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 →

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 →