August 18

The Fear of Missing Out

There is no shortage of slang to be found on the internet. In recent years, a piece of slang in the form of an acronym has piqued my interest – FOMO. This acronym stands for “fear of missing out,” and is something I am certain most people can relate to. Despite its prolific use in […]

August 04

Shiver me muscles: why do you shake when you’re cold?

As a proud mid-Atlantic East Coaster, I thought I was relatively well adapted to colder winter climates. After being in sunny San Diego for a few years, however, I have realized that this is NOT so when a slight breeze invokes a shiver in my spine, or sitting outside on a 55 degree day can […]

July 28

Sharks-Sensing the Body Electric

One of the greatest fears people have about going into the ocean is the fear of being attacked by a shark. Although this fear is not truly warranted, as cows kill more people annually than sharks do [4]. But what is it about sharks that makes us so afraid of them? One major factor is […]

July 21

Media Misrepresentations of Mental Illness: Dissociative Identity Disorder

It’s no secret that watching movies can create lasting impressions on viewers. This is true in cases of medical dramas, where viewers are introduced to rare diseases through interactions with fictional patients seeking help. It is also true of mental health conditions – both in the cases of television and movies, it has become increasingly […]

July 15

Brains love bone juice

Skeletons as a hormone-secreting organ In the early 2000s, researchers in Dr. Gerard Karsenty’s group were studying a protein secreted by bones named osteocalcin (OCN) to see  if it played a role in bone mineralization (i.e. how our skeleton attracts the minerals needed for its structure). Even though they found that OCN isn’t involved in […]

July 07

The Forgotten:

Image source: “New Awakenings: The Legacy & Future of Encephalitis Lethargica (EL)” (Sparacin 2012) Some call it “the sleepy-sickness”, others encephalitis lethargica. This mysterious disease, lost to time, bears its colloquial name because those who contracted it entered an “all-enveloping trancelike sleep” (1); and some of those who entered this sleep, did not awake for […]

June 23

A Genetic Identity Crisis: Mosaicism in the Brain

We carry with us every day trillions of copies of one of the best stories ever written: the human genome. Carefully drafted and edited over 4 billion years, our genome contains all the information necessary, and then some, for making a human being from scratch. Often we think of this recipe book as a monolith: […]

June 16

Breathe in the Benefits: Hyperbaric Oxygen for PTSD

Even if you haven’t heard the term “hyperbaric oxygen treatment” (HBOT), you are actually probably familiar with its premise. Most often, we hear of this treatment being used for divers that ascend from depth too quickly and experience decompression sickness (“the bends”) caused by a buildup of gas bubbles in their blood from rapid changes […]

June 03

Axolotls: First Ones to the Fountain of Youth

Introduction If you look at today’s $50 Mexican peso (left), you won’t see the image of a past president or monument. Instead, you’ll see a lone salamander with outstretched arms and gills in the middle of a lake. For centuries, this small creature, known as the axolotl (ax-oh-lot-al), was well known to the people that […]

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?