October 05

Science for All: Shifting Academic Communication at ComSciCon

“Whose advisor is unhappy that they’re here today?” asked Leanne Chukoskie, an assistant research scientist at the Institute for Neural Computation at UC San Diego and an affiliate of the Qualcomm Institute. Looking around at a sea of raised hands, she continued, “Know that the act of writing clearly for the public and preparing well […]

September 28

Dopamine is NOT your brain’s reward chemical

Dopamine is NOT your brain’s reward chemical.  Or rather, dopamine is not JUST your brain’s reward chemical, nor is it your brain’s ONLY reward chemical.

September 21

Scratch that itch

[En español] One of the greatest pleasures in life is to scratch an itch – in both the real and figurative sense. Although scratching an itch provides immediate (albeit temporary) relief, it may actually trigger the mechanism that makes us itch. So the more we scratch, the itchier we get, turning the short-lived pleasure into a […]

September 14

What’s the Deal with Migraines??!!

You’re sitting at your desk, hard at work, and suddenly you see a strange spot of bright light, outlined by a brilliant spectrum of reds and blues, hover over your computer screen. You blink and look around, trying to figure out whether the image is coming from the screen or from outside the window. You […]

September 07

It’s Like Uber, but for Neurologists

Automation is one of the engines of modernity, and what it should or could be is one of our society’s central discussions. However, when we discuss automation, it is never as a change that affects everyone in our community, but instead as one targeted at certain groups. Manufacturing workers on the assembly line have been […]

August 31

Psychosurgery: from ice picks to electrodes

If you were to hazard a guess at the date of the first neurosurgery, what would you say? An image from [1] showing evidence of brain surgery in a Stone Age skull I’m going to bet that “the Stone Age” didn’t occur to you as a legitimate answer, but a skeleton dated to roughly 5000 B.C. […]

August 24

Paint me like one of your mantis shrimps

Sunsets, wildflower superblooms, unicorn frappuccinos. None of these phenomena would have nearly the same allure if we lost our ability to see different colors. But what if we could have an even greater ability to discriminate between colors – would these phenomena be that much more spectacular? In the case of the frappuccino, probably not, […]

August 17

Zika: Has this virus lost its bite?

Do you live in a generally cool, dry place and rarely think about mosquitoes? Was last year’s Zika outbreak of little personal concern? You may not have the option of staying carefree for much longer. The Zika-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquito is already enjoying widespread breeding grounds as temperatures steadily rise across the globe, indicating that […]

August 10

It’s a Fine Line Between Utopia and Gattaca

In a previous piece, we talked about why scientists and innovators around the world are so excited about CRISPR, a powerful new gene editing technology. The tool was first published 2012, but it still regularly makes headlines. Less than a month ago researchers in Portland, Oregon announced the first successful use of CRISPR in human […]

August 03

The Ring to Rule Them All – Tinnitus

Baby Driver, the most recent theatrical offering from director Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World), not only makes the first generation iPod (which now passes as a body double for a paperweight) look cool again, but also brings to light an interesting auditory condition that affects nearly 10% of the population – […]