July 20, 2019

Here in the U.S., it’s summertime, when people tend to get out of the house and spend more time outdoors. How does that affect the brain? Find out in this conversation (video below) between Posit Science’s two co-founders, Dr. Michael Merzenich and me!

Best regards,

Jeff Zimman
Posit Science

The Most Common Symptom of Dementia
What do you think is the most common symptom of dementia? A lot of people might guess memory loss, but the answer is actually apathy. Apathy is neither widely discussed nor studied—perhaps because it doesn’t seem as disruptive as other symptoms, though it has devastating effects on quality of life. A new study aims to change that by understanding the prevalence of apathy in dementia. Learn more.

Hearing Aids May Help Protect the Brain
How’s your hearing? If it’s not as good as you’d like, you might want

“Metronome” Cells in the Brain
Recent research has discovered a new type of neuron that keeps time in the mouse brain. These neurons don’t respond to the outside world; they continue to beat consistently, in synch with one another, no matter what the body is feeling. Learn more about these neurons. to look into a hearing aid. New research shows that wearing hearing aids may help people maintain cognitive function and reduce the risk of dementia. Learn more.

A New Ethical Question for Neuroscience
As neuroscience experiments get more sophisticated, ethical questions can arise. That’s the case with the research of Nenad Sestan, who has been working on restoring activity to slices of pig brain. The research is useful for understanding how the brain works. But is bringing brain tissue back from the dead something we should dabble in? Learn more.

Awe Is Awesome for You
Research shows that experiencing the feeling of awe can be good for you—and your community. It humbles us and helps us see ourselves as part of something larger, which can enhance group harmony. One study also showed it can reduce symptoms of PTSD and improve scores of general happiness and satisfaction with life. Learn more and find ways to experience more awe in your life.

Book of the Month
Conscience: The Origins of Moral Intuition (2019)
By Patricia Churchland
In Conscience, neurophilosopher Patricia Churchland makes the case that morality is rooted in biology; specifically, in how the brain has evolved to support and reinforce useful norms of behavior that help sustain a successful community. Discussing neurochemicals and brain regions, and everything from political views to prairie voles, Churchland sheds light on how our values are shaped in our brains. It’s a fascinating—though not uncontroversial—perspective. Learn more or buy on Amazon.