Author Archives: Catie Profaci

November 19

Neuroscience… of the bladder

When we think of neuroscience, we often think of the brain. […] But so much of neuroscience is concerned with happenings outside the brain itself. For instance, neural signaling controls and coordinates our muscle movements, alerts us when our stomach is empty, produces a physiological response to arousal, and sends a painful alarm when we damage our skin. Neural signaling is also important for telling us when it’s time to pee.

July 02

The Intersex Brain

It is evident that male and female sex characteristics exist on a spectrum, and treating them as fully binary categories invalidates the bodies and experiences of those who express a range of biological sex characteristics. […] But… what about the brain? Are there differences between the male brain and the female brain?

November 29

Children on your mind… and in your brain

There is something uniquely strong about the bond between mother and child ­– you might say that a mother always has her children on her mind and in her heart. ­But did you know that a mother might quite literally have a bit of her children in her brain and heart? (And also her lungs, […]

October 17

30,000 neuroscientists walk into a conference center

Each year, approximately 30,000 neuroscientists descend on one U.S. city for 5 days, flying in from all over the world to attend the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) conference. Some come to present posters, while some have been selected to give talks (which range in length from 10 minutes to an hour, and range in attendance […]

March 21

Ketamine: A New Hope

You may know ketamine as “Special K,” a party drug with a niche in the Burning Man and rave scenes. It’s known for its dissociative effects–its ability to make its users feel as if they are floating, detached from their bodies and surroundings. It’s a quick trip; the main dissociative effects of ketamine only last […]

February 28

The Scientific Adventures of Ben Barres Part II: Superstar of the Star Cells

This post is the second half of a two-part series on the work of Dr. Ben Barres. Did you miss the first half of our adventure? No problem. Click here to start from the beginning! Welcome back! Last week the adventure through Ben Barres’ lab’s discoveries wound through their exciting advances in cell culture, their […]

February 21

The Scientific Adventures of Ben Barres Part I: Dishing out Discoveries

Dr. Ben Barres is a hero to those of us here at NeuWriteSD. Ben was a pioneering scientist and a devoted mentor, as well as a relentless crusader for greater inclusivity in science. While we’ve highlighted his advocacy work and published a memorial post after his death, we haven’t paid nearly enough tribute to his […]

December 06

The Platypus: Sensing the Body Electric

Patti was one of my favorite Beanie Babies. Her bright magenta body and yellow webbed feet exuded a certain sunny optimism, and her strange resemblance to a flattened duck endowed her with an undeniable silliness. I remember feeling a bit confused as to whether she was a real creature or more akin to Mystic the […]

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”) […]

August 30

Defining Cognitive Adulthood: When Neuroscience Influences Law

In 2006, a grand jury convicted Evan Miller in a homicide case, sentencing him to mandatory life imprisonment without the possibility for parole. At the time of his crime, Evan was 14-years-old. Years later, after a series of appeals, Evan’s case–Miller vs. Alabama–made it to the Supreme Court, which ruled that a sentence of life […]