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Blind people use brain’s visual cortex to help do maths

Posted on 16 Sep 2016 in Journalism, Neuroscience

Subtract 8 from 52. Did you see the calculation in your head? While a leading theory suggests our visual experiences are linked to our understanding of numbers, a study of people who have been blind from birth suggests the opposite. Image: morebyless

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Why scratching an itch only makes it worse

Posted on 31 Oct 2014 in Health, Journalism, Neuroscience

It’s the sweetest relief… until it’s not. Scratching an itch only gives temporary respite before making it worse – we now know why. Image: Carlospics

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First in-depth mammal brain map to reveal neural blips

Posted on 2 Apr 2014 in Featured, Health, Journalism, Neuroscience

It’s not quite as simple as X marks the spot, but uncovering the roots of neural disorders should be much easier now that we have a complete brain map. The Allen Mouse Brain Connectivity Atlas is the first detailed map of any mammal’s neural network. It’s an essential stepping stone and should provide insights into conditions such as schizophrenia. Image: Allen Institute for Brain Science

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Musical mind-reading can name that tune

Posted on 13 Nov 2013 in Featured, Health, Journalism, Neuroscience

It’s musical mind-reading. In the area of the brain that processes sound – the auditory cortex – different neurons become active in response to different sound frequencies. So it should be possible to work out which musical note someone is listening to just by looking at this activity. Image: all that improbable blue

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Watch specialised number neurons in action

Posted on 15 Oct 2013 in Health, Journalism, Neuroscience

A part of all of us loves sums. Eavesdropping on the brain while people go about their daily activity has revealed the first brain cells specialised for numbers. Image: dullhunk

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Reading literary fiction makes you a nicer person

Posted on 7 Oct 2013 in Journalism, Neuroscience

Read any good books lately? If so, friends and family might be feeling a spin-off benefit. It seems reading literary fiction temporarily enhances our ability to empathise with others. Image: gpoo

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