Scientists edited mice brains so that they live longer — and humans could be next

  • In the future, scientists may edit our brains to help us live longer.
  • Researchers managed to successfully manipulate the lifespan of mice by adjusting their brain’s supply of hypothalamic neural stem cells, which they thought might regulate aging.
  • These neural stem cells create replacements for dead or damaged cells, but for mice, they begin vanishing around 10 months after birth — which is a typical mouse’s middle age, believe it or not. By the time mice turn the elderly age of 2, the stem cells are often nowhere to be found.
  • “By replenishing these stem cells or the molecules they produce, it’s possible to slow and even reverse various aspects of aging throughout the body,” Dongsheng Cai, a molecular pharmacologist at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, said in a release. Read more (7/27/17)

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Zombie Apocalypse Now

v1
The shadows move
And lull
With sickening
S-l-o-w-n-e-s-s
How can they catch up?
How can they catch us?
(Off-guard.)

v2
They are told what to think
They are told what to say
They concur and conquer
They feed on our brains
We become They
We are told what to think
We are told what to say
We concur
And are conquered
Their brains are our fodder

v3
Fox News is Our Friend
And our neverending
Means to an end
Indentured
News-cycle servants
Propaganda
Is on the menu
And agenda
Feast our minds
On wasted time
We’re all waiting
In the revolving food line

v4
Send in the drones
And the clones
Till we drown
Amid clowns
We have machines
Who can think
For us
Who can convey
How to Obey.
These facts
Can be fiction
These dicks
Can be diction
Men are so easy
To manhandle
And manipulate
What use is manpower
When brainpower
Is at happy hour
Think again
Goddamn it
Make America
Think again

v5
Democracy is
On sale now.
(At the Russian Deli
Down the street.)
And zombies
Gotta eat.

litglob © 2017

2

No, “period brain” is not a thing — and it’s time to put that sexist myth to rest.

  • It should be no surprise that humans believe some outrageous lies about periods. No, menstruating people don’t lose their sex drive. No, they’re not somehow “impure” and need to be isolated from the rest of society.
  • Some people even believe the idea that menstruation hinders thinking. Now, a recent study is calling bullshit on that.
  • Brigitte Leeners, a doctor at Switzerland’s University Hospital of Zurich and a professor of reproductive endocrinology, told Mic her patients often think their periods affect their ability to think clearly.
  • Leeners and her team studied the cognition of 68 women across two menstrual cycles by giving them a computerized test. Read more (7/5/17)

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3

‘The Return of the Living Dead’ by Chris Bolton aka Savage Zombie Art

A: “Cauliflower looks like sliced brain.”
B: “…”
A: “I mean, if you sliced a human brain, that’s what it would look like.”
B: “I don’t know what a sliced human brain looks like!”
A: “Looks like cauliflower.”

Submitted by: @a-million-starry-nights

A sharp memory doesn’t make you smart. Our brains are actively trying to forget things.

  • It might be good to forget some things.
  • A recent study from Canada shows that our brains are typically trying to forget. It suggests that the “goal” of our memory is to dump extraneous details and hold onto the important ones — meaning that we don’t want to remember everything.
  • “If you’re trying to navigate the world and your brain is constantly bringing up multiple conflicting memories, that makes it harder for you to make an informed decision,” Blake Richards, an associate fellow with the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research’s Learning in Machines and Brains Program, said in a release. Read more (6/21/17)

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Intuitively, we tend to think of forgetting as failure, as something gone wrong in our ability to remember.

Now, Canadian neuroscientists with the University of Toronto are challenging that notion. In a paper published Wednesday in the journal Neuron, they review the current research into the neurobiology of forgetting and hypothesize that our brains purposefully work to forget information in order to help us live our lives.

I spoke with Blake Richards, one of the co-authors of the paper, who applies artificial intelligence theories to his study of how the brain learns. He says that in the AI world, there’s something called over-fitting — a phenomenon in which a machine stores too much information, hindering its ability to behave intelligently. He hopes that greater understanding of how our brains decide what to keep and what to forget will lead to better AI systems that are able to interact with the world and make decisions in the way that we do.

Could The Best Memory System Be One That Forgets?

Photo: Jedrzej Kaminski/EyeEm/Getty Images

Neuroscience isn’t on many elementary school lesson plans. But this spring, a second grade class at Fairmont Neighborhood School in the South Bronx is plunging in.

Sarah Wechsler, an instructional coach with wide eyes and a marathoner’s energy, asks the students to think about the development and progress that they’ve made already in their lives.

“Your brain can get smarter. For example if you need help with your work, your brain is there in your head for you.”

After watching a video with a cartoon brain, and doing an exercise where yarn stands in for connections between neurons, they seem to have absorbed the main point of the lesson. “There is stuff in your brain that if you take on a challenge and if you stick with it, it makes your brain smarter and it makes you smarter,” says one girl.

And Wechsler makes sure they also know the day’s big vocabulary word.

“Neuroplasticity! Say it to the light! Say it to the floor! Tell it to your brain!”

The children here aren’t just learning this word for a little science enrichment. They’re learning it because their school, and the nonprofit Wechsler works with, called Turnaround for Children, are trying to put a wave of science experiments into practice. The big mission: empower children growing up in poverty with the research-based tools to transform their own developing brains. And that means, in part, giving them the understanding that brains can indeed grow, change, and heal.

How To Apply The Brain Science Of Resilience To The Classroom

GIF: Kaitlin Rose Slattery for NPR