WBEZ | brain http://www.wbez.org/tags/brain Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Music and the brain http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/music-and-brain-106900 <p><p>Music surrounds us &mdash; but why does this art form take such a dominant role in our lives? What happens in our mind when we hear music and how does it effect our emotions? Even with passive listening to music, specific parts of the brain can show activation or increased &ldquo;neural&rdquo; activity. What is it about music that can so dramatically affect brain activity? &nbsp;Are there things that we can learn from music, and its effect on the brain that can help treat people with neurological and cognitive disorders? &nbsp;These are questions that our panel addressed on . Panelists include&nbsp;<strong>Neelum Aggarwal MD</strong>, Associate Professor of neurological sciences, Rush University Medical Center and KV 265 Board member; and <strong>Dr. Hans C. Breiter</strong>, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Scientific Director of the Warren Wright Adolescent Center, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/C2ST-webstory_11.jpg" title="" /></div><p>This event was recorded March 13, 2013 at &nbsp;Northwestern University&#39;s Hughes Auditorium.</p></p> Wed, 13 Mar 2013 11:36:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/music-and-brain-106900 Clever Apes #31: ¿Habla usted simio? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/clever-apes/2012-06/clever-apes-31-%C2%BFhabla-usted-simio-99831 <p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/lang%20books.jpg" title="(flickr/Fiona Bradley)" /></p><p style="text-align: left; ">Exact statistics are hard to come by, but it is generally accepted that a majority of the world&rsquo;s population speaks more than one language. In the U.S., census data shows that about 20 percent of people speak a language other than English at home. That number has been steadily growing, but it doesn&#39;t account for all the people who learned a foreign language in school, or for some other purpose.</p><p>With that in mind, if we want to better understand how the brain works, how it processes sound and language, it might be a good idea to study the brains of bilingual people. In <a href="http://www.communication.northwestern.edu/departments/csd/research/bilingualism_psycholinguistics/">Northwestern&rsquo;s Bilingualism and Psycholinguistics Laboratory</a>, Dr. Viorica Marian is concerned with doing just that. The lab does research examining the differences of bilingual people in learning and memory from those with a single language.&nbsp;</p><p>In a paper recently published in <a href="http://www.pnas.org/">Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences</a>, Dr. Marian&rsquo;s lab teamed up with the <a href="http://www.soc.northwestern.edu/brainvolts/">Auditory Neuroscience Lab</a> lead by Dr. Nina Kraus. Graduate student Jen Krizman lead research that uncovered an interesting difference in the way that a <a href="http://www.soc.northwestern.edu/brainvolts/slideshows/bilingualism/index.php">bilingual brain processes sound</a>.&nbsp;Researchers have known that bilinguals excel at tasks that test their attention and this recent <a href="http://www.soc.northwestern.edu/brainvolts/documents/Krizman_et_al_PNAS_2012.pdf">collaboration</a> has helped explain why. &nbsp;</p><p>If you are bilingual, you are always going to have both languages active when you are communicating. So you constantly have to inhibit one language as you engage the other one. Having this bilingual experience leads to advantages in ability to inhibit irrelevent information. Being able to pay better attention changes the way the brain responds to sound and how you are able to focus on the important features of a sound. Basically, the bilingual brain shapes itself into a more efficient sound processor...C&#39;est incroyable!</p><p>In this episode, we also talked with <a href="http://psychology.uchicago.edu/people/faculty/bkeysar.shtml">Dr. Boaz Keysar</a>. He studies language and decision making at the University of Chicago. In a <a href="http://psychology.uchicago.edu/people/faculty/ForeignLanguageEffect.pdf">recent paper</a>, he showed that when people think in their second language, they are less affected by <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cognitive_biases">decision biases</a>. In a nutshell, he showed that people make different decisions based on the language they&#39;re using.</p><p>It is important to note that the subjects in his experiments were different from those in the Northwestern paper. In the Northwestern experiments, the subjects learned their second language early in life. Dr. Keysar&#39;s work dealt with people who learned a second language later.