Lots of things change the brain (NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to this show), and one of these is music. At a time when school budgets are being slashed, with music and art the first to go, new insight has arrived about how music lessons strengthen the brain. When children learn to play a musical instrument, they strengthen a range of auditory skills, and these benefits last all through their lives, for as long as they continue to listen to music.
The new science of evolutionary medicine asks the question: who (or WHAT) benefits when people show symptoms of a disease? Often, it’s the microbes that are causing the disease in the first place. For instance, cold symptoms. When an infected person coughs or sneezes out some of the tiny organisms that are causing the problem, they are able to "colonize" and infect someone else, and thus propagate themselves.
Almost every multicellular animal is home to these kinds of fellow travelers, each of which has its own agenda, which in some influence–or even take of–part or all of the body which they are inhabiting. In effect, they are controlling their hosts’ behavior.
What kind of shape is YOUR brain in? Have you had an injury that has affected the way it functions? (NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to these shows). Help is on the way: researchers have created a prosthetic device capable of restoring decision-making in people who have reduced capacity due to brain disease or injury. It works in non-human primates, and they believe that one day it will be possible in people. This could be the END of Alzheimer’s.
Will brain control (NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to this show) someday make us all obedient servants? In the quest to understand how the brain turns sensory input into behavior, scientists have used precisely-targeted lasers to take over an animal’s brain, instruct it to turn in any direction they choose, and even to implant false sensory information, fooling the animal into thinking food was nearby.