Each year, approximately 61.5 million Americans are afflicted by a mental illness. Although we have not yet determined the underlying cause of these disorders, scientists believe that genetic mutations play a major role. Human genetic testing has identified multiple “risk genes” that are associated with major psychiatric disorders, but little is known about how mutations in the same risk gene can contribute to different disorders.Read More
Until the late 20th century, scientists believed the adult brain was hardwired. We now know that adult brains are actually quite plastic, capable of generating new neurons and remodeling after experience or injury. A recent study by Villa et al. visualized remodeling in a living mouse brain and proposes a mechanism through which neurons maintain balance in a changing environment, as if walking a tightrope between excitation and inhibition.
Image Credit: George E. Curtis, 1876 (Maria Spelterini crossing Niagara Falls by tightrope)Read More
Our guest is Olaf Sporns, Professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Indiana University in Bloomington and co-director of the Indiana University Network Science Institute. We speak with him about network theory, “rich clubs” in the brain, and jump-starting the “connectomics” movement.
It's the first segment in our on-going series of Brain Day Questions, where we answer questions submitted by 7th grade students from Palo Alto and East Palo Alto classrooms.
In our inaugural post, Dr. Adrienne Mueller explains how the brain works in the body.Read More
Brain Day, for those of you who haven’t heard of it, brings Stanford neuroscientists into all of the 7th grade science classrooms in Palo Alto and East Palo Alto to introduce young students to neuroscience, and answer their brain-themed questions. Kendra Lechtenberg explains how this spring, she's going digital with some of the Brain Day questions.
Image credit: Tintin44 on FlickrRead More
My baseball coach always told me to pay attention to the crack of the bat because it would make it easier to find the ball from the outfield. He was right! This combined processing of visual and auditory information is called multisensory integration and has been shown to enhance perception.Read More
Ah, for the love of brain waves. Yes, these flowing electrical fields have been of great interest to physicians and scientists since their discovery in animals in 1875 and humans in 1929 (Haas 2003). Instead of merely listing off a few resources on brain waves, Jordan Sorokin introduces a selection of resources for understanding brain waves, complete with historical and scientific context.
Image credit: Miles Kelly Art Library, Wellcome ImagesRead More
We sit down with Dr. Emmanuel Mignot, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and the director of Stanford’s Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine. He is best known for discovering the cause of narcolepsy.Read More
Doing your taxes as a graduate student or a postdoc often feels like wading through a murky pond with a blindfold on. You might make it to the other side, but only after stepping into holes and getting yourself tangled in vines and covered in mud. And then you're left wondering how long it's going to take that tadpole in your boot to grow into a frog.Read More