DNA Podcast 044 – Musical Brains


In this episode, Don and Rob are joined by their friend Richard Moule to discuss music and how it affects us. The trio explore the physical processes behind our reactions and interactions with music and discuss how music and humans evolved together over time. The three also delve into music as soundtrack, and discuss the ways in which moviemakers use music to control and shape the emotions of the audience. All this, and  why John Williams owes Gustav Holst royalties is waiting for you in this episode of the Department of Nerdly Affairs.

Male and female brains wired differently, scans reveal | Science | The Guardian

So much for the feminist ideal that the only gender differences are learned.

Scientists have drawn on nearly 1,000 brain scans to confirm what many had surely concluded long ago: that stark differences exist in the wiring of male and female brains.

Maps of neural circuitry showed that on average women’s brains were highly connected across the left and right hemispheres, in contrast to men’s brains, where the connections were typically stronger between the front and back regions.

via Male and female brains wired differently, scans reveal | Science | The Guardian.

Do people really love cats? Or are they actually compelled to by brain parasites?

So here’s a weird thought- Cat Lovers are Cat Lovers not always because they naturally love cats, but because they’re actually compelled to be close to cats by a parasite they’ve picked up which is affecting their brains. Scary, eh?

Impossible? Not at all, from the article:

Why is it that the elite French perfumers (known as “noses”) and sommeliers (“upturned noses”) of the world spend so much of their time inhaling cat effluvia from expensive glass bottles? A guess: It may have to do with a mind-control parasite called Toxoplasma gondii. The tiny protozoan may be getting into our brains and tricking us into liking cats—not to mention certain perfumes and wines.

In a recent study, Czech scientists gave men and women towels scented with the urine of various animals—horses, lions, hyenas, cats, dogs—which they rated for “pleasantness.” Turns out, men who tested positive for Toxo found the smell of cat urine more pleasant than men without Toxo. For Toxo researchers like me, this was a shock but not entirely surprising. Why? Toxo does approximately the same thing to rats.

via Chanel No. 5: A brain parasite may be the secret to the famous perfume. – Slate Magazine.

Your Hibernation Pod is Ready

This is interesting. If we really can induce controlled hibernation in humans, then the stars may not be so far out of reach after all.

Can humans hibernate?


The answer, remarkable as it might seem, is an unequivocal “yes.” In fact, until relatively recently the idea of humans sleeping through most of the winter wasn’t even seen as uncommon. There are stories of peasants effectively hibernating as late as the 19th century in both frigid Siberia and the comparatively temperate French countryside. From what we can tell, this wasn’t strictly hibernation – the peasants’ core temperatures didn’t drop, and they still woke up once a day or so to eat a small biscuit before going back to bed. Still, they changed their lifestyles to use just a fraction of their normal energy requirements, which is essentially what hibernation is.

And there are even more dramatic individual examples. Consider the case of the then 35-year-old Japanese man Mitsuka Uchikoshi, who in 2006 spent over three weeks unconscious on the freezing Rokko Mountain before making a full recovery. Writing for Discover in 2007, Alex Stone recounts the remarkable story:

via Your hibernation pod is ready.

BBC News – Today – The future: Personalised stem cells?

There has been a major development in stem cell research in which it may now be possible for stem cells to be created with your own genes reducing the risk of your body rejecting them.

Professor Roger Pederson directs the Medical Research Council Stem Cell centre at Cambridge and Emily Jackson of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority discuss how significant this is.

via BBC News – Today – The future: Personalised stem cells?.

5 Things You Do Every Day That Are Actually Addictions | Cracked.com


#1 is a bit of a surprise, but the others sound pretty reasonable. I was expecting “checking e-mail/Facebook” to be somewhere on the list too….

5 Things You Do Every Day That Are Actually Addictions | Cracked.com.