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Neurons and celebrities

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The human brain's 100 billion neurons may have such specific functions that a few electrically charge only upon recognition of a single celebrity, such as Oprah Winfrey or Bill Clinton. UCLA researchers, studying the healthy cells of pre-op epilepsy patients, inadvertently discovered this unusual property, which apparently varies with individuals but remains internally consistent, whether the celebrity is represented by picture, name or sound. Patients were presented "hundreds of stimuli," one researcher told The Wall Street Journal in October, but "the neuron would respond to only one or two." For example, neurons were found that reacted only to Jennifer Aniston, only to "The Simpsons," only to Mother Teresa.

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