November 15

From symptoms to biology: shifting definitions of Alzheimer’s disease

As a neuroscientist studying Alzheimer’s, I’m reminded of its far-reaching impact each time a barista, cashier, or Lyft driver makes small talk by asking what I do for a living. Unfortunately, this devastating disease needs no introduction. Considering its ubiquity, it’s surprising that a debate broke out recently among leaders in the field over the […]

November 08

Did you see that? The Mysteries of Sensory Deprivation

When I was a kid swimming in the neighbor’s pool, I loved to float on my back, eyes closed, with ears submerged so that I could only hear the muted sounds of the water around me. Though I found the experience relaxing, I also felt profoundly strange. We are constantly bombarded with sensory information from […]

November 01

SfN 2018 NeuWriter Picks!

It’s that time of year again…the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting (SfN) starts on Saturday, and this year it’s happening on our home turf! There are a lot of reasons to be excited about SfN in San Diego…the weather is beautiful (sunny and 79 degrees in November!), neuroscience friends come to town, NeuWriteSD presents a […]

October 25

The Science of Stuttering

A special thank you to Kaja Bajc and Jaymie Horak for their incredibly helpful personal input. How is it that someone can sing fluidly but struggle to introduce herself? Or smoothly imitate a foreign accent without trouble, but get stuck on words when speaking without pretense?  Stuttering is a communication disorder characterized by disruptions (“disfluencies”) […]

October 18

Follow the Flock

[En español] Have you ever tried a cigarette? I have. I was a teen, and holding a cigarette looked pretty cool, but smoking seemed disgusting, and it left a horrible smell in my hair, clothes and fingers. So I didn’t get hooked. But, seriously, why did I even try it in the first place? It […]

October 11

The Neuroscience of Mindfulness Meditation

When I think of meditation, the first image that typically comes to mind is that of a monk in flowing orange robes somewhere in the mountains of Tibet. Meditation has gotten a facelift in the last decade in pop culture, thanks in part to best selling books like 10% happier by the television journalist Dan […]

October 04

The ethics of human brain surrogacy

“Creepy ‘brain in a bucket’ study spurs medical, ethical debates” … “Yale experiment to reanimate dead brains promises ‘living hell’ for humans” … “Scientists have managed to reanimate disembodied pigs’ brains – but for a human mind, it could be a living hell” … These are just a few of the sensational headlines that came […]

September 27

Close Encounters of the Robotic Kind: A Glimpse of Autonomy

Earlier this summer, people around the world were gripped by the story of the young boys from a Thai soccer team who had been trapped inside of a cave after a flood. We watched with fascination – and a healthy dose of apprehension – as plans were formulated to rescue the boys, whose situation was […]

September 20

Glioblastoma: John McCain’s final battle

On August 25th, I received a news notification on my phone that Arizona Senator John McCain had passed away, just one day after halting treatment for glioblastoma and little more than one year after diagnosis. I was taken aback. I’d known this was coming, but not that it would happen so quickly. Moreover, the sorrow […]

September 13

Your Virtual Self: Psychology in the Age of Virtual Reality

“Look!” My nephew kept eating from a box of infinite donuts in his new cubicle office. He had just been promoted by a floating computer monitor, his boss. A concerned look slowly printed onto his boss’ flat face as it saw him continuously push donuts down his gullet. The game was “Job Simulator”, and while […]