July 18

Our Sensitive Stomach: The Enteric Nervous System

     Inside every person’s gut there lies about 500,000,000 neurons. That might seem like an odd place for so many so-called “brain cells;” even odder still, the bowel’s web of nerves can function in the absence of communication to or from the brain. Its potential for independence and substantial cell count have earned the intestinal nerves […]

July 12

How do you feel? Interoception- the new science of emotion

What happens when someone asks, “How do you feel?” Besides possibly uttering the rote response, “good, how are you”—what is the process of sensing how you’re really feeling in that moment? It seems to involve interoception—the sense of the physiological condition of the body. Interoception mediates many different sensations—pain, temperature, itch, hunger, sexual arousal, and […]

July 04

Gay Animals and the Science of Sexuality

Earlier this year, a New York Times headline struck my attention: The Gay Penguins of Australia. The story details the lives of Sphen and Magic, two male Gentoo penguins at the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium in Australia. Sphen is 6 years old and rather quiet. Magic likes to chase after toys and is 3 years […]

June 27

NeurosciANTS

[En español] You probably walk past thousands of ants every day and give them no more than a passing glance, but the ecological impact of an entire ant colony is comparable to that of enormous animals like elephants. Together in colonies that can surpass 300 million individuals, ants have a profound effect on the landscapes […]

June 20

Exosomes: Helping you stay in touch with your trillions of closest friends.

[En español] There are roughly 37.2 trillion cells in the human body. That’s nearly 5 thousand times the total number of people on the entire planet, and all these cells must somehow work together to make you “You.” Each cell has a set role to play in keeping you healthy and functioning, but how do […]

June 13

BrainEx: Restoring Brain Circulation After Death

[En español] In May of 2018, headlines across the internet warned of a creepy new “brain in a bucket” experiment, in which scientists had “reanimated” the disembodied brains of pigs from slaughterhouses, and surely promised a “living hell” for humans. Very little was known about this study at the time, as the lead scientist, Nenad […]

June 06

Speech Synthesis from Brain Activity

[En español] The existing technology that assists people with speech disabilities is reliant on brain-computer interfaces which translate eye and facial muscle movements into words. However, this translation is limited in speed – approximately 10 words per minute, which is considerably lower than the rate of naturally produced speech (150 words per minute). The process […]

May 30

You’re getting sleepy: Brain mechanisms of anesthesia and natural sleep

[En español] “Take a deep breath and count backwards from 10…” “10…9…8…7….” If you are one of the many people that have had surgery under general anesthesia, you may remember these words from your anesthesiologist, beginning the countdown yourself, then probably ….nothing. When you awoke later, you were already out of surgery and in a […]

May 16

Why Do I Care So Damn Much About Game of Thrones?

Spoiler Alert. Although the neuroscientific, psychological, and cinematic concepts explored in this piece are relevant to all kinds of fiction beyond Game of Thrones, this post will be examining these concepts through the lens of the global obsession surrounding the final season of Game of Thrones, which wraps up in just a few days. So […]

May 09

Uncle Syd and His Worms

[En español] Anybody, who does biological research using a model organism, especially those using an invertebrate, has quite invariably come across a certain prevalent hotchpotch of disbelief, cynicism and a reasonably uncomfortable amount of derision in the minds of their peers about the tiny creatures that they use to study biology.  “So, these flies really […]