Summer 2017 Brainy Reading List

Summer is finally here! We have eight brainy book suggestions, all written by members of the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives (DABI) or prominent neuroscientists, to take to the pool, beach, or wherever you enjoy a little bit of sun:

Summer Reading.jpg

Continue reading

Summer Reading List: Brain Books

Last year I wrote a summer reading list blog, highlighting brain books recently published by members of the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives. Since then, our members have published a number of new books on topics ranging from addiction to free will to neurogastronomy. When you get around to finishing the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy (it’s everywhere!), here are some great books to keep in mind (descriptions are taken directly from the publishers’ websites).

The Addicted Brain: Why We Abuse Drugs, Alcohol, and Nicotine, by Michael Kuhar, FT Science Press.
“Addiction destroys lives. In The Addicted Brain, a leading neuroscientist explains how and why this happens–and presents advances in treatment and prevention. Using breathtaking brain imagery and other research, Michael Kuhar, Ph.D., shows the powerful, long-term brain changes that drugs can cause, revealing why it can be so difficult for addicts to escape their grip.”

Continue reading

Our Two Senses of Smell

It’s lunchtime. You heat up those Chinese takeout leftovers in the microwave and the aroma makes you hungry. Then you take a bite—delicious.

Clearly, you process the smell from the microwave through your nose. But did you know that processing flavor also comes from your sense of smell?

In his new book Neurogastronomy: How the Brain Creates Flavor and Why It Matters, Dana Alliance Member Gordon M. Shepherd explains that we actually have two senses of smell: orthonasal and retronasal.

Neurogastronomy book cover

Orthonasal smell is what happens when we sniff—we breathe in through our noses to sense environmental odors, like the smell from the microwave.

Retronasal smell, on the other hand, is where flavor comes from. Try holding your nose while eating some of those leftovers—you won’t taste much. Breathing out while eating is the doorway to flavor. While we are born recognizing sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and  umami—which are tastes, not flavors, writes Shephard,  “retronasal smells are learned and thus open to individual differences. They account, therefore, for the vast variety of cuisines in the world.”

Bon appetit!

–Johanna Goldberg

%d bloggers like this: