How Stuff Works: New Science About Your Brain [The Stack 020]

Warm greetings to you Stacker!

Time to get a bit more intimate with those three pounds of mushy mind that rests inside your skull. 

Your crown is king (or queen), serving to control thoughts, memory, communication, and movements. 

This week’s edition of The Stack focuses on your dome -- how it collects memories, senses, and gets classified with certain conditions. 

How memories form and fade

A study summarized by ScienceDaily and published in Science journal explored neuron activity of mice and how they learn about and remember a new place. 

Researchers now concluded that strong memories are encoded by groups of neurons all fired at the same time. This helps provide redundancy which allows these memories to persist over time. 

  • Mice were placed in a straight enclosure, with unique symbols marked on different locations along the wall and sugar water (as a treat) was placed at either end of the track.
  • Over multiple experiences with the track, the mouse became familiar and remembered the locations of the sugar. 
    • More and more neurons were activated in synchrony by seeing each symbol on the wall.
    • Activity of specific neurons in the mouse hippocampus (where new memories are formed) were measured. 
  • To study how memories fade over time, the researchers withheld the mice from the track for up to 20 days. 
    • Upon returning to the track, the mice that had formed strong memories encoded by higher numbers of neurons, remembered the task quickly. 
  • Using groups of neurons enables the brain to have redundancy and recall memories even if some of the original neurons fall silent or are damaged. 

Scratching the surface: how your brain senses itch

A study published in the journal Cell Reports and featured in ScienceDaily explored how touch plays a critical role in daily tasks. 

Researchers discovered how neurons in the spinal cord help transmit itch signals to the brain which can help contribute to understanding of itch and help lead to new drugs to treat chronic itch. 

  • Researchers previously discovered a set of inhibitory neurons in the spinal cord that act like “cellular brakes”, keeping the mechanical itch pathway in the spinal cord turned off most of the time. 
    • What the researchers didn’t know was how the itch signal, which under normal circumstances is suppressed by the neuropeptide Y neurons (NPY), is transmitted to the brain to register the itch.
  • Researchers experimented with getting rid of both the neuropeptide Y brake and Y1 accelerator neurons. 
    • Without Y1 neurons, mice didn’t scratch, even in response to light-touch stimuli that normally would make them scratch. 
    • When mice were given drugs that activated the Y1 neurons, the mice scratched spontaneously, even in the absence of any touch stimuli. 
  • The team was able to show that NPY neurotransmitter controls the level of Y1 neuron excitability. 
    • In other words, NPY signaling acts as a gauge to control sensitivity to light touch. 

Are we over-diagnosing autism? 

A JAMA Psychiatry study featured in Healthline found the differences between individuals diagnosed with autism and those who don’t have autism have decreased which could mean that more people with less profound symptoms are being diagnosed with the condition. 

Researchers say that changing criteria for autism may be resulting in an over-diagnosis of the condition while others say that better diagnostic methods are recognizing autism in more people, earlier on. 

  • The studies examined in the meta-analysis were published between 1966 and 2019. 
    • During that period, autism prevalence has increased from under 0.05 percent at age 8 in the United States, to 1.47 percent, with a lifetime prevalence rate now estimated at more than 2 percent. 
  • Seven different psychological and neurological constructs were analyzed based on data from the meta-analyses. 
    • Effect sizes for these seven distinct differences between groups with autism and control groups decreased over time, with five of seven being statistically significant. 
  • The findings suggest that differences between individuals with autism and those without autism have decreased over time, which may have been associated with changes in diagnostic practices. 

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  • CILTEP® is a natural nootropic designed to safely enhance the brain's ability to form vivid, long-lasting memories and remain sharply motivated and focused for hours.
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  • Smart Caffeine is a highly effective combination of L-theanine and Caffeine. L-theanine is a natural amino acid found in green tea that removes the undesirable side effects of caffeine, creating long-lasting energy and attention without jitters, anxiety, or a crash.

Natural Stacks habitué

John worked for a billion dollar industry for years. 

After experiencing long hours and a hectic life, one day he realized that he wanted to prioritize his family over work. 

He decided to work for himself. With the flexibility, he’s made time for cooking (very tasty we’re sure!) and calls himself a chef for his family on the side. 

About a year ago he started experimenting with Natural Stacks and first tried out CILTEP. Now both him and his wife take the full-spectrum CBD products. 

John takes CILTEP daily and notices a huge difference: 

“CILTEP has been such a huge impact on my daily life, it keeps me consistent throughout my day.”

He’s so confident in the products that he recommends it to, “anyone who would give it a chance for 30 days.”

He also loves the educational materials he receives from the Natural Stacks emails

John has been using CBD oil for a while now but shared that the emails opened his wife’s eyes as well. 

-Keep on cooking and living the dream John. 

What else we're Stacking…

Is Vaping Deadly? What to Know About 215 People Sickened After E-Cig Use [Healthline]

4 top tips for coping with social anxiety [Medical News Today]

Getting Too Much or Too Little Sleep Can Hurt Your Heart [Healthline]

More Teens Using Marijuana Concentrate: What Is It? [Healthline]

Depression may be on the rise among people who used to smoke [Medical News Today]

Differences in gut bacteria may predispose to heart attacks [Medical News Today]

Does a Special Gene Determine How Much Sleep You Need? [Healthline]

Why You Don’t Need a Lot of Time or Money to Make Self-Care a Priority [Healthline]

Happy to share what we find and optimize your mind, 

-Natural Stacks 


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