The best in neuroscience from around the web this week:
Brain Decoder: Scientists Can Now Film the Entire Nervous System of a Fruit Fly Larva in Real Time [MEDIUM READ / MEDIUM SCIENCE]
PRETTY FLY: The nervous system of the humble fruit fly might seem a long way from our own, but it does offer advantages. In this study, researchers tweak a microscopy technique to allow them to see the activity of every individual neuron in a fly larva, in real time. It’s still incredibly difficult to work out how those neurons interact to produce behaviours, but this sort of technology offers an important step on the path.
Neuroscience News: Carbs Needed to Evolve Big Brains [SHORT READ/ SIMPLE SCIENCE]
HOUSE OF CARBS: Considering the Paleo diet? New research suggests that while eating meat might have kick-started the evolution of bigger brains, carbohydrates have also played a crucial role.
Quartz: Your Stressed Out Brain is Breaking Your Diet [SHORT READ/ SIMPLE SCIENCE]
PASS A CAKE: Ever reached for some junk food after a tough day at work? You’re not alone: researchers have demonstrated how moderate levels of stress have a negative effect on self-control with regards to food choices.
The Guardian: Subliminal learning and conscious thought reduce and enhance pain [MEDIUM READ / MEDIUM SCIENCE]
IN THE MIND’S EYE: New research has deepened our understanding of how the brain processes pain. In one study, scientists found that mental imagery alters the intensity of perceived pain—the findings offer potential new methods of pain relief without the use of expensive drugs.
Neuroscience News: Eye Movement During REM Sleep Reflect Brain Activity Associated With New Images [SHORT READ / MEDIUM SCIENCE]
EYES WIDE SHUT: According to this research, those quirky eye movements during REM sleep aren’t just muscle spasms, but reflect your non-conscious brain scanning the visual fields of your dreams. If true, this should suggest that congenitally blind people, who don’t have visual dreams, don’t have rapid eye movements during REM sleep (but for the record, Wikipedia cites a study saying that blind people do move their eyes in REM sleep).