</p><p>This is important because Keysar&#39;s theory for why thinking in a second language lessens the effect of decision bias like &quot;<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Framing_effect_(psychology)">the framing effect</a>&quot; and &quot;<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loss_aversion">loss aversion</a>&quot; has to do with the emotional distance a second language provides. A native tongue has a stronger connection to the emotional part of the brain than the second language does. &nbsp;Keysar suggests that thinking in a second language is more analytical because it is not as emotionally anchored. &nbsp;So be careful what language you think in...it could literally change your mind.</p><p>No matter what language you&#39;re thinking in, don&rsquo;t forget to subscribe to our&nbsp;<a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/wbezs-clever-apes/id379051174">podcast</a>, follow us on&nbsp;<a href="http://twitter.com/#%21/cleverapes">Twitter</a>, and find us on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Clever-Apes-on-WBEZ/118246851551412">Facebook</a>.</p></p> Wed, 06 Jun 2012 06:15:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/clever-apes/2012-06/clever-apes-31-%C2%BFhabla-usted-simio-99831 Clever Apes #24: Gut feelings http://www.wbez.org/blog/clever-apes/2012-01-17/clever-apes-24-gut-feelings-95602 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-January/2012-01-17/Gut Feelings image.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="Scientists say the intestines are like a second brain. (WBEZ/Michael De Bonis)" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-January/2012-01-17/Gut Feelings image.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 409px;" title="Scientists say the intestines are like a second brain. (WBEZ/Michael De Bonis)"></p><p>In researching the human gut over the last few weeks, I’ve learned at least 10 things that have blown my mind. Here is one: Your intestines are your <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/23/health/23gut.html?pagewanted=all">second brain</a>.</p><p>The gut has its own nervous system – called the enteric nervous system – that is highly sophisticated and can basically think for itself. Columbia University neuroscientist Michael Gershon, who coined the phrase with his 1999 book <em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Second-Brain-Groundbreaking-Understanding-Disorders/dp/0060930721">The Second Brain,</a></em> says the gut can function just fine in a decapitated person. <img alt="Rush's Ali Keshavarzian with his colon model. (WBEZ/Gabriel Spitzer)" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-January/2012-01-17/web kesh.jpg" style="width: 250px; height: 333px; float: left; margin: 10px;" title="Rush's Ali Keshavarzian with his colon model. (WBEZ/Gabriel Spitzer)">In fact, you can pull the gut out of someone, drop it in a nutrient bath in a lab, and it goes right on digesting.</p><p>In the last few years scientists have been discovering all kinds of surprising connections between the brain in your belly and the one in your head. Many neurological conditions also have gastro-intestinal components, though it’s never been clear why. The assumption has been that the brain disease causes the G-I problems, but scientists at <a href="http://www.rush.edu/rumc/page-1099611550726.html">Rush University Medical Center</a> are investigating a hypothesis that would turn that theory upside down.</p><p>It goes like this: Parkinson’s disease patients seem to have <a href="http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0028032">unusually leaky intestines</a>, which let toxic materials, like pieces of gut bacteria, slip between the cells lining the intestines. It’s possible that this could inflame the nerves and cause a particular protein, called alpha synuclein, to fold up wrong. That in turn could trigger a chain reaction of misfolded proteins that travel up the nervous system, burning “like a slow fuse” up to the brain over the course of decades, eventually <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19686202">causing Parkinson’s disease</a>.</p><p>It’s still pretty speculative, but gut leakiness has now been linked with a <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2995297/">bunch of other neurological diseases</a>. In general, the gut and the trillions of bacteria that live there are turning up as strong candidates to account for correlations that have eluded explanation. <img alt="Drs. Stuart Johnson and Dale Gerding fight C. diff. (WBEZ/Gabriel Spitzer)" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-January/2012-01-17/web johnson.jpg" style="width: 250px; height: 333px; float: right; margin: 10px;" title="Drs. Stuart Johnson and Dale Gerding are trying to defeat C. diff. (WBEZ/Gabriel Spitzer)">For example, scientists have long suspected that <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC468678/">weight gain increases one's risk of breast cancer</a>, but the reason why has been mysterious. Stay tuned for more on why gut bacteria could be the missing link: We’ll post an interview in a couple of days.