Category Archives: Neurodegenerative disorders

May 11

Identity Crisis

Who are you? How do you know? I’ve been thinking a lot about identity this week. It all started when I received a letter from the IRS that began “Dear TAXPAYER” and essentially asked, “Are you who you say you are?” (Yes, it’s me! Please send me my tax refund!) To validate my identity, I […]

February 18

“It ain’t about how hard you hit”

[En español] Have you ever felt your brain bouncing inside your skull after you got your head banged? Or have you ever hit your head so hard that you felt the world spinning around you like you were totally wasted? This is how Shannon Gugerty, a professional MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) fighter, describes his experience […]

August 13

Things that go Bump in the Night: the Perils of Misplaced Paralysis

Sleep is a beautiful thing. As soon as your head hits your pillow, your brain and body kick a number of essential processes into gear. Growth hormone is released, making you taller(1). The immune system is bolstered, protecting you from disease and infection(1). Memories are consolidated, making damn sure that you remember every word of […]

October 30

Analyze your zombie walk

Imagine a zombie costume.   You probably see – pale, bloody makeup, ripped clothes, dead-eyed stare. All of that preparation, however, would not be convincing if the zombie were to just move around normally. In fact “Walking Dead” special effects artist/director Greg Nicotero teaches a school on how to lumber around like a zombie for […]

October 16

Lithium: Wonder Drug? Part II

Note from the author: This post is dedicated to my biology nerds out there.  If you follow my Gene-of-the-Week posts (and you should because they’re the weirdest), you know that I often get lost in the cellular and molecular details of life, and it’s totally overwhelming.  I wrote this post specifically to discuss the mechanisms […]

October 02

Lithium: Wonder Drug? Part I

I’m so happy ’cause today I’ve found my friends They’re in my head What comes to mind when you hear the word lithium? A drug used to manage life-threatening mood disorders? A potentially deadly toxin? A chemical found in trace amounts in many compounds in nature? (Or maybe just the Nirvana song?) Any of these […]

June 19

Locked In Syndrome: Facing My Nightmare

You always hear about “medical student syndrome,” where first year med students start diagnosing themselves with all of the diseases they learn about, becoming temporary hypochondriacs.  They don’t tell you that the same fear can set in during graduate school.  Ever since I started my Ph.D, I’ve diagnosed myself with more than a few of […]

May 08

Neurons, Footballs, and the Draft! Oh my!

Tonight, a few hundred football players will be chosen by one of the 32 teams of the National Football League in the hopes of making millions of dollars and establishing their names in the glory of NFL history. Yet only a tiny fraction of college football players, 1.6%, and an even smaller fraction of high school […]