Posts Tagged: ‘brains’

During pregnancy, many women experience a period of forgetfulness or absentmindedness nicknamed “mommy brain,” and as I detailed in How Motherhood Works, those might be inconvenient symptoms of brain remodeling underway. In 2010, when some Yale scientists examined fMRI scans of new moms’ brains, they discovered small but significant structural changes the hypothalamus, amygdala and prefrontal cortex — areas specifically involved with motivation and reward. As I explain in the delightful video below, those alterations offer evidence that what we think of as “maternal instinct” might be neurologically hardwired into new mom’s brains:

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If you were born a baby spider, things would have turned out much differently for you. You’d have been mostly brain, for example. Researchers have long suspected that tiny spiders — the young of which are routinely born deformed yet grow into normally proportioned adults — are born with very large brains. Now they know it, thanks to what I imagine is research that amounted to dissecting deformed spider babies carried out by arachnid specialists at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, down Panama way.

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Albert Einstein was a genius deserving of our respect, so just how did his brain wind up on a cross-country road trip to hang with the author of “Naked Lunch?”

In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Julie and I give Einstein’s head cheese a serious poking to discuss the secrets of all the gray and white matter inside that skull of yours.

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Check your stereotypes at the door, gentle reader, because not every zombie is an indiscriminate brain gobbler. When there’s no more room in Hell (or Whole Foods), zombie foodies will walk the Earth and you better believe they won’t be caught dead munching on fast-food grey matter.

To satisfy their unholy cravings, many of the world’s more food conscious undead cultivate their own premium, local-grown human brains in backyard nurseries, cranium cellars or Brooklyn rooftop gardens. But just how long does a ravenous zombie have to wait for a full-grown brain?

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There are a few ways an organic object can become preserved way beyond the normal time it takes for similar material to normally decompose. For a bone surrounded by sediment, the marrow and other organic material within the bone decomposes and is replaced by microscopic minerals. The structure of the bone holds its shape, but the bone essentially turns into a fossil rock from the inside out.

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I might have to even trade out my current book for Cordelia Fine’s Delusions of Gender*, if only because it deals with something that Molly and I regularly run into while researching for Stuff Mom Never Told You. Since we spend so much time dissecting the wonderful and confusing differences between boys and girls, men and women, we probably have a lot of lessons to learn from Fine’s reexamination of the academic studies that we often pull from.

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In movies and stories, zombies are undead menaces that lurch around mindlessly, in search of flesh — and braaaaaains! Where did the idea for zombies originate? Do they exist outside of fiction? Tune in to this podcast from HowStuffWorks.com to find out.

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When it comes to gender differences, there’s no subject more fraught than our brains. Are men really better at reading maps? Are women wired to gab? Check out this HowStuffWorks podcast to get to the heart of the matter (brain matter, that is).

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