• 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

    BRAIN TECH

    “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

    GEEK CHIC

    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

    YOUNG BRAINS

    “..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

    BRAIN HEALTH

    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

    MISCELLANEOUS

    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

    FOOD

    “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?

    DRUGS

    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

    NEUROANATOMY

    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

    SLEEP

    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

    SOCIAL

    “..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

    ADVANCES IN TECHNOLOGY

    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

    KEEPING YOUR BRAIN FIT

    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

    ALZHEIMER’S

    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

    MEMORY

    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

    MENTAL HEALTH

    ..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

    QUOTES

    “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

    BRAIN INJURY

    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

    SENSES

    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

    BRAIN AGEING

    ..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

    LANGUAGE AND THE BRAIN

    “..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!

    BRAIN BENEFITS OF MINDFULNESS

    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

    BRAIN HACKS

    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

    DECISION MAKING

    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

    EXPLORING OUTER SPACE

    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/

    ALL THINGS ADDICTION

    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)

    CREATIVITY

    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

    PAIN

    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

    SEX AND ATTRACTION

    “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

    CONNECTOME: WORKING OUT THE BRAINS CIRCUIT DIAGRAM

    “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

    MICROBIOME: HOW YOUR GUT AFFECTS YOUR BRAIN

    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

    ADVANCES IN ARTICIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

    “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

    INNOVATIONS IN BRAIN SCANNING

    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

    UNDERSTANDING COGNITION

    “..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

    CONSCIOUS AWARENESS

    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

    DEPRESSION

    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

    DIGI-BRAIN: THREATS POSED BY DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY

    “..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

    UNDERSTANDING HOW BRAINS DO EMOTION

    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

    INTELLIGENCE

    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

    LEARNING

    “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

    MUSIC

    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

    NEUROPLASTICITY

    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

    PERSONALITY

    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

    ANIMAL BRAINS

    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

    BRAIN TRAINING

    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

    ECOLOGY MATTERS

    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 …

    EVENTS

    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

    PERFORMANCE

    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

    ROBOTS

    “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

    SCHIZOPHRENIA

    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

    ATTENTION

    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

    GAMES AND QUIZES

    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

    HAPPINESS

    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

    JOKES

    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

    NEUROMYTHS

    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

    PRE-HUMANS

    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

    REVIEWS

    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

    VIRTUAL REALITY

    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

    LEGAL

    “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

    IMMUNE BRAIN

    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

    MIND OVER MATTER

    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

    MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS

    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

    PARKINSON’S

    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

    PEOPLE

    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

    SELF

    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

    BRAIN BANK

    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

    GENDER

    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

    MULTITASKING

    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

    PROSTHETIC

    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

    SCI ART

    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

    TALKS

    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

    TIME

    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

    PREGNANCY

    What pregnancy does to a woman’s brain: http://theatln.tc/1KoRPo7 Witnessed the whole process take place in my sister last year! Phenomenal 🙂

    RELIGION

    Time2ditch religion?“..similarity across countries in how religion negatively influences children’s altruism” Decety http://bit.ly/1kxtVOu

    STRESS

    StressGoldilocks&TheBrain – when it comes to stress hormones the aim is: not too little, not too much, but just right http://bit.ly/1MtVUYv

    TINNITUS

    “signals relating to..constant ringing noise of tinnitus..mapped across the brain of a patient undergoing surgery” http://bbc.in/1DiLao4

    TOURETTE’S

    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 Benefits of Mindfulness – PART 1

    Hippie-MeditationI used to think that the practice of “mindful meditation” was exclusively the preserve of yogis, Buddhists and New Age hippies fresh back from an extended voyage of self-discovery around Asia. If you’ve ever found yourself caught up in a conversation with an over-enthusiastic traveler fresh back from their adventures you’ll know what I mean. Such folk have usually undergone a wholesale transformation from fairly conventional individuals into barefoot, sandalwood-scented, Thai-dyed, hemp shirt and trousers wearing, bead bracelet bedecked eccentrics who preach the stupidity of capitalism and the supremacy of the compassionate mind-set at any and all available opportunities. My attitude has changed fundamentally in recent months.

    A recent review paper (in Nature Reviews Neuroscience, no less) evaluating the flurry of scientific investigations into the possible benefits of practicing mindfulness that have accumulated over the past ten years or so, has given me a fresh perspective. To my surprise it turns out that there is plenty of early evidence attesting to “beneficial effects on physical and mental health; and cognitive performance.”

    WHAT IS MINDFULNESS?

    Cluttered MindMindfulness is actually a very simple concept to grasp, if only we’d give it a half chance. From the moment we wake to the moment we go back to sleep our minds are cluttered with innumerable thoughts.

