The cerebellum – the brain’s built-in thought editor?

The cerebellum – the brain’s built-in thought editor?

The choices we make have a massive impact on almost every aspect of our lives, and poor decision-making is a common feature across many neurologic and psychiatric diseases. So it makes sense that neuroscientists have been fascinated by decision-making for a long time, and have sought to undercover what influences our choices, which parts of the brain contribute to a decision, and how different aspects of a choice (for example, the evidence in favor of one option over another, or the value of each potential outcome) are reflected in neural activity.

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Sleeping with the Cavefishes

Sleeping with the Cavefishes

As a graduate student, I would give my right arm to be a fully functioning human being with little to no sleep. Alas, even Aristotle in 350 BCE observed a seemingly simple truth -- all animals sleep. Much to the frustration of sleep scientists, we still do not fully understand why we need sleep or why there is so much variation between species in sleep behavior. We are, however, beginning to gain an understanding of what may be regulating sleep and how it may have evolved over time, in some cases even making use of unusual model organisms such as Astyanax mexicanus, or the Mexican cavefish.

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New in Neuroscience: How do different mutations in the same gene contribute to different neurological disorders?

New in Neuroscience: How do different mutations in the same gene contribute to different neurological disorders?

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.

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