Author Archives: Seraphina Solders

May 20

Magnetoreception – a Quantum Sixth Sense

Imagine you are dropped off hundreds of miles away from your home, deep in some unknown  forest. Would you be able to find your way home using only your five basic senses – sight, smell, sound, taste, and touch? If you’re anything like me, you may struggle to navigate around your own city without help […]

April 01

How do we use magnets to take pictures of the brain?

Magnets are everywhere – they exist in our electronics, cars, refrigerators, and so on. The Earth itself is one giant magnet, which is why we can use compasses to navigate! They also have many incredible biomedical applications, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which allows us to take pictures of biological tissues and organs in a […]

August 13

Diffusion MRI: Mapping the structural highways of the brain

Some of my favorite scientific images to look at come from scanning the human brain with a tool called diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (or diffusion MRI). These images depict the long fibers that connect one part of the brain to another in a color-coded fashion, with a beautiful result: a colorful map of the brain’s […]

February 06

What’s my (brain) age again?

What does it mean to age? Is it a purely time-based process, with each passing moment bringing our bodies along an invariant trajectory of decline? Or is it a function of our behavior, dependent on our daily activities and the damage inflicted upon ourselves over time? Clearly, there is a bit of truth in each […]

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 […]

April 25

Immune to pain: new insights into chronic pain treatment

[En español] Jo Cameron, a Scottish woman in her mid-60s, was seemingly happy and healthy other than a problem with her hip. Now and then, it would give way and prevent her from walking straight. She had brought it up to her doctor, but because she wasn’t in pain, the issue was dismissed. It wasn’t […]

January 31

Stars for Eyes – The Neurological Wonder of the Star-Nosed Mole

Beneath the eastern wetlands of Canada and the United States, there lives underground a bizarre and unique animal with an impressive list of evolutionary adaptations. This creature holds the world record as fastest eater among mammals [1], can smell underwater [2], and has a very unique sensory organ that basically operates as its eyes [3]. […]

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 […]

August 16

The Plastic Brain: Neurotransmitter Switching

What comes to mind when you think of the word “plastic”? For me, this word conjures images of water bottles and tupperware. So in my high school psychology class, when we were told that our brains are “plastic”, I was pretty confused. However, we soon learned that the word “plastic” can be used to describe […]

July 05

Where does Alzheimer’s disease begin?

Sometimes I forget what day of the week it is, where I put my keys, or when a friend’s birthday is- but I never stop to wonder if these brief moments of forgetfulness are normal or a sign of something more serious. For many, occasional short-term memory loss is a normal part of getting older, […]