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Curiosity Changes Brain, Helps You Learn Better

Once the brain gets in gear, it absorbs information of all kinds better, says study

(Newser) - Curiosity isn't just the sign of a healthy mind—a new study suggests it actually helps the mind get stronger. Researchers in Australia found that people were better able to remember something if they were naturally curious about the subject, reports LiveScience . That wasn't too surprising. The more... More »

24-Year-Old Discovers She's Missing Key Part of Brain

Doctors stunned to find patient's cerebellum missing

(Newser) - The cerebellum is a pretty important part of the brain—it plays a key role in walking, among other movements—so doctors in China were more than a little surprised when a 24-year-old patient who lives a relatively normal life turned out not to have one. A CT scan revealed... More »

Man Wakes From Coma Speaking Fluent Mandarin

He lost his English-speaking skills but remembered Chinese from high school

(Newser) - When Ben McMahon went into a coma after a car crash, he spoke English; when he woke up, he spoke only fluent Mandarin. Although the Australian man had taken Mandarin in high school, he was never fluent, and doctors are still trying to figure out exactly why he completely lost... More »

Scientists Turn Bad Memories to Happy Ones

Research could mean more effective treatment for human disorders

(Newser) - Scared to death of spiders after you found one crawling in your bed? Scientists may have discovered a way for you to find them positively cuddly. After identifying the neurons powered by positive and negative memories in mice, MIT neuroscientists found a way to use light to essentially rewrite a... More »

In Race to Get Smarter, Women Are Speedier

Study points to benefits of improved living conditions

(Newser) - Over the years, humankind has been getting smarter, and lately, it looks like women's brains are in the faster lane. Researchers studied data on 31,000 people from 13 European countries, with the participants born between 1923 and 1957. They found that women are ahead of men when it... More »

We Only Use 10% of Brain? That's a Myth

Scientists say we actually use the whole brain

(Newser) - Reading this, you're probably using, what ... 10% of your brain? Funny how that notion took hold—that we use a tenth of our brain at any given time—because there's no actual evidence for it, the Conversation reports. The idea may date back to psychologist William James, who... More »

Government Trying to Fix Our Memories

Pentagon invests $40M in research into implants

(Newser) - It sounds like something out of a sci-fi flick: Direct brain recording, a shorthand for probing the brain to listen to its chatter. But the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is dedicating $40 million to this high-tech field to help the estimated 270,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war... More »

Study: Blood Proteins Signal Alzheimer's Is Coming

UK researchers ID 10 proteins that can predict disease onset

(Newser) - Alzheimer's may be well on its way to being a detectable disease by way of a blood test. The BBC reports on the "major step forward": Researchers at King's College London studied differences in the blood of 1,148 people—476 with Alzheimer's, 220 with mild... More »

Alice in Wonderland Syndrome Is Real

The scary disorder distorts perceptions of big and small

(Newser) - When she's lost in Wonderland, Alice shrinks down to doll-size and grows to massive proportions—and the real-life syndrome named after her creates pretty much the same perceptions. Helene Stapinski learned about Alice in Wonderland Syndrome when her 10-year-old daughter complained "everything in the room looks really small"... More »

Look Out! Threats From Left Are More Menacing

Studies show people worry less about things on their right

(Newser) - Don't look now—especially to your left, because that's where things seem scarier. So say University of Utah researchers who found that people reacted with greater alarm when faced with tornadoes, traffic, dog poop, and homeless people appearing on their left. Here are examples of their still-unpublished studies,... More »

To Slow Brain Aging, Learn a New Language

Even if you're already an adult, researchers suggest

(Newser) - We've already heard that being bilingual can help you fight dementia . Now, some follow-up good news: Even if you're an adult, it may not be too late to reap the cognitive benefits of learning a new language, the BBC reports. Researchers performed intelligence tests on 262 bilingual people... More »

Watching Porn Linked to Brain Differences

Study: But it's not clear whether it's a cause or effect

(Newser) - Men who watch porn tend to be a little different in the head—literally. A German study of 64 men between the ages of 21 and 45 that made use of MRIs found that the more porn they reported watching, the smaller the volume of the brain area associated with... More »

Yawning? Your Brain May Be Overheated

Tiredness can affect body temperature

(Newser) - If you're yawning a lot, check the temperature: Researchers say we may yawn when it's warm out because that cools down the brain. In the study , which agrees with earlier research , experts at the University of Vienna showed pictures of yawns to pedestrians in Austria and Arizona, ScienceDaily... More »

It's Normal to See Jesus in Your Toast

The brain is hardwired to do it, study finds

(Newser) - Do you see Jesus in your morning toast or the Virgin Mary on a potato chip? Turns out that's perfectly normal, according to a new study by Canadian and Chinese researchers. “Our findings suggest that it's common for people to see non-existent features because human brains are... More »

Young Blood Can Reverse Aging Process

Researchers find the fountain of youth—in blood?

(Newser) - Who knew blood-sucking vampires were actually onto something? According to new US studies, the blood of young mice can rejuvenate the brains and muscles of older mice, effectively reversing the impact of aging, the New York Times reports. "I am extremely excited," says a professor. "These findings... More »

Artists' Brains Are Different

Researchers find structural differences in art students

(Newser) - The mind of an artist, it seems, is no figure of speech: The brains of skilled visual artists are actually physically different from others, a study based on brain scans suggests. "The people who are better at drawing really seem to have more developed structures in regions of the... More »

One Monkey Controls Another, Avatar-Style

Brain, spine implants link animals' movements

(Newser) - In the movie Avatar, a paralyzed soldier uses a computer to control a body remotely. In a new study, scientists have moved a little closer to making that story a reality, LiveScience reports. US researchers installed electrodes into a "master" monkey's brain and an "avatar" monkey's... More »

Scientists Discover 'New' Area of Brain

Region helps us ponder what could have been

(Newser) - Is the grass always greener on the other side of the fence? If you find yourself plagued by the question, thank the lateral frontal pole behind each of your eyebrows, says Oxford researcher Matthew Rushworth. The lateral frontal pole is a newly identified part of your brain which, scientists believe,... More »

Coffee May Improve Long-Term Memory

Plus: brain-training exercises offer new hope

(Newser) - Coffee may offer a boost to our long-term memory, according to a new study in Nature Neuroscience . The findings are based on test subjects' ability to remember patterns in pictures after taking a caffeine pill. Researchers showed 44 volunteers who hadn't had coffee for at least a day a... More »

New Pill Could Give Adults Perfect Pitch

And make adult brains more receptive to knowledge in general

(Newser) - Annoyed that your shower singing hasn't quite wowed the neighbors? One day you may be able to improve your pitch—and even acquire perfect pitch—with little more than a trip to the drugstore, NPR reports. That's because researchers are studying a "mood-stabilizing" drug that enables an... More »

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