    These thoughts tend to focus on the past and the future: conversations, experiences and interactions that occurred in the past and hopes, ambitions, fears and other concerns regarding the future. Mindfulness encourages the development of attention directing and emotional regulating capacities that enable us to focus on the present moment. Ultimately, by getting in the habit of focusing on what we target with our conscious awareness, rather than just allowing ourselves to be buffeted by whatever stimuli, thoughts or feelings happen to flicker through our minds, we can achieve a greater self-awareness.

    GETTING STARTED

    Mindful-Happiness_Breath-Meditation-Practices-BreathingPaintingThere are many different ways of achieving a mindful brain state but typically the beginner is encouraged to start by focusing on their breath. They are asked to breath deeply, in and out, right into the belly to ensure their diaphragm is being used to full effect. Whilst performing these simple actions they are regularly reminded to bring their attention back to their breath whenever the mind wanders elsewhere, to notice the cool air passing in through the nostrils on the inhale and the warm air passing out again on the exhale. After a few minutes of this, you are usually instructed to re-direct the focus of your attention on different body parts, moving systematically around the body. Notice the feeling of clothing on skin, upward pressure of the floor (or the chair) on your buttocks – move your mind’s eye from your toes, gradually up through the legs, into hips, up your back, across your shoulders and down your arms to your finger tips.

    FOCUS AND RE-FOCUS YOUR MIND

    When thoughts pop into your head, as they invariably will, the idea is not to block them or force them out, but simply to acknowledge them without engaging too deeply; focusing attention back on your breath, or touch sensations in a certain body part.

    FocusIt sounds extremely simple (too straightforward to result in any meaningful benefits surely?!) but most of us are ingrained with deeply entrenched habits of thought such as worrying about events in the past or future or perpetually seeking some form of stimulation that it can take a while to achieve the goal of quiet contemplation of bodily sensations for more than 20 or 30 seconds at a time. But for those who stick at it – regularly, intensively and consistently over many weeks and months – and gradually build their ability to stay in this mindful state for 5, 15, 30, 60 mins at a time, a wide variety of benefits are achievable. And the latest neuroscience studies into mindfulness are homing in on what it going on inside the brain as a result of all this practice.

    To find out about how mindfulness changes the brain please click here.

    If you love science geekery then my weekly science podcast Geek Chic’s Weird Science may well be right up your alley. It’s available on iTunes, audioboom, libsyn and podbay, with the delectable Lliana Bird who presents every Fri and Sat nights on Radio X.

    I also regularly share the best of the day’s neuroscience breakthroughs on Twitter so if you’d like to follow me, please click here –> @drjacklewis

    Read more »
  • Brain Benefits of Mindfulness – PART 2

    In part 1 of this blog I broadly described the benefits of mindfulness and what it involves. Here I dig into the detail, outlining the parts of the brain that appear, on the basis of a recent review of many brain scanning studies, to be most consistently impacted by the regular practice of mindfulness.

     

    NEUROPLASTICITY IN ACTION?

    Attention

    Using MRI scanning to focus on differences in the physical structure of brains has revealed that the anterior cingulate cortex (highlighted in yellow in the below image), often implicated in studies of attention, is physically thicker and the underlying white matter denser in practitioners of mindfulness who are highly experienced as opposed to those who are relatively inexperienced.

    MRI_anterior_cingulate

    Emotional Regulation

    Moderate to severe stress is associated with high levels of circulating cortisol (a “stress” hormone). This is associated with increased density in the amygdala (highlighted in red in the below image) – a structure deep within the tips of the left and right temporal lobes and vital for orchestrating rapid responses to perceived danger. Decreased tissue density is observed within several prefrontal regions and the hippocampus – which also resides within the core of the temporal lobes – serving several memory-related functions and vital for many aspects of cognition. Regular practice of mindfulness appears to reverse this. Cognitive impairment is reduced and presumably an increase in synaptic connectivity accounts for the increase in tissue density within the hippocampal / prefrontal cortex. The enlarged amygdala shrink – presumably due to reductions in the number of synaptic connections between neurons in this region – which is also associated with a reduction in anxious feelings /  the attenuation of heightened perception of threat, back down to normal levels.

    amygdala_mindfulness

    Self-Awareness

    The default mode network (DMN) describes a group of brain areas that are activated in MRI brain scanning studies when participants are “in between tasks”. At first these activations were thought to reflect the brain at “rest” or in “default mode.” After a few more years of research, during which this same set of activations cropped up under circumstances that couldn’t reasonably be described as “restful” the original conclusion was revised. Considering all the studies in which the DMN kicked into action it seemed much more likely that it relates instead to “mind-wandering.”

    GhostbustersMarshmallowmanIn the original studies, when the participant was instructed to “rest” they would invariably use this period to self-reflect or daydream about something completely unrelated to the experimental task (I certainly did when I volunteered for various MRI studies – it’s impossible not to – anyone that’s seen Ghostbusters should know that).

