Navigating a 3D World

The brain has an amazing ability to form internal maps of the world around it.  Knowing Neurons has previously written several articles about place cells in the hippocampus and how… Read more

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… Read more

The Smell of the Good Ol’ Days

The innumerable ways in which our parents contribute to our physical and mental identities are as complex as they are fascinating.  From the genetic information they share with us to… 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

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

Can Looking at Food Photos Ruin Your Dinner?

How many advertisements do you see each day?  If you could count them all (billboards, television commercials, sidebar advertisements on your Facebook feed), it would add up to almost 5,000! … Read more

Sleep ‘til you’re Hungry. Eat ‘til you’re Sleepy.

Have you ever tried to go to sleep hungry?  Believe me, it doesn’t work.  You just end up lying in bed, listening to your stomach growl, and dreaming about your… 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

Imaging the Brain with Sculpted Light

Perhaps the biggest goal in neuroscience is to understand how individual neurons interact with each other in both space and time.  The more detailed our understanding of complex neural networks… Read more

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… 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

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… Read more

The Newest Cupid on the Block: Epigenetics

Genes are no different from individuals. Sometimes they behave in a simple, logical way. Other times, they are unpredictable and influenced by their surroundings. The central dogma (DNA to RNA… 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

The Drosophila Odyssey: Spartin Insight into Troyer Syndrome

We are all guilty of cursing at those pesky fruit flies that annoy us as they zip around the room just out of reach of being swatted.  Rarely, it seems,… Read more

From Turkey Comas To New Disease Treatments

Neurodegenerative disorders, like Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s disease, are devastating.  As you can imagine, witnessing the slow and progressive loss of a loved one’s mental and emotional states is an extremely… Read more

You Are Here: Mapping The World With Neurons

“You are here.”  It’s the phrase that you’ll find on almost any map, punctuated with the ubiquitous oversized arrow.  It is the salient mark in a sea of confusing lines,… Read more

Hearing is Believing: Cells that Enable Hearing after Birth

The sense of hearing is a critical part of how we experience life and the world around us. It is so important, in fact, that the ears are fully formed… Read more

Stopping seizures is as simple as turning on a light (and some genetics)

What if you change your mind with the flip of a light switch?  Over the past decade, optogenetics has become an important component of neuroscience research.  By introducing genes that… Read more

Brain Changes for Sculpted, Efficient Memory

While I was growing up, I remember my parents and teachers saying, “Your brain is like a sponge.” Of course, I didn’t understand what they meant, but as cliché as… Read more

What Songbirds Tell Us About Human Nature

Every once in a while, we hear of amazing scientific feats about how some new drug successfully reduces weight without dieting or exercise in monkeys, or how scientists slowed aging… Read more