Category Archives: Neuroscience

July 19

Upload Complete: Transferring your brain to a digital format

Imagine a future in which your brain–conscious mind, memories, and emotions included–could be uploaded to a computer. Once running, the complex computer code would be able to perfectly reflect your mind: reacting as you would, showing your major personality traits, holding your unique knowledge from your life as a human. Maybe your personal code could […]

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, […]

June 28

Zika: Predicting the long-term effects of an unrelenting virus

Summer is upon us, and with that comes much-anticipated vacation travel. As you pack your bag with sunblock, clothes that haven’t seen the light of day since your trip last year, and that sci-fi novel that has been sitting on your nightstand since February, don’t forget what might be the most important item: bug spray. […]

May 31

The Rise and Fall and Rise of Genetic Memory

We are all products of our past, for better or for worse. At first glance, such a statement seems so obvious it hardly bears mentioning; our earlier experiences, both our successes and our failures, shape our current behavior.  But dig just a bit deeper, and it becomes far murkier. What can you call your past? […]

May 24

Baby I Swear it’s Déjà Vu

It’s one of the most bizarre sensations in the world: feeling like you’ve entered some sort of time loop and are re-experiencing something that’s already happened before. The rational part of you knows that this is a new experience, and yet, you can’t shake the feeling that you’re somehow reliving a brief moment of your […]

May 10

A Bright Idea: Illuminating the Brain with GCaMP

You might’ve read stories about some brain region “lighting up” in response to some stimulus. But what does “lighting up” actually mean? Oftentimes it refers to scientists using a fMRI machine that applies sophisticated technology to translate changes in blood flow into pixels on a computer screen. Sometimes though the brain can literally light up, […]

March 22

“Find My Friends”, Brain edition

Have you ever felt hyper-aware of where another person is, almost like you’ve got some internal GPS that’s automatically tracking their location? Perhaps you’ve felt this way (however creepily) when you’ve had a major crush on someone, to the point that you’re exceptionally tuned in to where that person is in a room at any […]

February 22

Conscious in Dreamland: The Neuroscience of Lucid Dreaming

I do a lot of weird things while sleeping. I talk, walk, and experience vivid dreams, all without conscious awareness. Despite the fact that my dreams are often absurd, I don’t question their content while I’m in them. (Oh, I’ve been hired to make a documentary about Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz and his […]

February 15

Botox: The good, the bad and the beautiful

Awards season is upon us. From the Golden Globes to the Grammys to the Oscars, we’ve seen celebrities posing on the red carpet, chatting with TV hosts, and accepting awards on stage. All the while I’ve found myself wondering, “Is he happy?” “Is she disappointed?” “Are emotions just out this season?” The star behind that […]

January 25

Instant Gratification: Weighing the Psychological Benefits and Costs of MDMA Use

Can a pill exist that brings instant happiness without any negative side effects? Probably not.