    A couple of years ago when I conducted a series of interviews (British Neuroscience Conversations) with various big hitting neuroscientists at the British Neuroscience Association’s conference, neuropsychopharmacologist Prof David Nutt pointed out that, if our “ego” or the “self” lives anywhere in the brain the Default Mode Network is the best candidate.

    DMN in meditationThe medial prefrontal cortex (labelled DMPFC for the dorsal/upper part and VMPFC for the ventral/lower part) and posterior cingulate cortex (PCC), i.e. the core DMN regions, were less active in experienced versus inexperienced mindfulness practitioners. As one of the primary aims of many mediation practices is to selflessly accept thoughts and feelings in a non-judgemental, compassionate way – the reduction in these neural correlates of “ego” may well reflect a degree of success in this endeavour.

    So inspired have I been by these revelations of fairly solid early evidence attesting to a likely neuroplastic impact of regular practice of mindful meditation on brain areas involved in modulating attention, emotional responses and perhaps even ego that earlier in the year I went to Mykonos for a retreat to immerse myself properly (opening the invitation to anyone who faniced coming along).

    Since then I’ve gone on to develop a #brainboost campaign for Weight Watchers in order to help tackle the obesity epidemic by getting people’s brains ready for healthier eating by practising mindful eating, performing a bit of daily brain training to boost their working memory and learning some simple brain hacks, all with a view to eating more strategically.

    slider-eating-mindfully-bookDuring my research for this project I came across a nice little book on mindful eating that I would highly recommend: it’s called Eating Mindfully by Susan Albers. Personally I find a lot of books on this topic extremely cringeworthy, but Susan Albers describes the practical tips on how to avoid mindless / emotional eating through mindfulness in a very straightforward manner.

    My own book “Sort Your Brain Out” includes a chapter on the kind of foods and eating habits that are good and bad for the brain. In addition, I do a weekly science podcast available on iTunes, audioboom, libsyn and podbay, with the delectable Lliana Bird who presents every Fri and Sat nights on Radio X. And I regularly share the best of the day’s neuroscience breakthroughs on twitter (@drjacklewis).

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  • Sort Your Brain Out Retreats

    Feeling stressed? Need a break? Fancy spending a few days in paradise to learn how to meditate?
    Better still would you like to learn more about how your brain works AND simple things you can do every day to be more creative, make better decisions, manage your mood?
    The SYBO retreats might be just the thing for you!!
    The venue is the beautiful Greek Island of Mykonos.
    Your hosts are the beautifully-bendy Jasmyn (see photos) & yours truly: the brain-besotted Dr Jack Lewis
    We are now offering a fantastic, luxurious, Stress-Busting, Yoga & Meditation Retreat by day with a selection of intellectually-stimulating Brain Talks just before lunch each time, freeing up the afternoons for exploration of the island’s many beaches.
    Meditation is clinically-proven to reduce stress. So if you’re feeling washed out after a particularly tough start to the year this really will help you to Sort Your Brain Out. It might just change your life. Jasmyn talks everyone through the various yoga moves, in a mixed group of beginners and advanced practitioners, and then concludes with a guided meditation session. These dawn and dusk sessions are complemented with several talks that explain, amongst many other things the science of meditation and why it’s so good for brains. Once a person truly grasps why mindfulness meditation is so good for health of body and brain they naturally become motivated to incorporate it into their daily routine back in the “real world.
    Myk
    What to expect from the Neuro-Infused Art of Peaceful Living Retreats this spring / summer?
    The villas are in a very private neighborhood in Mykonos, Greece.
    The properties have 4-5 rooms each, sleeping maximum 10 per house.
    These neuroscience-infused Art of Peaceful Living™ programs lasts 5 days and includes:
    • 21-25th May (now fully booked)
    • Airport Transfers
    • Luxury accommodation
    • Vegetarian breakfast and lunch
    • Twice daily yoga and meditation practices
    • Either a treatment at a local day-spa or an in-room massage
    • Daily brain talks from Dr Jack on:
      • Changing Your Brain
      • Neuroscience of Creativity
      • Neuroscience of Meditation
      • Neuroscience of Temptation
    All for £1,550 (€2,120) for the Spring retreat during 21st-25th May (SOLD OUT)
    Did I mention there is a pool?
    Also please bear in mind that if you want to arrive a few days early or leave a few days later we may be able to arrange accommodation for you at the villa during this time.
    The rooms each have a queen bed and most have private bathrooms.
    Every morning, as the host (Jasmyn) prepares your breakfast and lunch, she gives instruction on how to prepare these “plant-based” meals in your kitchen at home as part of the included Look Alive™ Nutrition workshops. These workshops will have recipes, and detailed explanations about why eating a plant-based is beneficial to brain-function and chemistry, physical performance, treatment of psychological disturbances and disorders, as well as a know-how to have your kitchen prepped and ready for easy to make and quick recipes.
    Yoga classes are all multi-level and while the morning classes can be vigorous exercise, the evening classes are relaxing and recuperative. The morning Vinyassa Yoga classes are more dynamic for beginners to advanced practitioners, and are immediately followed by a meditation class to settle the minds before the day’s activities. And of course there is no obligation to attend classes, so whether you just fancy a lie in or want to go off one afternoon for a wander, that’s totally up to you!
    Activities include additional excursions on the island, lounging by the on-property pool, or venturing to any of the island’s other many delights.
    Yoga-Nidra sessions are given at sunset following a gentle Yin-Yoga Flow class incorporating techniques of thai-massage, to restore you and prepare you for the next day’s Vinyassa Yoga sessions or for going out that night! Dinners are not usually included to give attendees freedom to roam in the evenings (unless you request to have a special dinner prepared instead of lunch).
    Sort Your Brain Out Retreats are 5 days of true luxury living. Treating the body and brain to wholesome, delicious food, body balancing exercise and gentle meditations, all in the privacy of the Maera Villas – with the endless view of the Mediterranean from each of the properties.
    Bespoke Corporate Retreats for groups of 5 or more people can also be discussed.
    For enquiries about availability please feel free to drop Jack an email: dr.lewis@neuroformed.com
    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:

