms of female ejaculation http://bit.ly/1FIs42b

    Sex, pheromones, monogamy: http://bit.ly/1diRsih

    The Relationship Between Digit Ratio (2D:4D) and Sexual Orientation in Men from China. | Arch Sexual Behavior http://ow.ly/3xRZ2C

    Women’s sexuality has been a source of controversy throughout the ages, says @LindaGeddes http://bbc.in/1KgHhct


    “digital lump of rat brain…mimics the behaviour of about 30,000 neurons connected to one another by 40m synapses”: http://bit.ly/1NsUu3I

    3D brain map reveals neuronal connections in nano-scale http://gu.com/p/4b59m/stw by @hvthomson

    Allen Institute for Brain Science launches database of neuronal cell types in key step towards 1st *real* brain model http://wrd.cm/1JgNROp

    Allen Institute unveils new science search engine http://buff.ly/1LNK8IA (via @NatureNews) @allenai_org

    Boosting connections via molecule influencing synapses at micro level (NMDA receptors) shows up at macro level (EEG) http://bit.ly/1ONxJHH

    Cool vid explains how all those beautiful HD 3D images of mouse brain were created http://bit.ly/1IVXYdp (DanBerger is a really nice guy 🙂

    How to make a map that plots brain functions in a way that mankind can really grasp, utilise and drive progress: http://n.pr/1CfOMbL

    Huge volumes of brain scan/genetic data + Paul Thompson + Big Data methods = insights linking genes to brain size: http://bit.ly/1yMgQ6w

    NeuroElectro, an open access database of electrophysiological properties of different types of neurons http://www.neuroelectro.org/

    Prospect of GPS for tracing neuronal pathways is particularly exciting in light of Seb Seung’s brilliant CONNECTOME: http://bit.ly/1GATI1l

    Very, very funny: Neuroscience lab manager talks about the Human Brain Project https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhsZll_P1iA … via @jpeelle


    Are we master or slave to the bugs in our guts? You are what you eat 2.0? http://bit.ly/1ZukzFT

    big question right now is how the microbiome exerts its effects on the brain Christopher Lowry: http://bit.ly/1xgTlyl #gutbrainconnection

    Biotech getting in on the gut-brain excitement: http://bit.ly/1Nkkf1D

    Gut Feelings–the “Second Brain” in Our Gastrointestinal Systems [Excerpt] http://bit.ly/1IvtKM5 #science

    Gut microbe dynamics in 98 new mothers and their babies during the first year of life http://bit.ly/1AfPlq5

    Is Your Nervous System Being Hacked by Bacteria in Your Gut? http://swyy.co/rrz6oUS @Gizmodo #bacteria #brain @getswayy

    Metformin Users Have Different Gut Bugs | The Scientist Magazine® http://bit.ly/21JCBTg What other Rxs are affecting gut bugs

    Understanding how gut/brain interacts2induce satiety leads to development of foods that make us feel full for longer: http://bit.ly/1SCDJ5I

    When it comes to truly understanding impact of gut microbes on human brain function, here’s our progress so far: http://bit.ly/1hE5dtL

    When the gut is healthy, you create more serotonin. Approximately 80-90% of our serotonin comes from the gut”: http://cnn.it/1KMufAD


    “We can take GPS coordinates and feed it into an artificial brain and it understands, no problem” http://wrd.cm/1Prm4dR

    Google offering free online class abt deep learning http://bit.ly/1SCb82W #machinelearning #DataScience #analytics

    Having beaten human champions to win US quiz show Jeopardy in 2011 IBM’s Watson is now in training to become a doctor http://bit.ly/1IHnwpq

    Machine learning approach using 182 fMRI brain datasets can identify negative emotion with 90% accuracy: http://bit.ly/1L4kTkp

    Not to be outdone by Google, Microsoft have now made their own deep learning tools open sourced: http://bit.ly/1Qpsqx1

    Part of me hopes that they never achieve this goal of helping Artificial Intelligence to catch up with human brains: http://bit.ly/1ORG21l

    Practical everyday application of neural computing No.1 – cleverer smartphones without using wifi or killing battery: http://wrd.cm/1NADIfA

    What happens when robots are given “grid” & “place” cells (like those found in human brains) to help them navigate?: http://bit.ly/1OOiWvi

    Will computers ever really *get* the subtle nuances of human speech e.g. the influence of context over word meaning? http://bit.ly/1RPCIYX


    Measuring brain connectivity using fMRI to predict whether someone has a diagnosis of ADHD: http://n.pr/1R2M4Al

    MRI study identifies changes in brain processing that occur as a result of practice doing two things simultaneously: http://ab.co/1REdlro

    PET scanning demonstrates changes in density of dopamine receptors after weight loss surgery: http://bit.ly/1wCKtnA But WHY though?

    Predicting the future using brain imaging techniques is starting to show promise: http://n.pr/143uVkG Good, bad or ugly? #neuroethics

    Psychiatry’s holy grail: Can brain activity predict how depressed patients will respond to drugs or psychotherapy? http://bit.ly/1LkRh5p

    Reward learning fast and slow: http://bit.ly/1PZ15QT (simultaneously scanning brains with MRI & EEG is just showing off)

    Scanning kids’ brains to predict educational attainment – interesting insights,but I don’t like where this is going.. http://bit.ly/1gbjoG6

    Scary prospect of kids in 2020 being screened by their schools with MRI to decide what set/stream they’ll be in: http://wrd.cm/1LJIpHc

    Therapy for anxiety=like wheel of chance..brain imaging2help provide more reliable predictors of treatment response” http://bit.ly/1Tx0uqd


    “..how dynamic flexibility of brain networks can predict cognitive flexibility” (ability to switch from task to task) http://bit.ly/1KrzhGG

    Homing in on the genes of cognition with a study spanning 12 countries and involving over 30,000 people: http://bit.ly/1cQ634T

    Is “pregnancy brain” a myth? http://ti.me/1WRzP9b

    It’s not everyday that neuroscientists discover a whole new brain network, this one’s sensitive to familiarity: http://bit.ly/1DSMRjj

    Super-forecasters: Meet the ordinary people who may be better at predicting world events than experts. http://ow.ly/HDeVF

    The odd hallucination here and there is perfectly normal: http://sciof.us/1kPnOG3

    Theory of “Threaded Cognition” suggested as explanation for why some forms of multitasking seem to work… http://huff.to/1LCst4Z

    This is why I work out of libraries rather than cafes or at home – turns out effort is contagious! http://bit.ly/1grmNkf

    What gives the human brain it’s highly complex behavioural repertoire? Glial cells might be the key: http://n.pr/1lstcyI


    Consciousness reimagined: http://bit.ly/1K0ID69

    Consciousness: here, there and everywhere? http://bit.ly/1aeaHHZ

    Consciousness: http://theatln.tc/1RJs8mj

    Double-good – @mocost writing up science (on learning, consciousness, and pain) by @neuroconscience @francescafardo http://gu.com/p/4b67d/stw

    Embodied cognition suggests that the body / brain divide is fuzzier than you might have thought: http://sciof.us/1MX5EI9

    Freud’s Model of the Human Mind – http://journalpsyche.org/understanding-the-human-mind/ … #psychology #journalpsyche

    How colour perception could unlock consciousness, and other science stories http://bbc.in/1N3P3EG

    Neurosurgeon Henry Marsh on the conceptual leap between brain tissue and person https://thepsychologist.bps.org.uk/mysterious-starry-sky-above-me … Taster from @psychmag

    New brain monitor used in Australian hospitals makes possibility of coming round during surgery virtually impossible http://bit.ly/1GEcpNj


    Elevated levels of FGF9 ID’ed in major depression. Rat studies show tweaking level pushes anxiety up/down accordingly http://bit.ly/1FxgxOB

    Global study finds the more episodes of depression the greater the reduction in hippocampus size” – but reversible! http://bit.ly/1g6Itmj

    Hmmm, video gaming as an antidote to depression. Susan Greenfield is gonna LOVE that notion… http://slate.me/1MS0hjF

    If Facebook makes you feel envious of others, consider deleting your account before it develops into depression: http://bit.ly/1CZ24fv

    New drug tinkering with cAMP levels in nucleus accumbens improves stress response, provides new target for depression http://bit.ly/1Kjriba

    Should depression be treated more like a stroke? http://on.wsj.com/1Qkm67E

    those who experienced multiple episodes of depression showed ‘decoupling’ between the amygdala..&emotional network http://bit.ly/1S5Kujg

    To suggest that anxiety & depression are caused by too little serotonin is far too simplistic. Here’s 1 reason why: http://bit.ly/1S8O34s

    Your phone knows if you’re depressed http://bit.ly/1Rzc48A


    “..as your brain becomes accustomed to checking a device every few minutes, it will struggle to stay on task..” http://ti.me/1FdILkc

    “Ah, such delicious irony… Minds are in some ways more flaccid – especially if we’re dabbling in social media”: http://ind.pn/1SoFKQT

    Hardly scientific, yet musings of these “mystery” neuroscientists on 4day desert digi-detox provide food for thought: http://bit.ly/1MzQuxx

    METRO says: too much screen time screws you up.. http://bit.ly/1GnIYAD

    Now you can coerce your kids into going out to play by telling them that staying indoors will make them short-sighted http://bit.ly/1CsHvsp

    oh dear .. separation anxiety from iphones #psychology #tech http://ow.ly/H3AeY

    To begin a digital detox, we need to identify what is causing the need in the first place http://ow.ly/M7Z6Z #digitaldetox #addiction

    Two new books dig into the philosophical roots of why our lives are so filled with distraction http://ow.ly/MHTPi

    Can EEG measurements whilst subjects watch film trailers predict box office success? http://bit.ly/1EQATED


    Interesting article explaining why/how the brain triggers the torture of a broken heart: http://bit.ly/1MhvM49

    LeDoux’s been studying the amygdala for decades & he’s NOT happy that you keep referring to it as the “fear” centre: http://bit.ly/1EoEbfw

    Our brains begin to register any emotion in non-verbal sounds in just a tenth of a second http://bit.ly/1OuueUG

    “The acoustical properties of the human scream poke at the neural circuits that control fear” http://bit.ly/1KAFtLU

    The more graphic the description of the murder, the greater the activity in the amygdala: http://on.wsj.com/1FPYdUo

    Using pupil size to objectively measure people’s emotional responses to music: http://bit.ly/1X1R4F5

    Women are better than men at telling how someone’s feeling from the look in their eyes…but not if they’re autistic: http://bit.ly/1LeXKt6

    only way to get through fear is to be exposed to it..finding ways to get through it..training yourself 2 manage it” http://cnn.it/1QOgyUq


    Are you as clever as a bright 15 year old? Test your Grey Matter general knowledge with this Brain Bee quiz: http://wapo.st/1FX31X3

    Are you as clever as the UK’s finest codebreakers? Try this Christmas puzzle from GCHQ http://bit.ly/1QgHjEr

    Crows recognize human faces, mourn their dead, and may even fear death http://bbc.in/1KXkFtm by @melissasuzanneh

    Fats in the Brain May Help Explain How Human Intelligence Evolved http://bit.ly/1DkpVJZ

    Flynn Effect: steep increase in IQ score over 20th century attributed to.. “more challenging learning environment” http://bit.ly/1CafTXu

    Intuitive evaluation of attacking vs defensive strategy recruits different parts (back vs front) of cingulate cortex: http://bit.ly/1QeEeme

    Octopus ancestors are, perhaps, the first intelligent beings on Earth. http://bit.ly/1jqU4hQ

    The prospect of human-machine superintelligence rears it’s potentially ugly head http://bit.ly/1O8rM3Z


    “Sleep almost doubles our chances of remembering previously unrecalled material” http://bit.ly/1HUhL9y

    Have a listen to this “Teachers tap into brain science to boost learning” PBS item: http://to.pbs.org/1CbnrNf …& let me know what you think!!

    How to cram effectively – spaced repetition: http://bit.ly/1nfkKmX

    I will not bring neuromyths into the classroom Well written and well argued essays at:http://bit.ly/1RIHsRz

    Learning sequence of notes involves tight association of brain modules at first followed by functional disconnection: http://lat.ms/1O2zKNn

    Learning with All the Senses: http://neurosciencenews.com/vocabulary-learning-sensory-perception-1742/ … #neuroscience #psychology

    strong links between epigenetic marks at birth & a child’s ability to learn” in2culturally diverse sets of children: http://bit.ly/1OgKlIc

    Studies investigating importance of sleep for learning incorporate findings into teaching strategy recommendations: http://bit.ly/1OPga7Z


    Brains that sync to the musical beat (all of us at fast tempos, musicians only at slower tempos!) http://bit.ly/1GWIUMj

    Got an annoying song stuck in your head (an ear worm)? Wanna get rid of it? Chew some gum. No, really… http://bit.ly/1PSmjAL

    Music lessons spur emotional and behavioral growth in children, new study says http://ow.ly/Ho9ds via @washingtonpost

    Musical instruments reinvented to study the brain in MRI scanners – from plastic trumpets/harmonicas to cello: http://wrd.cm/1C27gBT

    Musical marmosets http://bit.ly/1RoZdDP

    Piano man learned control over his Tourette’s (which developed overnight aged 7) through classical performances: http://ind.pn/1GW6gN2

    The BaAka people of the Congo have developed “water drumming” in complete isolation – and they are brilliant http://bit.ly/1uno8dr

    The beautiful things music does to your mind cogs x here’s a science of rock n roll podcast x @GCweirdscience https://audioboom.com/boos/3254177


    Brains subtly remodel themselves over periods of intensive smartphone use: http://reut.rs/1xgOxQd

    Miracle gene therapy cure for certain forms of blindness couldn’t possibly work without adult neuroplasticity: http://bit.ly/1MEVi1g

    Mirrorbox therapy, facilitates rehabilitation after stroke, but also good for other conditions affecting single limb: http://ab.co/1J5xkZJ

    MIT’s Tara Swart’s tips on what it takes to truly re-wire a brain after the age of 25 are bang on: http://bit.ly/1PSltE5 #SortYourBrainOut

    More tales of triumphs of neuroplasticity from Norman Doidge in his new book “The Brain’s Way of Healing”: http://ab.co/1DbjRvT

    New research indicates that tinnitus & chronic pain results from the brain reorganising itself in response to injury: http://bit.ly/1jeeBpC

    Pirate eye patch experiment supports idea that moderate exercise promotes neuronal adaptability in visual cortex: http://nyti.ms/1SLnliD

    Psychotherapy that changes brains: http://bit.ly/1QodS39


    107chimp brain MRI’s indicate personality traits (eg dominance,reactivity) linked to differences in brain structure: http://bit.ly/1GeKEdY

    Increased grey matter density in different brain areas in those who tend to respond emotionally versus rationally: http://bit.ly/1Ch583N

    Nothing Personal: The questionable Myers-Briggs test http://gu.com/p/3egzq/stw via @deevybee

    Restless Berserker – what your choice of avatar name in a battle video game says about your temperament: http://bit.ly/1LlnWSm

    Strong connectivity in specific default mode network indicative of many different positive traits: http://1.usa.gov/1NZyR9L

    Too Much Praise Promotes Narcissism http://ift.tt/1dw1kW1

    Want to be happier? Choose a neighborhood that meets your #personality! http://ow.ly/HenMh #socialpsychology

    When Good People Behave Badly: http://neurosciencenews.com/temptation-ethics-psychology-behavior-2100/ … #psychology


    Fly whisperer” conducts study of fly brain that finds new doughnut-shaped neuronal network that acts as a compass: http://bbc.in/1HfOkOH

    Scanning dolphin brains reveals surprising similarity to bat brains: http://nbcnews.to/1KNqe1Q

    Thai macaques are veritable artisans – wide repertoire of tools and actions observed, documented and published: http://bit.ly/1ILEDJp

    The NIH will retire all research chimpanzees and send them to sanctuaries http://bit.ly/1LoG121

    Would you trust a bird brain to diagnose your biopsy for signs of cancer? Turns out pigeons are pretty good! http://nbcnews.to/1MVJmqm

    Squirt of fast-acting insulin enables cone snail to gobble hypoglycaemic fish whole: http://bit.ly/1CKEFfR @GCweirdscience #newscientist

    What boney creature has a big head, a tiny brain, lives at the bottom of the sea and has an unflattering name? http://bit.ly/1lcDYsj


    Plenty of video games are improving working memory and attention: http://bbc.in/1gq8UCP

    Report published today details specific features of video games that can lead to improvements in cognitive abilities: http://bit.ly/1WA5VrQ

    Simple game helps people cope better with distraction to reduce anxiety,courtesy of Jason Moser at Michigan State Uni http://bit.ly/1NcNp5N

    For future generations of soldiers “brain training might be just as important as pushups” http://bit.ly/1YnH9ua #SortYourBrainOut

    Is this “Brain Training Doesn’t Work” article: http://bit.ly/1Gwy9yE reporting a new study? Or simply re-hashing: http://bit.ly/1ybKSDL ?

