The best neuroscience news this week from around the web: artificial skin, rats seeing infrared light, and how sturdy legs is linked to less cognitive decline.
New York Times – Brawn and Brains [SIMPLE SCIENCE / MEDIUM READ]
ON YOUR BIKE: Exercise is food for your brain. In the study described in this article, researchers studied twins to avoid any contribution of genetic differences, and found that those with greater muscle mass in their legs showed less cognitive decline. Presumably those that had greater muscle mass exercised more than their twin, and this correlated with cognitive robustness.
Nautilus – Why Virtual Classes Can Be Better Than Real Ones [SIMPLE SCIENCE / LONG READ]
SCIENCE OF LEARNING: How can we use our knowledge about the brain to improve learning methods? Author Barbara Oakley, who runs a Coursera course on “Learning How to Learn”, explains how digital, online courses have some benefits over in-person teaching.
Singularity Hub – Rats Engineered to See Infrared Light, Use It To Seek Out Water [MEDIUM SCIENCE / MEDIUM READ]
CYBORG ALERT: Improving ourselves, whether physically or mentally, is something to which we all aspire. But artificial augmentation, particularly if it is cognitive in nature, is viewed less favourably. What if we could improve our senses, for example so that we could see at night with infrared vision? Scientists at Duke University have achieved just that, albeit in mice!
The Guardian – Artificial skin senses touch and heat [MEDIUM SCIENCE / MEDIUM READ]
CAN TOUCH THIS: In a big advance for prosthetic limbs, researchers have developed artificial electronic skin containing sensors that can detect touch and heat. These sensors can discriminate between different types of touch, and relay this information directly to the brain.