Latest Entries
Ghost in the Machine: The Neuroscience of Consciousness
Brain Basics / Did You Know? / Popular Articles

Ghost in the Machine: The Neuroscience of Consciousness

Some questions cannot be addressed by science.  Like parallel universes, the consciousness of others is not something that can be directly observed, measured, or experienced.  Rene Descartes famously said, “I think, therefore I am.“ a declaration that only knowledge of one’s own consciousness is absolute.  You assume that friends and neighbors have subjective, internal experiences … Continue reading

Intracranial EEG and Mental Time Travel
Learning and Memory / Neuro News / Neuroscience Technologies

Intracranial EEG and Mental Time Travel

A familiar progression of chords blares out of your speakers as the red lights of the surrounding traffic fade into the memory of a dark stage illuminated by pulsing neon lights.  You replace your current discomfort (horrendous traffic!) with the memory of the last concert you attended – reliving the percussive sensory experience and feeling the … Continue reading

Surfing Brainwaves with EEG: A Classic Tool for Recording Temporal Brain Dynamics
Brain Basics / Did You Know? / Neuroscience Technologies / Popular Articles

Surfing Brainwaves with EEG: A Classic Tool for Recording Temporal Brain Dynamics

Pictures are powerful tools for illustrating quantitative data and capturing public interest.  Each year, NASA releases many beautiful images of Martian dunes and distant nebulae which help win public funding.  Likewise, when it comes to grabbing headlines and commanding public attention, noninvasive studies of functional brain activity often do best when they beautifully illustrate said … Continue reading

Keeping Memories Fresh by Keeping Glutamate In Check
Aging / Learning and Memory / Neuro News / Popular Articles

Keeping Memories Fresh by Keeping Glutamate In Check

We are another year older, perhaps a little wiser, and probably more forgetful.  Indeed, making memories is quite a process in the brain: specific synaptic connections are strengthened and new proteins are synthesized.  But as we age, the synapses that make up our memories, such as those in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex, start to … Continue reading

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility: Neural Stem Cells
Brain Basics / Brain Development / Did You Know? / SfN 2014

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility: Neural Stem Cells

Stem cells have two characteristic and essential properties: Self-renewal. They can divide to give rise to another stem cell. Potency. They are capable of differentiating into specialized cells. Totipotent cells are stem cells that are capable of differentiating into all cell types in the entire organism. Pluripotent cells are descendant of totipotent cells, and are … Continue reading

Smooth Move: How GABAergic Interneurons Regulate Skilled Motor Behavior
Movement / Neuro News / SfN 2014

Smooth Move: How GABAergic Interneurons Regulate Skilled Motor Behavior

In early 2014, the American free-solo rock climber Alex Honnold climbed 2,500 feet of limestone without ropes.  The demanding route called El Sendero Luminoso in El Potrero Chico, Mexico required 3 hours of intense concentration and precise movements. One wrong move and the young climber would have fallen thousands of feet with catastrophic consequences. In … Continue reading