    Lumosity fined by regulator for vastly overstating the benefits of their brain training games: http://1.usa.gov/1MR1LEl


    Poor bumblebees. A climate vice is squeezing their habitat from the north and the south http://ow.ly/PqCWS

    Poor sealions http://bit.ly/227mGyf

    Rhino horn is now being bioengineered in the hope it will deter poachers http://wired.uk/kLtPQr

    The world’s smallest and rarest dolphin could be extinct within 15 years http://bbc.in/1SzE4XD

    This rare butterfly is half male, half female http://wapo.st/1IuZmxW via @washingtonpost

    Poor outlook for Borneo’s mammals http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-30924523 …


    30,000 neuroscientists descend on Chicago; SfN2015 is GO!! So finding tweetworthy brain news becomes much easier 😉 http://n.pr/1GlDAlu

    Anyone at a loose end in London next week(13-16th) should check out this ‘NeuroArt Exhibition’ in UCL! @DrJackLewis

    Cannabis, neuroscience & TV: A ‘joint’ enterprise http://gu.com/p/46gvm/stw by @m_wall and other researchers involved in @Channel4’s Drugs Live

    Cracking review of “Brainstorm” – new play devel in conjunction with WT & Prof S-JB where teens play the teen brain: http://bit.ly/1fz8Qk5

    Hard Problem”Sir Tom proves that it is possible to construct a tight100mins of drama around neuroscientific conceits” http://econ.st/1velJao

    Sounds like Beano comic’s Numskulls conception of brain function gets a trippy 21stC upgrade in Pixar’s latest film: http://ti.me/1d5IXXC


    Hunting down those pesky brain areas responsible for making us crack under pressure http://bit.ly/1nyJG9w

    If dual-tasking study/Facebook leads to bad grades: http://bit.ly/1J7Hmfi Is keeping 1 eye on Twitter at work messing with your efficiency?

    If optimal sporting prowess varies according to chronotype(lark/owl) does the same go for optimal cognitive function? http://bit.ly/1u8Bdfh

    Routine behavioural sequences governed by rostrolateral Prefrontal Cortex: http://dailym.ai/1gXjUYK (yes I do realise this is a DM article!)

    Would you like to be smarter, more confident, kinder, more resilient under stress &more successful? http://ti.me/1UbKddp #SortYourBrainOut

    Want to feel more relaxed and enthusiastic at work? New experiment proves that this intervention works http://bit.ly/17z3aTd


    “one more step toward making brain control of a robotic limb or computing device a reality”: http://bbc.in/1HzetL9

    MIT has developed a robot that uses human reflexes to stop it from falling over http://wired.uk/BJXOsK

    Apt that i’m tweeting this “robots learning from the example of infants” article from a robot-run hotel in Japan!!! http://ow.ly/Vmndh

    Robots that do experiments on fruit flies: http://nyti.ms/1G2Osni

    Who knew drones could be so pretty? Watch a video of drone butterflies fluttering about http://pops.ci/IpVnhe

    Would you like to see 100 robots perform a synchronised dance routine? Of course you would. http://ow.ly/HJZ5s


    Cambridge Uni Wizard game improves episodic memory in those with schizophrenia;helping them get back on their feet: http://bbc.in/1M64BL0

    In #schizophrenia it’s what we’ve been waiting for – a way to prevent it progressing in those showing the first signs http://bit.ly/1L4W2gs

    New genetic study suggests that one possible trigger for schizophrenia in teens is overactive synaptic pruning: http://bit.ly/1KbbKtA

    Schizophrenia may involve faulty inhibitory circuit between thalamus (sensory junction box) & prefrontal cortex http://bit.ly/1aLAt7G

    schizophrenic hallucinations linked to specific valley in the landscape of the human frontal cortex: http://bbc.in/1Pyqzb9

    Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation at forehead helps normalise schizophrenic brain response to error detection: http://bit.ly/1D2PclW


    How the brain blocks out distractions: http://bit.ly/1LLSP6w

    It’s nice to hear that TED realise how hard it is on brains to concentrate for hours on end: http://bit.ly/1GQoFuC

    Major brain junction box (thalamus) seems vital for ability to ignore irrelevant sensory information: http://1.usa.gov/1hUdtGb

    Study identifies part of brain key to controlling attention – http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/287692.php

    Why We Become Temporarily “Deaf” When Focusing Hard via @Braindecoder http://rbl.ms/1OWg40j


    It’s an interesting/scary concept that Lumosity brain game achievement tracking might one day come back to haunt us: http://bit.ly/1HVL6zt

    Video games will soon compete with drugs as a form of medicine http://wired.uk/xywEIQ

    Video-game robot helps to accelerate injured kids’ recovery: http://bit.ly/1lRfwgu

    Want to be a GCHQ spy? Play this game http://wired.uk/dIxwRq

    You’ll soon be hunting Pokemon in the real world http://wired.uk/4f9oKM


    We use laughter as a way of breaking down boundaries, making new friends..showing that we like people @sophiescott: http://bit.ly/1BsaGHL

    Cunning study provides evidence to suggest that we use the sound of our own voice to gauge how happy or sad we feel http://bit.ly/1ONdZUh

    Why is happiness so difficult to measure, and other science stories from around the web http://bbc.in/1g9dDd0

    Why we laugh: http://bbc.in/1IkfLqn Fascinating interview with @sophiescott

    I find it very hard to believe that the precuneus is seat of all happiness -can someone independently replicate pls? http://bit.ly/1S8Pxf0


    Asked librarian for a book on Pavlov’s dogs and Schrodinger’s cat. She said it rang a bell, but couldn’t say if it was there or not.

    IQ and BMI walk into a bar. They see Phrenology in a corner, scoff, and then each order alcohol in different-equally useless-measurements.

    Love that Nature gets in on the April Fool “Climatic conditions are rapidly reaching an optimum for breeding dragons” http://bit.ly/1CLL2BZ

    Sadly, I can imagine the “neuroelectric cosmonaut look” hitting our streets in not too distant future http://bit.ly/1LfFsgF #futureiscoming

    I’ve literally got tears streaming down my face -truly remarkable! http://bit.ly/1RvrCXH


    Prof Sarah-Jayne Blakemore slates those who peddle the myth that people are either left brained or right brained: http://bit.ly/1B8apbK

    Neuro-hit or neuro-myth? great new resource from @UoL_CEN on 12 common neuromyths: http://tinyurl.com/z5pk9qe   #neurohit_or_miss

    Neurosophism, “a sophisticated but fallacious application of neuroscientific language” http://bit.ly/1QnMijr Rife in education & business

    Religious zealotry could be temporarily dampened with a simple jolt of magnetism to a specific brain area (pmPFC): http://bit.ly/1RJS3Zv

    The existence of ‘Learning Styles’ is a ‘neuromyth’ that is thriving in Higher Education. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26696947


    compelling evidence for the co-evolution of early Stone Age slaughtering tools & our ability to communicate & teach” http://bit.ly/1B0OcSo

    Human DNA is 1 to 2% Neandertal, or more, depending on where your ancestors lived http://bit.ly/1QyNpzv

    Human migration out of Africa left its mark in mutations http://sco.lt/6p7qSX

    Monkey “brain net” … “has a high ‘gosh’ factor”: http://bit.ly/1KTDmme

    Who’d have thought that cannibals in Papua New Guinea could teach scientists something about brain disease/evolution? http://ab.co/1QO5zcg


    I first heard of this Pixar project 5years ago. They are the only movie house I would trust with a tale of the brain: http://wapo.st/1J5DqMl

    The Brain: The Story of You by @davideagleman is out soon, here’s an extended extract… If you’re curious http://on.ft.com/1GYQ5On

    Do No Harm by Henry Marsh is an excellent read. Reviews by moi: http://bit.ly/1bQFLiC and the New York Times: http://nyti.ms/1FqNI9m

    Inside Out is ‘a work of simple genius’ says WIRED’s @olifranklin http://wired.uk/hz1tgz

    Last month I wrote a book review on “DO NO HARM” by neurosurgeon Henry Marsh, take a peek… http://bit.ly/1bQFLiC


    I’ve been meaning to build one of these for ages. Now GE has I don’t need to 🙂 Navigating Brains in Virtual Reality http://engt.co/1IqsngD

    Virtual brain surgery http://bit.ly/1YhsXTh

    Virtual reality comes in very handy when studying human communication http://bit.ly/1Vu4UAg

    Visual feedback in form of 3D images of tongue movements hold promise as a tool to aid speech rehab after stroke: http://bit.ly/1I1FhQ9

    Visualising brain microcircuitry in3D enables rotation+view from different perspectives=better understanding of data http://bit.ly/1PDqx1l


    “fundamental problems that brain images bring into the courtrooms” http://bit.ly/1SrzFru

    Neurojurisprudence :-p Guilt/innocence judgements, penalty severity pondering & the brain http://bit.ly/1KjlaxA #onemoreneuroprefixcanthurt

    Neuroscience and the Future of the Insanity Defense http://www.snsanalytics.com/1nlvy4

    Re-offending rates can be reduced by as much as 20% if those leaving jail have stable accommodation to go to http://buff.ly/1KrBYWV


    Great article outlining key experiments supporting concept that gut health fundamentally impacts upon brain health: http://bit.ly/1KZkMGM

    Why discovery of brain lymph vessels might be missing link that helps us understand Alz & MS http://bit.ly/1GWKCd0

    Discovery: lymphatic system (tubes ferrying immune cells around body) extends into the brain alongside blood vessels: http://bit.ly/1ERp5hg

    CSF provides pressure..necessary to build&maintain the brain..pressure is too low, brain can’t grow..if it’s too high..tissue is destroyed


    Bringing a smile to one’s face, even if it’s fake, can induce physiological benefits of a smile & make us feel better http://bit.ly

    Control over pain enabled through mindfulness is superior to mere placebo effect: http://bit.ly/1SM4MLI

    Neurologist Suzanne O’Sullivan lifts the lid on psychosomatic illness http://bit.ly/1KFEauD


    Bacteria responsible for causing stomach ulcers may help to protect against Multiple Sclerosis, but only for women!: http://bit.ly/1BdWZOG

    Melatonin, which regulates sleep/wake cycle, may protect against seasonal multiple sclerosis relapse as well as vitD: http://bit.ly/1LOiY1a

    Two drugs already on the market .. may potentially take on new roles as treatments for multiple sclerosis” http://1.usa.gov/1E2HqfA


    Now we know it takes 3-5yrs to really kick in, treating Parkinson’s with foetal stem cells is getting its 2nd wind: http://bit.ly/1evvXf6

    The woman who can smell Parkinson’s disease!!! http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-34583642 …

    Using nano-particles to ferry fully-formed dopamine across blood brain barrier to improve symptoms of Parkinson’s: http://bit.ly/1aUvMrk


    In 2003 i got chatting to Russ Poldrack on a plane, 1000miles later I knew he was destined to achieve great things.. http://stanford.io/1OjIw7Q

    Oliver Sacks is a truly remarkable human being: http://nyti.ms/1Or3GlF

    Prof Nancy Kanwisher gives herself a skin head to help students see exactly where each different brain area resides: http://bit.ly/1b4sCli


    The bizarre things that happen when you see your doppelgänger http://bbc.in/1EsDR4K

    Damage to the default mode network disrupts autobiographical memory retrieval http://bit.ly/1Ezh46f

    The Science of Self: http://n.pr/1KwOLpg


    Sneaky peak into the daily activities of a brain bank: http://bit.ly/1F1NxAT What? Where? How? and most importantly Why?…

    50’s Brain Rush People were collecting brains – it was a thing” and Einstein’s brain got dragged into it: http://bbc.in/1G1fW9u


    Take a female brain, inject large quantities of testosterone, et voila, the brain undergoes some interesting changes; http://slate.me/1KphHD2

    This is why, when people ask “what ARE the differences between male&female brains?” I’ve always ducked the question: http://ow.ly/Vml9R


    In case you’d forgotten… multitasking always comes at a cost: http://cnn.it/1INM80f

    Organising the mind & so-called multi-tasking: you’ll find this fascinating @JoeDyble @AnnaCookson @DrJackLewis http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0505zw1


    Extensive use of bionic arm should lead to significant neuroplastic rearrangement – Bionic Man’s Likely Brain Change http://bit.ly/1TeV985

    Prosthetic hand, wired directly into man’s brain, enables him to feel when his fingers touch something: http://bit.ly/1UP5BYX


    Who says science and art don’t overlap? http://on.mash.to/1wY14by via @conversationuk

    Winners of the 2015 BioArt Image and Video Competition http://bit.ly/1NqAlMo


    Phenomenal TED talk covering everything from formation of universe through to human global connectivity in 18 mins: http://bit.ly/16XEva8

    This guy’s a great speaker… how a mayor helped the obese people of his city to shed 1,000,000 pounds in just 5 years: http://bit.ly/1d3oEtq


    Scientists amass evidence indicating that NOW “lasts on average between 2 & 3 seconds”! http://bit.ly/1BP2Wks

    Very comprehensive series of articles about how brains do time&various factors that can make it run faster or slower: http://bit.ly/1K7jX13


    What pregnancy does to a woman’s brain: http://theatln.tc/1KoRPo7 Witnessed the whole process take place in my sister last year! Phenomenal 🙂


    Time2ditch religion?“..similarity across countries in how religion negatively influences children’s altruism” Decety http://bit.ly/1kxtVOu


    StressGoldilocks&TheBrain – when it comes to stress hormones the aim is: not too little, not too much, but just right http://bit.ly/1MtVUYv


    “signals relating to..constant ringing noise of tinnitus..mapped across the brain of a patient undergoing surgery” http://bbc.in/1DiLao4


    Verbal/motor tics associated with Tourette’s may be remedied with GABA (not the techno music..the neurotransmitter:-) http://bit.ly/1JJueug

    Read more »
  • Brain Training Review of PEAK by Dr Jack

    As my regulars will know I like to keep abreast of movements in the brain training game market. I’ve reviewed Nintendo DS’s titles from the Dr Kawashima, Lumosity and even some that weren’t specifically designed to improve cognitive functions, yet arguably do. Christmas before last I subscribed my parents up to Lumosity on the iPad. 24 months later my dad still plays on a regular basis. He’s up to 99.9% for his age group in every category bar 1 (where he is up to 99.7%!). This year I’ll be subscribing them to PEAK instead, because having regularly used it on my phone to kill time whilst in transit (or on the throne) for the best part of a year I genuinely think the (relatively) new kid on the block wipes the floor with Lumosity.

    All the major players tend to include a core set of “classic” brain training games that are clearly inspired by neurological tests that have been around for many decades e.g. Go/NoGo, Stroop, N-back etc. Unlike their rivals who seem to be happy with the basic versions, PEAK seems to continually evolve each game by adding a twist or making each game a little bit tougher.

    IMG_7104Take for instance working memory training – the only games for which there is any half decent published data in the peer-reviewed science literature supporting claims that it can actually improve cognition (and even that evidence is hotly contested!). The spatial working memory training games like PERILOUS PATH (memorise the position of the mines whilst they’re briefly displayed and then trace a path around them from random start to finish points), MEMORY SWEEP (remember and reproduce the position of illuminated blocks in larger and larger grids) and BOUNCE (guess the finishing point of a laser beam sent bouncing across angled mirrors distributed across the grid after a brief glimpse of where they are) have all been done before, but these are all great versions.


    PEAK also takes simple versions of classic brain games and takes steps to improve them. For example, RUSH BACK involves simply answering whether each presented image is the same or different as the previous one. A 1-back task like this hardly challenges working memory because you can use iconic memory (the visual impression left in the mind’s eye for a few tens of milliseconds after any object disappears from view). They quite rightly class this as a test of “focus”, because if you lose concentration then it is easy to accidentally push the wrong button. Particularly when you’re trying to go as fast as possible to maximise points. Yet over the months they’ve introduced RUSH BACK PLUS – which is a 2-back task and two other aesthetically appealing variations on this game:

    TUNNEL TRANCE – progresses from the 1-back task to the 2-back (same as the image before last?) to the 3-back (same as the one before the one before last) – this really has the potential to genuinely help people hold more information in mind when they are performing a real life task. It probably goes up to 4-back and beyond… if so, I simply haven’t performed well enough at the 3-back task to get promoted to the next level.

    PARTIAL MATCH – the task is to rapidly decide whether the image is identical to the last image, completely different, or partially the same (i.e. same colour but different shape or same shape but different colour). This I have never seen anywhere before. I appreciate that PEAK are putting in the effort to innovate and that it took me a surprisingly long time to get the hang of. I’m always mindful that the harder something is to get the hang of, i.e. the more a brain finds it to be a challenge, the more resources are likely to be invested in reinforcing the relevant neural pathways in an effort to adapt the brain to improve that particular mental function. Speaking of which another game that was introduced very recently definitely deserves a special mention… HAPPY RIVER

    A common symptom of depression is the tendency to ruminate over negative thoughts or emotions. An effective but simply remedy is to develop the habit of dwelling instead on the positive whilst disregarding the negative. Bear this in mind as you read on because I’m convinced that HAPPY RIVER can only be a power for good, which suggests that PEAK really are keeping an eye on the latest developments in psychology and neuroscience to find inspiration for their new game pipeline.

    HAPPY RIVER involves reuniting a baby elephant with its mother. They are on opposite side of the banks of a river that have several rows of words streaming across it either from left to right or right to left. Each of the individual words acts as a raft. By tapping the screen the baby elephant hops forward. Your timing has to be accurate or else you’ll fall into the gaps between each word raft. You also have to be strategic because only those words with positive emotional overtones provide safe passage. Step onto a negative word and you’ll be tipped over into the rapids. So to successfully reunite the baby elephant with its mother you have to focus on the positive and avoid the negative – hence PEAK have created a game that could well encourage a habit that could ever so slightly nudge players towards a more positive outlook and greater mental health.

