Author Archives: Seraphina Solders

May 26

Why does breathing slowly make us feel better?

You’ve heard it before – during moments of overwhelm, take slow, deep breaths. But how exactly does controlling our breath influence our physiology and ultimately impact our mental well-being?

December 09

Mal de Débarquement: The Science of Land Sickness

Recently I was lucky to spend seven days on a catamaran out at sea with a small group of (COVID-vaccinated) friends. We traveled around the Gulf of California, witnessing truly amazing sights like manta rays jumping out of the water, sea birds diving into the water, and turtles floating along in the swell. This was […]

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 […]