Astrocytes protect neurons from toxic buildup

Astrocytes are overtaxed neurons’ pit crew. The brain cells collect damaged lipids secreted by hyperactive neurons, then recycle those toxic molecules into energy, researchers at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Research Campus report May 23, 2019, in the journal Cell. It’s a mechanism to protect neurons from the damaging…

Sound sense: Brain ‘listens’ for distinctive features in sounds: Researchers explore how the auditory system achieves accurate speech recognition

For humans to achieve accurate speech recognition and communicate with one another, the auditory system must recognize distinct categories of sounds — such as words — from a continuous incoming stream of sounds. This task becomes complicated when considering the variability in sounds produced by individuals with different accents, pitches,…

Thanking and apologizing: Talk that isn’t cheap

We place a high value on teaching children to say “thank you” and “I’m sorry.” As adults, these simple words are central to many social interactions. Uttering the words is easy, so why do people often hold back? And why does the failure to confer thanks or to apologize so…