    IMG_7105FLIGHT PATH challenges many different cognitive capacities. You start with a bird’s eye view of some lush green fields at the middle of which are 4 landing spots for airships that fly into view from top, bottom, left or right of screen. Each airship has a different letter and moves at a different velocity. Your task is to plot the movement of each airship so that they line up on the ground in an order that spells a 4-letter word. The airspace can get pretty crowded so half the challenge is to do what all air traffic control professionals do so well – stop the aircraft from smashing into each other and showering the sky with debris. For this game you need to think strategically, flexibly, linguistically, constantly updating the flight paths for a steadily increasing number of craft whilst simultaneously keeping your eye on an icon in the top right corner to win extra points. Although there is no published data yet to prove it, my hunch is that having to divide your attention across so many competing concerns and continually re-evaluate your priorities, will tune up brain pathways that would surely come in useful for any high pressured professional.

    In addition to these monthly brain blogs, you can subscribe to my weekly science podcast (or get it on libsyn) and follow me on Twitter (@drjacklewis) for a daily dose of news articles describing the latest breakthroughs in brain science.

    Read more »
  • Hot Topics in Neuroscience by Dr Jack

    PrisonerOfConscienceTurnedHumanRightsLawyerOn an annual basis I copy a year’s worth of Tweets and paste them into a blog post to preserve them for posterity. Turns out I’m going to have to start doing this biannually. Why? Because Twitter now only seems to allow access only to the last 6 months worth.

    Where all those tweets from earlier years have gone I may never know. But assuming that they’ve all been deleted then I’m relieved that I’ve been archiving them myself. This is because, for me, Twitter serves a valuable role in terms of enticing me to find and flag the three most interesting brain research stories from that day. I’d have been very sad to have lost my chronology of favourite breakthroughs and curiosities from the world of neuroscience because I find it useful resource for several reasons (and you might too):

    1) Whenever I’m reminded of something I’ve read in the past I often want to go back to the original article to refresh my memory with the details. The re-visiting process helps me consolidate my knowledge and integrate it with other evidence that I’ve come across during the intervening period. I find that internet search engines are pretty useless in this regard. Any particular search term will invariably return huge amounts of relevant information. Far too much to wade through to be genuinely useful when the goal is to track down a specific, but perhaps obscure, article.

    2) Having a separate record of the articles that I thought were interesting, insightful and/or useful enough to bother the Twitter-sphere with also enables me to keep track of which areas of neuroscience are making the greatest strides forward. So this year I finally took the time to categorize and tally as many of my recent Brain Tweets as I could get my hands on to clarify what topics have been the hottest in recent times.

    2014TweetAnalysisChartThis chart features only those blog categories that contained 10 items or more. Unsurprisingly given that it’s a weekly podcast tweets relating to Geek Chic’s Weird Science topped the bill with nearly 50 (click here if you’d like to download all episodes, for free!).

    In 2nd place came the Brain Tech category which includes anything relating to augmenting sick or healthy brains with some kind of man-made technology. Implanted electrodes, direct brain-to-brain intercontinental communication, zapping brains with electrical currents, stem cell therapies and so on.

    In 3rd place came the Brain Illness category. This encompasses tweets about developments in all neurological and psychiatric maladies excluding brain injuries and dementia. These each have their own category due to the large numbers of articles I tweeted about on these topics.

    In 4th place with 30 tweets came the Drugs category meaning articles that I thought were of broad interest relating to psychoactive drugs (i.e. those that can get into and affect the brain).

    Many neuroscientists have been getting their knickers in a twist about the rise of Brain Training games despite scant evidence to back up most of the developers claims so it comes as no surprise that this topic should have stolen 5th place. Neuroplasticity was just two places behind and is a category that I reserve for articles relating to behaviour-induced changes in brain structure and function that are unrelated to commercial Brain Training. I’m not going to bore you by explaining every single category but I should point out that Bad Journo is a category for articles that I thought were misleading / poorly written or articles written to correct / clarify misleading journalistic communications.

    So now you have a sense of what each of these categories mean you can now navigate this half year’s worth of brain tweets accordingly and hopefully find what your interested in more easily. Categories in order of most to least often tweeted about are:

    Geek Chic, Brain Tech, Brain Illness, Drugs, Brain Train, Brain Imaging, Neuroplasticity, Sleep, Creativity, Neuroscientists, Brain Injury, Senses, Dementia, Neuroanatomy, Bad Journo, Brain Art, Eating, Events, Brain Food, Emotion, Young Brains, Brain Health, Memory, Other Brains, Quotes, Holding Onto Marbles, Neurodevelopment, Evolution, Music, Sex, Altruism, Brain Ageing, Brain Hacks, Gut bacteria, Language, Books, Fun, Learning, Neurosurgery, Reward Pathways, Addiction, Artificial Intelligence, Gaming, Optical illusions, Talks, Vision, Brain Education, Coding, Decisions, Heuristics, Mind over Matter, Navigation, Neuromarketing, Pain, Parenting, Stress, Brain-Gender, Consciousness, Exercise, Habits, History, Intelligence, Morality, Personality, Politics, Reviews, TV, Window to the Soul, Body Language, Film, Free will, Hallucination, Immunity, Impulses, Interview, Meditation, Neuromyths, Poverty, Religion

    Listed below, in alphabetic order, for your convenience:


    Quitting smoking leads2release of hormone at heart of stress response (CRF) in key part of brain reward pathway (VTA) http://bit.ly/1xiXeXU

    The cycle of addiction – this simple but beautiful animation says it all

    Use of e-cigarettes does not discourage, and may encourage, conventional cigarette use among US adolescents @JAMAPeds

    Workaholism: The Addiction of this Century — via #Neuroscience News – http://bit.ly/1oRkfbY



    “necessary role for prefrontal control in generating honest behavior by overriding our tendencies2be self-interested” http://bit.ly/1qf7Nsc

    Extraordinary altruists and their oversized amygdalae – would you give a kidney to a stranger for nothing in return? http://n.pr/1C45T1e

    People give more generously when the advertising focuses on a needy individual rather than the masses: http://n.pr/13H2Jok

    Amazing role reversal in altruistic behaviour (homeless man giving taxi money2damsel) inspires many acts of kindness http://huff.to/1wTEgpv

    How the environment impacts childrens’ tendency to be altruistic http://stanford.io/17D7d1h

    Kindling altruism in kids is not just for Christmas – “best way2teach generosity is to show it in your own behaviour” http://bit.ly/1Gw03b1


    Artificial Intelligence

    It finally happened: A robot beat the Turing Test (@qz) http://bit.ly/1kaeiEO

    Google #Brain -snapping up every deep learning expert / business they can get their hands on: http://wrd.cm/1r3Mole

    “New landmark in..history of brain-inspired computing” Super-fast processing/low power consumption: http://bit.ly/1lH2Pyw

    System uses information on internet2teach robots how2interact with world using Markov models: http://tcrn.ch/1qcATqs


    Bad Journo

    Part of brain responsible for hangover guilt – is an “intriguing hypothesis” with “no direct implications for humans” http://bit.ly/1pGyt6s

    FAIL: “..cause for this behaviour may lie in the “anterior insular cortex”, located behind the forehead.” http://bit.ly/VTK3h2

    “Wire your brain for gratitude” – this Forbes article is horrible, it actually made me gag… http://onforb.es/1uASaIw

    “Brain GPS” is NOT an “exciting NEW part of.. jigsaw of our brain. O’Keefe’s 1st paper was published in 1971!! http://bit.ly/ZAXRP4

    Gambling Addiction Related To Brain Reward System – BBC News I’m ashamed of you – that headline is not “news” http://bbc.in/1CL9n7l

    Great example of why people who have only the vaguest understanding of neuroscience shouldn’t write about the brain: http://bit.ly/1k3isUv

    ‘Sci-Fi or Sci-Fact?’- separating the science fiction from the science fact in the media. http://thescifact.wordpress.com

    Humans only use 10% of their #brain, right? Wrong! This myth still lurks, e.g. in new movies like LUCY: http://bit.ly/1rwvtXH   #neuroscience

    Piece by @m_wall on @TheConversation on ‘cargo cult neuroscience’ in business and education: http://bit.ly/1tAR5Eg

    Watson/Crick did not discover DNA. That was Miescher 84yrs earlier. W/C worked out its structure. cc @TheAtlanticTECH


    Body Language

    Body language – how it works, where to look and why it evolved in the fist place



    Reading http://bit.ly/1oBHTtY which resonates with the ‘Gone Fishing’ principle of @polarbearpirate and @DrJackLewis #SortYourBrainOut

    Memoirs of a neurosurgeon, essential reading, methinks: http://bbc.in/1qqkvq7

    NYT book review covers recent tomes that consider impacts of the internet / related technologies on our minds: http://nyti.ms/1uFoZZK #SYBO

    Sort your brain out is @AmazonUK’s Kindle Daily Deal! http://ow.ly/GjrS4 @DrJackLewis @polarbearpirate Get it NOW!

    I’m reading Do No Harm by neurosurgeon Henry Marsh – it is without doubt the best book I’ve read this year: http://bit.ly/1eRYZ1K #xmaslist


    Brain Ageing

    Psychology news Why the Elderly Can Die from a Broken Heart http://ow.ly/2NRdjS

    In Men, Long-Term Unemployment May Speed Aging – http://psych.ly/I9JfO6 #mentalhealth #health

    Older people find it harder to filter out irrelevant info – but retain the mental flexibility of their former selves: http://bit.ly/1z28tT6

    2015 looms large and 2014 has flown by, why our perception of time changes as we get older http://buff.ly/1xkMLwV

    Older brains work better early: http://bit.ly/1vf4nJy So elders,plan more cognitively demanding chores for the A.M.


    Brain Art

    GeekChicWeirdJewleryDo you want to showcase your artwork or film? Is it about the brain? Show us and feature in our magazine! #NeuroArt http://youtu.be/7mM_8XbhXOo

    Cake brains! #MoreBrainz http://bit.ly/1qOVEFL

    Can the arts and humanities contribute significantly to the study of the brain? http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0896627314008368 … by Semir Zeki, so the answer is, of course, yes!

    Science graphic of the week – depicting how psilocybin (magic mushrooms) change the brain’s (functional) connectivity http://wrd.cm/1rDv6HZ

    Warner Bros style public service announcement re: The Perils of Porn Brain = quite amusing:http://huff.to/1wCqlmu

    Nice brain collage BBC news – top notch effort: http://bit.ly/1HEb0c0

    One for you @DrJackLewis – Artists and neuroscientists join forces: Art Neuro @theragfactory http://bit.ly/1xdBF90

    Beautiful complexity “@andyextance: The ‘brainbow’: Cells tagged with fluorescent proteins”

    I WANT ONE!! RT @vaughanbell: 3D-printed Christmas tree decorations of own brain http://3dprint.com/31522/3d-printed-brain-ornaments/ … via @Radiolab

    Anyone for a helmet studded with crystals that change colour according to #brain state? No? http://huff.to/1qQMH0o #BCI meets #fashion

    Micrograph, created by Spike Walker, depicting dopamine crystals illuminated by polarised light | #WellcomeImages | http://blog.wellcome.ac.uk/2014/08/01/image-of-the-week-dopamine/


    Brain Education

    Neurobiology for dummies courtesy of the brain science podcast #neuroscience #SortYourBrainOut #SYBO #brain http://bit.ly/XfdKtG

    I heard about MOOCs long ago (Massively Open Online Courses) – now I’ve actually enrolled in 1! At Yale; on morality: http://tinyurl.com/lnmhrl5

    Hands up who wants to learn how the brain deals with space? (space around us, not outer space!) Here’s a free course: http://bit.ly/1uMESvv


    Brain Nutrition

    Study suggests higher levels of omega-3 in diet are associated with better sleep: http://www.psypost.org/?p=23550

    Brain Food: Superfoods for ultimate brain power and what to avoid … good video! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KlMxriH4Cg&sns=tw

    I love the idea of actively training people to become addicted to healthy food: http://bbc.in/1ur22qB

    Fruit and vegetable consumption could be as good for your mental as your physical health http://ow.ly/C035A

    vmPFC activity (above bridge of ur nose!) upon viewing different foods is positively correlated with calorie content: http://bit.ly/1rpPyvW

    Scientific American made a film which explains why a turkey dinner makes us sleepy. win/fail?  http://bit.ly/1xUCkQp

    Space-aged brain food put to the test by amusing Guardian blogger: http://bit.ly/1uqnPO1

    Recently published paper indicates there are more anti-oxidants in organic than non-organic foods: http://bit.ly/1rf3j49

    Eat fish on a weekly basis (don’t stress to much about which type) for your #brain’s sake: http://ti.me/1mh7YgV

    Weight loss probiotics? http://bit.ly/1mTl4Ak Does this just allow people2continue keep eating badly;w/out getting fat?

    I wonder if cold weather increases glucokinase activity in hypothalamus? I ate a whole pack of Matchmakers last night http://reut.rs/12IcilH


    Brain Hacks

    “How to debug your brain..”is 1 of the strangest blog posts I’ve ever read. Can’t work out whether that’s good or bad:  http://bit.ly/1t7z8ch

    How the #brain makes and breaks habits via @SciAmMIND http://bit.ly/1oeyU3H

    Exercise may leave you feeling less anxious because you perceive your environments as less threatening http://on.apa.org/1rWHF6O

    Some of those “old chestnuts” that reduce cognitive burden in a world of info overload: http://bit.ly/1qLRD6zThe power of the green office: Having plants around increases productivity by 15% http://ow.ly/AWqPz


    Brain Health

    Power of tumeric @bbchealth: Curry spice ‘helps brain self-heal’ http://bbc.in/1vkvlfG

    Novel approach to treating brain cancer boosted by new UK system of extra support for Promising Innovative Medicines: http://bit.ly/1qYbkLB

    Former Surgeon General for US also has #SortYourBrainOut message – he advises weekly saunas to sweat off the toxins! http://bit.ly/1qhQR5O

    Has anyone out there ever tried Prof Bartlett’s Brain Vitality Index? Interesting? Motivating? http://bit.ly/WJElzb

    Ever wondered if small blood vessels in your brain are getting clogged up? Try standing on 1 leg: http://bit.ly/1wKKcCG

    If you do this Brain Health check over the Christmas break -consider your booze levels before getting too concerned! http://onforb.es/1CWtWzg

    Get out in that glorious sunshine! Even mild Vit D deficiency is assoc with increase risk of dementia: http://bit.ly/1r0RhZW   #skin+sun=vitD

    Imagine: in the not-too-distant future school kids might be asked2donate blood2help rejuvenate grandparents’ #brains! http://bit.ly/1ADTmAO

    Shed some fat to #SortYourBrainOut by reducing its inflammatory impact on #brain tissue (which promotes #Alzheimer’s) http://ti.me/1vSSJk4

    Crafts like knitting work the brain to produce flow which can help to ease symptoms in people w/ PTSD,depression etc: http://cnn.it/1uWAxnb

    Keeping your heart & blood vessels in good nick leads to better #brain function http://bit.ly/1olanqU   #SortYourBrainOut #neuroscience #SYBO

    Physical fitness in childhood improves white matter in the brain – Medical News Today: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/281269.php#.U_tGfu9i1bY.twitter

    Pre-natal exposure to phthalates (commonly found in many consumer products) associated with reduced IQ aged 7: http://bit.ly/1Gg2zSL


    Brain Illness

    Tell-tale signs that you might have a brain tumour (hypochondriacs – do not click here)

    Brain tumour pressing against temporal lobe causes uncontrollable laughter (gelastic epilepsy) in girl

    Wii Balance Board Induces Changes in the Brains of MS Patients

    Autism appears2involve insufficient synaptic pruning resulting in “too many” connection points between brain wires

    Disorganised patches of #brain tissue in frontal & temporal lobes may disrupt high level social function in #autism

    From lab to real life – environmental enrichment seems to be very helpful for kids with #autism: http://bit.ly/1ltCkSU

    Brain degeneracy (it’s good for you!) and people with bits missing from / creatures burrowing through their brains: http://bbc.in/1sJ1X5C

    Brains get sick too – teaching kids about mental illness: http://ind.pn/1spdG8S

    Default Mode Network (your ego/where you daydream) connections appear to mature more slowly in kids who develop ADHD: http://n.pr/1qXAjx9

    Interesting case of a man born with disconnected brain hemispheres

    Living With Schizophrenia: The Importance of Routine | NYT

    “Alzheimer’s in a Dish” will hopefully accelerate the process of screening new drugs 2treat this devastating illness: http://nyti.ms/ZWyOXv

    Autism re-conceived as a disorder of being able to make predictions about what is going to happen next: http://bit.ly/ZdB2AF

    Smoking and mental health, what’s the connection? http://www.theguardian.com/science/sifting-the-evidence/2014/jul/15/smoking-and-mental-health-whats-the-connection … Important @soozaphone piece

    Take two books and call me in the morning, pediatricians say Great column on prescribing books http://ti.me/1pu7db8 from @anniemurphypaul

    Talk about a controversial science topic: paedophile #brain processes child faces differently2others..   http://ind.pn/1oRyDWZ

    Tale of discovering that, despite seemingly being a well-adjusted person, you are in fact a psychopath http://bit.ly/1osg9sx

    Reduced temporal lobe volumes in #brains of homocidal youth offenders http://bit.ly/1khCUB7

    I had no idea that the rate of suicide is much higher amongst men than women – interesting speculations here re: why? http://bit.ly/1xRvq9F

    Gene implicated in schizophrenia produces too much protein that prevents dendrites (brain cell “antennae”) from branching out http://fxn.ws/1tq3ruY

    Bedside EEG uses graph theory maths to establish whether “anybody’s home?” with patients in vegetative state: http://bit.ly/1CrZnj0

    Tumour on pituitary gland causes release of too much growth hormone Can you imagine growing 20cm in just 12 months?! http://dailym.ai/1wIpNLv

    Exercise Counteracts Genetic Risk for Alzheimer’s – Scientific American http://buff.ly/1rftlAK

    I remember when people were mocked for having Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, now neuroscience defines its brain hallmarks: http://stanford.io/1xEj1Hj

    Inspiring story of brain machine interfaces helping people with locked in syndrome communicate with the outside world: http://n.pr/1rINUqk

    Might many -‘ve symptoms of schizophrenia (left over after +’ve ones coshed with drugs) boil down to working memory?