</p><p>Meanwhile, elsewhere in today’s episode we have a cautionary tale about what happens when we fail to respect the needs of our inner bug civilization. Antibiotics, in addition to killing infectious bacteria, also take a toll on our healthy gut biota, leaving room for an aggressive bug called <a href="http://www.shea-online.org/assets/files/position_papers/Cldiff95.PDF">Clostridium difficile</a>. It causes an absolutely miserable, sometimes lethal, hospital-acquired infection that is reaching epidemic proportions in the U.S. It’s bad enough that some have turned to a particularly stomach-turning therapy: <a href="http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=swapping-germs">fecal transplants</a>. Researchers at Loyola University Medical Center and the Hines VA in Maywood, Ill. are trying to save you from having to even think about that. We visit them and find out how.</p><p>Believe me, I could go on … but I’ll spare you for now. As always, subscribe to our <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/CleverApesPodcast" target="_blank" title="http://feeds.feedburner.com/CleverApesPodcast">podcast</a>, follow us on&nbsp;<a href="http://twitter.com/#%21/cleverapes" target="_blank" title="http://twitter.com/#!/cleverapes">Twitter</a>, and find us on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Clever-Apes-on-WBEZ/118246851551412" target="_blank" title="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Clever-Apes-on-WBEZ/118246851551412">Facebook</a>.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-January/2012-01-17/web forsyth.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 450px;" title="Chris Forsyth studies the gut's role in Parkinson's disease. (WBEZ/Gabriel Spitzer)"></p></p> Tue, 17 Jan 2012 21:41:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/clever-apes/2012-01-17/clever-apes-24-gut-feelings-95602 Clever Apes #23: First memories http://www.wbez.org/blog/clever-apes/2011-12-13/clever-apes-23-first-memories-94877 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-December/2011-12-13/Gabe trike for web.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="Each time we recall a childhood memory, we're rewriting it. (WBEZ/Gabriel Spitze" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-13/Gabe trike for web SMALL.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 442px; float: left; margin: 10px;" title="Each time we recall a childhood memory, we're rewriting it. (WBEZ/Gabriel Spitzer)">I’m sitting at a picnic table in our screened-in porch. It’s my third birthday party, and I’m opening presents. I unwrap a Tonka truck, and drop to the floor to start playing with it.</p><p>That’s been my earliest memory ever since I can, well, remember. But as the years wore on, something weird started happening. I started to feel less attached to the person in that memory. Now, I feel like I’m seeing the memory through someone else’s eyes, watching myself push that truck on the green astroturf carpet. I’m not even sure it’s a real memory anymore.</p><p>This has been on my mind because my own son recently had his third birthday. It got me wondering what his first memory will be, and more broadly, what is the nature of early memories? How reliable might they be, and how important to the construction of our identities?</p><p>On the latest installment of Clever Apes, we dig into what science has to say about early memory. Young kids actually have lots of memories that don’t make it into long-term storage. The phenomenon, called <a href="http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-child-in-time/201012/the-shifting-boundary-childhood-amnesia">“childhood amnesia,” </a>is not very well understood. But it seems to have something to do with the lens through which we see the world, and how it changes from early childhood (say, age three) to the more verbal period starting around age five or six. It’s tough to bridge that divide, and that may explain why I’m having a hard time connecting with my three-year old self.</p><p>And there’s another reason: memories are made from networks of neurons in our brains. That wiring gets used for lots of things, and so with each new memory, the networks change a little. When we remember something, we effectively rewrite it. That means that in some sense, each time we reflect on a memory, we’re putting a little more distance between ourselves and the actual event. Recent research suggests we’re even doing this in our sleep.</p><p>It’s enough to give a fellow a dose of existential distress. But there’s an upside too: A Chicago researcher has demonstrated <a href="http://www.luc.edu/childrensmemory/elaborative_conversation.shtml">ways that parents can reinforce and help solidify a child’s memories. </a>If you listen to the show, you can hear me trying this out on my son, Ezra. I bribed him with M&amp;Ms to get him to sit still.