I wonder if 2008 will be called the “Year of the Brain.” There were a lot of interesting results released. (For even more brain research, go to Sharpbrains.com).

WINE STUDY
The single most interesting IMHO is the wine study.

Price tag can change the way people experience wine, study shows

…According to researchers at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the California Institute of Technology, if a person is told he or she is tasting two different wines—and that one costs $5 and the other $45 when they are, in fact, the same wine—the part of the brain that experiences pleasure will become more active when the drinker thinks he or she is enjoying the more expensive vintage.

A BUYING DECISION REALLY HURTS AND REALLY JOYS THE BRAIN
On the surface, this may not seem like a controversial finding. When a person is hooked up to an fMRI machine, and presented with a buying possibility, both pleasure and pain sensors activate in the brain. No big deal.

What makes this a much bigger deal is that when money is mentioned, the pain part of the brain activates, and when the item is mentioned, the pleasure part of the brain activate. (This is 2007 research actually).

HEARING AND THE BRAIN
Yesterday’s AP article about loss of hearing as we age pinpointed some aspects in which the brain may be responsible:

  1. the “dimmer switch” for controlling various sound inputs into your head – i.e. for ignoring another conversation next to you – may be getting dim
  2. contradicting the “dimmer” effect, the brain may work better when facing the person who’s speaking so our ears pick up more sounds simultaneously
  3. nerve signals in the inner ear that are extremely sensitive can change with age

INTUITION WORKS FASTER THAN LOGIC

Also from yesterday: another study that demonstrates that intuition (i.e. the automatic brain) may be aware of something before the rational brain can explain it.


EXERCISE AND REGULAR BLOOD SUGAR HELP BRAIN STAY YOUNG

Yesterday’s news. Regulating blood glucose improves memory. And a great way to regulate blood glucose is through exercise. Therefore exercising actually keeps your brain young.

Again, for much more in-depth info, check out Sharpbrains.com.

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One Comment

  1. Nick
    Posted Saturday January 10, 2009 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    WOW!!!
    Pain when money is mentioned and pleasure when the item is mentioned??? CRAZY!!!
    I wonder if those who are self made millionaires, or who claim to love money, show the opposite effect.

    I KNEW that my “grazing” all day, as opposed to 2-3 meals, worked well with me. I hope it keeps me young! (So long as I keep exercising!)
    Really neat info. Thanks!