    New Multiple Sclerosis research – make local environment of damaged nerve wrappers more conducive to re-myelination: http://tinyurl.com/prfjvmf

    Treating depression w/ implants, tricky given brains are like “a hundred billion people all singing at the same time”

    Turning anecdotes of antidepressants killing brain cancers into clinical trials is good e.g. of “no profit, no dice”

    When dementia comes early: http://bbc.in/1DThNvO

    This piece on face blindness by @KateSzell won the @wellcometrust science writing prize http://gu.com/p/43cta/stw

    Tongues are connected directly to the brain stem – electrical stimulation in people with MS can improve their gait! http://bit.ly/1uwXjb9

    Oxytocin…attenuates hyperactive amygdalas in social anxiety disorder…explored as a potential treatment for PTSD”

    Are you genetically predisposed to antisocial behaviour?

    PTSD can develop even without memory of the trauma: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140814123844.htm


    Brain Imaging

    A major drawback of MRI is that the machines are big, expensive & immovable – enter DOT: http://bit.ly/1hJsni6

    “Sounds create visual imagery, mental images, and automatic projections…” Pattern classifier fMRI experiment: http://bit.ly/1inpfTD

    Free will emerges from brain “noise” #neuroscience #EEG http://bit.ly/1l2xbyo

    The good, the bad and the ugly of fMRI #brain imaging experiments: http://bit.ly/1lq0DOB

    “solid evidence that neural measurement can be useful for..prediction of mass preference” #neuroscience http://bit.ly/1rR9oCr

    Using MRI2track human brain white matter volume changes from 7-85 show rainbow-like pattern of expansion&contraction: http://bit.ly/1tDz60c

    “decreased #brain activation seen with fMRI may help explain why many chemotherapy patients complain of #chemobrain” http://reut.rs/1nC88D1

    Discovery of brain’s Default Mode Network is 1 of best examples of key finding that starts with “huh? That’s weird..” http://m.medicalxpress.com/news/2014-10-brain-mind-rest.html

    Reduced blood flow2certain brain areas (posterior cingulate) detected with MRI (ASL) warns of dementia risk early on: http://tinyurl.com/MRIdetectsARCD

    How to get disproportionate press coverage of your neuroscience study? Get folks2read Harry Potter in an MRI scanner: http://abcn.ws/1HI8dyF

    Heard the 1 about where jokes come from? MRI on 22 improv comedians whilst dreaming up amusing captions for cartoons: http://bit.ly/1ydfwbf

    NHS Choices doing what they do so well..this time clarifying news articles on MRI studies of chronic fatigue syndrome http://bit.ly/10NVwl4

    “Scientists generate tons of data..nobody uses it. We are building the technology to bring all..that together” http://nyti.ms/1kL9yqA #brain

    New #brain imaging technique tracks tau tangles of #Alzheimer’s plus new Alz protein identified: http://abcn.ws/Uc70ec #neuroscience

    “#brain scans revealed that..amygdala responded differently to subliminal images of trustworthy &untrustworthy faces” http://bit.ly/1y64NOL

    DOT – new way to scan brains. Diffuse Optical Tomography shines light into #brain through scalp/skull: http://bit.ly/1sYQZ95 #neuroscience

    Using fMRI to capture transition from counting on fingers to just “knowing” the answer to a sum: http://fxn.ws/1rizTou #SYKBO #neuroscience

    Neuroscience Study Finds Brain Can Take Quick Call On Trustworthiness http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/neuroscience-study-finds-brain-can-take-quick-call-trustworthiness-1459915 #neuroscience


    Brain Injury

    Any #brain aneurysm you might have in your noggin=much more likely to burst (haemorrhage) if you smoke  http://bit.ly/1tFpKQf

    Wide awake man being fitted with Deep Brain Stimulation Electrodes4Parkinson’s – can’t believe they missed 1st time!! http://ab.co/1wd27Ci

    Would Neymar be Neymar if he’d followed recommendations for under14’s to “not head the ball in soccer”? http://bit.ly/1poRGtb

    Brain Disorders Might Arise from Starving Neurons: http://bit.ly/1qrxdQe

    6 yrs of living w/ flashbacks, strange smells, headaches – caused by parasitic worm, living in brain, captured on MRI: http://bit.ly/1t9bSf7

    Progress towards new use for MRI in detecting free radicals to assess severity of #brain injuries #neuroscience http://bit.ly/1tL573h

    Could American Football Pro’s brain injuries explain violent behaviour off pitch? Is it even above national average? http://nbcnews.to/1wHl541

    “Helicopter view” on EEG data allows spreading depolarisation assoc w/ Traumatic Brain Injury2come into sharp relief: http://bit.ly/1ozhcGK

    A single season of American Football can damage a kid’s #brain even if they don’t suffer a concussion: http://onforb.es/1l9JPsf #neuroscience

    FIFA’s Dazed and Dated Attitude to Head Injuries http://nyti.ms/1nvxYUV – should player with head injury stay on when 3 subs have been used?

    Giving erythropoeitin (EPO) to babies born prematurely protects them from #brain damage: http://bbc.in/VN3rfo #neuroscience #SYKBO

    How to help babies deprived of oxygen during birth avoid #brain damage? Cool them to 33 degrees C asap: http://bbc.in/1wa99TL #neuroscience

    Don’t forget to breathe! Who ever heard of screen apnoea? http://bit.ly/1r00UwN

    Inspiring account of woman adapting 2 new life after traumatic #brain injury: http://bbc.in/1ooCRpj #DiaryOfAHeadcase – her title not mine!

    Stimulating #brain cells in the motor cortex improves recovery from stroke (in mice using optogenetics) http://bbc.in/YsP15E


    Brain Tech

    Interesting paper about potential4hackers to access personal data via consumer-grade #brain computer interfaces #BCI http://bit.ly/1lv8QNn

    Don’t dabble in DIY-tDCS until you at least know the real risks (watch out for those known unknowns): http://bit.ly/1giqOXw

    Chip implanted in paralysed man’s brain (eventually) enables him to move his hand again: http://bit.ly/1q8JvAt

    US military to invest in research into brain implant to monitor/remedy psychiatric problems of veterans: http://bit.ly/1rcvt1X

    What social media tech does2brains 1st bit very similar to Cyber Heads chapter in #SortYourBrainOut http://bit.ly/1utTCQb

    Mind boggling that severe #OCD is treated w/ deep #brain stimulation despite noone really knowing how/why it works: http://cnn.it/UFdPpm

    “beginning of a future in which people with paralysis will be able to leave the wheelchair & literally walk again” http://nbcnews.to/1oZ66eZ

    Love of Johnny Cash induced when #OCD man’s Deep #Brain Stimulation electrodes tickle his Nucleus Accumbens, but why? http://wapo.st/1neiB9X

    “Telepathy or a Painstaking Conversation in Morse Code?” Pierre Mégevand goes beyond the media hype: http://bit.ly/1qHg9ax

    “West Virginia Uni…won a $539,000 grant to engineer a wearable scanner to image activities of the brain in motion” http://tinyurl.com/oo3y5xy

    How science of social pressure is being leveraged by wearable tech companies to make getting fit a battle with others http://bit.ly/WGO1db

    Look mum no hands! Flying a plane using the power of thought alone: http://bit.ly/1CbdH1b News clip of an EEG-manipulated flight simulator

    Advanced prosthesis restores sense of touch to amputees http://bbc.in/1vSTD1J

    Even Just the Presence of a Smartphone Lowers the Quality of In-Person Conversations #psychology #communication http://www.psmag.com/navigation/nature-and-technology/presence-smart-phone-lowers-quality-person-conversations-85805/

    AMAZING: “decoder was able to reconstruct which words several..volunteers were thinking, using neural activity alone” http://bit.ly/1p65zNp

    During my NeuroBSc I wrote a theoretical essay about wiring a prosthetic hand into neurons of the arm. We are now one step closer… http://bit.ly/1uAjqeT

    Electrodes in to human hippocampus via cheek using bendy,MRI-compatible,robot-controlled needles http://bit.ly/1ocoN3u

    People who meditate are better at controlling machines via brain-computer interfaces (BCI) than those who don’t: http://tinyurl.com/ku9m9ww

    Can you imagine having ur brain wired into a robotic arm and controlling it just by thinking? From the horse’s mouth: http://bit.ly/1x27NNu

    I might get one of these thought-controlled brain chips to squirt dopamine into my reward pathways when I daydream: http://bit.ly/1v3EMDF

    Neuromorphic chips take flight enabling miniature drones to learn on the fly (literally): http://bit.ly/1phOMXM

    Scary that these brain-to-brain studies essentially treat 2nd person as an inert, arm-twitching, zombie: http://bit.ly/110D4VY #neuroethics

    This puts the Q “are you a man or a mouse?” into a new light/brave new world http://bit.ly/1yaywL3 Human astrocytes take over mouse brain..

    DIY Brain Zapping Meets the World of Internet Marketing http://bit.ly/1nROJ16

    Does controlling the cursor by moving your tongue around in your mouth sound futuristic? Yes? Well – future is here: http://bit.ly/1o5ZWXI

    For those who missed this on XFM’s #GeekChic last Sun – wearable robot providing 2extra fingers 4tricky manual tasks: http://bit.ly/1sJLmg6

    Progress & stumbling blocks in the development of an implantable chip that might one day boost #memory: http://bit.ly/1wE62Uv #neuroscience

    Wearable robotics will really catch on when they produce force illusions to pull hand towards destination, like this: http://bit.ly/1jSZKzZ

    “High-tech shower cap” controls glioblastomas 4 longer by disrupting cancer division via local electromagnetic fields http://bit.ly/1EuUgVD

    Deaf tech transformation: #GoogleGlass could help deaf communicate @BBCNews http://bbc.in/1qXJbRP

    EEG from person1 imagining moving hands/feet (in India) used2induce visual experience via TMS in person2 (in France) http://bit.ly/1tSLqsh

    The wisdom in exercising caution with DIY attempts2enhance #brain function w/ TDCS,via the delicious http://bit.ly/1tSLqsh

    Deep brain stimulation is big business. Dutch firm Sapiens acquired by Medtronic for $200,000,000 http://on.wsj.com/1q1j92r #DBS #neurosurgery

    Navy Uses Exoskeletons for Shipyard Maintenance | Defense Tech http://ow.ly/AGyi1

    One for you, @DrJackLewis “@sweatscience: brain stimulation on elite endurance athletes: http://www.outsideonline.com/fitness/bodywork/the-fit-list/Inside-Red-Bulls-Project-Endurance.html?c=n

    Philips & Accenture IT team up to develop brain computer interfaces for people with #ALS: http://fxn.ws/1qVyK1c

    I’ve banged on a lot this year about not buying into the electrical brain stimulation fad – turns out it can do harm: http://bit.ly/1ujtVyN

    IBM’s bee brain capacity SyNAPSE chip soon to be released into the hands of universities, next stop – Skynet? http://bit.ly/1AZOs0O

    The man who grew eyes’ fascinating piece by @mocost for @guardian http://ow.ly/ALBrX


    Brain Training 

    Old skool Dr Kawashima’s Brain Age re-launched on the Wii U Virtual Console: http://aol.it/1uy3Pch

    Brain training package LearningRX claims new data shows transfer of benefits beyond trained skills: http://bit.ly/1j59rUY

    Remarkable documentary detailing Navy SEAL training that enables recruits to control their brain’s fear response: http://bit.ly/1pEgs48

    Lumosity brain training (which my parents are now hooked on) tries2expand its 60M users thru android: http://bit.ly/1qVNFci

    Top ten #brain training apps courtesy of Huffington Post: http://huff.to/1kN3r3G

    Most people “know it is possible to maintain a healthy brain, but more than half of respondents admit they don’t know how” http://huff.to/VdC26n

    Excellent summary of the issues surrounding Brain Training by @dana_fdn http://dana.org/Cerebrum/2014/The_Brain-Games_Conundrum__Does_Cognitive_Training_Really_Sharpen_the_Mind_/

    “Can you really teach people to be mentally tougher?” http://bbc.in/1qK2t0U

    Brain training games must play second fiddle to regular exercise & social engagement if you want to #sortyourbrainout http://ti.me/1DxtiKc

    Latest brain training app on the block, Berlin cash-backed Memorado, raises $1.3M in seed funding: http://tcrn.ch/1tZOSCz

    Brain training is not a new fad, Pelmanists were at it in the UK 100 years ago: http://bit.ly/1r4fTna

    Meditation suggests that happiness is…a skill, something you can train just [like training] your body in the gym” http://bit.ly/1qmw9B9

    Could a Video Game Be the Key to Stroke Recovery? http://ow.ly/C9BSE

    Forget brain training games; spend your lunchtime trying to wrap your noggin around these classic mind benders: http://bbc.in/ZLxwh4 #SYBO

    If Brain Fit Clubs crossed the pond & popped up in the UK – would anyone go for it? Or could it only work in the USA? http://bit.ly/1shD1PW

    Regular exercise helps kids brains,improving ability2 “block out irrelevant information&concentrate on..task at hand” http://tinyurl.com/Play4urBrain

    Sort Your Brain Out! @DrJackLewis & @polarbearpirate share their top tips: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wS857UVWqPQ&list=UUAvEpbsRFKYkc7zgCU6IHyw (thanks @fifthframe) #SYBO #Brainpower

    Time “spent doing solo software drills..not spent hiking, learning Italian..playing w/ ur grandchildren”=not worth it http://bit.ly/1xcSFfj

    MUST READ-> Fostering and Measuring Skills: Improving Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Skills to Promote Lifetime Success http://go.shr.lc/1zwSV8I

    Expanding working memory boosts fluid intelligence This free game will help you do just that! http://bit.ly/1nZO4Xa     #SortYourBrainOut #SYBO

    1 hour after waking up from general anaesthetic my spatial working memory has plummeted from ~12 items to ~8.

    16hrs after waking from general anaesthetic not only did spatial working memory return2normal but I smashed my Go-NoGo record

    BBC article on first results from The Great Brain Experiment @CitizenBrains http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-28447177

    All the best scientists experiment on themselves 😉 http://bit.ly/1kWicID I’m studying my working memory, are you? #SortYourBrainOut #SYBO

    I’m going to master this dual 3-back task if it kills me: http://bit.ly/1nZO4Xa #braintraining #workingmemory #fluidintelligence #SYBO

    If, like me, you’ve really struggled with transition from Dual 2-Back to Dual 3-Back.. soldier on!! http://bit.ly/1nZO4Xa #SortYourBrainOut

    Took me 50 trials 2 reach Dual 4-Back! If @ first you don’t succeed.. http://bit.ly/1nZO4Xa #braintraining #workingmemory #SortYourBrainOut

    Brain train gaming for sporting prowess, anyone? http://bit.ly/1uv2EcK #SortYourBrainOut #SYBO

    RE https://twitter.com/sciammind/status/539760126714855424 … Brain Training Doesn’t Make You [Much] Smarter via @sciammind


    Computer Coding

    Want to help your kids code? Ages 5+ in England will be learning – we’ve got tips for parents: http://ow.ly/B5QfK

    If I was 13 I would KILL to do this MT @alomshaha: London parents: UCL are running FREE coding tuition for 13-18yo http://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/ucl-coding-club/

    East London Kids To Be Offered Training Loans To Learn Coding http://tcrn.ch/1ybcAh



    The claustrum – brain area that appears to be the ON/OFF switch for conscious awareness: http://bit.ly/1pXbUWH

    Has team of Max Planck neuroscientists affectionately referred to as “The Greek Mafia” finally cracked consciousness? http://bit.ly/1u2NRtE



    Extremely thorough account of investigations into links between creative genius and mental illness: http://bit.ly/1qdzWAt

    “Creativity is a perversely difficult thing to study” Steven Pinker on fMRI exp on creative writing: http://nyti.ms/1pwI5Ow

    Can epilepsy fuel creativity? http://bit.ly/1uU9dIY

    http://bit.ly/1oBHTtY is very relevant to Gone Fishing (For Great Ideas) chapter in our book #SortYourBrainOut by @polarbearpirate & myself

    Link between creativity & subclinical levels of madness (colloq.) has always rung true to me. Finally some hard data: http://bit.ly/1wm5G6u

    Magic of a powerful narrative – a neuro perspective: http://bit.ly/1nMzTf2 Great article from the Mack Daddy of oxytocin – Paul Zak #SYBO

    Innovation MYTHS: open-office plans decrease productivity, group brainstorming -> fewer & worse ideas than solo http://www.newrepublic.com/article/118815/innovation-districts-are-oversold-you-cant-engineer-creativity

    Why we all need to make time to play: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/oct/05/why-play-is-important-to-us-all-lauren-lavern