    Addiction

    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

     

    Altruism

    “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

     

    Books

    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

     

    Consciousness

    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

     

    Creativity

    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

     

    Decisions

    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

     

    Dementia

    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

     

    Drugs

    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

    “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

     

    Emotion

    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

     

    Events

    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

     

    Evolution

    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

    http://econ.st/1k1Dv9X

    Protective buttressing of the hominin face #sexualdimorphism #evolution

    http://goo.gl/Eva1MU  http://goo.gl/19SfmN

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/brv.12112/full

    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

     

    Film

    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

     

    Funny

    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

    http://twitter.com/mocost/status/498756900956434432/photo/1pic.twitter.com/2ja2LbZ8rm

    PNIS, it’s like The Onion for science: http://pnis.co/index.html

     

    Gaming

    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

     

    Hallucination

    How cultures influence content of hallucinations/delusions

     

    Heuristics

    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

     

    History

    “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

     

    Intelligence

    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

     

    Interview

    What Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Neuroscience w/ @DrJackLewis

     

    Language

    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

     

    Learning

    “..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!

     

    Meditation

    Laughter puts #brain in2state similar to that of deep meditation

     

    Memory

    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

     

    Morality

    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

     

    Music

    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

     

    Navigation

    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

     

    Neuroanatomy

    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

     

    Neurodevelopment

    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

     

    Neuromarketing

    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

     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

     

    Neuroplasticity

    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

     

    Neuroscientists

    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

     

    Neurosurgery

    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

     

    Pain

    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

     

    Parenting

    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)

     

    Personality

    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

     

    Pornography

    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

    Poverty can be so cognitively demanding – little mental energy left for anything else

     

    Psychology

    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

     

    Quotes

    “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

     

    Religion

    Bit of light Fri reading on “Neurotheology – neurological study of religious & spiritual experiences”

     

    Reviews

    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

     

    Senses

    “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

     

    Sex

    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

     

    Showreel

    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

     

    Sleep

    “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

    #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

     

    Talks

    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.

    Read more »
  • Sort Your Brain Out – new book by Dr Jack Lewis and Adrian Webster

    Webster_Sort_Your_Brain_Out_3D_FINALFiguring out what I should write about in my blog this month really was a no brainer. It’s not every month that I have a new book about to hit the shelves (Friday 28th March 2014). So from April onwards, if you happen to be passing a WHSmith’s then please do consider popping in. You should find Sort Your Brain Out prominently displayed in the Non-Fiction and Business charts. If you can’t find it then please drop me a line!

    Although we have specifically targeted the business market in the first instance, primarily due to their familiarity with my co-author’s previous work, this truly is a book for everyone. We hope that business professionals will decide that other members of their family would also benefit from reading it and pass it on; whether the recipients are their children – to help them get the most out of their brains to achieve more in their education, or their own parents – to help them get the most out of their brain during the post-retirement years. In fact, the book has been carefully put together to ensure that readers of all ages will be able to get something out of it. Happily we’ve already had some feedback that suggests we have been successful in achieving this goal. If you fancy flicking through a few select pages, or perhaps even pre-order a copy with a 30% discount, then please click here to see it on Amazon.

    We are encouraging people to tweet photos of Sort Your Brain Out when they find it in the wild with the hashtag #SortYourBrainOut or #SYBO for short – we’ve been made aware of sightings all over the UK and the world – from Jamaica to Hong Kong and Cornwall to Edinburgh.

