Neurolaw: Combining Neuroscience and Criminal Justice

he number of U.S. judicial opinions citing neuroscience more than doubled in the seven years from 2005 to 2012, according to an analysis in the Journal of Law and the… Read more

The inescapable nightmare of fatal familial insomnia

A family curse During the early 1980’s, an Italian physician was investigating a mysterious and dreadful disease that had long plagued his family. In earlier generations, this disease had killed… Read more

Bite-size science: Cell replacement therapy for Parkinson’s Disease

In Parkinson’s Disease, specific cells in the brain die. Over time, this makes basic movements like walking and reaching for a cup impossible. Researchers are racing to find effective treatments.… Read more

High Fat Diet May Prevent Sudden Death in Epilepsy

he human brain consists of highly complex circuitry which is wired to elicit a synchronous pattern of electrical signals. This allows for communication between differing regions of the brain. When… Read more

Lighting Up The Brain With Optogenetics

Scientists studying pond scum discovered its peculiar ability to sense light, even without eyes. This discovery would eventually lead to a technique called optogenetics, one of the most powerful techniques… Read more

Schizophrenia in a Vial? The Story of Ketamine

Note: Ketamine is a controlled substance in the US and many other countries. Do not use ketamine illicitly. magine an injection that briefly gives you schizophrenia. Now imagine that this… Read more

The Quest for a Successful TBI Treatment

military veteran who survived a gunshot wound to the head suffers from frequent seizures and memory problems. A motorcycle crash survivor experiences chronic depression and is unable to hold a… Read more

The Past and Promise of Deep Brain Stimulation

In the early 1980s, a few batches of contaminated synthetic heroin triggered severe Parkinson’s disease symptoms among the drug addicts who used it. The tragedy would lead to a new… Read more

The Ultimate Thought Experiment Part III: Flowers for Algernon

In Part II of this series, we considered artificial intelligent in the context of Arthur C. Clarke’s novel and Stanley Kubrik’s film 2001: A Space Odyssey. In Space Odyssey, intelligence… Read more

The Ultimate Thought Experiment Part I: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Let’s imagine something crazy. What if each person in China was ordered to simulate a neuron in a brain, making an enormous “China brain?” Every participant in this grand experiment… Read more

Can Neuroscience Explain the Mandela Effect?

Would you trust a memory if it felt as real as all your others? And other people confirmed they remember it, too? What if the memory turned out to be… Read more

Mental Health is a Part of Health: A Conversation with Shekhar Saxena

In a recent presidential town hall, President Obama looked directly into the camera and made a powerful statement about mental health. “If something inside you feels like it’s wounded, it’s… Read more

Copy Number Variants: A Window into Psychiatric Illness

The human genome consists of nearly 25,000 protein-coding genes – and a mutation in just one of these can have dramatic effects on our brains.  Remarkably, one tiny change in… Read more

An Interview with Steve Silberman, Author of NeuroTribes

Ten minutes before I was scheduled to begin my interview with celebrated writer Steve Silberman, I still had not figured out which questions I wanted to ask him.  Staring down… Read more

The Fugue of Life: Why Complexity Matters in Physiology and Neuroscience

People like simplicity. Each decade, corporate logos grow progressively minimalistic, pop songs use ever simpler melodies, and visual art embraces simpler compositions, as Monet gives way to Picasso and Picasso… Read more

Melatonin: An Old Hormone with New Tricks

Melatonin: you’ve undoubtedly seen it in the supplement aisle at the drugstore…that natural sleep remedy your aunt recommended once, sounding vaguely like a portmanteau of mellow and serotonin.  But between… Read more

(Transneuronal) Attack of the Mutant Huntingtin!

Huntington’s disease (HD) is an incredibly debilitating neurodegenerative disorder. Currently, there is no treatment that effectively reverses the progression of the disease or delays its onset. Huntington’s is a particularly… Read more

The Split Brain: Making Two Hemispheres Whole

Admit it!  You’ve taken one of those online quizzes to see if you’re more “right-brained” or “left-brained.”  Too bad it’s all bunk!    Popular culture would have you believe that creative… Read more

Decoding the Brain’s “Low Fuel” Signal

The human body is an efficient model to explore the popular theory of supply and demand.  When you physically exert yourself, your bioenergetic “supply” is down, so you feel hungrier… Read more

Reconciling the Past with Pills: A New Approach to PTSD Treatment

Over a lifetime, the human brain stores countless memories.  Some are mundane and practical, others are subjective, and some influence our thinking and behaviour.  Not all of them are good.… Read more

The Tenets of Tauists

For the labs working tirelessly to understand the underpinnings of Alzheimer’s disease, there are often two camps: BAPtists and tau-ists.  … Read more

Tangerines, Tomatoes, and Neuroinflammation! Oh My!

While we are still in the midst of the flu season, we all try to stay as healthy as possible by consuming large quantities of Vitamin C.  Whether it’s chewable… Read more

Reverse Inference: Neuroscience’s Greatest Fallacy?

The recent unveiling of the BRAIN Initiative promised a greater understanding of cognition through improved imaging techniques.  However, the biggest problem in neuroscience is not the limits of technology, but… Read more

Your Brain Breathes Too

I live in Los Angeles and it’s unfortunate, but true, that the brown cloud of smog hanging over our city is as much an icon of LA as the Hollywood… Read more

The Sum of All Fears… Includes Safety?

Identifying safe or dangerous situations are essential for survival.  A child may be fearful of crossing a road alone, but he will be completely relaxed while crossing the same road… Read more

Repaving Old Roads After Spinal Cord Injury

The World Health Organization estimates that as many as 500,000 people will experience spinal cord injuries (SCI) every year.  Researchers at the Center for Neuroprosthetics and Brain Mind Institute in… Read more

Sweet Dreams or Amyloid Nightmares

Sleep deprivation has become a badge of honor in our modern society.  Competitions break out in coffee shop lines over who is functioning on the least number of Zzzzzs and… Read more

Fatal Attraction: The Cat-and-Mouse Story with a Twist

The beloved classic cartoon “Tom and Jerry” brings amusement and laughter to the young and old alike.  As the house cat Tom attempts to capture the mouse Jerry, we also… Read more

Chromosome Silencing: Turning Off Genes in Down Syndrome

Close your eyes and try to imagine medical treatment in the future.  I envision sophisticated robots wielding lasers that precisely eliminate deadly tumors.  I predict that insight from genome wide… Read more

A World Without Pain

In Northern Pakistan, a ten-year old street performer awed and horrified crowds with his ability to place knives through his arms and walk across burning coals all seemingly without pain.  … Read more

What is Pain?

For many, pain is an indescribably awful feeling that causes suffering and emotional distress.  It is a sensation that is so unpleasant – so unbearable – that most people will… Read more

A Beautiful Mind, A Dysfunctional Synapse

“I felt like I might get divine revelation by seeing a certain number; a great coincidence could be interpreted as a message from heaven.” – John Nash in “A Brilliant… Read more

Genetic Tricks To Reverse Schizophrenic Symptoms

The human brain continues to develop and form new connections from birth until as late as the mid-20s. During this time, billions of connections are made and broken as the… Read more

Magnesium Supplement to Treat Alzheimer’s Disease

The human brain contains roughly eighty-six billion (~10^10) neurons, each of which forms approximately ten thousand (10^4) synaptic connections with other neurons. Therefore, on average, there are one hundred trillion… Read more
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