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Nobel Prize for brain GPS: they didn't include me

This is the front side (obverse) of a Nobel Prize medal in Physiology or Medicine awarded in 1950 to researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota (Credit:  Jonathunder [photographer]/Erik Lindberg [sculptor & engraver, 1902] via The Nobel prize for physiology or medicine has just been announced: three scientists have received the award for discovering the brain's "GPS system."  John O'Keefe, Edvard Moser, and May-Britt Moser will share the award for discovering how the brain knows where we are and how to navigate from one place to another.

It turns out we have "place cells" in the hippocampus that form a map within the brain, as well as "grid cells" that help us judge distance and navigate.  According to the Nobel committee, these cells constitute "a comprehensive positioning system, an inner GPS, in the brain."

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How to reduce your heart attack risk by 86 percent

A doctor puts his hand over his chest during a House call rally against proposed healthcare reform legislation at the Capitol in Washington November 5, 2009 (Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque) A new study has found the way to reduce your chances of having a heart attack by 86 percent.  It's simple: exercise regularly, eat vegetables, don't smoke, don't drink much, and watch your waistline.  So why don't more people do this?  Because things that are unhealthy in the long run feel good in the short run.  And things that are good for us in the long run can be unpleasant at the time.

Now consider this finding: only 42 percent of Americans think that the American Dream—if you work hard, you'll get ahead—still holds true.  That's down from 53 percent just two years ago.  When asked if our children's lives will be better than ours, only 21 percent agreed, down from 30 percent in 2012.

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What a bird's nest taught me about God

A robin's nest found in backyard where the drain spout curves away from the brick wall and joins the gutter (Credit: Jim Denison) Janet and I are a pet-less couple.  In our 34 years of marriage we have owned two dogs and a snake (actually, the snake belonged to our oldest son, but we paid his vet bills, which is another story entirely).  Since the snake died, we have been without a pet in our home.

From time to time, friends encourage us to get a dog.  We travel a great deal, however, so keeping up with a pet would be hard.  And we are aware of the fact that dogs want to be fed and walked and scooped-up after (euphemistically speaking), rain or shine.  If we could have a pet that required no maintenance, that would be ideal.

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Janet's Blog

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