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… Leer más

Smells Like Teen Synapses: A Look Inside Adolescent Brains and Behaviors

“I would there were no age between sixteen and three-and-twenty, or that youth would sleep out the rest; for there is nothing in the between but getting wenches with child,… Leer más

The Departure of Skill Memories from Motor Cortex: Deeper Directions for Neuroscience

You probably have certain skills that I don’t.  Each of us, having spent enough time practicing something new, can become an expert.  A simple, ubiquitous example is driving a car… Leer más

Science Advocacy on Capitol Hill: Bridging the Legislative Gap to Medical Research Funding

Last Thursday, September 17th I had the privilege of joining over 300 organizations including patients, physicians and fellow researchers in the Rally for Medical Research on Capitol Hill. Now in… Leer más

Messing with the ‘Flip-Flop’ Switch: Why Getting Sick Makes You Sleepy

We all know how it feels to be sick.  The fatigue, increased sleep, and general malaise that accompany a cold are the primary reasons people stay bedridden when ill.  Even… Leer más

The emotional mechanics of the robot-human interaction

First impressions are pivotal.  While reading another person’s cues, an abridged version of them forms as we draw on complex social inferences in merely seconds of interaction.  That is, if… Leer más

Memory Hack: Manipulating the Brain’s Memory Cache

Imagine having a memory that haunts you, sneaks into your daily thoughts and turns over on itself in your dreams.  Escape seems impossible.  Now imagine you are injected with a… Leer más

What Zebrafish Teach Us About Touch

Unlike the sense of vision, which is perceived only by light-sensitive photoreceptors in our eyes, the mechanoreceptors that respond to light touch are located in sensory neurons all over the… Leer más

Inhibitory Neurons: Keeping the Brain’s Traffic in Check

Imagine that you’re driving down a road undeterred, no red lights or stop signs to slow you down. While that may seem like a very exciting idea, it is obviously… Leer más

Visual Pinwheels

When you look at an object, like the picture above, there are many features your brain has the task of processing.  Color, texture, and position in space to name a… Leer más

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.… Leer más

Mapping the Information Highway in the Brain

It’s hard to imagine life without Google Maps nowadays.  We use the interactive map daily to find out how to get from point A to point B.  Wouldn’t it be… Leer más

A Piece of Licorice a Day Keeps the Doctor Away?

Turns out that tub of black licorice you got from Costco, and managed to eat in only a few days (don’t worry, I won’t tell anybody!), might have actually done… Leer más

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… Leer más

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… Leer más

Don’t Remember Your Baby Days? Blame New Neurons!

Think back to when you were two years old.  Think HARD.  Anything? If you’re like most people, you’re probably drawing a blank.  Across cultures, adults can’t seem to recall any… Leer más

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… Leer más

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… Leer más

Channeling Your Response to Pain

“Ouch!”  Thanks to our always-alert sensory neurons that provide a spatial sense of self (proprioception) and pain (nociception), we receive an early warning to any noxious stimuli  (think needle prick… Leer más

What Can Songbirds Teach Us About Ourselves?

In my last post, “Vocal Practice is for the Birds” examined one similarity between human and songbird procedural learning: the necessity for practice before performance. Zebra finches sing a series… Leer más

Vocal Practice is for the Birds

Everyone is familiar with the concept of “warming up” before doing some kind of practiced task. For example, a guitar player may play a few scales before a concert, or… Leer más

Retinal Prostheses: Restoring Vision to the Blind

Vision is arguably one of our most important senses.  We rely on it to recognize color, shape, movement, distance, and perspective about the world around us.   Although all parts of… Leer más
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