Reader Ella asks: “I read a theory that while dreaming, the brain cannot invent new people out of nowhere. Instead, the brain shows people we've seen while awake, or combines a mix of previously-seen physical features to create a "new" person. How would you prove/disprove this theory? Why does the brain do this?”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
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
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
What do psychosis, psychedelics and sleep deprivation have in common? They make you really bad at perceiving visual illusions…and really good at hallucinating.
Driven by bewilderment, a hunch, and a sense of purpose, I set out to determine how sleep deprivation causes visual hallucinations. My quest turned up a key paper (written entirely in German), a new hypothesis and a vow to get more sleep. Below is an exposition of my journey, beginning about a decade ago.Read More
"How can the brain think that the brain itself hurts (e.g., during a headache)? Are headaches and migraines (excluding secondary headaches) essentially psychosomatic in nature?"
Before I answer your question, I need to say one important thing: ouch!
That’s right – as I sat down at my keyboard to answer your question, I stubbed my toe quite painfully on my desk. Fortunately, this is a great time to explain how the brain processes pain, which will help answer your question.Read More