    This is my first foray into the world of publishing. Strictly speaking it’s the second book I’ve ever written, if you count my Ph.D. thesis. However I doubt whether more than a handful of people have ever pulled it out of the vaults of the University of London library in Senate House. For most readers it would be pretty incomprehensible anyway what with being laden with complex scientific terminology. The whole point of Sort Your Brain Out is to make the latest neuroscience accessible for everyone, not just the science enthusiasts. So with this in mind, for my first published book, it only seemed appropriate to co-author it with someone who has extensive experience in writing books that everyone can get something out of. And a few years back, thanks to a fortunate twist of fate, I met the perfect collaborator.

    polarbearpiratesAdrian Webster and I both contributed as motivational speakers at a conference in Tenerife in 2011,  presenting me with the perfect opportunity to forge an alliance with a truly exceptional individual. An internationally best-selling author, his first book Polar Bear Pirates was a massive hit. It is very unusual to see a business book packed full of cartoon characters, yet this unorthodox approach may well be precisely what made it resonate with such a broad audience. We’ve tried to reproduce this effect with a handful of illustrations commissioned for Sort Your Brain Out. For a sneak preview: click here.

    Over more than a decade Adrian has been one of Europe’s most popular and influential motivational speakers. His uncanny ability to spin a yarn in an entertaining yet impactful way, leaving audiences not just spellbound by his performances but also much wiser about how to get the best out of themselves at work is unparalleled. He distils many years of experience in the workplace into witty/moving anecdotes and wise observations about how best to motivate ourselves and those around us. Here’s a quick taste of his speaking style brilliantly animated by some young and very talented animators.

    Running MachineOur book Sort Your Brain Out aims to make what modern neuroscience has discovered about the strengths and weaknesses of human brain function accessible to the broadest possible market. We wanted to provide some powerful insights into how to get the most out of your brain, whoever the reader happens to be. After all, every one of us has a brain, but it doesn’t come with a user guide. So we thought we’d pen a book that illuminates what’s going on within our skulls and what brains need to function optimally. The Sunday Express kindly published an article we wrote to support the launch of the book and the following Monday we got a mention in the Daily Express. We also penned a short article on how to stoke the fires of creativity which you can also read online.

    We asked a few kind souls to read the final version before it went to print and were overwhelmed by the positive feedback. Below you’ll find just a small selection of the endorsements we received:

    This truly inspiring and fascinating book leaves you never wanting to waste a single second ever again. Everything you need to know about how your brain works and how to maximize it is contained in an easy-to-read way. The book proves you really can do anything and there are lots of simple ways to help ensure you too can make the most of your biggest asset – your brain! Without doubt, a book you cannot be without!”

    Dame Sarah Storey, DBE

     

    For all the debate about governments nudging people to make better decisions or to adopt better behaviours, it is easy to overlook the fact that we can actually nudge ourselves. This book is a wonderful guide to how to do just that.”

    Rory Sutherland

    Executive Creative Director and

    Vice Chairman, OgilvyOne London

     

    I thought it was accessible, thought-provoking and full of useful, easy-to-follow tips about improving your everyday life through a better understanding of the brain.”


    Killian Fox

    Writer for The Observer and other publications

     

    This book explores the kind of topics we all think and talk about: Is the internet making us stupid? What do alcohol and caffeine really do to our brains? It provides you with kind of fascinating nuggets of information you end up reading out to whoever you happen to be with, as well as practical tips on how to maximise what we all have between our ears. Forget brainstorming, it’s all about brainshaking and dunking now. Neuroscience demystified and simplified without being patronising; a must-read.”

    Olivia Walmsley

    Mail Online

     

    A really great book that explains in layman’s terms how the brain works and how you can then translate that knowledge to enhance your own performance. Thought-provoking and insightful, it will add considerable value to anyone still willing to learn, irrespective of which rung of the success ladder they are on. It’s an enjoyable and extremely useful read.”


    Mark Hussain

    HSBC

     

    Sort Your Brain Out is a must-read for everyone. It is a clever and thoughtful book designed to help the lay reader understand more about the brain’s most intimate workings but most importantly it provides erudite yet easily consumed bite-sized gobbets of information on how to improve one’s lobar lot. The fascinating examples are eminently readable and marvellously memorable; the reading of this book will stretch the brain in exactly the way the authors have devised. This is mental stimulation at its best.”


    Chantal Rickards

    Head of Programming and Branded Content

    MEC

     

    As someone who has spent their life reviewing neuroscience material, I was struck by how the overview on offer contextualises some aspects of brain function in a novel and refreshing way. In short, this is a delightful and illuminating read – it is the book that I would (will) give my family, when they ask searching questions about neuroscience – and what it means for them.”

