Human Grid Cells

Grid Cells in rat entorhinal cortex were discovered in the Moser lab in Trondheim, Norway. These cells were first described in a paper in Nature 20051; For the past  8 years these neurons have been objects of intense study. As the New York Times reports, a paper published yesterday in Nature Neuroscience2 indicates rats aren’t the only animals with grid cells; people have them, too. What are grid cells and what is the significance of recording them in humans?

Continue reading

Posted in Animal Research, by John Kubie, Learning and Memory, Neural Network Function
Posted by John Kubie        1 Comment

Left-wing brain, right-wing brain

Are political preferences the product of our biology, our brain, or simply of the environment in which we are educated? In this series of articles cross-posted in French in the Québec version of the Huffington Post, I have a look at the studies that have explored these questions in recent years. Continue reading

Posted in About Neuroscience, Authors, Brain Basics, by Jean-Francois Gariepy, In Society, Neural Network Function, Neuroanatomy, Neuroeconomics, Technologies
Posted by Jean-François Gariépy        2 Comments

NEURO.tv Episode 2

On this episode we have Leanne Boucher from Nova Southeastern University and Nick Spitzer from UCSD. We discuss with Nick about his new discoveries recently published in Science. His article shows how certain neurons switch their neurotransmitters based on exposition of an animal to different schedules of light/dark cycles. You can view the full discussion here, it was fascinating! Continue reading

Posted in About Neuroscience, Across the Lifespan, Animal Research, Authors, Awareness and Attention, Brain Basics, Brain Development, by Jean-Francois Gariepy, by Leanne Boucher, Cell Communication, Chemicals, Diseases & Disorders, Evolution, Mood, Neural Network Function, Neuroanatomy, Sensing, Thinking & Behaving, Stress and Anxiety
Posted by Jean-François Gariépy        Comment

Bad news for city dwellers: Cockroach taste system evolves to evade exterminators

Before moving to London, I lived in New York City, where it was not uncommon to see cockroaches out on the street, and even once in a while in my apartment (and it was clean, I swear!).  Despite an arsenal of poisons and eradication strategies, it seemed like cockroaches were just a part of city life I had to live with. A recent paper in the journal Science has shown that this may be true because cockroaches are quickly evolving to avoid precisely the yummy, sweet-tasting poisoned baits that I was using to keep them out of my kitchen. Continue reading

Posted in Animal Research, by Emily Jordan, Cell Communication, Evolution, Senses and Perception
Posted by Emily Jordan        Comment

Will We Ever Understand the Mind?

Beyond the Brain, David Brooks’ op ed in today’s NY Times (June 18), argues that Neuroscience will never explain everything. According to Brooks

The brain is not the mind. It is probably impossible to look at a map of brain activity and predict or even understand the emotions, reactions, hopes and desires of the mind.

While his conclusion may, or may not, be correct, his argument is flawed from top to bottom.

Continue reading

Posted in About Neuroscience, by John Kubie, Press
Posted by John Kubie        Comment
Squid from the Journal of Neuroscience cover

Nociceptor sensitization in squids.

Pain and the avoidance behaviors it induces are important survival tools for animals, keeping them away from situations that threaten their safety. When we hurt ourselves and feel pain, it is due to nociceptors, which are nerves located throughout our body, for instance in our skin or the surface of our eyes. Nociceptors can be activated mechanically (for instance when a part of skin is cut) and by hot or cold temperatures. They can also be activated by some chemicals, and you might have already experienced it if you ate a meal with chili peppers. Continue reading

Posted in About Neuroscience, Animal Research, Authors, by Jean-Francois Gariepy, Diseases & Disorders, Injury, Senses and Perception, Sensing, Thinking & Behaving
Posted by Jean-François Gariépy        Comment