Mind The Crap

It turns out those gut feelings or pits in your stomach may actually come from your second brain. Scientists from Australia have discovered that human beings have a second brain, and it is located in the butt. Called the enteric nervous system (ENS), it controls the muscle movement in the colon independently of the central nervous system. Jeff and Anthony try to make it through the episode without butting heads.  More Details/Download MP3 →

Memories For Snail

Biologists report they have transferred a memory from one marine snail to another, creating an artificial memory, by injecting RNA from one to another. This research could lead to new ways to treat traumatic memories with RNA — perhaps a traumatic memory could be altered — and perhaps new ways to restore lost memories. Jeff and Anthony wonder if this technique could be used to help them forget their awkward teenage phases.  More Details/Download MP3 →

Piggy and the Brain

US-based researchers have successfully kept alive the brain cells of decapitated pigs for 36 hours, sparking concerns over the ethics involved in such frontline research. The researchers said they had succeeded in delivering oxygen to the cells via a system of pumps and blood maintained at body temperature. The key question being that if a brain is revived in this way, would a human being involved have any memories, an identity and rights? Jeff and Anthony request that you please just let them die.  More Details/Download MP3 →

Doggie Data Care

What can artificial intelligence learn from dogs? Quite a lot, say researchers from the University of Washington and Allen Institute for AI. They recently trained neural networks to interpret and predict the behavior of canines. Their results, they say, show that animals could provide a new source of training data for AI systems — including those used to control robots. Jeff and Anthony learn that you can teach a new bot an old dog’s tricks.  More Details/Download MP3 →

Sight off the Bat

While hunting for dinner, the big brown bat must hone in on flitting insects and keep track of its surroundings to avoid crashing into them. Now, scientists have taken a peek at what’s going on in these bats’ brains while they swoop and dive. They identified a brain region that helps the animals map where objects are in relation to their own bodies, and saw that individual brain cells changed their behavior while the bats focused their attention on a particular object. The findings could help us understand certain aspects of attention issues in people as well as how bats and animals navigate while on the move.  More Details/Download MP3 →

Polyphasic Spree (Live From PAX East 2018)

Around a third of the population have trouble maintaining sleep throughout the night. While nighttime awakenings are distressing for most sufferers, there is some evidence from our recent past that suggests this period of wakefulness occurring between two separate sleep periods was the norm. Throughout history, there have been numerous accounts of segmented sleep, with a common reference to “first” and “second” sleep. Jeff and Anthony hope you can make it all the way through this episode. Recorded live in Boston at PAX East 2018.  More Details/Download MP3 →

Deja View

Most of us know it – that weird, sudden feeling of experiencing something not for the first time. It’s called déjà vu – French for “already seen” – and it’s an uncanny feeling. But according to new research, that’s all it is. Just a feeling. The most accepted explanation is that it has to do with memory. Much like a word can be on the tip of your tongue, a memory could be on the tip of your mind – there, but not quite accessible. Jeff and Anthony think they might have done this story before.  More Details/Download MP3 →

Special Aged

It’s pretty extraordinary for people in their 80s and 90s to keep the same sharp memory as someone several decades younger, and now scientists are peeking into the brains of these “superagers” to uncover their secret. The work is the flip side of the disappointing hunt for new drugs to fight or prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Parts of the brain shrink with age, one of the reasons why most people experience a gradual slowing of at least some types of memory late in life, even if they avoid diseases like Alzheimer’s. But it turns out that superagers’ brains aren’t shrinking nearly as fast as their peers’.  More Details/Download MP3 →

Smell Wishers

What are the ingredients of a good relationship? Trust? Communication? Compromise? How about a sense of smell? When researchers in the United Kingdom surveyed almost 500 people with anosmia (the loss of sense of smell), more than 50 percent of them reported feeling isolated, and blamed their relationship troubles on their affliction. Smell is important in social bonding, says psychologist Pamela Dalton, at the Monell Chemical Senses Center, in Philadelphia. When a mom smells her newborn baby, the scent activates brain regions associated with nurturing behavior. Smells might also trigger brain activity linked with affection, compassion, or romantic love. Jeff and Anthony give this story the sniff test.  More Details/Download MP3 →