    Professor Karl Friston FRS

    Scientific Director

    Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging

    University College London

     

    Sort Your Brain Out is has clarity of purpose and many features that puts it ahead of its competitors in an expanding area of interest. Making the best use of the amazing brains we all inherit, even though they are destined to operate in a world far removed from the environment that shaped their evolution, is crucial. There probably is no more important a task for us as individuals or for the groups we live and work in than this. Help and the chance to expand our insight is at hand.”

    Ian Edwards

    Head of Strategy

    Advertising Planning firm Vizeum

     

    Engaging, accessible, demystifying.”

    Dr Daniel Glaser

    Director

    Science Gallery London

     

    If you do decide to purchase a copy we’d be really grateful if you’d find time to review it on Amazon.

    Read more »
  • Fourth Anniversary of Dr Jack’s Brain Talks for Secondary Schools

    Sydenham Paper Cutting 1In Sept 2013 I gave my “Brain Coach” talk at both Dulwich College and Sydenham High School. That’s the second consecutive year that Sydenham girls entering their GCSE exam year will get my crash course in applied neuroscience. The talk is summarised here on the Girl’s Day School Trust website. It covers changes that take place in their brains as they learn and various neuroscience-informed strategies to manage stress better, stabilise mood, boost problem solving and enhance exam performance. It’s the third year in a row that I’ve shared these insights with Dulwich lads about to embark on their A-levels (and I’ve just been invited back to speak to the Year 11’s in Sept 2014!). Nothing quite like repeat business to confirm you have a product that is highly valued and well received!

    Sydenham Paper Cutting 2I’d jump at the chance to give this talk at schools all around the country. Feedback from teachers year on year indicates that students really do benefit from a better understanding of what is going on within their skulls as they learn and acquire new skills. Understanding that all their effort and hard work actually leads to physical changes in the brain is highly motivating – the audience is left to connect the dots themselves – there’s no need to ram it down their throats. Realizing that feeling stressed is a sign that body and mind are being mobilized to deal with the cause of the stress turns a negative into a positive – simply by pointing out the common misunderstanding. And advice on how to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol when it all starts to become too much to bear gives the students a sense of control over their state of mind. Mnemonic techniques to help them retain important information in mind not just for exams, but for a lifetime – surely the whole point of education after all – has a completely transparent utility. Here’s some feedback from a teacher Lisa Cornell who invited me to speak at Sydenham High School:

    The talk .. was inspirational for staff and students alike. The students enjoyed your informal yet informative style. You made difficult concepts easy to grasp. They especially liked how you applied these high level ideas to their everyday lives and studying. You were witty and  most importantly not in the slightest bit patronising. You managed to use an array of high level language and technical terms [yet] alienated nobody. I particularly liked how you broke down the latin of long words (eg explaining adrenal).

    From a teacher point of view you were engaging, entertaining and a very safe pair of hands for our students to work with. A very good litmus test for any speaker is if students stay behind to speak with you. That you had a ten strong audience of Y11s for half an hour after home time says a lot. Some of those students who stayed I have never seen so enthusiastic about anything!”

    Sydenham Paper Cutting 3

    I would love to get up on stage in front of many more schools each year as I genuinely feel it is one of the best uses of my broad knowledge of neuroscience and aptitude for conveying it in plain english. If you would like me to speak at your or your teenager’s school then please do drop me a line.

    You might also consider following me on Twitter. I flag at least 3 interesting pearls of wisdom from the world of neuroscience and psychology research every day.

    Read more »
  • How Virtual Environments Shape Your Brain by Dr Jack Lewis

    London_Black_Cab wikiComAny environment in which we immerse ourselves on a daily basis will eventually induce changes in the very fabric of our brains. This observation is based on brain scanning experiments investigating the brains of taxi drivers and professional musicians before and after they have acquired their expertise. Intensive training over many months and years physically changes the size of the hippocampus and motor hand area of these individuals, respectively. This occurs as a direct result of repeatedly challenging the brain to perform specific tasks, navigating around London in the first instance and manipulating an instrument to emit the desired sounds in the second, so that the connectivity between areas involved in executing that task is improved. This occurs at the flick of a few genetic switches that increases the number of synapses across which one neuronal brain wire influences the next in line in pathways that are used often and intensively. It seems reasonable to assume that any cognitive capacity that we regularly use over long periods of time will have a similar impact via the same mechanism.

    VR wikiComIn the past I’ve written about our incredible aptitude for using tools to manipulate our environment. One of the best examples of recent human ingenuity in this regard are the virtual environments we have created – video games, internet, online social networking and the like. Millions of people are immersed in such virtual environments intensively, regularly and consistently over extended periods of time, exactly the pre-requisites for interaction that drives brain changes; occurring whether the environment in question is real or virtual. I’ve written previously about the potential impact of this on the adolescent brain but, of course, adult brains also adapt to the demands of any virtual environments they may be regularly immersed in too, albeit at a reduced rate.

