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Carter Duncan, a junior at West Central Area High School in Barrett, and Jordan Bergerson, a junior at Jefferson High School in Alexandria, advanced to the Minnesota State Brain Bee on February 8. Duncan finished 3rd in the final round. Contributed photo.

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What is it called when there is a long-lasting increase in the strength of a synaptic response following stimulation? Answer: long-term potentiation (LTP).

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Where does LTP primarily occur? Answer: hippocampus and other cerebral cortex brain areas involving forms of memory.

What is the scan called that measures neural activity down to the millisecond resolution? Answer: magnetoencephalography (MEG).

These are just a few of the questions asked of the top 30 competitors who made it to the semi-final round of competition at the Minnesota State Brain Bee on February 8 at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

All Minnesota high school students were given the opportunity to study the Brain Facts (a primer on the brain and nervous system) and answer 90 multiple choice items in 60 minutes.

Students scoring in the top 30 advanced to the state semi-final and final round of competition.

Jordan Bergerson, a junior at Jefferson High School in Alexandria, and Carter Duncan, a junior at West Central Area High School, both finished in the top 30 and advanced to the semi-finals.

At that level, students were asked questions orally and the top six scorers advanced to the final round of competition, in hopes of advancing to the National Brain Bee in Baltimore, Maryland.

Bergerson finished 9th out of his pool of 17 in the semi-final round and did not advance. Duncan did place in the top six and went on to take 3rd place in the final round of competition.

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