Science. In London, black cars have more brain power

Science.  In London, black cars have more brain power

Take London. The city, ten times as large as Paris, has 26,000 streets (as opposed to 5,064 public roads to the French capital) by definition. Look at the drivers of its iconic black taxis – the black carriages – which, since 1865, must pass the exams in a cycle, which is very frightening. – Knowledge – and often considered one of the most difficult in the world. Testing and technology prior to digital appendages such as GPS has not yet sent history into oblivion.

Encyclopedia of Space

Choose some of these avant-garde, green badge holders of London Taxis, within the elite, or better yet, as a final sign of recognition for successful candidates overcoming the challenges of this exam, which takes three to four years. Training, brainwashing and field training seven days a week, ten hours a day. In practice, to illustrate, knowing how fast one can go from Buckingham Palace to Tower Bridge is simply not a question. Anyone choosing a “Blue Book” listing 320 routes between different locations in London must first master it at their fingertips. He passes the written test, and then the real marathon begins: orally, every two months, and then every month, for two weeks, the candidate must read one by one the streets taken between the two points of the megalopolis. What’s more in four different ways. With permanent risk, failure will return to the first level.

So, take a look at some of these phenomena of asphalt kings in the London jungle. Then observe their amazing learning and memorization skills, examine their brains as they maintain an encyclopedic knowledge of the city space on the road, measure their gray matter, and try to learn lessons on how to fight neuron regeneration, if any.

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In the laboratory of Hugo Spears, a professor at University College London, many doctoral students in the field of cognitive neurology are trying to unravel the mystery of extraordinary talent in space created by London taxis and use these findings to fight Alzheimer’s disease. Patterns of atrophy in these areas of the brain, in particular, cause distraction.

The most developed seahorse

For the past two decades, two studies have already been published with the same subject and use the same specific model of population: in 2000, the first study conducted by British and American researchers concluded that the elite drivers of London had the rearmost. The hippocampus – the part of the brain that plays the most important role in learning and memorizing – has grown above average; Second, in 2011, the study confirmed the brains of cars – the nickname of black car drivers. , The size of the hippocampus increased more and more with the duration of the driving process over several years.

From July, within the “Taxi Princes” program (“Taxi Brains”), a team of researchers, used real-time brain MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging) to study drivers planning their routes in the London Labyrinth. Professor Hugo Spears described in an American newspaper a few days ago Washington Post Pending issues: “We don’t know much about how taxi drivers use their seahorses. How do they use other parts of the brain to solve the task of walking the 26,000 streets? Can you explain why they can plan one way quickly and take the time to think about another way? “

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“I’m scared of this kind of brain damage”

The goal of the scientists is very firm: “Understanding which areas of the hippocampus are enlarged compared to the navigation capability will provide essential information needed to make diagnostic diagnoses for Alzheimer’s.” Spears adds. Early diagnosis can help physicians treat patients quickly, control the disease, and improve quality of life. “

For taxi drivers who received 30 30 (35 euros) and a picture of their brains, the ransom for the study is really just fame. Can’t say, but, frankly, it doesn’t bother them. At the BBC’s microphone, one of the participants boasted at the beginning of the week: “I have a bigger seahorse than you. This is what we know. I have good memory, but it is not activated when I remember one or the other. We react to localization signals, pick them up and always explain them … I do this study because I’m afraid of this kind of brain damage, and if I can help a little, it will be. True happiness. ”

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About the Author: Cory Weinberg

Cory Weinberg covers the intersection of tech and cities. That means digging into how startups and big tech companies are trying to reshape real estate, transportation, urban planning, and travel. Previously, he reported on Bay Area housing and commercial real estate for the San Francisco Business Times. He received a "best young journalist" award from the National Association of Real Estate Editors.

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