    Cell_phone_use_while_driving wikiComThese brain changes occur for better or for worse. Adults who engage in intensive action video gaming for endless hours slowly but surely begin to accumulate cognitive improvements, namely enhancements in certain aspects of vision, memory and rapid decision-making. On the other hand, those who automatically respond to any bleep, buzz or vibration from their laptop or smartphone appear to be training themselves into a state of constant distraction. A recent study has suggested that so-called heavy media multi-taskers are gradually losing their capacity to block out distractions, an unintended consequence of “dual screening” behaviours like surfing the internet and responding to electronic messages whilst watching television.

    My message is simple. Technology is neither good or bad, it’s all about how you choose to use it. Stopping to contemplate your habits when it comes to using technology and considering whether the likely changes to your brain will serve you well or badly, might be advisable. Evidence is currently quite sparse, but rapidly accumulating. Just bear in mind the rule of thumb that anything you do intensively, daily, for months on end has the potential to re-wire your brain to perform that task more efficiently. Some behaviours honed in this way do not always serve your best interests when operating in the real world.

    porn_star wikiComreport hit the press this week describing as yet unpublished brain data from Cambridge University demonstrating that people addicted to internet pornography show a heightened sensitivity in the reward pathways (specifically in the ventral striatum) when exposed to sexually explicit images. Results were not dissimilar to that observed in the brains of alcoholics and illicit drug addicts when viewing images of the target of their addiction. How might this hypersensitivity to pornography have developed? I’m sure you can guess what’s coming next… by viewing pornographic images with great scrutiny, regularly and over periods of months if not years – pleasurable sexual responses have become honed to whatever stimuli have been encountered in the virtual environments with which they are regularly immersed.

    brain that changes itselfMy concern is the impact that such outcomes of neuroplasticity might have on people’s real life behaviours. Could it be ruining people’s real life sex lives? The anecdotal evidence presented in Norman Doidge’s excellent book: “The Brain That Changes Itself” certainly backs up this notion. From the perspective of basic neuroscience it also seems likely. Once a brain is trained to respond in a manner that results in feelings of pleasure when viewing hyper-sexual body shapes performing wild and gratuitous sex acts, it is likely that less powerful sexual images – a real life sexual partner, for instance – no longer hit the spot. Given how much of a boost a healthy active sex life gives to real romantic relationships it seems a real shame (if not a blight to wellbeing in society as a whole) that sexual relationships might be harmed by unconstrained consumption of pornography.

    Quiet carriageI’m not an advocate of censorship. It doesn’t work anyway. I believe in freedom of informed choice. I am an advocate of encouraging people to think carefully about what their habitual behaviours might be doing to their brains from the perspective of neuroplasticity. This I hope will enable them to make choices that benefit them in the long run as well as in the short term. Carving out periods of the day when emails are ignored and phones switched to silent will preserve the ability to sustain attention, engage in deep thought and enable people to remain the master rather than slave of technology. And actively avoiding indulging in online pornography on a daily basis might help people to evade brain adaptations that set the bar of satisfaction ever higher so that the real thing can maintain its lustre. “Everything in moderation” will steer us all clear of unwanted brain adaptations.

    In addition to these monthly blogs I also tweet daily about interesting brain-related articles that hit the press. If that sounds good to you then please consider following me by clicking here.

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  • Man the Manipulator by Dr Jack Lewis

    We humans have far more control over our environment than any other species on planet Earth. We have developed an innate propensity for making and using tools to such a degree that we can now fundamentally change – through architectural, engineering and scientific innovation – the very environments in which we exist and with which we interact every day.

    In modifying places in which we spend thousands of hours: our homes, schools, places of work and leisure – we exert more power than any other species in shaping our own brains.

    Iterative cycles of human brains adapting to environments and environments being adapted by human brains have enabled our species to thrive in a wider variety of ecological niches than any other mammal across the length and breadth of the entire globe. Of vital importance to our adaptability is the emergence of cognitive faculties enabling us to circumvent the painstakingly slow processes involved in evolutionary change that drive behavioural adaptations in most other multicellular species.

    Darwin’s finches on the Galapagos Islands, for example, had to wait for many generations to evolve a useful adaptation that conferred a survival advantage over their competitors. This is because the vast majority of genetic mutations do not yield any useful, adaptive characteristics. For genetic mutation(s) to result in, say, a beak of appropriate dimensions to access an otherwise inaccessible food source, a great many decades of annual mating must pass before this random process eventually hits the jackpot.