</p><p>Watch this space in the next day or so for a collection of first memories from our colleagues here at WBEZ. You can also get it via <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/CleverApesPodcast">podcast</a>. We’re on <a href="http://twitter.com/cleverapes">Twitter </a>and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Clever-Apes-on-WBEZ/118246851551412">Facebook</a>, too.</p></p> Tue, 13 Dec 2011 23:11:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/clever-apes/2011-12-13/clever-apes-23-first-memories-94877 Chicago scientists grow neurons from stem cells http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-scientists-grow-neurons-stem-cells <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Neuron.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Scientists at Northwestern University say they&rsquo;ve figured out how to grow a kind of brain cell that&rsquo;s lost in Alzheimer&rsquo;s Disease. The cells make circuits critical for forming new memories, and they&rsquo;re among the first to die in Alzheimer&rsquo;s.&nbsp;Researchers at Northwestern Medicine coaxed human embryonic stem cells to grow into those neurons. They also developed an alternate strategy, where they got skin cells to mimic stem cells, which they were then able to grow into the neurons.&nbsp;</p><p>John Kessler, Chairman of Neurology at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, said the breakthrough could accelerate research into therapies.</p><p>&ldquo;Because we have the human neurons right in front of us in a tissue culture dish, we can screen literally thousands &ndash; actually, tens of thousands -- of drugs at a time, to find one that may work in the disease,&rdquo; Kessler said.</p><p>Down the line, scientists hope to be able to transplant the new cells into Alzheimer&rsquo;s patients whose own neurons have died.&nbsp;The findings are published in the journal Stem Cells.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 04 Mar 2011 12:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-scientists-grow-neurons-stem-cells Cave art and acid trips: The math they didn't teach you in school http://www.wbez.org/blog/clever-apes/2011-03-02/cave-art-and-acid-trips-math-they-didnt-teach-you-school-83266 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/CaveLSD.png" alt="" /><p><p><img width="520" height="250" title="Cave art, left, and LSD visions, right, both reflect our brain's architecture. " class="caption" alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-March/2011-03-02/CaveLSD.png" /></p><p><a href="http://thesciencenetwork.org/programs/raw-science/geometric-visual-hallucinations">Hallucinations</a> have led everyone from shamans to acid gurus to believe they were getting a glimpse into the <a href="http://chestofbooks.com/new-age/paranormal/Spirit-World/The-Sense-Organs-Perceive-Telepathically.html">spirit world</a>. Jack Cowan says they may actually be getting <a href="http://www.nerdshit.com/2003/12/10/secrets-of-an-acid-head/">a peek into their own brains</a>. Cowan is the mathematician and neuroscientist featured in the latest episode of Clever Apes, talking about how the patterns in those hallucinations actually reflect the structure and behavior of networks in our heads.</p><p>We&rsquo;ll get to <a href="http://psychedelic-information-theory.com/Uncoiling-the-spiral-Maths-and-hallucinations">the science</a> in a moment, but it&rsquo;s worth considering how entwined these hallucinations may be into the human experience. As Cowan mentions, some anthropologists believe that much of cave art is hallucinatory, as demonstrated in <a href="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/story/extras/2011-March/2011-03-02/Hallucinations.pdf">this presentation Cowan put together</a>. I&rsquo;ll leave it to the reader to decide whether these images are conclusive evidence that the cave art is drawn from hallucinatory patterns (seems to me that some are more convincing than others). Anthropologist<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Mind-Cave-Consciousness-Origins-Art/dp/0500284652"> David Lewis Williams thought so</a>, and even argued that hallucinations must then be a major source of humanity&rsquo;s <a href="http://vividlife.me/ultimate/4294/what-causes-eye-floaters/">spiritual and religious development</a>. So in that sense, they do give insight into the spirit world &ndash; if only to suggest that the spirit world originates in the cells of our sensory cortices.