    Imagination and Reality Flow in Opposite Directions in the Brain: http://neurosciencenews.com/eeg-neural-circuit-reality-imagination-1560/

    #creativity in decline amongst youngsters despite broadly accepted importance in achieving success: http://onforb.es/1k3HwvE

    How do ideas happen? And how do we feed our brains to have more of them? @mattfutureproof gives it some thought: http://futureproof.co.uk/no-idea-about-ideas/

    Finding inspiration in your sleep: http://bit.ly/1B8MpsT #SortYourBrainOut #creativity #innovation #SYBO

    Robin Williams, 2010 in the Guardian, http://www.theguardian.com/film/2010/sep/20/robin-williams-worlds-greatest-dad-alcohol-drugs

    The relationship between mental illness & creativity is not straightforward: http://bit.ly/1r7dr1s #psychology #genius #madness #brain

    The War on Fun: How Modern Culture is Killing Creativity http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2014/07/31/the-war-on-fun-how-modern-culture-is-killing-creativity/

    Why You Should Doodle More. #creativity http://zite.to/1qUI0Y8



    Not acting fast enough to save Earth from climate change/not saving enough for retirement -caused by same brain flaw? http://bit.ly/1zeU5r6

    Excitement and anxiety battling it out in #brain during a decision where you win either way (WIN-WIN): http://bit.ly/1ldofmO   #neuroscience

    Our “gut feelings” are messages that simplify life decisions for us by guiding our attention toward smarter options.. http://lnkd.in/d3jze79



    36-pronged approach simultaneously targeting diet, exercise, sleep, brain stimulation improves memory in mild Alz: http://bit.ly/1nJvgm9

    Investigating links between mental illnesses / immune system; particularly depression and Alzheimer’s: http://bit.ly/16IzIKo #thankyouHenry

    “Puzzles and crosswords could be best way to beat dementia” http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/health/488869/Puzzles-and-crosswords-could-be-best-way-to-beat-dementia

    Dose of curcumin (in turmeric) enables eye test4 Alz to catch it early enough4development of new drugs: http://bit.ly/1q9KDou

    In 2011, I blogged about potential for arthritis drug to halt Alz: http://bit.ly/Wq88MT Now more new data: http://bit.ly/Wq7W08

    Study reveals how gardens could help dementia care http://bit.ly/1l1xGoR

    Testing people’s sense of smell may provide clues to accumulation of beta-amyloid plaques of Alzheimer’s: http://bit.ly/1zBSQ6O

    Everyone back to bed! Research on how sleep relates to onset of #dementia: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140701091458.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Fmind_brain%2Falzheimers+%28Alzheimer%27s+News+–+ScienceDaily%29

    On the connection btw Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and cinnamon — @Alzheimersnet via @APlaceForMom http://bit.ly/1mJWfGw

    The value of Exercise: being physically active in middle age may reduce the risk for Alzheimer’s disease in old age http://bit.ly/1uGHRVS



    In case you missed the chat about chemical Brain Enhancement the first time round: http://bit.ly/1rTaSj9

    New study suggests magic mushroom therapy much more effective than nicotine replacement for smoking cessation: http://bit.ly/ZjidMU

    Didn’t even realise methamphetamine caused #brain damage, let alone this finding that THC protects against it: http://ti.me/1pmZ8nj

    Popular anti-depressant drug (SSRIs), long thought to take weeks to take effect, changes healthy brains in just 3hrs: http://ti.me/Yyrnyt

    Antipodean link between cannabis & suicide risk is tenuous. Correlation does not mean causation, explained here: http://bit.ly/XnwGGh

    Fantastic article in this month’s The Psychologist by @ProfDavidNutt on therapeutic potential of psychedelic drugs: http://bit.ly/W34JCJ

    Finally homing in on truth behind the proposed link between childhood cannabis use & psychosis in later life? http://bit.ly/XFxtCv

    In the Q&A after my brain talks one topic consistently seems to pique curiosity: CAFFEINE -so I wrote a blog on it.. http://bit.ly/1ry3qZx

    Worth further study? Of 446 adults treated 4 head trauma, lower incidence of death among those testing +’ve for THC: http://bit.ly/1uapOW4

    “1 transcendent trip can alter people’s personalities on a long-term basis..making them more open..more appreciative“ http://bit.ly/1zJd0yg

    If this wasn’t the NYT/well-written I’d never have retweeted yet another piece entitled “This Is Your Brain On Drugs” http://bitly.com/1thHVvC

    Cannabis is orexigenic (i.e. smoking weed gives you the munchies) now we have a better understanding of the mechanism http://bit.ly/1ouaI1s

    If your nightly cup of cocoa has a whopping dose of flavanols – it might just improve your memory: http://bit.ly/1wBPorI   #SortYourBrainOut

    Microbubbles + ultrasound = ferrying drugs across the blood brain barrier: http://bit.ly/1DADhNL

    This type of article usually makes me cringe. This 1 didn’t! Brain benefits of green tea etc: http://bit.ly/1t3HINJ   #SortYourBrainOut #SYBO

    Does cannabis really shrink your brain and compensate by increasing connectivity? NHS Choices set the record straight http://bit.ly/10XXoY5

    Electrical brain stimulation 2 – Caffeine 1 http://bit.ly/1vpJb3o

    Update on therapeutic uses of MDMA (ecstasy) and psilocybin (mushrooms): http://bit.ly/1p1UmGV #brain #neuroscience

    Smart drugs like modafinil don’t make your brain work better if you’re a bright spark: http://bit.ly/1BJoaUN   #SortYourBrainOut #SYBO

    A little bit of booze improves your sense of smell: http://bit.ly/1np1FLV #neuroscience #SortYourBrainOut #SYBO

    Supplementing radiation therapy with cannabinoid drugs slows down the progression of brain cancers even more in mice: http://ind.pn/1vcf9Rj

    The bonding hormone oxytocin inhibits the fear center in the brain – http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/285441.php

    Finally a proper nootropic on the horizon! Keep an eye on Ana Pereira’s clinical trial of riluzole in mild Alz. http://bit.ly/13tDDIG #SYBO

    The American Academy of Neurology calls for more long term studies into therapeutic use of medical marijuana: http://bit.ly/1vBWLfv

    #marijuana &your #brain -does it REALLY do significant damage? http://bit.ly/1uwNau1 #neuroscience #hippocampus #amygdala #SortYourBrainOut

    Drugs in space and sleepless in the shuttle http://wp.me/ptsTD-7RJ

    More on impact of #cannabis use on the adolescent #brain, courtesy of Nature: http://bit.ly/1sz41LV #neuroscience #SortYourBrainOut #SYBO

    Great news for drunks! New compound seems to mitigate against the brain damage that results from binge drinking: http://bit.ly/1FKLmRf

    Laughing gas shows therapeutic promise in treatment-resistant clinical depression: http://bit.ly/1zHjJ9Z

    Smokers have tougher time quitting menthol cigs – menthol alone increases nicotinic receptors in pleasure pathways! http://bit.ly/1IJ86TS

    Time for another cuppa? Nice animation from @AsapSCIENCE about caffeine & how it affects your brain http://bit.ly/1qbq7Cd



    “Eating a lot of sugar or other carbohydrates can be hazardous to both #brain structure and function”: http://bit.ly/1pMHgAk

    2.1Bn people on Earth are obese/overweight; that’s a lot of narrowed #brain blood vessels : http://bbc.in/1lSW6Rl

    People w/ “binge eating disorder..lower grey matter volumes..in OFC&striatum” which help keep track of goals/rewards: http://bit.ly/1ktGBDd

    After eating – leptin travels up to #brain – reducing hunger – via astrocytes not just neurons: http://bit.ly/1rGQvpN

    “mother’s high-fat diet triggers brain inflam in..developing fetus leading2anxiety&hyperactivity in offspring” [mice] http://fxn.ws/1C5UxNG

    “trans fats increase the shelf life of foods..reduce the shelf life of people” +it makes you stupid: http://onforb.es/1xS2oZT

    Another reason to stay in – Home cooking a main ingredient in healthier diet: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/11/141117084711.htm

    Obesity=chronic low-grade inflammatory state, influencing neuropsychiatric status thru’ effects of inflammation on brain (Castanon et al, 2014)

    Cell hub within amygdala (renowned for it’s role in fear response) switches off urge to feed: http://bbc.in/1uy92G6     #neuroscience #brain

    “Signals in the #brain that tell us to stop eating function less efficiently as we approach mid-life” http://bit.ly/1BdT8BD     #thankyouHenry

    Forget the gastric band, to reduce obesity we may some day just crank up the juice on our vagus nerve stimulator: http://bit.ly/1o65u9E

    Weight gain/obesity from high fat/high sugar diet prevented when receptor is blocked – but where do the calories go? http://bit.ly/1uf9V2F

    More mindless eating of high calorie food when brain area implicated in resisting impulses is experimentally zapped: http://bit.ly/1r7rtyv



    Doh, why did I do that? How could I be so stupid!! (Rat regret) http://bit.ly/1oGdPQE

    Longest running study homes in on what really makes men happy: http://bit.ly/1jvAuME

    “aggressive men’s blood pressure went down..non-aggressive men..blood pressure [rose,whilst watching violent scenes]” http://bit.ly/1uyW5Jf

    “I’ve got a bad feeling about this” Habenula #brain region activated when viewing images assoc w/ nasty consequences http://bbc.in/1pzAATn

    Changing flavour of a mouse’s emotional associations w/ a specific environment thru’ #optogenetic #brain stimulation: http://bbc.in/1qLM9Yl

    “fine-grained patterns of neural activity w/in orbitofrontal…code that captures an individual’s subjective feeling” http://bit.ly/1wb9pSy

    “Chewing gum, surprisingly, improved mood, possibly because chewing seems to increase blood flow to brain” http://bbc.in/1DANoAg

    “What we have found is a process that may dampen the brain’s sensitivity to negative life events.” http://bit.ly/ZBYW9P

    As days get shorter “production of a transporter protein ramps up in S.A.D., lowering available serotonin” http://bbc.in/1ye9RlH

    Ever noticed that musclebound gym freaks seem particularly moody? Appears that stronger men are quicker to anger: http://bit.ly/1qvZE0Y

    Exercise protects against depression – but how? – The rise of PGC-1a1 as a possible mechanism http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/283057.php



    Today=Big Day. When that paralysed person kicks off the World Cup they’ll feel underfoot via their arm: http://bit.ly/1iqKGU4

    #Brain play at Young Vic, London: “The Valley of Astonishment” until 12th July http://bit.ly/1peny3J

    Fancy trying some EEG Pong? Just head down to the Royal Society’s Summer Exhibition starting 1st July http://bit.ly/1q9txWN

    If anyone over there in the US lives near the Franklin Institute this Your Brain exhibition sounds ace! http://bit.ly/1xTJUc3

    Birdies for brains – golfing 100 holes in 1 day to raise money for brain charity http://kare11.tv/1kY0Fh0

    You’ve been quoted in my #Storify story “The App-othecary: Is the future of medicine calling?” http://sfy.co/a00Pk

    #Today is #World #Brain #Day !! Love your brain http://www.wfneurology.org/world-brain-day#

    If I was in Philadelphia right now I would go, immediately, to the Franklin Institute’s Neural Climb: http://bit.ly/1zA2ozO Sounds awesome!

    Read ’em and sleep: how one tweet led to a literary lock-in http://gu.com/p/42nvn/tw via @guardian

    Very much looking forward 2 speaking at the London Business Forum event with @polarbearpirate tomorrow morning: http://bit.ly/11iQKMr

    The App-othecary: Is the future of medicine calling? is hosted by @DrJackLewis at @acmedsci on 18th in London http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-app-othecary-is-the-future-of-medicine-calling-tickets-13850500219



    Did #brains of pre-human ancestors thrive on bug diet / the challenge of making #tools to get at them? http://bit.ly/1qJPVDZ

    Brawn v brain: During human evolution, the brain got stronger and our muscles weaker


    Protective buttressing of the hominin face #sexualdimorphism #evolution

    http://goo.gl/Eva1MU  http://goo.gl/19SfmN


    Did Standing Up Change Our Brains? http://neurosciencenews.com/bidepal-walking-cognitive-brain-change-1045

    huh, interesting…Non-dominant hand vital to the evolution of the thumb http://bit.ly/1ulHl15

    8,000 yr old (prob. human) brain found preserved in skull during archaeological dig in Norway: http://bit.ly/1nCc1si

    Neanderthal trait found in archaic early human skull http://www.pasthorizonspr.com/index.php/archives/07/2014/neanderthal-trait-found-in-archaic-early-human-skull



    Having been bored all week by Luc Besson’s Lucy inspired resurgence of articles on 10% #brain myth, this tickled me: http://bit.ly/1nB8NVD


    Free Will

    Free will emerges from brain “noise” http://bit.ly/1l2xbyo #neuroscience #EEG #freewill #noise #brain #SortYourBrainOut via @DrJackLewis



    BrainJellyCroppedThere comes a time in every neuroscientist’s life when the urge2make a human brain out of jelly becomes irresistible

    X-ray GIFS of the human body in action http://bit.ly/1A4LrfB

    Mathematical proof that hipsters all look alike http://wapo.st/1zk0otu


    PNIS, it’s like The Onion for science: http://pnis.co/index.html



    Immersive virtual reality gaming is now so good it might be game over for reality, new blog just posted http://bit.ly/1lNOLYr

    Video gaming in kids might not have adverse impact on cognition but “displacement threat” should not be trivialised http://bit.ly/1nKeKx9

    Anyone want to make a game with me? http://www.tiga.org/repository/documents/editorfiles/onlinesubscribers/tiga_sources_of_finance_document.pdf

    “Throw Trucks With Your Mind..ultra-violent meditative competitive game” – anyone? http://lat.ms/1oQ7HpM


    Geek Chic

    Nearly lunchtime (in Europe at least) Perfect opportunity to listen to ep1 of our brand new podcast!: http://bit.ly/1lwfx8E

    New improved #GeekChicPodcast – out now!! Getting people hooked on healthy food, brain-to-brain comms & titanosaurs http://bit.ly/1qH2K2i

    Saving lives with crisp packets, Xe memory erasers & @AsapSCIENCE animations on internet brains #geekchicpodcast ep4: http://bit.ly/1rinZJl

    A True and Complete Account of the Neuroscience of Zombies – Scientific American http://ift.tt/1HeHLfT

    Amazing Rosetta images show Philae bouncing 1km off comet: http://po.st/N8Im3Q by @jtemperton

    New #GeekChic popscience podcast from me & @Xfm_Lliana. This week: pandas who fake it & lesbians who don’t need to http://tinyurl.com/mhvyt6x

    Do we actually dream in slow motion? Find out in @DrJackLewis and my geek chic Podcast here: https://itun.es/gb/MYC82.c

    Ever heard of coloured icebergs? Read about this natural phenomenon here: http://bit.ly/terranostra #travel #nature

    #geekchicpodcast episode 4: http://bit.ly/1rinZJl

    Cockroach biobots have caught the attention of the U.S. Department of Energy: http://bit.ly/1ui1Lbi

    Geek Chic Science Weekly podcast will be available for download from today onwards #geekchicpodcast https://itun.es/gb/MYC82.c

    Geek Chic Podcast Episode2 – Out Now!! How to get hooked on healthy food, vulcan-esque communication &huge dinosaurs: http://bit.ly/1qH2K2i

    Geek Chic Weird Science Podcast is finally on iTunes!!! Pls download all episodes for FREE & share 🙂 x https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/geek-chics-weird-science/id921816230?mt=2

    Geek Chic Weird Science podcast, download, for free, from iTunes & listen anytime you like: https://itun.es/gb/MYC82.c

    In Jan 2014 @Xfm_Lliana invited me2chat weird&wonderful science stories on XFM every Sun. Now we have a podcast! Ep1: http://bit.ly/1lwfx8E

    Looking for some Fri distraction? #geekchicpodcast Ep3 Jack The Ripper Special -has science finally cracked the case? http://bit.ly/1qXEIBC

    #geekchicweirdscience podcast ep9 Nobel Special is OUT NOW!! http://tinyurl.com/pw9w77a Catching up on new approaches to investigating Brain GPS

    Abolishing arachnaphobia by taking a scalpel to the brain;very halloweeny article from New Scientist http://bit.ly/1089Cg7   @GCweirdscience

    Anchoring the brain’s compass: http://bit.ly/1vzVYzV   Little amuse bouche ahead of this week’s #geekchicweirdscience podcast @GCweirdscience

    Curious about teleportation? Baffled by quantum entanglement? Prof Gisin explains all in our latest GCWS podcast: http://tinyurl.com/GCweirdscience

    DidUcatch new ep of #geekchicweirdscience podcast? Killer whales speaking dolphin, transplanting sexual organs&more! http://tinyurl.com/pw9w77a

    Geek Chic Weird Science ep10 – miracle spinal surgery, hoverboards, re-heated pasta, tractor beams & birds on Prozac: http://tinyurl.com/pw9w77a

    Dolphins can detect magnetic fields and might well use this ability to help them navigate the oceans: http://bit.ly/1vbV1tO

    Geek Chic Weird Science podcast ep7: “Teleportation Special” OUT NOW!!  @Xfm_Lliana & I interview a quantum genius…

    https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/geek-chics-weird-science/id921816230?mt=2 … – ep6 – Out now! Cunningly cultured chimps, (potentially) calamitous comets & [gasp] a coffee crisis on the horizon

