Category Archives: Neuroscience

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]. […]

January 24

How is a woodpecker like a football player?

As the National Football League (NFL) approaches its most prestigious game of the year, the Superbowl, fans are often treated to video montages of the big plays and hard hits that either led their teams to victory or contributed to the end of their season. While these clips serve to instill a sense of excitement […]

December 13

Astrocytes, the Underrated Stars

[En español] You usually hear the term “brain cell” referring to neurons, like they’re the only cell type present in the brain. But that’s far from the case. Neurons can be considered the main cellular unit in our nervous system, as they are the cells that transfer the information by means of electrical and chemical signals. […]

November 15

From symptoms to biology: shifting definitions of Alzheimer’s disease

As a neuroscientist studying Alzheimer’s, I’m reminded of its far-reaching impact each time a barista, cashier, or Lyft driver makes small talk by asking what I do for a living. Unfortunately, this devastating disease needs no introduction. Considering its ubiquity, it’s surprising that a debate broke out recently among leaders in the field over the […]

November 08

Did you see that? The Mysteries of Sensory Deprivation

When I was a kid swimming in the neighbor’s pool, I loved to float on my back, eyes closed, with ears submerged so that I could only hear the muted sounds of the water around me. Though I found the experience relaxing, I also felt profoundly strange. We are constantly bombarded with sensory information from […]

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 […]

September 13

Your Virtual Self: Psychology in the Age of Virtual Reality

“Look!” My nephew kept eating from a box of infinite donuts in his new cubicle office. He had just been promoted by a floating computer monitor, his boss. A concerned look slowly printed onto his boss’ flat face as it saw him continuously push donuts down his gullet. The game was “Job Simulator”, and while […]

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 […]

August 23

The Neuroscience of Laughter

Think back to the last time you had a real, hearty laugh: mouth in a wide smile, eyes crinkled and tearing, breath leaving your body in short bursts if you could get any breath out at all. For humans, there are few more pleasurable experiences or greater expressions of joy as laughter. We use laughter […]

August 02

Snake Eyes: The Fear That Built Your Brain

Indiana Jones is a quintessential American hero, his fedora, satchel, and whip instantly recognizable around the world. He lives a double life, a scholarly professor of anthropology in public and a globetrotting treasure hunter in private. He defeats the Nazis and always gets the girl, displaying daring and fearlessness, with one notable exception. He has […]