The Zika virus is a global health threat. Despite renewed urgency because of the evidence suggesting that Zika causes birth defects, science has known of the virus for some time. It’s a deadly and debilitating virus for some newborns, so it’s important to have an accurate picture of the science behind it, the risks of infection and how it affects developing brains. Continue reading
A neuroscience demonstration.
At the east end of the University of Arizona’s 7.5 acre grass mall is a Carolina sphinx moth fit snug in a blue plastic tube with its insect head sticking out. Two electrodes, one placed on the left eye and the other in a tiny clear plastic tube surrounding the moth’s right antenna. The electrodes are hooked up to a portable screen that displays the measured electrical activity of the moth’s antenna. Each antenna houses a quarter million primary sensory neurons that allow the moth to sense its environment. In this case, the environment happens to be engulfed in the smoky smell of barbecued ribs coming from the BrushFire’s BBQ co. tent next door. Continue reading
Why does the brain look so weird?
Tennis star Maria Sharapova has admitted to using the performance-enhancing drug meldonium, which boosts brain and body power and endurance. Here’s how it works.
I took a sip of sugary Coke and was struck by a hideous intense blast of aluminum. I rushed to the sink and spit out the tainted drink. Poison! What’s wrong with this Coke! I took another tentative sip. I was slammed again by the overwhelming metallic taste. I spat out the poison by rapid reflex. This can of Coke must have been contaminated during manufacturing! Or, had the likes of the Tylenol Killer switched to soft drinks? Then I remembered. . . the taste of Thanksgiving and mountain climbing!
The California Fish and Game Commission has banned crab fishing until further notice after detecting high levels of a neurotoxin in Dungeness and rock crabs. The toxin, domoic acid, is produced by certain types of planktonic algae, and it becomes concentrated in tissue of crabs and other marine organisms during plankton blooms. People who consume sufficient quantities of the toxin develop amnesic shellfish poisoning, so named because it kills neurons in a part of the brain that is critical for memory. Here’s how it works.