Our friends at UCSF's Carry the One Radio have put together an awesome podcast, with a fresh new format. The podcast team explores a single theme in Neuroscience, in this case, the brain and communication, and interviews three neuroscientists with diverse approaches to exploring this essential topic. Check it out here:
How does the brain produce thought? Where is memory encoded in the brain? How do we reconstruct images in our brain?
These are some brain questions that fascinate my neighbor Rob, who has studied engineering and now works in photonics. He has no background in neuroscience, but wants to learn about it. Sure, he has the Internet, but it's really a jungle out there. I think a compact book is always a better map to begin exploring uncharted territory, so I suggested him to check out the 30-Second Brain. Although brief on content, it is a book with a wide and riveting helicopter view of neuroscience.Read More
What are the brain mechanisms at work when playing the children's game "Concentration"? Do adults benefit from playing it?
Kids seem to remember the tiniest of details from everywhere. But as adults we’ve all had our blurry moments – when all that information gets lost in the jungle of neurons and refuses to leave the tip o’ the tongue, driving us a little crazy. Tinkering with memory using simple card games and extensive brain training has been under the lens lately. But could a game like Concentration help you concentrate? Let’s find out.Read More
Does chewing gum help with memorization? Can chewing gum during a test improve your test scores?
Well ... maybe.
There is a strong effect of context on memory recall. You'll probably perform better on a test if you take it in the same room where you memorized the information included in the test. The same holds true for chomping on a stick of Juicy Fruit. ...Read More
What if our brains had too many neurons? What would happen? In this Ask a Neuroscientist response, we discuss how making too many neurons is a natural part of brain development, and the (controversial) theory that overgrown brains are a marker for autism spectrum disorders.
Image Source: Wellcome TrustRead More
The brain is a gas-guzzler. Weighing in at only 2% of the mass of your body, the brain consumes over 20% of the body’s energy. The idea that high-activity regions of the brain need more blood is the principle behind human neuroimaging techniques like PET and MRI, but how do neurons ask for more blood when they need it?Read More
An engineering student named Mollie asks how feasible it will be for her to go to graduate school in neuroscience. To help answer, I repost a conversation with the Director of Stanford's Neuroscience PhD program. Also: So you want to be a Research Assistant in the lab - how do you find a job opening?Read More
Today, our guest is Carl Hart, associate professor of psychology and psychiatry at Columbia University and author of the 2013 book, High Price: A neuroscientist’s Journey of Self Discovery That Challenges Everything you Know about drugs and society. We’ll be speaking with him about surprising discoveries about psychoactive drug use, and how neuroscience can better inform policy
Is restless leg syndrome a neurological disorder? What could be the root cause and is there any cure?
I fell deep into a rabbit hole of RLS and related research in writing this article. RLS is a neurological disorder, and we have some tantalizing clues about its cause--but there are far more questions than answers at this point. But two candidates are dopamine and iron.Read More
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is finally in the spotlight. As a rare neurodegenerative disease characterized by the progressive loss of a subset of motor neurons, ALS has often been overshadowed by other diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. However, thanks to events such as the viral Ice Bucket Challenge last summer and Eddie Redmayne’s Oscar winning portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, ALS has entered the public consciousness. In parallel, the scientific field has also experienced major growth, with new disease-causing mutations being reported on a regular basis. Labs have rushed to understand how these genetic mutations cause neurodegeneration, but a fundamental question remains unanswered: why do only certain motor neurons die in the course of ALS? After all, genetic mutations are global, and yet in ALS and most neurodegenerative diseases, only a subset of neurons die.Read More