neuroscience

Neuroscience
10:40 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Study Links Casual Pot Use With Brain Abnormalities

(prensa420/Flickr)

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 12:30 pm

Young adults who smoke marijuana at least once a week showed changes in the size and shape of two key brain regions, according to a new study of 20 pot smokers and 20 non-pot smokers between 18 and 25.

This is the first time recreational marijuana use has been connected to significant brain changes.

The findings, a collaboration between Northwestern University and Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School, were published in The Journal of Neuroscience.

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Hurts So Good
12:00 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

The Science And Music Of Heartbreak

Dr. Helen Fisher studies why after a break-up all we want to do is wallow in sad music.
Flickr Photo/Lis Ferla

There are a lot of songs about love, but perhaps there are even more songs about loss. That raises a serious scientific question: Why are so many songs written about heartbreak, and what happens to the brains of people who are experiencing a really bad break-up?

Biological anthropologist Dr. Helen Fisher studies what happens in our brains when we are in love and when we are heart broken. She says that Tylenol is helpful, but staring at pictures of your ex and listening to a sad song when your brain is going through massive dopamine withdrawal is not.

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Neuroscience
3:32 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

Blindsight Is Never 20/20

Flickr Photo/Giulia Forsythe

Steve Scher talks with Dr. Christof Koch,  chief scientific officer of the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle, about a rare brain condition that causes some people to only see in black and white.

Gut Feeling
5:45 am
Mon November 18, 2013

Gut Bacteria Might Guide The Workings Of Our Minds

Illustration by Benjamin Arthur for NPR

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 9:58 am

Could the microbes that inhabit our guts help explain that old idea of "gut feelings?" There's growing evidence that gut bacteria really might influence our minds.

"I'm always by profession a skeptic," says Dr. Emeran Mayer, a professor of medicine and psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles. "But I do believe that our gut microbes affect what goes on in our brains."

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Author Interview
3:14 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Why Does Morality Sometimes Trump Our Biological Imperatives?

Joshua Greene's book "Moral Tribes."

Marcie Sillman interviews author, philosopher and scientist Joshua Greene about the neuroscience behind morality.

Neuroscience
3:55 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

Can You Be Too Drunk To Remember Smoking Crack?

Flickr Photo/bwats2

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has been making headlines after admitting to using crack cocaine, stating that it happened "probably in one of my drunken stupors."

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Neuroscience
4:16 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Brainy Babies: ‘Invisible Bungee Cords’ Explain Early Learning

It's so natural to play patty cake or invite an infant to mimic you - but what's going on in their brains at the time?
Flickr Photo/Evan Long

Stick your tongue out at a newborn, and it will attempt to stick its tongue back at you. Wave your hand, and the baby may wave back. Behavioral psychologists have known for some time how babies love to imitate, but new research from the University of Washington and Temple University sheds light on the neural processes happening within the brain.

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Science
4:57 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

How Our Choices May Be A Question Of DNA

Douglas T. Kenrick and Vladas Griskevicius' book "The Rational Animal."

The classic observer of human behavior would tell you all of our decisions have a rational basis. But new research indicates that “rational” may not be based on any conscious factors, but instead, is more deeply hardwired in our DNA. Vladas Griskevicius is co author of a new book called “The Rational Animal: How Evolution Made Us Smarter Than We Think.” He talks with Marcie Sillman.

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Psychology
7:00 am
Mon August 19, 2013

The Conversation Goes Mental: Interviews On Psychology And Human Behavior

Frank Partnoy's "Wait: The Art and Scince of Delay"

This hour on The Conversation we explore the strange and confusing behavior of humans. Why do we act the way we do? And can we change? Psychologists and science writers take us inside the brain to explain our peculiar actions. 

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Health
12:46 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

Former High School Dropout Becomes WWU Neuroscientist In Race To Find Huntington’s Disease Cure

Jeff Carroll
Credit Wikipedia Commons

Sometimes, you’re just dealt a bad hand. Jeff Carroll was a high school dropout serving in the military when he learned his mother had Huntington's disease. It's genetic, and he soon learned he had it too. There’s no cure. So the diagnosis is a death sentence. But rather than despairing, Carroll turned his life around. And in the decade since his diagnosis, he’s become one of the most prominent researchers studying Huntington’s Disease. He’s now on staff at Western Washington University in Bellingham.
 

Full list of stories from KUOW Presents, July 16:

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The Neuroscience Of Listening
11:57 am
Mon July 8, 2013

How To Be A Better Listener

Seth Horowitz' book "The Universal Sense."

  Listening takes work. And if you’ve ever had a conversation where you felt yourself zoning out while someone yammers on about their pets or their children, you know that sometimes listening can be really hard. Ross Reynolds explores how listening works and how to be better at it with Seth Horowitz, chief neuroscientist at NeuroPop, a sound design company that uses sound to treat psychological conditions. Horowitz is also the author of The Universal Sense: How Hearing Shapes the Mind.”

Cognitive Science
8:00 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Inside The Brains Of Animals

A chimp expresses sadness.
Credit Flickr Photo/Tom Holbrook

Some animals display very human behaviors: chimps grieve, rats love to be tickled, and moths remember living as caterpillars.

Science journalist Virginia Morell explores the complex minds of animals in her new book, "Animal Wise." From field sites to laboratories, Morell shows how animal cognition research has evolved, and how animals possess traits many feel are unique to humans.

She spoke at the Elliott Bay Book Company on April 8, 2013.

Food Science
10:30 am
Mon March 18, 2013

Synesthetes Really Can Taste The Rainbow

A select group of synesthetes can truly "taste the rainbow."
Photo illustration by Daniel M.N. Turner NPR

Originally published on Tue March 19, 2013 8:23 am

Plenty of us got our fill of green-colored food on St. Patrick's Day. (Green beer, anyone?) But for some people, associating taste with color is more than just a once-a-year experience.

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Life Beyond Death
11:08 am
Tue January 8, 2013

Academic Neurosurgeon Says Heaven Exists

Dr. Eben Alexander says our awareness becomes much greater when freed from our physical brain.
Author's Twitter account

Many people say there is a heaven. But few are academic neurosurgeons. Ross Reynolds speaks with Eben  Alexander about a near-death experience he says gave him a glimpse of the afterlife that he outlines in his book, "Proof of Heaven."