Monday, May 23, 2011

Apple and the Brain

According to a BBC documentary, the brains of Apple fans react similarly to the brain's of religious people. Now if that isn't something of an oxymoron! Neuroscientists say Apple's gadgets can trigger areas of the brain associated with religion. When a team of neuroscientists with an MRI scanner took a look inside the brain of an Apple fanatic, the results suggested that Apple was actually stimulating the same parts of the brain as religious imagery does in people of faith. According to reporters Alex Riley and Adam Boome, the scenes at the opening of the new Apple store in London's Covent Garden were more like "an evangelical prayer meeting than a chance to buy a phone or a laptop."

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Tummy to Brain

Is there really a relationship between a fat tummy and a shriveled brain? Studies at New York University School of Medicine suggest just that! Antonio Convit used MRI technology to compare the brains of 44 obese individuals with those of 19 lean people of similar age and background. He found significant brain changes in the obese individuals. And Eric Stice at Oregon Research Institute found that when you overeat, neural changes occur that increase your risk for future overeating. Earlier studies have linked obesity to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, which is known to be associated with brain impairment.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day and "Eye" or "Camera"

Some people on this planet will spend at least part of today with their own mother. For others, this will be impossible for any number of reasons and they may think about her by pulling up a picture in the mind's eye or actually looking at a photograph. Recent studies have shown how the human "eye" can outperform a "camera" in some aspects (although the mechanism of research is so complex it is a challenge for my brain to understand the process). Basically, as the author puts it, visual images are projected by the lens of the eye onto a sheet of photoreceptor cells (known as rods and cones) in the retina. Much like pixels in a digital camera, each photoreceptor generates an electrical response proportional to the local light intensity.

Happy Mother's Day and the "Eye"

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Brain's GPS

University of California, San Diego, Studies: Researchers report they have discovered precisely timed electrical oscillations in neuronal “grid cells.” Located in the brain near the hippocampus, these grid cells allow you to navigate through your physical environment by maintaining an internal hexagonal representation. Much like a CPS, the brain’s navigation system for the external world requires precisely timed pulses. Oscillatory patterns act as an internal clock that keeps tabs on where you are and when.