Life is a continuum of learning motor skills to achieve goals. At a young age, children learn how sit up, walk, jump, and then cut with scissors. Later, they may learn how to play soccer or piano, but they will probably not be as proficient as professional athletes and musicians unless they dedicate their lives to perfecting that skill. So, how does practice make us more perfect? Here are suggested guidelines for efficient motor skill learning that neuroscience studies have proposed.Continue reading
What do you do when you take a break from work? In your leisure time, what is something that you routinely find yourself doing? What is your default solution to the eternal problem of boredom?
What if I told you that your choice of leisure time activity is linked to how you may handle memory loss when you get older?Continue reading
Have you ever wondered how the social experiences you had early in life affected the way your brain developed? How was your cerebral architecture influenced by the games of ‘peek-a-boo’ your parents played with you as a toddler or the exciting games of hide-and-seek you played with the neighborhood kids? How would we be different if we were deprived of these experiences due to parental neglect or social isolation? Is it possible that early life experiences shaped the way we perceive the world in adulthood, as well as determined our capacity to learn and remember? And if so, what are the physical substrates for these processes?Continue reading
Your brain is able to store massive amounts of memories throughout your lifetime. There are cases, however, in which this ability progressively degrades and eventually disappears, giving way to problems with thinking, reasoning, and remembering. When these symptoms occurs faster than normal aging, it is termed dementia. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common form of brain function loss, and its neuropathology are summarized here.Continue reading
Based on the recent statistics, one in eight individuals over the age of 65 has Alzheimer’s disease, and for every 68 seconds that pass, yet another individual in the United States develops the disease.Continue reading
More than a decade has passed since President Clinton first announced that the human genome project was successfully completed:
We are here to celebrate the completion of the first survey of the entire human genome. Without a doubt, this is the most important, most wondrous map ever produced by human kind.
Have you been at a restaurant and heard a bell ring in the kitchen to notify servers that a plate of food was ready to be served? Most likely, hearing that bell made you feel stomach growl; you probably salivated at the thought of the server bringing that plate of food to your table! How does the sound of this bell bring out such feeling and behavior?Continue reading
As a student, I have admittedly entertained the idea of learning by osmosis. Who wouldn’t want to catch some shut-eye with a textbook as your pillow and absorb all its information overnight? How many hours of studying would you save if you could listen to your Spanish language lessons while you sleep, and wake up speaking fluently?Continue reading
How many neural processes are going on within your body as you read this sentence? The answer to this question is hard to fathom, I know, but give it a shot. Try to imagine all the physiological events that are being controlled by your nervous system at this very moment. Our nervous systems control a dizzying array of sensory, motor, and cognitive processes simultaneously, without us granting them “permission” to do so. In fact, most of our neural functions require no mental energy on our part whatsoever! For this reason, it is extremely easy to take these basic processes for granted. However, if we were to witness the suffering of an individual with multiple sclerosis, we might begin to appreciate these things a little more.Continue reading
Our bodies possess unique and amazing capabilities for self-healing and repair. Time and again, we have witnessed (or experienced first-hand) someone with a broken bone injury. After some medical intervention, it’s just a matter of time as a “natural healing process” occurs in the bone. It almost sounds magical.Continue reading
If you think about it, most of our daily lives revolve around food: when our next meal will be, what it will be, and how yummy it will be! Evolutionarily, these have been essential thoughts for our survival, so that when we find food, we are compelled to eat as much as we can. Not only does this ensure that we get all our necessary nutrients, but it also keeps competitors from stealing our meals.Continue reading
My answer is YES, all the time, no exceptions! Do you remember when Miranda from “Sex and the City” was so addicted to chocolate cake that even after she threw it away, she pulled a piece of cake out of the trashcan and ate it? No doubt we have all had a moment when we knew we should stop but it was impossible to resist even when we are not hungry! So, why do we indulge in sweets? Is it because of our emotions, or is it due to chemicals in our brains?Continue reading