In Isaac Asimov’s 1950 short story collection I, Robot, intelligent robots with positronic brains exist alongside humans. Unlike conventional computer hardware, the word positronic implies that electrical current is carried in the wires of these robots’ brains by positrons, the antimatter counterpart of the familiar electron. Though the advantage of antimatter here is anyone’s guess, the stories of I, Robot may have introduced the positron to the public. And as bizarre as Asimov’s fantasy sounds, neuroimaging has given the term “positronic brain” yet another meaning.
We all know too much sugar is bad for us. But did you know that having unfettered access to sugar might produce brain changes similar to highly stressful situations, such as neglect or abuse? A recent study published in Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience comparing the effects of unlimited sugar availability and the effects of early life stress in rats might suggest just that.Continue reading
Every night during finals week, I studied into the wee hours of the morning and caught only a few hours of sleep. It was exhausting! After finals were over, I felt like a heavy weight had been lifted off my shoulders, but I also felt a few pounds heavier! Sure, late night studying was paired with late dinners and snacks, but the weight came so quickly and was incredibly difficult to lose. What happened? I blamed my overly self-conscious analysis and the high calorie foods. Now, researchers at Vanderbilt suggest another cause: disruption of the sleep-awake cycle!Continue reading