Recently scientists have been exploring part of the brain that has been relatively unexplored in learning–white matter, comprising half of the human brain. Here new research is detecting cellular changes during learning that are entirely different from the synaptic changes between neurons in gray matter. A new study shows that learning a new motor skill requires generation of new myelin, the electrical insulation on nerve axons.
Nita Farahany, Professor of Law and Philosophy at Duke University is a leading scholar on the ethical implications of biosciences and emerging technologies. She joined us to discuss how neuroscience is currently being used in the courtroom. We also talked about potential issues brought by emerging technologies on the invasion of privacy for individuals. Continue reading
On September 23, 1976, while the nation’s attention was focused on the battle between Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter for President of the United States, a 42-year-old woman half way around the world was engaged in a personal battle. Outside the limelight of world view, her struggle for life in a remote third world country marked the crossing of a threshold for our species. Continue reading
We are constantly hearing about 3D printing in the media. Whether people are making 3D-printed cars, guns, or even organs, this technology is becoming wild with the thousands of different applications. My new favorite: a 3D printed brain. Continue reading
Didn’t sleep well last night? Your immune system may be in overdrive today, starting or continuing a cascade of stressors that could spell ill for your body and brain. Continue reading
What is optogenetics and how is it used to determine the contribution of brain areas to normal and dysfunctional behaviors? We discuss with Kay Tye, Assistant Professor of Neuroscience at MIT. Continue reading
On the second day of classes, I polled my students to find out how many had taken the #ALSIceBucketChallenge. About half of them raised their hands; the other half looking on either smugly (they hadn’t done it…yet) or embarrassed (they had done it, but they didn’t want to admit it).