    Rosetta Mission selfie http://wrd.cm/1wjGa3c

    Thanks @DrJackLewis & @Xfm_Lliana for the fun interview abt the hippocampus, place cells & Nobel prize https://itun.es/i6B33FT

    This one’s also very #geekchicweird science: http://echinoblog.blogspot.ca/2014/10/five-points-about-fossil-history-of.html

    Being Halloween ’n’ all presumably someone out there fancies making a zombie..here’s a 1-stop-shop from @SciencePunk: http://amzn.to/1udf2V2

    Bounce baby bounce: http://www.planetary.org/blogs/emily-lakdawalla/2014/11171502-rosetta-imaged-philae-during.html … #philae bounce data

    Ever wondered how “homing” ravens in Game of Thrones reach their destination? Brain gyroscope+gravity detectors: http://bit.ly/1EG6iYQ

    Geek Chic’s Weird Science podcast ep14 http://bit.ly/1rpMfIh Will we Clone Wooly Mammoths? Is Brain Electrocution better than Coffee? Et al

    Spider brain, spider brain, does whatever a spider brain does… Delving into the jumping spider brain: http://nyti.ms/1yTGZQ7   @GCweirdscience

    PODCAST: ep15 @GCweirdscience Do we dream in slow motion? Could you live a life aquatic? How to make a digital animal http://bit.ly/1rpMfIh

    When Philae/Rosetta were first launched from French Guiana ten years ago..Twitter had yet to be invented via @RogerHighfield @GCweirdscience

    “whales,dolphins&elephants share our ability2learn new vocalisations/3groups of birds:songbirds,parrots&hummingbirds” http://bit.ly/1AcRtdw

    Print a personalised virus to kill your specific cancer and for a fraction of a price http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22429990.200-i-want-to-print-personalised-cancer-drugs-in-a-day.html … – amazingly beautiful idea

    Very Blade Runner, this: extracting images from corneal reflections http://ow.ly/GwUSZ

    Lego robot with a worm brain: http://nydn.us/1ITmrgE OpenWorm project seems to be capturing imaginations all over the world @GCweirdscience

    JanisCarter lived in cage onGambian river in effort2reintroduce domesticated chimp2wild: http://bit.ly/1B94mYi @Radiolab #SelfExpHeroes

    New #GeekChic popscience podcast from me & @DrJackLewis. This week: pandas who fake it & lesbians who don’t need to http://tinyurl.com/mhvyt6x

    PODCAST: we look back on the best weird science stories from 2014 in our 17th episode of @GCweirdscience http://bit.ly/1rpMfIh   @Xfm_Lliana

    Which is better: http://brainsciencepodcast.com/   or @GCweirdscience (paranormal science special will be released tomorrow!!) #battleofthepodcasts

    No but seriously this is great – Swiss / Ukranian collaboration on homing pigeons, study required huge meteor crater: http://bit.ly/1EG6iYQ


    Gut Bacteria

    This account of human evolution sees us merely as puppets dangling on the strings of our gut bacterial puppeteers! http://theatln.tc/1mIVtAV

    Balanced, well-written account of story-so-far re science taking influence of gut on brain more & more seriously: http://bit.ly/ZSBh5g

    Nice update on the latest research investigating the link between gut bacteria and brain function from Nature http://bit.ly/1v5thvr #SYBO

    “armies of bacteria living in our guts can pull the strings in our #brains to get what they want” http://onforb.es/1riA8jh   #neuroscience #SYBO

    Daily microbiome tracking – I wish I could have done this for my connectome!

    Gut bacteria may influence food cravings2get what they want by sending message2 #brain via vagus nerve: http://bit.ly/1tLIhtA   #weirdscience



    How cultures influence content of hallucinations/delusions



    Brains go to great lengths to preserve personal narratives -only getting labelled “confabulation” once at the extreme http://bit.ly/1nXJB8P

    I don’t have a stock portfolio… but if I did I’d certainly keep these psychological biases in mind: http://onforb.es/1ou2oP6   #SortYourBrainOut

    Attractive people are often assumed to be “good” but does being “good” bias people to rate them as more attractive? http://bit.ly/1rk7lEt



    “Aldini zapped the #brain of a decapitated criminal by placing a metal wire into each ear & then flicking the switch” http://wrd.cm/1nUd5VT

    Mosso machine 1882: get person balanced on plank, play them a sound, blood rushes to #brain, tipping the balance! http://n.pr/VzEyDu


    Holding Onto Marbles

    “Less time sitting down” = better way of helping older people keep their white matter in good nick: http://bit.ly/1ucWqQi   #SortYourBrainOut

    “cognitive health in old age reflects the long-term effects of healthy, engaged lifestyles” …but not “brain games” http://stanford.io/1rXY05B

    Brain Age test for middle aged people to slam the brakes on our descent into cognitive decline – NICE! http://bit.ly/10OrbTA   #RetirementDNA

    Brain function can improve as you age: http://bit.ly/1yR3sgs – great to hear given that I’ve spent all day thinking about #RetirementDNA !!

    I did a little piece in the Independent Online on Holding Onto Your Marbles to promote #SortYourBrainOut http://ind.pn/143Scnb #SYBO

    You are what you..do for a living: http://yhoo.it/1ATx54x Daily mental activity induced by your job can help u build cognitive reserve #SYBO

    The big message for #brain health to aid the battle against dementia in 2015? “Use It Or Lose It” http://ind.pn/1zN8dIY   #SortYourBrainOut

    “parts of the brain that were the last to develop were also the first to show signs of age-related decline” http://bbc.in/1ALZhX8



    After decades of slowly increasing IQ it looks like we might now be going backwards. But why? http://bit.ly/1toL8JA   #SortYourBrainOut

    Outgamed by a chimp – in your face Homo sapiens! http://bit.ly/1nSsRj4



    What Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Neuroscience w/ @DrJackLewis



    Time to learn a new language? “those who spoke2or more languages had significantly better cognitive abilities” http://bbc.in/1tAAZYi

    “Listening effort and accented speech”. http://feedly.com/e/Scjtk42b The case for NOT outsourcing call centers?

    This is unbelievably amazingly awesome – Star-Trek style instant voice translation

    “people who speak more than 1 language fluently have better memories..more cognitively creative & mentally flexible” http://bit.ly/1rODTNM

    If you get someone to say a word out loud, but tweak the sound of their own voice, you can make them talk nonsense: http://bit.ly/1xEGBT1

    Mandarin speaking nanny for your infant child,perhaps? Adult brains recognise language features from infancy exposure: http://ti.me/1zDi8jV



    “..striatum learns the pieces of the puzzle and then the prefrontal cortex puts the pieces.. together.” http://bit.ly/1lUHip6 via @PsyBlog

    What goes on inside the brain as we learn from our mistakes http://ti.me/1qBjfwJ

    Don’t Dismiss MOOCs – We’re Just Starting To Understand Their True Value: http://www.science20.com/the_conversation/dont_dismiss_moocs_we_are_just_starting_to_understand_their_true_value-144160

    Dopamine helps with math rules as well as mood: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/12/141205093831.htm

    Utilise the “dead time”: Essential health info,distilled into small chunks,offered not force fed -perfect!



    Laughter puts #brain in2state similar to that of deep meditation



    Nice short video with distinguished neuroscientists explaining basics of #memory: http://bit.ly/1nuJPcC

    Bring unpleasant memory to mind, inhale Xenon, goodbye emotional pain – future of recovery from heartbreak / trauma? http://bit.ly/1rinZJl

    Incredibly intricate interplay between hippocampus and septum enables us to create chunks of memory: http://stanford.io/1qct5GK   #neuroscience

    Default mode network, usually associated with daydreaming/mindwandering, very much involved in certain memory tasks: http://bit.ly/1sh2Hrk

    Obama dishes out: $810k MIT – determining which exact brain circuits are involved in generating short-term memories that influence decisions

    fMRI: CA3 overlap in #hippocampus may explain when we find it “difficult2differentiate between similar past memories” http://bbc.in/1mfkjGb

    “frontoparietal network plays key role in analysis,memory retrieval,abstract thinking&problem-solving/fluidity2adapt” http://bit.ly/1A8dEBm

    NEWSFLASH: memory may not be in synapses http://bit.ly/1DUXmSH Next they’ll say action potentials are just there 2 generate electric fields

    On the topic of TMS.. 20mins of daily magnetic stimulation for just 5 days improved memory in study of 16 volunteers: http://bit.ly/1qlNN5w

    Shedding New Light on the Formation of Emotional Fear Memories: http://neurosciencenews.com/memory-formation-hebbian-plasticity-1605/ #neuroscience #memory


    Mind Over Matter

    Cool! RT @mrianleslie: This is amazing: the neuroscience behind Bruce Lee’s “one-inch punch” http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/health/nueroscience/the-science-of-bruce-lees-one-inch-punch-16814527

    Mind over matter – Wim Hof can withstand freezing swims/hikes in bare skin – 3 tricks to control his body & #brain: http://bit.ly/VQBVNS

    These incredible robot exoskeletons used in Korean shipyards remind us of something… More: http://ow.ly/zVJ54



    Possible neurobiological basis for tradeoff between honesty and self-interest http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140902114230.htm

    Morality pills: reality or science fiction? http://www.theguardian.com/science/head-quarters/2014/jun/03/morality-pills-reality-or-science-fiction



    Musical training improves various aspects of executive #brain function in old & young alike http://bit.ly/1p9jaCR

    Speaking of Default Mode Network: activity ramps up when you hear song you like -is this losing yourself in the tune? http://huff.to/XvXxQA

    Numerous benefits of providing music lessons to underprivileged kids includes improved language processing http://n.pr/1nMzbZL

    Music saved my voice: http://bit.ly/1v0ApGZ     Brain aneurysm robs music teacher of ability to speak, melodic intonation therapy wins it back

    Been wondering when a band would jump on the binaural beat bandwagon – headphones on – relaxing?: http://bit.ly/1k9Dcv8 #SortYourBrainOut

    What Wired thinks about a music neuroscience app that helps you increase focus by many hundred % http://wrd.cm/1j8VSu9     #neuroscience #music

    Why is melody in the high notes and rhythm in the bass: http://bit.ly/1A5RsJO #neuroscience #music #SortYourBrainOut #SYBO



    Fascinating research from @hugospiers throws more light on #brain navigation systems http://bit.ly/1nWhMTx

    Bat Nav http://bbc.in/124L3lb @GCweirdscience

    Your brain’s internal compass – the stronger the signal it produces, the better your sense of direction: http://bbc.in/1r5IY48 @hugospiers



    If your brain was size of planet Earth..this infographic shows size of its nuts&bolts http://bit.ly/1jUrCTq

    The Neuromythology of Einstein’s Brain http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuroskeptic/2014/05/24/myth-einsteins-brain/

    Leonardo Da Vinci with his neuroscientist hat on: http://bit.ly/1Afvwfz #neuroscience

    If I get hold of a cow brain would anyone be interested in bringing their kids2see a live dissection? http://bit.ly/1yjsFTz   @GCweirdscience

    Convention Defying Brain Cell: new neuronal “short-circuiting” feature spotted in brain’s memory bank: http://bit.ly/ZknTqq

    Brain’s glial cells – long thought2be *just* passive support cells – increasingly recognised to play important roles: http://bit.ly/1qwK2Y5

    Prodding around inside human brains during neuroanatomy practicals I always wondered what the choroid plexus was for: http://bit.ly/1rF1LQL

    From physics to neuroscience: “Single neurons, he said, are fairly well understood, as are small circuits of neurons” http://nyti.ms/1xq0gbL

    Bizarre Human Brain With No Wrinkles Discovered http://www.iflscience.com/brain/lost-and-found-smooth-human-brain

    Major brain pathway rediscovered http://gu.com/p/43cmm/stw

    100 missing brains: http://bit.ly/1zmmRpD   If you are entrusted with Einstein’s brain you really should take more care.. @GCweirdscience

    Regions of the brain strengthen with age http://medx.cc/334222167 #neuroscience

    Astrocytes:always the bridesmaid,never the bride in discussions about #brain function;’til now? http://bit.ly/1qKqxBt #neuroscience #memory

    Investigating factors that cause the #brain surface to fold up forming the distinctive peaks & valleys: http://bit.ly/1o9ih6A   #neuroscience



    Ultra-fine particles found in air pollution seem to play havoc with early brain development

    Consumption of highly-sweetened drinks throughout adolescence leads to cognitive impairment (in rats, so far) http://bit.ly/1s4q0rm

    Great advice re: how best to stretch a child’s #brain described at 3m40s in this lovely interview: http://bit.ly/1mDK2r6   #SortYourBrainOut

    Baby’s brain rehearse speech five months before they talk http://bit.ly/1ne4HUC @ScienceDaily #babytalk #SYKBO via @perked_brain

    “..newborn #brains grew at an average rate of 1%/day” Cerebellum doubles in size over 1st 90days http://bbc.in/1pMeC2q   #neuroscience #SYKBO

    “When it comes to #brain development, time in the classroom may be less important than time on the playground” http://n.pr/1p9PMdK #SYKBO

    On topic of importance of play4children.. Nils Norman compared adventure playgrounds across globe, book only £85!!: http://amzn.to/1oqSlDh

    The Case for Packing Libraries Full of Toys and Games – http://www.citylab.com/work/2014/08/the-case-for-packing-libraries-full-of-toys-and-games/375530/ … #creativity

    Young humans grow up much slower than our primate cousins because our #brain is so “energy expensive”: http://bit.ly/1p9Jpsb #neuroscience



    Interesting thoughts on using insights from neuroscience in #advertising / #marketing: http://bit.ly/1pZqMIt via @stromilof #neuroformed

    So good it needed tweeting twice: http://bit.ly/1rR9oCr Shared brain activity in few predicts audience preferences at large #neuroformed

    Happy shoppers come in many varieties: run-of-the-mill happy, happy-excited. happy-aroused & (beware) happy-frenzied! http://n.pr/11vQjxY



     Neuromyths are hampering education

    Christian Jarrett is worried about the impact of neuromyths on society

    Exploding the 10k hrs of deliberate practice #myth – it’s no guarantee for greatness

    Beware fake brain science in schools: http://slate.me/1yjtsEg



    NHS Choices continue to marshal the dubious fringes of science journalism – multi-tasking shrinks your brain, huh? http://bit.ly/1CrolB3

    “30mins..daily training for 1 month..improvement in..ability to understand speech in noisy..conditions” http://bit.ly/1pAFh20

    This is the most accurate description of our study: Media multitasking ‘brain shrink’ claims unproven NHS Choices – http://www.nhs.uk/news/2014/09September/Pages/Claims-media-multitasking-shrinks-brain-unproven.aspx

    Bats are the only creature that can see using echolocation, right? Wrong! This amazing young blind lad can do it too: http://youtu.be/TeFRkAYb1uk

    Brain Scans Reveal Gray Matter Differences in Media Multitaskers: http://neurosciencenews.com/gray-matter-acc-multitasking-1358/ … #neuroscience

    Brainy processing at your fingertips http://gu.com/p/4xbpk/tw #neuroscience

    Football “is a triumphant display of the incredible plasticity of the human brain http://bit.ly/1lkr3RP

    How Culture Shapes Our Senses – NYT http://nyti.ms/1oUsT9S @tanyaluhrmann Ht @somatosphere

    Making it to 24 years old without realising your whole cerebellum is missing is a true testament to neuroplasticity: http://bit.ly/1rXP3ja

    My PhD supervisor used2say painters were visual scientists. Here @wiredscience effectively suggests same4film editors http://wrd.cm/1pMHIS0

    When it comes to changes in brain thickness… Bigger is not always better: http://wrd.cm/1taWfr8   #geekchicweirdscience @GCweirdscience

    Coaxing brain support cells (glia) to convert into electrical brain wires (neurons) to fix damaged parts of the brain http://bit.ly/1yY0aYd

    Zoe Kourtzi leads Adaptive Brain Computations project in Cambridge; aiming to understand & test how learning happens: http://bit.ly/1t9XoM8

    “Vagus nerve stimulation takes advantage of the brain’s neuroplasticity” to cure tinnitus: http://bit.ly/1rcV1bm   #neuroscience #tinnitus

    Well read? How digital reading is changing (hurting) comprehension. http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/mariakonnikova/2014/07/being-a-better-online-reader.html

    Intensive smartphone use causes your brain’s territory for processing thumb sensations2enlarge: http://fxn.ws/1xqnpOz   169articles in 4days!

