Archive for: July, 2013

Running the stress away

Jul 10 2013 Published by under Behavioral Neuro

Whenever you get really stressed out, do you ever get the urge to Literally? Ok, maybe most of us run in the direction of the nearest bakery. But running (or otherwise doing long term exercise, probably not just a jog around the block) really can help with anxiety. But how does it work?



Schoenfeld et al. "Physical Exercise Prevents Stress-Induced Activation of Granule Neurons and Enhances Local Inhibitory Mechanisms in the Dentate Gyrus" Journal of Neuroscience, 2013.

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When do feel the beat, do you really feel it? Singing and heartrate

Jul 08 2013 Published by under Behavioral Neuro

Sci is at SciAm blogs today, with a brand new study on singing and heart rate. Can singing affect your heart rate? How? And why? The study is interesting, but there's a lot of caution to be taken with it. Head over and check it out.

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Friday Weird Science: The Best Pose for Passing Gas

Jul 05 2013 Published by under Friday Weird Science, Uncategorized

Today's post fodder comes to you from the former NCBI ROFL, now "Seriously, Science?" over at Discover Blogs. I swear, I do TONS of pubmed searches for farts, but somehow never found this one.

In what position do you prefer to fart? Do you let them loose while lying down? Cut the cheese crouching? Squeak one out while standing? Squirt while sitting? Do you find one position more effective to really let it go?

I imagine that if you took a poll of your friends (your hopefully very honest friends who would all admit they farted and pooped rather than passing colorless, odorless, stackable cubes), they all would give you different answers. Maybe one prefers legs up to the chin, another prefers a slight 45 degree angle. I've been told (from the back of an herbal tea box offering yoga poses for various things) that the best position is a cat/cow, on hands and knees, with the head lowered to the floor and the butt in the air. Gas rises, you know (also, according to this tea, you breathe through one nostril for energy and the other for peace. This is clearly why I walk around with one nostril blocked).

But most of the time, we don't have the leisure to be carefully taking the forty-five degree angle of the buttocks. Often, we we're stuck standing, or we're in bed. And so all of us, at one point or another, come to a brief crisis in our lives...which is better for farting? Lying down? Or standing up?

Worry not, friends. SCIENCE is here.

Dainese et al "Influence of body posture on intestinal transit of gas" Neurogastroenterology, 2002


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Being a Bookworm to Help the Aging Brain

Jul 03 2013 Published by under Behavioral Neuro, Uncategorized

I'm sure everyone has heard that activities like Sudoku and doing lots of math can help maintain your cognitive function as you age. This is because these activities require increased "cognitive load", they are hard to do and therefore take more cognitive effort. Doing this as you age (and preferably starting long before you age) is thought to do things like preserve memory and cognitive abilities.

Now, I don't know about you, but I HATE Sudoku. I just really don't find putting numbers in order to be particularly fun. But what I do love to do is READ. I just got a Kindle (I love physical books, it was a tough decision, but you really can't beat the portability!) and it's already well loaded. I read on the train, at the gym, at home, on planes, car trips, you name it. Every time I see those articles about Sudoku (which, honestly, are not always that well supported), I try to tell myself that yeah, I don't do a lot of math, but I do do a lot of READING and that surely has to do something! But I never really had much support for it.

But as it turns out, I might be right!

A tower of used books


Wilson et al. "Life-span cognitive activity, neuropathologic burden, and cognitive aging" Neurology, 2013.

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What is dopamine? Dopamine is ______

Jul 03 2013 Published by under Behavioral Neuro

Sci has a piece over at Slate today, asking "What is dopamine?" We often hear about dopamine being motivation, lust, love, reward, addiction. Is it any, or all of these things? The answer is much more complicated, and much, MUCH more interested. Head over and check it out!

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At SciAm Blogs today: Losing the "taste" for sperm!

Jul 01 2013 Published by under Physiology/Pharmacology

The human body is a versatile thing. So versatile that receptors that we usually think of as being important for taste...are also important in your SPERM. On the tongue, it's sweet or savory. In the testes...infertility. At least in mice. Head over and check it out!

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