I took a sip of sugary Coke and was struck by a hideous intense blast of aluminum. I rushed to the sink and spit out the tainted drink. Poison! What’s wrong with this Coke! I took another tentative sip. I was slammed again by the overwhelming metallic taste. I spat out the poison by rapid reflex. This can of Coke must have been contaminated during manufacturing! Or, had the likes of the Tylenol Killer switched to soft drinks? Then I remembered. . . the taste of Thanksgiving and mountain climbing!
The California Fish and Game Commission has banned crab fishing until further notice after detecting high levels of a neurotoxin in Dungeness and rock crabs. The toxin, domoic acid, is produced by certain types of planktonic algae, and it becomes concentrated in tissue of crabs and other marine organisms during plankton blooms. People who consume sufficient quantities of the toxin develop amnesic shellfish poisoning, so named because it kills neurons in a part of the brain that is critical for memory. Here’s how it works.
Today it was announced that Army Capt. Florent Groberg will receive the Medal of Honor for instantly tackling a suicide bomber in a split-second reaction of self-sacrifice to save the lives of his comrades. “You don’t have time to think. You react,” he explains. But how is that possible?
“Why can’t you stop drinking?” This week at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in Chicago, researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago announced a new finding that provides a fresh answer to this persistent question that plagues people addicted to alcohol. The discovery offers an entirely new approach to treatment.
Today’s New York Times has a nice video showing how stimulating a small set of neurons in the amygdala can turn off a rat’s motivation to eat. The stimulation relies on a newly discovered technology called ‘optogenetics’. Continue reading
We spend a third of our life in a completely altered state of consciousness, indeed madness. Dreaming is a descent into what would otherwise be a severe form of psychosis, and often these hallucinations are terrifying. Dreams that reoccur are especially disturbing, and nearly everyone has experienced them. A new study reveals the most common content of recurring dreams and finds very different hallucinations in the dreaming minds of adults and children.