</p><p>It&rsquo;s worth noting, also, that hallucinations aren&rsquo;t confined to the visual world. We can experience <a href="http://www.coping-with-epilepsy.com/forums/f23/audio-hallucinations-2679/">audio hallucinations</a> (which may of course be wrapped up in psychedelic music &hellip; see Jim DeRogatis&rsquo;s <a href="http://books.google.com/books?id=U7cQmRsLgN8C&amp;printsec=frontcover&amp;dq=derogatis+psychedelic&amp;source=bl&amp;ots=XhQcAqhj7S&amp;sig=-xcJmxJRjQhGoDoD8kcSGeYULc0&amp;hl=en&amp;ei=75NuTc-PEcLSgQfBk9BB&amp;sa=X&amp;oi=book_result&amp;ct=result&amp;resnum=2&amp;ved=0CCIQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&amp;q&amp;f=false">fine history here</a>), <a href="http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/phantosmia/AN01684">olfactory hallucinations</a> &ndash; even <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC491362/">tactile hallucinations</a>.</p><p>As for those visual patterns: they certainly seem to recur in plenty of places. To see them, eat some magic mushrooms or go have <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=104397005">a near-death experience</a>. Of course, you could also just pay half-attention as you're drifting off to sleep. Or simply press on your eyeballs a little. Totally your call. But the key, Cowan says, is that the brain produces these patterns as it&rsquo;s passing through a state of instability &ndash; whether it&rsquo;s semi-sleep or a neurochemical imbalance brought on by drugs.</p><p>Basically, as excitation ripples through our neural networks, it makes actual patterns in there &ndash; often stripes or a regular series of blobs &ndash; of firing or resting neurons. Then, because of the way our visual network is designed, those patterns appear to our eyes as <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Form_constant">spirals, funnels and tunnels, honeycombs or cobwebs</a>. In fact, those four patterns seem to be pretty much it: Our brain architecture is capable of producing only <a href="http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1162/089976602317250861">variations on those four themes</a>.</p><p>But Cowan points out that the excitations that cause the hallucinations don't stop in the brain&rsquo;s sensory areas &ndash; they propagate deeper into areas connected with emotions, memory and self-image. That, added to the fact that they are associated with passing from one state into another (sober to tripping, awake to asleep, alive to dead), may contribute to the profundity we often ascribe to them. And perhaps there is something profound there after all: the idea that the same pattern-making mechanisms are at work in our minds as in clouds, or sands worked by the tides. That is pretty deep, man.</p><p>And kids, say no to drugs.</p><p>Subscribe to our <a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/wbezs-clever-apes/id379051174">podcast</a>, follow us on <a href="http://twitter.com/cleverapes">Twitter </a>and find us on <a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Clever-Apes-on-WBEZ/118246851551412">Facebook</a>.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 02 Mar 2011 20:09:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/clever-apes/2011-03-02/cave-art-and-acid-trips-math-they-didnt-teach-you-school-83266 Clever Apes #8: Sense abilities http://www.wbez.org/blog/clever-apes/2011-02-28/clever-apes-8-sense-abilities-83045 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/ear_coch.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;<img height="492" align="middle" width="428" title="Cochlear implants show how our senses depend on both machine and mind. " alt="Cochlear implants show how our senses depend on both machine and mind. " class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-February/2011-02-27/ear_coch.jpg" /></p><p>Our senses tell us about the world, but they also reveal a lot about ourselves. On the latest installment of Clever Apes, we find that research into <a href="http://www.utdallas.edu/~loizou/cimplants/tutorial/">cochlear implants</a> helps us understand how all hearing is really both mechanical and subjective, machine and mind. Then we meet a <a href="http://experts.uchicago.edu/experts.php?id=493">mathematical neuroscientist</a> (or would that be neuro-mathematician?) who has solved the equations behind <a href="http://thesciencenetwork.org/programs/raw-science/geometric-visual-hallucinations">visual hallucinations</a> (hint: it involves a fun romp into <a href="http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/quantum-field-theory/">quantum field theory</a>! Oh yeah, and it also may help explain cave art and religion &hellip; more on that in a future post.)</p><p><span player="null" class="filefield_audio_insert_player" id="filefield_audio_insert_player-89087" href="/sites/default/files/Clever Apes_110228_GS.mp3">Clever Apes_110228_GS.mp3</span></p><p>Meanwhile, as we discuss in the episode, cochlear implants work largely on the same principle as the vocoder (hear a fascinating history of the <a href="http://www.kraftwerkfaq.hu/equipment.html#vocoder">vocoder </a>from our colleagues at Sound Opinions). This involves encoding sound &ndash; as in, ripples in air pressure &ndash; onto a piece of white noise. The result is that familiar robotic-type sound that lovers of <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXa9tXcMhXQ">Kraftwerk </a>know so well. Dr. Valeriy Shafiro offers a fine<a href="http://www.rushu.rush.edu/cds/arl/CurrentResearch.html"> demonstration of the effect</a> at his lab's web site (heard only in Internet Explorer, I'm afraid). You can plainly hear how speech comes across much better than environmental sound.