science
Probiotic Supplements Might Be Giving Some People ‘Brain Fog’

Given their current popularity, you might assume that probiotics—capsules containing a mix of “good” bacteria that are said to rebalance our gut’s bacterial content—would be perfectly harmless. But a team of gastroenterologists from Augusta University in the US state of Georgia is challenging that assumption. Their recent study is the latest to suggest some people who take probiotics can develop a strange collection of symptoms, including gas, diarrhoea, and “brain fog.” Read More >>

science
10-Year-Old Boy Recovers Impressively After One-Sixth of His Brain Is Removed

A new case study from Pittsburgh highlights the resilience of the human brain. It details a boy who, despite losing one-third of the right hemisphere of his brain when he was six, is now a mostly ordinary 10-year-old. Though he can’t see past the left side of his face, his brain has compensated for the loss in some ways by forming new neural connections, allowing him to recognise faces and objects as easily as anyone else. Read More >>

health
Study: Eating Beef Jerky Might Be Linked to Manic Episodes in Some People

There is no singular cause of mental illness. Any number of things – our genes, environment, and even social mores – play a role in determining whether someone’s mental health will deteriorate to the point of being diagnosable as a disease. But researchers from Johns Hopkins have stumbled onto a possible trigger for manic episodes they didn’t expect to find: beef jerky. Read More >>

science
Yet More Evidence that Viruses May Cause Alzheimer’s Disease

For decades, the idea that a bacteria or virus could help cause Alzheimer’s disease was dismissed as a fringe theory. But not so much anymore. On Wednesday, a team of researchers from Harvard Medical School reported in the journal Neuron the latest bit of evidence suggesting herpesviruses can spark the cascade of events that leads to Alzheimer’s disease, a fatal form of dementia that afflicts at least 5 million Americans. Read More >>

drugs
More People Are Inhaling Heroin, and It’s Destroying Brain Tissue

People living with opioid addiction are increasingly using the inhalation method to get high, warns a new review published Monday in JAMA Neurology. The technique known as “chasing the dragon,” which involves heating up heroin and inhaling its fumes through a pipe, may be safer in some ways than injection, but it comes with its own set of devastating side effects, including irreversible brain damage and dementia. Read More >>

science
Herpes Viruses Linked to Alzheimer’s Disease in New Brain Research

A fringe theory about the origins of Alzheimer’s disease — that latent viral infections can sometimes trigger its emergence — has gotten perhaps its most significant bit of support yet. A complex new study published Thursday in Neuron has found evidence that certain viruses are not only more common in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s, but that they play a direct role in the chain of events responsible for the fatal neurodegenerative disorder. Read More >>

neuralink
Neuralink is Funding Primate Research at the University of California

Neuralink, Elon Musk’s secretive startup dedicated to the development of brain-computer interfaces that could make it possible for people to communicate with computers using only their thoughts, is funding primate research at a California university, according to public records obtained by Gizmodo. Read More >>

science
Scientists Transplant Memories Between Sea Slugs… Sort of

If you were wondering, “Hey, scientists have done a lot recently, but when are they going to transplant memories like in Westworld?”—we’ve got good news. A team reports that they’ve now transplanted memories between slugs. Well, sort of, kind of. Read More >>

science
What Scientists Saw When They Put a Crocodile in an MRI Scanner and Played Classical Music

Sounds weird—and even a bit dangerous—but the experiment is revealing new insights into the evolution of brains and how mammals and birds acquired the capacity to comprehend complex sounds. Read More >>

science
Did Neanderthals Go Extinct Because of the Size of Their Brains?

Using computers and MRI scans, researchers have created the most detailed reconstruction of a Neanderthal brain to date, offering new insights into the social and cognitive abilities of these extinct humans. But as to whether these characteristics were responsible for their ultimate demise remains an open question. Read More >>

science
Scientists Kept Disembodied Pig Brains ‘Alive’ for 36 Hours – and It’s Testing Our Conceptions of Death

A neuroscientist from Yale University is claiming to have developed a technique that preserves the brain tissue of pigs for an extended period following decapitation. The brains are apparently not conscious, but the new technique is raising a number of important ethical issues. Read More >>

science
Hold Up, Maybe Our Brains Actually Can Grow Back Neurons

A new study published Thursday in Cell Stem Cell is set to further stoke the debate over whether our brain can actually grow back neurons as we age. The research found that people, even into their golden years, are regenerating their stock of neurons right up until the point of death—seemingly contradicting the results of a major study released just last month. Read More >>

science
This Brain Scanner Is Way Smaller Than fMRI but Somehow A Thousand Per Cent Creepier 

It may look like something befitting Halloween’s Michael Myers, but the device pictured above is actually a breakthrough in neuroscience—a portable, wearable brain scanner that can monitor neural activity while a person is moving. Read More >>

science
What Pre-Teen Brains Can Do That Adult Brains Can’t

A popular theory about how the human brain works—one that’s inspired both neuroscience research and sketchy health fads alike—is just plain wrong, suggests a new study published Thursday in Nature. The adult brain might not be able to naturally restock its supply of neurons after all. Read More >>

science
The Tricky Science of Brain Surgery on an Adorable Fur Seal

Despite the cold, Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, Connecticut was full of visitors on New Year’s Eve. But one popular aquarium resident, an adult northern fur seal named Ziggy Star, was behind the scenes that day, recuperating in an off-exhibit habitat, complete with a private pool. Read More >>