Hearing and balance disorders are both permanent, irreversible conditions in humans. In fact, hearing loss is the most common sensory disorder around the world. Normally, sound vibrations are transmitted from an object through the air to your ear. Vibrations of the ear drum cause bones in your middle ear to vibrate. These vibrations then pass into the most inner component of your ear to the hearing organ (cochlea). The most common problem underlying hearing loss and deafness is the irreversible loss of sensory hair cells of the cochlea, the molecular basis of which is poorly understood.Read More
A pair of recent papers challenge a model that has dominated neuroscience for the past two decades, demonstrating the scientific process in action. What we thought were long-range signals guiding axon growth may in fact not be.Read More
Can we "train" or "trick" our brains, through physical therapy or other innovative means, to perform finger movements that we currently cannot perform? Andy Tay tackles this Ask a Neuroscientist question.Read More
A reader asks: Can you explain what the correlation is between our brains, sexual orientation and gender?
Researchers have been trying to solve this problem for decades and encounter countless scientific challenges. In this post, Whitney Heavner summarizes findings from a field exploring whether there is something fundamentally different between the structure and organization of male and female brains.Read More
Humans live under constant sensory assault: wherever you turn, there are new things to see, smell, and hear. How do we learn what is worth paying attention to? Arielle Keller reports on a new study that points to one possible answer in the brain.Read More
In this edition of Ask A Neuroscientist, Dr. Andy Tay tackles the age-old question that has launched a thousand sci-fi stories (and at least one biomedical startup): Is it possible to transplant an old brain into a younger body?Read More
We’ve domesticated animals for as long as we can remember. When you think of domestication, you probably think of companion animals like dogs and cats, work animals like horses and oxen, and meat animals like chickens and cows. Each of these species can be found in many shapes and sizes, due to millennia of selective breeding that strengthened the traits we as humans found useful or desirable.
Today's discussion, though, focuses not on companion, work or meat animals, but on the house mouse, Mus musculus, the most widely-used mammalian genetic model organismRead More
As I watched *Willy Wonky & the Chocolate Factory* for the first time, I sat in awe as the somewhat obnoxious Miss Violet Beauregard chewed the gum of my dreams. Willy Wonka proudly explained that the gum would go through three stages of flavors, starting with ‘tomato soup’, then changing to ‘roast beef and baked potato’, before ending with ‘blueberry pie and ice cream.’ I spent the rest of the afternoon drawing pictures of my favorite foods, imagining the various gum trifectas I could create.
This obsession phase inspired my initial interest in the idea of tricking my extremely picky taste buds, and from then on I found myself constantly wishing for some magical device or food spray to “make veggies taste good”. And although the idea initially seems absurd, ten years later, recent advances in thechnology have shown that the idea of directly manipulating what we taste is more possible than we might think.Read More