Mice get smarter with bits of human brains in their heads.

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On the first try, for instance, altered mice perceived the connection between a noise and an electric shock a standard learning test in mouse research. Normal mice need a few repetitions to get the idea. Memories of the doctored mice were better too: they remembered mazes, object locations, and the shock lessons longer.

via Human Brain Cells Alive in Mouse Brains | MIND Guest Blog, Scientific American Blog Network.

 

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Like a car that can switch to ethanol when it runs out of gasoline, heavy drinkers’ brains could tap energy from an alternate fuel source. When Mason first saw the results, he says, “I jumped out of my chair and threw my fist in the air.”

via Heavy drinkers get extra brain fuel from alcohol | Body & Brain | Science News.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

TDCS uses electrodes placed on the outside of the head to pass tiny currents across regions of the brain for 20 minutes or so. The currents of 1–2 mA make it easier for neurons in these brain regions to fire. It is thought that this enhances the making and strengthening of connections involved in learning and memory. The technique is painless, all indications at the moment are that it is safe, and the effects can last over the long term.

via The ethics of brain boosting – University of Oxford.