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Dopamine Turns Worker Ants into Warrior Queens

The ritualized fighting behavior of one ant species is linked to increases in dopamine levels that trigger dramatic physical changes in the ants without affecting their DNA, according to research from North Carolina State University, Arizona State University and the [US] Department of Agriculture.
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Pigeons, like humans, can place everyday things in categories

Pinecone or pine nut? Friend or foe? Distinguishing between the two requires that we pay special attention to the telltale characteristics of each. And as it turns out, us humans aren't the only ones up to the task.
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Integrating mindfulness meditation and hard neuroscience data

Mindfulness meditation produces personal experiences that are not readily interpretable by scientists who want to study its psychiatric benefits in the brain. At the 12th Annual International Scientific Conference of the Center for Mindfulness near Boston in April, Brown University researchers described how they've been able to integrate mindfulness experience with hard neuroscience data to advance more rigorous study.
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Researchers capture handoff of tracked object between brain hemispheres

When tracking a moving object, the two halves of the human brain operate much like runners successfully passing a baton during a relay race, says a University of Oregon researcher.
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Anti-aging factor offers brain boost too

A variant of the gene KLOTHO is known for its anti-aging effects in people fortunate enough to carry one copy. Now researchers find that it also has benefits when it comes to brain function. The variant appears to lend beneficial cognitive effects by increasing overall levels of klotho in the bloodstream and brain.
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Mitochondrial deficits in children with autism confirmed

Children with autism experience deficits in a type of immune cell that protects the body from infection. Called granulocytes, the cells exhibit one-third the capacity to fight infection and protect the body from invasion compared with the same cells in children who are developing normally.
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Experiencing letters as colours: New insights into synaesthesia

Scientists studying the bizarre phenomenon of synaesthesia- best described as a "union of the senses" whereby two or more of the five senses that are normally experienced separately are involuntarily and automatically joined together- have made a new breakthrough in their attempts to understand the condition.
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Elevating brain fluid pressure could prevent vision loss

Scientists have found that pressure from the fluid surrounding the brain plays a role in maintaining proper eye function, opening a new direction for treating glaucoma- the second leading cause of blindness worldwide.
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Small Mutation Changes Brain Freeze to Hot Foot

Shift switches pain sensor from cold-sensitive to hot-sensitive Ice cream lovers and hot tea drinkers with sensitive teeth could one day have a reason to celebrate a new finding from Duke University researchers.
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Mouse study offers new clues to cognitive decline

New research suggests that certain types of brain cells may be "picky eaters," seeming to prefer one specific energy source over others. The finding has implications for understanding the cognitive decline seen in aging and degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and multiple sclerosis.
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