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The #gut communicates with the #brain, thus we know when we’re hungry or full, for example. Nutrients and #bacteria are both able to stimulate “#enteroendocrine cells” in the lining of the digestive tract. However, it was thought that these cells only communicated indirectly with neurons through #hormone secretion, rather than directly through #synaptic transmission. This work shows that in fact, enteroendocrine cells in #mice extend processes called #neuropods which directly contact neurons in certain parts of the digestive system. This provides the first evidence for direct sensing of the goings-on inside the gut by the brain, meaning the brain may gather information regarding nutrient and bacterial content. #science #neuroscience #JClinInvest http://www.jci.org/articles/view/78361

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Because #bats are successful in #acrobatic #aerial maneuvering, it seems likely that their #brains have dedicated #3D #navigation #circuits. One component would be #neurons representing the orientation of the head in space. Researchers have found such neurons, which is technically impressive (because it requires concurrently recording from bat neurons while they fly freely in space, and tracking the bats’ position and orientation), and illuminating, because the researchers find that the neurons probably encode heading direction on a #toroidal #manifold (a #donut) rather than a #spherical one (a ball). The difference between the two is that the toroidal #representation allows for independent encoding of #pitch and #azimuth, while a spherical representation requires that they’re tied together. The authors of this work cleverly dissociated between the two by comparing neuronal activity when the bats were inverted versus upright, a key body transformation that would necessarily shift the activity of neurons encoding head azimuth in toroidal but not in spherical #coordinates. #science #neuroscience #nature http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v517/n7533/full/nature14031.html

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What makes a #Pop song tops? #USC Marketing Professor Joseph Nunes and collaborators have found a couple strong reasons by analyzing #data from many past hits. As reported by #NPR and others, Nunes found that “a greater number of #instruments increased the chances of being a number 1 song during mid-1970s, the 1980s and the 1990s, while fewer instruments increased the chances during the 1960s and in the late 2000s.” More recently, he found that a greater number of #chorus repetitions increased the likelihood of a song debuting in the “Top 40”. However, the popularity enhancing effect of chorus repetition was mitigated by word repetition, as shown in this graph. As word repetition goes up, the effect of chorus repetition is nullified, and continues to decrease, though it never quite becomes statistically significantly hurtful to a song’s chances of being a Top 40 hit. #science #datascience #music #jcps http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1057740814001260

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When he was teaching me to play baseball, to throw and to hit the ball, my father always said: “follow through.” It was undoubtedly helpful, and led to consistent results, but why is #FollowThrough important? How can a portion of the movement that occurs after striking or releasing a ball influence the portion of the movement that came before that strike or release? In this work, #MotorLearning researchers show that consistent follow-through facilitates learning and the consistency of the portion of the movement that happened before the follow-through portion. In essence, their hypothesis is that consistent follow through means a single unified performance, which is easier to learn and reproduce. Put another way: let’s say you follow through 10 different ways after hitting a ball, this means that in essence, you’re trying to learn 10 different motions, 1 stereotypes pre-hit portion portion paired with each of those 10 post-hit follow-throughs. It’s no surprise to learn that dad was right, he usually is, but now he’s got science on his side! #science #neuroscience #currbiol #cell http://www.cell.com/current-biology/abstract/S0960-9822(14)01640-6