    Neuroplasticity in action – how your touch screen devices are changing your brain: http://bbc.in/1zTWzvY   #SortYourBrainOut @polarbearpirate

    The Tortured Brain – Insightful article that pulls together info on CIA torture practices, neuroplasticity & PTSD: http://bit.ly/1whLEax

    Something special about neuronal gamma activity (40Hz)-making mouse #brain supersensitive2gentle touch: http://bit.ly/1pvFLIk #neuroscience

    Sleep-Dependent Neuroplastic Changes during Auditory Perceptual Learning http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1074742714002111



    If I was Miguel Nicolelis I’d B getting really nervous about 2morro’s brain-controlled exoskeleton world cup kick off http://bit.ly/1kKhxI6

    Here’s a short film I edited & animated of interviews with top scientists at last year’s BNA conference http://bit.ly/1mNF2hl

    Here’s a taste of 10 interviews I filmed w/ top neuroscientists at the British Neuroscience Association conference http://bit.ly/1mNF2hl

    Trouble at t’mill: KCL scientists facing mass redundancy. Sounds brutal. My heart goes out… http://bit.ly/T32nlT

    Did I mention I interviewed some of world’s top neuroscientists &cut a short animated film? 🙂 http://bitly.com/1mNF2hm

    On subject of @hugospiers, here he describes role of #hippocampus in imagining future scenarios http://bitly.com/1mNF2hm

    How to Criticize with Kindness: Daniel Dennett on the 4 Steps to Arguing Intelligently http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2014/03/28/daniel-dennett-rapoport-rules-criticism/ … via @timetit

    Nice interview with Charles Spence in CB. Even manages to diss post-pub peer review on the way 🙂 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S096098221400387X

    Charles Limb – head & neck surgeon, improv pianist & rapper exploring brain mechanisms of creativity: http://bit.ly/ZMAAKo @GCweirdscience

    Future of the Brain, anyone? Collection of essays from some of the world’s leading thinkers in neuroscience: http://bit.ly/1DGxTMy

    Coming soon ‘The Para-Academic Handbook’ http://hammeronpress.net/page19.htm <you don’t have to be in academia to do good research or innovative practice

    Meet the mother and father of cognitive neuroscience @utafrith & @cdfrith | @mocost http://gu.com/p/4x56x/tw via @guardian

    Fascinating article: http://bit.ly/1vblwDw by @hugospiers – who we interviewed for next week’s #geekchicweirdscience Nobel Special podcast

    John O’Keefe is a living legend anyway & now his scientific genius has been recognised with a Nobel prize! http://tinyurl.com/johnokeefenobel #brainGPS

    My favorite professor of behavioral economics, @danariely recommends MOOC by @paulbloomatyale, so I’ll be tuning in. http://ow.ly/C8DcK

    One of my favourite personalities in #neuroscience defending Europe’s Human Brain Project from a broadside attack: http://bit.ly/1t3imgF



    Successful trepanation on Mongolia/China border 2,300 years ago – what was the motive for this hole-in-head surgery? http://dailym.ai/1p2g7XI

    Genius! Neurosurgeon predicts diagnosis of brain area impacted by stroke – asking patient to speak a 5 word sentence: http://n.pr/1mG9COM

    Fantastic description of how surgical treatment of epilepsy helps us do phenomenal #brain research: http://nyti.ms/1kDsAz2   #SortYourBrainOut

    Can’t get enough of the concept of playing the violin whilst surgeons operate on your #brain: http://cnet.co/1tjWnCd   #neuroscience #SYBO

    The Fascinating Reason This Man Is Playing Violin During His Own Brain Surgery by @erbrod http://mic.cm/1sRlj5s via @MicNews


    Optical Illusions

    Here You can change some visual attributes to increase or decrease the café wall illusion. http://joyfulcoder.net/cafewall/

    This is definitely one for @GCweirdscience Spinning chocolate cake illusion: http://youtu.be/HxSN1FkcZ64 Stunning #GeekChicWeirdScience

    Optical illusions anyone? Go on, you know you wanna spend your lunch break tying your occipital lobe in knots: http://wrd.cm/1vlRIV1


    Other Creatures’ Brains

    Devil rays have “sponge-like mesh of large&small arteries” to warm their #brains during 2km deep dives http://bbc.in/1qR5fyV #neuroscience

    39,000 year old Wooly Mammoth brain (with a well preserved “tough mother”): http://bit.ly/1sscZVX  @GCweirdscience

    “humble nematode worm has..its neural connections hot-wired,changing the way it responds 2 salt&smells” http://bit.ly/1rcXJxt #neuroscience

    Elephant’s nose best: African elephants have twice as many olfactory genes as any other mammal. http://feedly.com/e/r_rCUv8d

    Giant prawn fossil discovered in China has perfectly preserved 520Million year old #brain: http://bit.ly/1nO2f6m #archaeology #neuroscience

    RT @mocost: 80,000 neurons firing in zebrafish http://bit.ly/UIaXHv http://wrd.cm/1qaCTOg http://bit.ly/UIaXHw

    Dolphins & Beluga whales squeal with delight when they know a prize is coming their way: http://bit.ly/1twlbbV #brain #reward #weirdscience

    Lethal aggression in Chimpanzees is better explained by adaptive strategies rather than human impacts http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v513/n7518/full/nature13727.html

    If crayfish can convert blood cells2brain cells2replace damaged ones-why cant we? http://bit.ly/1nLlKYV   #neuroscience #transdifferentiation

    In other news today, scientists have taught fish how to walk http://bit.ly/1qDaoM9   http://youtu.be/mKxRe0hAQmg?list=UU7c8mE90qCtu11z47U0KErg



    Swearing when you hurt yourself actually makes it feel better. http://DiscoverMagazine.com   Cursing & #hypoalgesia.

    Chronic back pain? Maybe it’s time to quit smoking http://bit.ly/1s1vu3d I find the explanation hard to believe; make of it what you will !

    The benefits of psychological treatment for chronic back pain http://blog.backpainrelief.net/the-benefits-of-psychological-treatment-for-chr



    Fascinating! Gay dad #brain responds to new parenting role (adoption) just like both straight parents: http://ti.me/1jWeNbd

    Many pregnant women are slightly iodine deficient which can have knock on effect on their baby’s #brain development: http://bit.ly/1k952k6

    Supportive parenting is neuroprotective: http://bit.ly/1pGUuxm

    Amazingly, fatherhood actually changes a man’s #brain: http://wrd.cm/1qKEoDw #neuroplasticity #neuroscience #SortYourBrainOut #SYBO

    For those archaic types that still believe a good spanking is good for your kids – not true, read this: http://cnn.it/1x0ORN7   #neuroscience

    As women leave childbirth later,will this: http://tinyurl.com/pptt85y (mitochondrial problems) lead 2 more of this? http://tinyurl.com/nh73ek6 (IVF)



    What is introversion? What REALLY defines an introvert? Or an extravert for that matter http://bit.ly/1oJ0qaw

    Why The Myers-Briggs Personality Test Is Misleading, Inaccurate, And Unscientific via @bi_strategy http://www.businessinsider.com/myers-briggs-personality-test-is-misleading-2014-6



    Negative correlation discovered between pornography consumption&volume of striatum (drive, reward etc) #neuroscience http://reut.rs/1tT54Ej

    “increasing numbers of young men…cannot maintain an erection because they’ve wrecked their appetite w/ pornography” http://bbc.in/1jlZ8lW

    Pornography ” is an addictive, disruptive drug in visual form.” http://ow.ly/FbTqM h/t @EduardoZugasti



    Poverty can be so cognitively demanding – little mental energy left for anything else



    Sports psychology perspectives on Luis Suarez’s propensity to bite people http://bit.ly/VqvGB9

    Nice example of using knowledge of the #brain to underpin habits of thinking that help you get what you want http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/07/brain-science-get-what-you-want_n_5455366.html?ir=Healthy+Living

    Psychology is weird, child psychology is much weirder. http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2014/06/developmental_psychology_s_weird_problem_children_from_rich_educated_families.html By @jane_c_hu via @le_feufollet



    “Science does not know it’s debt to imagination”

    “There is a road from eye to heart that does not go through the intellect” #SortYourBrainOut

    Levi Roots’ reggae reggae message: Be yourself Believe in yourself If you fail in 1 passion – merge it with another 1

    “I have decided to be #happy, because it’s good for my health.” -Voltaire

    “ If you were a plant…you would think of a drug as this: ‘Something I use to make animals do what I want’ ” @zoecormier SexDrugsRock (2014)

    “Any fool can know. The point is to understand” ― Albert Einstein

    If you don’t know where you are going, any path will get you there. ~ Lewis Carroll

    “Every man can, if he so desires, become the sculptor of his own brain” – Santiago Ramón y Cajal

    “The hardest thing to learn in life is which bridge to cross and which to burn” ― Bertrand Russell



    Bit of light Fri reading on “Neurotheology – neurological study of religious & spiritual experiences”



    Wow – that’s 3/3 book reviews so far suggesting Susan Greenfield’s new book is more “Mind Cringe” than “Mind Change”: http://econ.st/1thls49

    1st thought: ‘TV series called “Hack My Brain” – why didn’t I think of that?’ then I actually read the review – Ouch! http://nyti.ms/1saEZ6B


    Reward Pathways

    “the striatum shows more activity to monetary rewards when the reward was judged to be fair” http://bit.ly/1sGyh5x     #SortYourBrainOut

    Doing it with someone else makes it feel more intense: http://tinyurl.com/Do1tTogether     …whatever “it” may be!

    How to create an addictive gaming experience? Hijack the reward system. Unfortunately, it really is as easy as this.. http://n.pr/1oUcljA

    Study investigating curiosity highlights the importance of dopamine in learning… not just pleasure and drive: http://bit.ly/1vyhlyk

    Stimulation of the “pleasure hub” (VTA) whilst mouse dreams of a certain place in space makes it prefer it when awake http://n.pr/1BQwDp6


    Science Communication

    Learning about #science through #comedy: http://bit.ly/1uWMiju

    Loving animations like this that illustrate our #brains in action..even with the inevitable corner-cutting: http://bit.ly/1cKa7An #SYBO

    This truly is a thing of beauty: http://bit.ly/1pLYoUe Immaculate narrated-animation depicting 2000yrs of human migration via @tomstafford



    “Stem cells in the tongue produce new taste cells every fortnight” http://bbc.in/1xbDiY2

    Olfactory Reveille: it’s now possible to purchase an alarm clock that emits the smell of bacon at “wakey-wakey” time! http://bit.ly/1BxT0MK

    New study: Neurons in your skin perform advanced calculations http://ow.ly/3pNMcr

    Newsweek Interview: Digitising Smell: The Third Sense Is Coming to Your Phone – interview with @adriancheok http://www.newsweek.com/2014/09/19/digitising-humanity-about-take-another-huge-step-forward-smell-269729.html

    Every cloud… silver lining of #dyslexia is a #brain that is more adept at certain visual abilities: http://bit.ly/1z4IQQq   #neuroscience

    Reaching for object of unknown size in cluttered environment people grasp correctly anyway – spooky! http://bit.ly/1GHHmiV   @GCweirdscience

    Bee brains – with only a million neurons (we have 86 Bn!) – can still see the big picture: http://bit.ly/1w4zKp8

    Cunning study: how brain makes vision feel Hi-Def despite fovea only covering area size of thumbnail at arm’s length: http://bit.ly/1waUDxo

    Why we don’t (usually) notice stunt doubles: http://bit.ly/1sQle3S Brain design “feature” not “flaw” #SYBO #SortYouBrainOut @GCweirdscience

    Can humans really distinguish 1 trillion different odours? Or just 10? http://arxiv.org/abs/1411.0165 via @ewencallaway

    Neuroscience of Taste: Chef’s Creations Delight the Senses – Live Science http://ift.tt/1EZ3PJs

    It’s beginning to smell a lot like Christmas: The neuroscience of our nostalgia. http://ow.ly/GplSt #science

    The taste of music – courtesy of the crown prince of multisensory interactions: Prof Charles Spence http://bit.ly/1yz5H69   #SortYourBrainOut

    If it was 1st April there’s no way I would post this – ‘average’ person can guess ur car from ur face: http://bit.ly/1tLDzfl     #weirdscience

    How #brain sees shape that isn’t really there. Less activity required when illusory contours perceived http://bit.ly/1sR6QZw

    Insights into vision from people blind from birth but given back the gift of sight in adulthood by science/medicine: http://nyr.kr/1qkNeZT

    Where Hollywood movies and #neuroscience converge: http://wrd.cm/YWb1WU #brain #vision



    How I Rebuilt Tinder And Discovered The Shameful Secret Of Attraction http://www.buzzfeed.com/annehelenpetersen/we-are-all-classists?bffb&utm_term=4ldqpgp#18dhj72 … oh, this is quite interesting!

    Easy Access Internet Porn: “..worries &frightens people..creates anxieties about their bodies &sexual performance…” http://bit.ly/1xtwqVZ

    The headline we’ve all been waiting for: Sex is good for your brain http://huff.to/1neOpMc … it was only a matter of time

    Lesbians have more orgasms than straight women – so should straight men ask lesbian friends 4 some tips? http://bit.ly/1vFhK2k   #sexhospital



    I’ve compiled clips from TV series I’ve presented http://bitly.com/1u10k21 Please watch&let me know which clips are best #crowdsourcedshowreel

    Thank you @jjunno for your selections: “TM05-SH04-HT01 and you had at HT 03 :)” #crowdsourcedshowreel

    Using Wisdom of Crowds to make perfect showreel, pls pick favourite clips: http://bit.ly/1u10k20 #neuroscience #brain #crowdsourcedshowreel



    “Working antisocial hours can prematurely age the brain&dull intellectual ability” #SortYourBrainOut – get a new job? http://bbc.in/1x28EyH

    Not just too little (<6hrs) but also too much (>8hrs) sleep is linked2poorer cognitive function in older people http://bit.ly/1rFrgjK

    “The less older adults sleep, the faster their brains age” http://bit.ly/1sTSrvQ

    ASMR for #insomnia? Soothing/tingling sensation travels over scalp in response2specific types of sensory stimulation http://nyti.ms/1tyjv2T

    I often bang on about importance of good night sleep 4 #brain health -so it’s good to see evidence accumulating http://reut.rs/TcTHKv

    Lack of sleep linked to negative thinking http://bit.ly/1vzjM1t (and neurodegeneration http://bit.ly/1lnf07j)

    Doesn’t surprise me one little bit: http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/health-29166466 … I often find myself continuing daytime tasks in my sleep (even debugging code!)

    Earlier I admitted2solving computer programming bugs in my sleep.According2 @sciammind it’s been going on since 60’s! http://bit.ly/1oBHTtY

    Implanting designer gene into certain region of brainstem makes deep sleep switch-on-and-offable: http://bit.ly/1s6gE1T

    In #SortYourBrainOut @polarbearpirate & I stress importance of sleep for brain health,here’s why + ways2improve sleep http://bit.ly/1BdicI6

    It’s not big, it’s not clever… going without sleep is deleterious to brain function: http://theatln.tc/1wfaM7n   #SortYourBrainOut #SYBO

    Love how cunning yet simple this experiment is: http://bbc.in/1r9SN1a – establishing whether or not we dream in slow motion via @BBC_Future

    To Sleep, Perchance To Learn: why memory suffers when we’re sleep deprived & the chemical injection that can boost it http://n.pr/1BQwDp6

    “#memory distortion is greater after #sleep deprivation..people are getting less sleep each night than..ever” http://bit.ly/1ne7M68   #SYBO

    #Meditate While Lying in Bed For More Restful #Sleep http://ow.ly/Gebe6 #SortYourBrainOut

    Get a new iPad for Christmas? Don’t use it just before bedtime or it will screw up your sleep: http://bit.ly/1xrLuEA   #SortYourBrainOut

    ‘Sleep drunkenness’ more common than thought, new study finds – Health – http://TODAY.com http://ow.ly/AMb6q

    The chicken and egg of sleep problems / beta amyloid deposition in the brain of elderly people: http://bit.ly/1vzkuf8   #SortYourBrainOut

    Why we yawn: http://bit.ly/1H7se0c   @GCweirdscience @Xfm_Lliana #behindthepaywall



    #Stress, can provide benefits IF you don’t let it hang around too long | p129 http://ow.ly/AIcqk @drJackLewis

    How #stress hormones promote #brain’s building of negative memories (@ScienceDaily) http://bit.ly/UvhoO2   #trauma

    Impact of stress on body and #brain is a core part of #SortYourBrainOut philosophy. Brilliantly described here: http://n.pr/UdECbJ #SYBO



    Last week i did a talk on #bodylanguage @MiddlesexUni & promised i’d write a blog up about it. I’m a man of my word: http://bit.ly/1mzlKw9

    Confirmed panellists for “The future of self-hacking”: @DrJackLewis, @StuartCalimport, and Andrew Vladimirov http://www.meetup.com/London-Futurists/events/190686472/


    My Most Unexpected Telly MomentTV

    Insight into how NatGeo decides what kind of series to fund – stumble on something that works, copy it: http://fxn.ws/1oNHHKp   #scienceTV

    Could viewers hear me mutter, under my breath, right at the end: “ethically dubious.. but lovely” – I wonder? #ThisMorning #miniWinnie



    Virtual Reality

    Fascinating! People more comfortable sharing secrets w/ #virtual human (computer controlled) than real 1 http://bit.ly/1oFjCCT #psychiatry


    Window to the Soul

    “pupil dilation correlated more closely with perceived effort than actual effort” – for both physical & mental effort http://bit.ly/1udmkWt

    Catching undiagnosed glaucoma before it damages vision – simply by analysing eye movements whilst people watch telly: http://bit.ly/110f99a


    Young Brains

    In low-income neighborhoods, 1 book is available for every 300 kids. In richer areas the ratio is 13 books per child http://anniemurphypaul.com/2014/06/why-pediatricians-are-prescribing-books

    What’s Lost as Handwriting Fades: http://nyti.ms/1kqAhfj

    What happens in a teenager’s brain when they are criticised by their mother (what it means is another matter) http://wrd.cm/1uOM5by #SYKBO

    Analysis of 5-HT receptors in brainstems of babies who died of SIDS (a.k.a. cot death) reveal new subtypes/functions: http://bit.ly/16IzIKo

    A Vaccine for Childhood Anxiety: Effort-Based Praise http://ift.tt/1rUTZTK #psychology

    Baby brains – how you curate their environments & choreograph their social interactions sculpts their personality: http://huff.to/1xz0O21

    Newborns spend about 16-17 hours sleeping a day. But about 80% of neonatal and newborn sleep time is actually REM (‘dreaming’) sleep.

