Halloween is here again boys and girls. As I get older, it’s essentially turned into an opportunity to dress in some ironic costume to try to show everyone how hilarious I am. I miss the younger days, though, where it was as simple as dressing like Mickey Mouse (true story) and dragging a pillowcase around the neighborhood. I miss the candy. Yes, I know I could buy it myself now, but it’s not the same. Scavenging all that sugar is a big deal to a kid. To prove it, I present exhibit A below.
Hilarious as it is, the prank really shows the depths of our candy obsessions. Perhaps we gain a modicum of control as we get older, but there are significant things going on in our brains that make us crave those sweets. Researchers at the University of Michigan recently published an article in Current Biologythat gives some insight into how the brain responds to these treats. Continue reading →
Growing up, when you brought home an A on a test, did your parents ever argue over who’s side of the family “the smarts” came from? I can recall complete reconstructions of the family tree based on what subjects my sister and I were excelling in.
In reality, the grades probably had more to do with good study habits and a certain pride in my work, but new research indicates that there may be more of a genetic component than previously realized. In addition to diet, as we learned in my last post, recent work from Dr. Paul Thompson’s team reveals that genetic variations can have measurable impacts on learning and intelligence. I came across his work thanks to a great piece written by Moheb Costandi at ScienceNOW.
I, like most any gentleman in his late twenties, is content with lying around on the couch with a cold beer and a game on TV. However, being in grad school, I find that such moments of respite are increasingly harder to come by. This whole Ph.D. thing takes a lot of work. Still, to graduate, I will do what I must.
What I didn’t know is that my attitude towards hard work may not be my choice, but could simply be how my brain works. A brain imaging study performed by Michael Treadway in the lab of David Zald at Vanderbilt, published this week in the Journal of Neuroscience, has discovered that your willingness to work hard is actually regulated by the chemistry in your brain. Continue reading →
I hate running. It hurts. It’s boring. It’s time I could be catching up with my Netflix queue. Still, somehow, with the help of funky beats from these two morons, I’m able to occasionally motivate myself to suffer through it. It does help to shed a few pounds after all. Still doesn’t mean I enjoy it.
In the event that I do talk myself into going for a bit of a jog, I do always feel better afterwards. I’ve always heard of the runner’s high, but I don’t know that I’ve ever believed it. That is, perhaps, until now. David Raichlen and colleagues have reported recently in the Journal of Experimental Biologyon their discovery of the neurobiological rewards associated with exercise.