Science is fun and all, but it’s widely accepted that it’s slowly marching us all to the end of civilization. Consider this one step on that march.
Researchers have grown tiny human brains inside of mice, which are known to carry disaease. That’s not us punching up some boring study, they really did it. It’s the first time that scientists have been able to grow a human brain in another species, so, congrats? The researchers, who are deluding themselves, say this is a major breakthrough in stem cell research.
What is really means is that science is that much closer to making animals as smart as us. And when that happens, we’re in for it.
After Albert Einstein died, his brain was removed, photographed and dissected to discover if it had any properties that made it more likely to make Newton his bitch. And, just to drive the point home that Einstein was better than other scientists, the doctors who gathered this data managed to lose the most important photos and brain samples in human history.
Fortunately, 14 of the photos have recently been found. They show that, on the surface, Einstein’s brain was like yours or mine. But, inside, he was packing extraordinary prefrontal, somatosensory, primary motor, parietal, temporal and occipital cortices. In fact, his prefrontal cortex was massive, which is surprising when you consider his small dancer feet. It was so bulky that Einstein could crack walnuts with his mind … if he were able to remove and swing that cortex like a cudgel.
So, there you go. Einstein’s brain was the total package: brains and brawn. Now, give him your lunch money, freshmen physics students.
University of Tennessee biological anthropologist Richard Jantz says you’re a fathead. Well, not really. But it’s definitely fatter than those of your ancestors.
After measuring the skulls of white Americans born between 1825 and 1985, Jantz found that their heads are at least 8 millimeters larger. Taking the entire circumference into account, that amounts to a tennis ball-sized extra helping of brain.
But, let’s not go crazy here, white supremacists. This isn’t to say that other races‘ heads aren’t growing, too, just that white people are typically the only ones who let scientists touch them after that whole Tuskegee experiment thing. This also explains how bigger brains don’t necessarily translate to higher intelligence.
The human genome has been mapped, but that doesn’t mean that science is done poking around with our source code. Much like bebop and other free-form jazz, sometimes you have to find the genes that aren’t present to learn what separates us from our animal foes.
And that is how David Kingsley of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Stanford University School of Medicine in California and colleagues found the gene that makes beejers possible.
Also, something or other about our brains.
(P.S.: As you can tell by the category list, this story was really in our wheelhouse.)
As I established last “lightning round,” there are certain thoughts I have that don’t really make an entire Take it from Snee. They’re just ideas I save up from stories I read and, when the week’s particularly slow, I just ejaculate them into one gonzo post.
It appears that both toddlers brains start to develop normally, but the autistic’s amygdala may begin accelerated growth around year one and stops by year two, huge and proud like a prize pumpkin.
The amygdala is the part of the brain that, normally, allows us to study and interpret faces. When oversized, it leads to inabilities like discerning motive or joint attention. (I point to the stubble on my legs, you then look down and shave them. That’s joint attention.)
So what does this all mean? Medical science is closer to isolating the cause of autism and a vaccine may be on the way!
Good morning, time for a belt. First off, while we advocate the consumption of alcohol, especially on long flights, where it is needed to dull the pain of constant probing, we do not condone hijacking a plane while doing so. However, that may be a new drink name.
Moving along, we’ve got some bad news for you sots out there: your brain is smaller than your teetotaler friends (like you associate with those types). The bad news here is that a study found regular drinkers and even occasional partakers lost brain mass at a faster rate than those lame-os who have never touched the stuff.