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img height="277" align="middle" width="369" alt="Implant patient Mary Callahan, with audiologist Dr. Valeriy Shafiro. " title="Implant patient Mary Callahan, with audiologist Dr. Valeriy Shafiro. " class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-February/2011-02-27/Mary small.JPG" /></p><p>Another Rush University researcher, <a href="http://www.rushu.rush.edu/servlet/Satellite?ParentId=1194024352668&amp;ParentType=RushUnivLevel3Page&amp;bcp=1194024350616&amp;c=RushUnivNews&amp;cid=1259591326935&amp;mHeaderImage=L2headAbt_01.png&amp;mHeaderImageOver=L2headAbt-over_01.png&amp;pagename=Rush/RushUnivNews/News_Detail_Page">Julia Cheng</a>, is doing work on cochlear implant patients' ability to appreciate music. Incidentally, Mary Callahan, the patient in the story, says she can really only appreciate music that she remembers from when she had in-tact hearing. She laments that she went deaf when Cindy Lauper's <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIb6AZdTr-A">&quot;Girls Just Want to Have Fun&quot;</a> was topping the charts, leaving her musical palate very limited. Though I have to say that Lauper has worn better than I ever would have expected.</p><p>Also, you&rsquo;ll notice Clever Apes is a tad shorter this month than in past episodes. This is part of what we hope will soon become the new-look, twice-monthly Clever Apes, heard regularly during Morning Edition and via a more robust podcast. So don&rsquo;t hate.</p><p>As always, subscribe to our <a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/wbezs-clever-apes/id379051174">podcast</a>, follow us on <a href="http://twitter.com/cleverapes">Twitter </a>and find us on <a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Clever-Apes-on-WBEZ/118246851551412">Facebook</a>.</p></p> Mon, 28 Feb 2011 12:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/clever-apes/2011-02-28/clever-apes-8-sense-abilities-83045 How trauma changes young brains http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/how-trauma-changes-young-brains <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Mario-edited.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Most of the young people in juvi come from a hard knock life and everyone knows that&rsquo;s a disadvantage. But now experts say going through trauma can alter a child&rsquo;s brain.<br /><br />Violence at home or on the street--neglect, poverty &ndash; these things have profound effects on how a kid&rsquo;s mind develops.</p><p>So as part of <a target="_blank" href="http://insideandout.chicagopublicradio.org/"><em>Inside and Out</em></a>, WBEZ&rsquo;s Gabriel Spitzer reported on this emerging brain science. The studies reveal why, for so many kids, the justice system hasn&rsquo;t worked.</p><p><br />&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 29 Dec 2010 07:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/how-trauma-changes-young-brains Clever Apes: Show me where it hurts http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/clever-apes-show-me-where-it-hurts <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/clever apes_pain.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Pain may be the most immediate and undeniable of human experiences. And yet it&rsquo;s not obvious what it is, or where it comes from. Aristotle thought pain was basically an emotion, located in the heart. Ancient Egyptian physicians argued pain was more of a sensation, and nudged its source up to the brain. By the 19th century, science was starting to get the hang of the nervous system, and proposed there were essentially &ldquo;pain organs&rdquo; that existed to convey pain signals from the body -- say, your stubbed toe -- to the mind. (Learn more about<a target="_blank" href="http://www.nature.com/nrn/journal/v8/n1/abs/nrn2042.html"> historical theories about pain)</a></p><p>These days, scientists understand pain to involve all that stuff &ndash; emotions, nerves, the mind &ndash; all at once. It&rsquo;s a complex experience, giving rise to <a target="_blank" href="http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc071927">pain in limbs that aren&rsquo;t there anymore</a>, to <a target="_blank" href="http://www.apkarianlab.northwestern.edu/publications/papers.php">changes in brain circuitry</a> and strange, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.apkarianlab.northwestern.edu/publications/Papers/200601_small.pdf">super-senses</a>, and even to <a target="_blank" href="http://discovermagazine.com/2003/jun/featstung">subtle, almost lyrical characteristics</a> in something as nasty as a bee sting.