Katherine Streeter for NPR

Study participants were trained in practical reasoning skills like managing medications. Jorge Salcedo/iStockphoto hide caption

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Erick Munoz stands by a photo of his wife, Marlise Munoz, at home in Fort Worth, Texas, on Jan. 3. She is being kept on life support in a local hospital against the family's wishes. Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT via Getty Images hide caption

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Researchers have only recently been able to use brain scans to detect Alzheimer's risk factors in living people. iStockphoto hide caption

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Having a perfect memory can put a strain on relationships, because every slight is remembered. Katherine Streeter for NPR hide caption

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A newly discovered neural circuit in the brain of the common fruit fly seems to serve as a sort of "volume control," turning up and down the perception of sound and light. Nicholas Monu/iStockphoto hide caption

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A technique called optogenetics is being used in the laboratory to observe and control what brain circuits are doing in real time. Henning Dalhoff/Getty Images/Science Photo Library RM hide caption

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Surgeons use a grid of electrodes laid on a patient's brain. They record electrical activity and can deliver a tiny jolt. Courtesy of Dr. Josef Parvizi hide caption

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Benjamin Arthur for NPR

Children under age 2 can reason abstractly, researchers say. Jandrie Lombard/iStock hide caption

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President Obama has pledged millions of dollars to fuel research into understanding the workings of the human brain. Zephyr/Science Source hide caption

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