    Humans confronted with a similar scenario would likely invent a tool to access the food in question. Offspring, or anyone else for that matter, could then mimic the movements necessary to successfully make and manipulate the tool. This is all thanks to “mirror” neurons, which provide us with our natural ability to convert observed movements into movements that we perform ourselves (In his TED talk VS Ramachandran describes the importance of mirror neurons quite beautifully). Behavioural adaptation through tool use is thus not, unlike genetic adaptation, limited to being spread down through subsequent generations.

    Humans are not the only creature to use tools. New Caledonian crows are top of the pecking order when it comes to birds intelligent enough to use tools. They use a variety of different tools and in the appropriate sequential order, to obtain a food reward that would otherwise be beyond their reach. Each bird is clever enough to figure this out for themselves, or at least to learn from others, but their capacity to propagate this information beyond their immediate habitat is prohibited by a lack of sufficiently sophisticated communication tools.

    Chimpanzees strip the leaves off of long straight sticks to use the resulting tool as a means to “fish” for termites in a termite mound. However, as E. O. Wilson famously pointed out: non-human primates do not have the necessary intelligence to prepare a neat stack of fishing sticks the night before. Non-human species only make and use tools as and when they are needed. In more recent times exceptions to this rule have been observed.

    It was long thought that we humans were the only species with sufficient foresight to predict the need for certain tools in the future and to prepare them in advance. However a chimpanzee residing in a Scandinavian zoo turned this assumption on its head by building a stack of stones in the morning to hurl at visitors later on once the zoo had opened to the public!

    That said, we still enjoy the unique status of being the only species able to share knowledge of making and using tools through verbal or written communication. This has propagated knowledge of all sorts of tools way beyond our own communities, to other members of our species across the entire globe – eliminating the need to reinvent the wheel and build upon the creativity of others.

    Arguably the kings of tool use (homo sapiens exluded) are surely the bonobos. The below footage shows our closest primate cousin making tools out of stone, just as our caveman ancestors did, and using them to perform a variety of scraping, cutting and boring purposes.

    In addition to these monthly brainblogs you can catch my daily #braintweet several times a day by following me on Twitter.

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  • Norman Doidge’s “The Brain That Changes Itself” reviewed by Dr Jack

    I’ve been devouring popular science books over the last year, with a view to writing a book of my own, and there is no doubt that THE BRAIN THAT CHANGES ITSELF stands out head and shoulders above the rest. Through a series of well-researched scientific breakthroughs explained via a variety of compelling real-life stories, it effortlessly convinces the reader that the human brain is a highly adaptable, “plastic” organ capable of dramatically rewiring itself, at any stage in life, to enable significant recovery from even catastrophic brain damage.

    This book is nothing less than inspirational. The 20th Century doctrine of the “unchanging brain” – hardwired throughout childhood and fundamentally unalterable by the end of adolescence – is well and truly turned on its head by this remarkable compilation of case studies to the contrary.

    The miracles of modern neuroscience: 65 year old Professor Pedro Bach-y-Rita crawling around on his hands and knees, just like a baby, en route to recovering his ability to first walk, then talk and ultimately go back into teaching, after his brainstem stroke. Ingenious machines, sending computer-generated sensory information to a person’s tongue in place of visual or  vestibular information lost to brain damage, enable people to see and walk again. The once seriously learning disabled Barbara Arrowsmith Young now heading up a school that uses novel programmes she developed to treat herself by forcing underdeveloped brain areas to up their game through intensive training sessions.

    All of these and much, much more demonstrate that the brain CAN change. All that is required is a knowledge of exactly what is required to encourage those changes to occur – all clearly outlined in this book – and then dedication to putting the hours in to make sure those changes happen. It turns out that neuroplasticity can even explain how the miraculous psychological changes that can be enabled by psychiatric counselling might be underpinned by physical changes in the brain. Sexual attraction, love, pain, obsession, anxiety, compulsions and habits are all fundamentally influenced by neuroplasticity and the sooner the world gets to grips with this the better. Even putting the hours in using your imagination to practice cognitive skills to improve your mental abilities does so via physical changes to the number and connectivity of brain cells.

    If I ran a school of brain science I would make this compulsary reading. Partly because the “neuroplastic revolution” that the author, Norman Doidge, envisages is extremely empowering to all people; not just the old and neurologically-impaired, but for every single human being on earth that wishes to improve their brain function. But also because it captures an essential truth about science – professors, medics and other experts who share with us their wisdom are not infallible. They do not, CAN not, know it all. They can only peddle the best of what has stood the test of time since they acquired their body of knowledge combined with the new research that has been confirmed by subsequent independent research. There is always the possibility that they, and their forefathers got the wrong end of the stick – which is almost certainly what happened with the concept of neuroplasticity. Consequently, we must all be critical of what we read and remain open to new findings and novel ways of thinking about how the world, and our own brains, truly work.

    In addition to these website brain posts you can follow Dr Jack’s daily #braintweets

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