</p><div>Pain has become a kind of portal into the inner life of the body and mind. In this installment of <a href="http://www.wbez.org/clever-apes">&quot;Clever Apes&quot;</a>, we took a look inside. Subscribe to the &quot;Clever Apes&quot; <a target="_blank" href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/clever-apes/id379051174">podcast</a>.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em><br />Music Button: To Rococo Rot, &quot;Working Against Time&quot;, from the CD Speculation, (Domino) </em></div></p> Mon, 29 Nov 2010 14:59:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/clever-apes-show-me-where-it-hurts Touring memory lane inside the brain http://www.wbez.org/story/brain-candy/touring-memory-lane-inside-brain <p><object width="480" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/ZiuBOOIANFY&hl=en_US&feature=player_embedded&version=3"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/ZiuBOOIANFY&hl=en_US&feature=player_embedded&version=3" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" allowScriptAccess="always" width="480" height="385"></embed></object> <p>Say you learn something new, like how to say <a href="http://translate.google.com/#auto%7Cru%7CThank%20you">"thank you" in Russian</a>, or the peak temperature of a <a href="http://quest.nasa.gov/aero/planetary/mars.html">hot day on Mars</a>.</p><p>The question is: What's really happening inside your brain? What does that memory look like visually, and where in your brain is it taking place? </p><p>Stanford Medical School <a href="http://smithlab.stanford.edu/Smithlab/Home.html">scientists</a> say <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZiuBOOIANFY">the video</a> at the top of this post takes them one small step closer to answering that question. Essentially, it's a tour through a thin slice of a mouse's cerebral cortex.</p><p></p><p>The most interesting sights along the way are individual brain synapses -- the structures that allow brain cells to communicate with one another. In humans, these synapses seem to change throughout our lives as we learn new information.</p><p>To get a better look at them, <a href="http://smithlab.stanford.edu/Smithlab/About_Us.html">Stephen Smith</a>, a professor of molecular and cellular physiology at Stanford, and his team developed a process called <a href="http://smithlab.stanford.edu/Smithlab/Array_Tomography.html">array tomography</a>.</p><p>First, they stain the mouse’s brain tissue, so that different kinds of synapses show up in different colors. Then they took thousands of high-definition photos (near the whiskers). Finally, all the images were stitched together into a 3-D video, which can be rotated and “explored.” The scientific nitty-gritty appears in the journal <em><a href="http://www.cell.com/neuron/abstract/S0896-6273%2810%2900766-X">Neuron</a></em> this week.</p><p>The idea, said Smith is that one day, scientists might be able to map the changes in individual synapses that occur when people learn a new skill, or experience pain. The work may also reveal the physical changes that occur in diseases like <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2010/08/18/129273270/lilly-s-drug-flop-shows-how-tough-alzheimer-s-will-be-to-beat">Alzheimer’s</a>.</p><p>That’s a tall order, considering the almost unfathomable complexity of the human brain. Smith says in the human cerebral cortex alone, there are 125 trillion synapses – as many stars as you’d find in 1,500 Milky Way galaxies.</p><p>And each synapse is itself like a mini-microprocessor, says Smith, with as many as 1,000 molecular-scale switches. "A single human brain has more switches than all the computers and routers and Internet connections on Earth," he says.</p><p>The jaw-dropping complexity of the brain aside, the video is also quite pleasant to look at. Smith said the images "have revealed to me, in a way I wasn’t entirely prepared for, how incredibly beautiful the insides of the brain are." Copyright 2010 KQED Public Broadcasting. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.kqed.org">http://www.kqed.org</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1290540598?&gn=Touring+Memory+Lane+Inside+The+Brain&ev=event2&ch=103537970&h1=Research,Shots+-+Health+News+Blog,Medical+Treatments,Brain+Candy,Health,Science,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=131422064&c7=1128&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1128&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20101118&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=150&v20=D%3Dc20&c31=126567633,103537970&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Thu, 18 Nov 2010 15:52:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/brain-candy/touring-memory-lane-inside-brain