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  • Hang Onto Your Marbles by Dr Jack Lewis

    why did I come into the bathroomAs we progress through life we  inevitably find ourselves becoming increasingly forgetful. It is not as if bouts of forgetfulness never occurred when we were younger. It’s just that it begins to happen more and more frequently – to the point where it becomes much more noticeable; even troublesome . From our mid-twenties onwards we lose more neurons (brain wires) and synapses (connections between the brain wires) than we build. The long term end point of this perfectly natural, gradual process of brain aging is dementia. By which I mean if we all lived to the impossibly grand old age of 200, every single one of us would have developed dementia of one description or another along the way. In reality very few of us will even make it to the grand old age of 100, let alone 200. Of those that do, not everyone will have become plunged into the amnesic fog of dementia. So what is the difference between individuals that do and don’t develop dementia well into their senior years? Is it blind luck? Or is there something we can do to lengthen our dementia-free status?

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  • Brain Training – what is it good for? by Dr Jack Lewis

    If your instinctive response was that: “brain training is good for absolutely nothing” – then you might not yet be privvy to all the relevant data. Scientific evidence backing the effectiveness of brain training is slowly but surely growing, , as far as I can tell. Swedish neuroscientist Torkel Klingberg has been at the forefront of research into computer-based brain training focused on increasing the capacity of working memory for over a decade. He and his team have identified a positive correlation between working memory improvements and IQ score. In other words the better your working memory – that is, the ability to hold several pieces of information in mind for long enough to complete a mental operation – the more “intelligent” you become. Well, to be fair, that’s not quite the whole story. IQ approximates to what we commonly think of as intelligence – but it is blind to a host of cognitive abilities that are very useful for the individual and highly valued in human society; like creativity, social skills, kinesthetic abilities and so on. So a better way to describe it is that improving working memory leads to benefits in a variety of other cognitive abilities collectively known as fluid intelligence, which is vital for (amongst other things) solving problems. Whatever you want to call it, the bottom line is: enhancing these mental abilities leads to benefits at school, work and play.

    The last of these is the most pertinent to this particular brain post. There are lots of computer games out there which, often completely by accident, tend to improve cognitive functions that are relevant and useful in everyday life. Parents who bemoan the hundreds of hours a year “wasted” by their children playing shoot ‘em up games may be cheered by the news that such games can actually improve visual perception . They are right to be concerned, by the way. Too much time spent locked into game mode displaces much of the time that could be spent cultivating soft skills. These broadly undervalued  yet completely invaluable set of social skills can only be honed properly through regular, intensive, face-to-face communication. They make many aspects of personal and professional life that take place in the real, as opposed to virtual, world function so much more smoothly that society would be well advised to place a greater emphasis on the importance of ensuring they are cultivated at all costs. However, allotting a finite period of time each day to game play can be extremely good for your brain – so long as you play the right sort of games.

    simonMEMNEON is a good example. Even Stephen Fry – the God-of-Twitter himself – tweeted that MEMNEON was driving him “delightfully dotty.” High praise indeed! The brain behind Memneon, Steve Turnbull, may feel that for me to suggest it is Simon for the 21st century would be selling it short. I would disagree. Simon was the original brain training device and as such was decades ahead of the game. And as with all things people will inevitably take a concept and move it on to the next level. Memneon has done exactly that – it’s like Simon on a high dose of amphetamines. Much tougher on the old working memory circuits. And of course it is by regularly challenging the brain’s cognitive capacities – for several minutes, daily, for weeks on end that eventually your brain reinforces connectivity between the relevant areas and abilities improve. 49 different possible locations for each consecutive disc illumination is sooo much harder to retain in working memory, before reproducing the patter, than just the 4 quadrants of Simon.

    Now that the great potential for brain training is out of the bag all sorts of digital developers are falling over each other in their scramble to capitalise on the growing interest; first catalysed by Nintendo with their launch of Dr Kawashima’s Brain Age on the Nintendo DS. Uptake may have mellowed in the handheld digital console market since 2001 but PC-based subscription services that offer a suite of cognitive training games (like Lumosity) have very much taken over the reins.

    The BBC’s Bang Goes The Theory show made a big fuss of a Nature paper indicating that brain training was ineffective for the under 65’s. To make this newsworthy they, perhaps not surprisingly, felt the need to put some attention-grabbing spin on their non-findings by using the headline: “Brain Training Doesn’t Work” and I’ve written elsewhere about why I think it is too early to make such a bold statement. Finding no evidence to support a hypothesis is one thing. In this case I think that they hypothesis in question is: “computer-based brain training can improve cognitive abilities in a manner helpful and relevant to everyday life.” Disproving a hypothesis is quite another matter.

    Science is all about the balance of evidence. A good rule of thumb is that you should not believe anything reported in a single scientific paper until many other experiments have been done, ideally by other unconnected independent research groups, whose findings tally with the original. There is a lot of evidence out there that brain training does work in older people, but not so much – at the moment – that it pays dividens for younger people. But it’s early days. So I think people should take sensationalist headlines with a pinch of salt and wait to see which way the balance of evidence tips.

    The jury might be out on which aspects of brain training do and don’t work, but I think it is fair to say that there is every reason to believe that it has great potential to do you good and very little potential to do ill – so why not give it a go. 20 million subscribers who perceive some kind of benefit can’t all be wrong, surely?! Well they could be – but in the meantime the placebo effect is at least making them feel sharper, focused, able, etc….

    Please get in touch via Twitter to let me know what you think of my brainposts. If you were kind enough to follow me you could also catch my thrice daily tweets, which headline and link to brain research breakthroughs from lay-friendly sources that I judge to be potentially compelling and relevant to all.

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  • Brain Benefits of Beat City (Nintendo DS) by Dr Jack

    Beat City is a fun music game that might even improve your brain!

    This is a review of “Beat City” – a Nintendo DS (2D) game that I believe has all the hallmarks of something that, although designed purely for pleasure, may actually improve brain function. A recent scientific review outlined several video games that, despite being developed only with gameplay and sales in mind, were nonetheless found to improve visual perception, sustained attention, task switching, rapid option selection and several other vital aspects of cognition. With this in mind I’ve been keeping an eye out for other games that might fall into this category.

    Kids who play a musical instrument boast better language development than their peers who do not. The Einstein Aging Study found that elderly participants who regularly play a musical instrument exhibited greater cognitive reserve than those that did not – helping them keep the ravages of Alzheimer’s at bay for longer.

    The upshot is that whether you’re very old, very young or somewhere in between, not only can playing a musical instrument create a torrent of activity in your brain’s pleasure pathways, but it can also be of long term benefit for a variety of different brain areas that support several cognitive functions.

    Beat City involves travelling around a comic book stylised world on a mission to bring music back into the lives of local inhabitants – by tapping along to the beat of a variety of electronic tunes. You are the “Synchroniser,” a brave inhabitant of Beat City who is hell-bent on freeing his fellow citizens from their banal tuneless existence. En route you encounter several bizarre characters with whom you must do battle by tapping, swiping and holding the beat in time to music of varying complexity. Although upon first appearances it may seem to be aimed at younger audiences, this game gets tough – tough enough to provide even those naturally musical people out there (even my girlfriend who reached grade 8 in three different musical instruments!) with a challenge as you progress through harder and harder levels.

    For the rest of us even the early levels can prove quite taxing. Hitting a rich vein of form is rewarded with a visual technicolour treat. The muted greys of Beat City are yanked out of their dreary and monotonous existence by your beat perfect music making, with the screen springing into life with a vivid burst of colour (and the characters ending up wearing increasingly bizarre fancy dress outfits.)

    Sounds that reach the ears are split up into different frequencies on the upper temporal lobe’s upper surfaces and then passed on to adjacent areas for further analysis

    Reproducing a beat with accurate timing taxes a fair few different brain areas. The auditory cortex – distributed predominantly across the upper level of the temporal lobes (see diagram on the right) – crunches the soundwaves into what we actually hear through a division of labour across different patches of brain cortex which each extract different types of information. Firstly, the sound is separated out into its different frequencies at the cochlea in the inner ear and ferried to the primary auditory cortex (shown inset on the right).  Some specialist areas are involved in establishing the rhythm.  Others find and create the perception of melody. Functional units residing predominantly in left side of most people’s brain will extract the meaning from words in a song. Others, mainly in the right half of the brain, extract the emotional tone of the music. Then there are the brain areas involved in tapping along to the beat: pre-motor regions of the frontal cortex plan the movements and the motor strip triggers them. In order to get the timing just right, the cerebellum – hanging off the back of the brain – finesses the signal on its journey from brain to finger muscles to ensure that the stylus hits the touch screen precisely in time with the beat as opposed to a little too early or late. In Beat City, the accuracy with which you time each tap is indicated on screen by the size and colour of a musical note.

    Tapping to the rhythm increases communication between brain areas involved in beat perception and rhythmical movement

    To recap: different brain areas simultaneously extract different features from the sounds that reach the ear to creates sense of hearing in our everyday lives. Patterns in the sound are automatically extracted and we naturally anticipate when the next sound is likely to occur, enabling us to synchronise our actions according to the patterns in the sounds. This instinctive impact of rhythmical sound on movement is where the urge to dance comes from.

    Clapping, singing or playing a musical instrument requires different cognitive functions to operate simultaneously and interactively. Having to listen to, follow the rhythm of and anticipate changes in a musical score in order to producing carefully coordinated finger, hand (and for wind instruments: also mouth and respiratory tract) movements is a highly cognitively demanding task. Growth of extra connections (and therefore increased efficiency) in brain areas involved in perceiving sounds and producing accurately timed, precise, carefully coordinated movements are just the front and back ends of the brain workout.

    In addition, prefrontal brain areas responsible for working memory, anticipation, vigilance, error correction and many other cognitive functions are also put through their paces by virtue of having to ensure that the two processes are properly integrated.

    At the end of the day even if Beat City doesn’t inspire the desire to play a proper musical instrument, enabling the full brain-benefits of musical engagement to be earned, I believe it is nonetheless an effective way of challenging and thus improve your capacity for working memory, concentration and fine motor control that will come in useful in everyday life as well.

    In addition to these brain posts you can catch my daily #braintweet by following me on Twitter.

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  • Dr Jack’s “Brain Coach Live” Seminars for Schools

    First outing for Brain Coach Live at a school in Somerset

    Opening address of the first ever Brain Coach Live seminar

    Over the last few years that I have been heavily involved in science communication, whether writing up ideas for a television series, articles for newspapers, book proposals, #Braintweets and so on, I’ve stumbled upon a great variety of neuroscience-informed pearls of wisdom that can help everyone get the most out of their brains. A few months ago I decided to put together a series of hour-long presentations packed with general tips on maximising brain performance through improvements in diet and exercise, strategies for improving memory retention, dealing with stress and a highly visual and animated crash course in neuroscience. I figured that, as everyone has a brain, but take for granted all the amazing things that our brains are able to do, it was high time that people started hearing about what neuroscience and psychology have discovered about what goes on inside these skulls of ours when we see, think or move. In particular, I wanted to convey some of the many things that can be done to improve our memories, increase alertness and concentration, harness rather than worry about stress and to adopt habits that enable us to get the best out of our brains.

    Avoiding the sugar roller coaster

    Sweets and fizzy drinks cause blood sugar to rocket, so insulin is released to protect the body by take the glucose out of the bloodstream

    Earlier this month I took the first version of this talk, aimed specifically at teenagers, to a school in Somerset where I presented to a couple of hundred kids who will be taking their GCSEs next year (click here for the overview: BrainCoachLiveOverview). I demonstrated that they had already been using a a mnemonic technique for many years: BrainCoachLiveMy1stMnemonic and described another, more powerful technique that would make their revision more interesting, entertaining and effective:  BrainCoachLiveChainMnemonic. I explained why stress is important (in small doses) to mobilise body and brain to deal with stressful situations and suggested various strategies that they could use to prevent stress spilling over into panic. I described why practice makes perfect in terms of processes that occur within the brain as a direct result of to regular training in any particular skill. I explained why regular exercise is not just good for the body, but also for the brain, and ways to avoid the peaks and troughs of the sugar roller coaster. In a nutshell the “sugar roller coaster” results from regular doses of sugar in the form of sweets and fizzy drinks, which produces an unhealthy alternation between too much and too little blood glucose throughout each and every day. This causes peaks and troughs in energy levels that play havoc with an adolescent’s ability to concentrate and are easily remedied with some simple dietry changes. I intend to roll this seminar out to schools throughout the UK and am planning a seminar tour for 2011, so if you are interested in having me give this talk at your school, please do click “Contact” in the top right corner and drop me a line.

    Stills from the first ever Brain Coach Seminar

    Dr Jack gesticulates wildly at the first ever Brain Coach for Schools Seminar

    On the 15th February 2011 I’ll be giving a lecture along similar lines at University College London’s School of Biosciences and intend to roll this out to other universities, in the first instance around London, but ultimately all over the UK and beyond. I am also developing a version tailored to various sectors of the corporate world. In January 2011 I’ll be putting together a bespoke seminar and workshop for a large team of pharamaceutical sales representatives at an offsite meeting in Tenerife. I have also previously given a talk tailored to the needs of an older audience, this time for regulars at an Age Concern social club in South West London, where my tips on how to Hang Onto Your Marbles well into old age went down very well indeed.

    I am happy to consider any public speaking engagement where the audience might wish to better understand how their brains’ work and what they can do to optimise brain function in a wide variety of contexts. If you wish to suggest a brain-related theme that you would be interested to learn more about please do consider leaving a comment below. Perhaps you would be interested in learning the various methods that have been invented over the years for stimulating creativity. If there is a subject matter that several people would like to learn more about then I will consider creating a presentation to explain what neuroscience can tell us about the matter. I could then either deliver this to you in a live presentation, or alternatively I could film the presentation and post it on YouTube. In the past, when readers of my posts have asked to learn more about a certain subject matter, I have written a post especially for them (please see my chronic pain post).

    My overall goal with these Brain Coach Live seminars are really very straightforward:

    • to illuminate the secret world inside our skulls in a manner that is comprehensible and relevant to everybody’s day-to-day life
    • to illustrate the mechanisms by which we learn, get stressed and make decisions
    • to improve brain health and brain function with a variety of simple adjustments to our daily routine and the adoption of good brain habits

    Don’t forget you can follow my daily #Braintweets on twitter: www.twitter.com/DrJackLewis

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  • Hold On To Your Grey Matter – Take a Walk by Dr Jack

    Older brain on the left, younger brain on the right

    From adolescence onwards we all begin to lose brain cells. As a consequence our brains gradually and inexorably shrink (compare the “old” brain on the left to the “young” brain on the right). In fact by the age of 80 your brain will occupy 15% less of the space within your skull than in the prime of life. Yet over the course of adulthood, as our brains are losing more and more cells, our knowledge and repertoire of skills nonetheless continues to grow as we accumulate more and more experience. How is this possible? Well, despite the incremental decrease in quantity of brain cells over the years connections between neuronal networks that are in regular and intensive communication with each other are selectively reinforced. This enables increased efficiency in execution of the mental processes that those networks support. Hence we can do more with less as we age. Sadly, for all of us, there will always come a time when the degree of brain cell loss is such that mental function begins to decline. In other words, if we all could live forever, dementia will inevitably strike at some point in time.

    Although we cannot halt the process of grey matter loss completely, the good news is that we can slow down its progression. This month a study conducted at the University of Pittsburgh and published in the journal “Neurology” describes the influence of regular exercise on the rate of reduction of brain volume and cognitive function in 299 elderly individuals.

    It was observed that those individuals of this group of average age 78 who walked in excess of 6 miles per week had a significantly reduced rate of grey matter loss and consequently a lesser degree of cognitive decline. The greater the distance walked each week, the smaller the reduction in volume over a 9 year period within their frontal lobe, occipital lobe, entorhinal cortex and critically, in the hippocampus. My post last month described the vital role that the hippocampus plays in the creation and recall of long term memories.

    This begs the question – how and why does exercise slow down the rate at which grey matter shrinks? An exciting possibility is that all that walking might actually increase the rate at which new brain cells are created; a process known as neurogenesis. This boost in the creation of new brain cells might help to compensate for the loss of old brain cells. Evidence to support this hypothesis comes from research conducted over a decade ago suggesting, in the mouse brain at least, that exercise does indeed increase the rate of neurogenesis.

    Exactly why this happens is unclear, but I would propose that, given the hippocampus is heavily involved in navigation, particularly when it comes to flexibility in finding the best route from A to B, it would make sense for physical activity to trigger production of new cells in this brain area. A greater number of hippocampal neurons would presumably support a greater capacity to memorise routes and landmarks encountered whilst exploring the environment. This could feasibly convey a critical survival advantage by helping to prevent people from getting lost. Over the thousands of years of our species evolultion, getting lost was probably an excellent way of deleting oneself from the gene pool and so those with movement-triggered hippocampal neurogenesis may have been more likely to survive.

    This seems a plausible (but by no means concrete) account of why older individuals who take regular exercise appear to have more grey matter and superior cognitive function than those who do not. Whatever the true explanation, it seems clear if you want to hang onto your marbles in the long term then it’s probably a good idea to take a regular stroll for the rest of your life.

    You can follow Dr Jack’s daily #BrainTweets by clicking here, and pushing the “Follow” button.

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