The Taste of Thanksgiving

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!

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Posted in Aging, Brain Development, by Douglas Fields, Chemicals, Diet and Exercise, Diseases & Disorders, Mood, Neuroanatomy, Senses and Perception, Sensing, Thinking & Behaving
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Why No One Helped

On Saturday, July 4, 2015, a horrifying bloodbath erupted before the eyes of passengers on the Red Line Metro subway train heading to Fourth of July festivities in Washington, DC. Wide-spread criticism in the press and social media erupted over the “apathetic” response of onlookers who reportedly said or did nothing to help the victim. But from the perspective of brain science, this scornful criticism is misguided.

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Posted in Awareness and Attention, by Douglas Fields, Evolution, Mood, Neural Network Function, Neuroanatomy, Psychiatric Disorders, Senses and Perception, Stress and Anxiety
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Humpback whale

Big Brains/Little Brain: Whale Brains Provide Clues to Cognition

A fascinating report on NPR by science correspondent Jonathan Hamilton yesterday (March 16, 2015) tells the story of Jonathan Keleher, a rare individual born with a major portion of his brain missing:  the cerebellum.  The name in Latin means “little brain,” because the cerebellum sits separately from the rest of the brain looking something like a woman’s hair bun. Neuroscientists have long understood that the cerebellum is important for controlling bodily movements, by making them more fluid and coordinated, but researchers have also long appreciated that cerebellum does much more.  Exactly what these other functions are, have always been a bit mysterious.

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Posted in Animal Research, by Douglas Fields, Evolution, Learning and Memory, Mood, Movement, Movement Disorders, Neuroanatomy, Senses and Perception
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NEURO.tv Episode 12 – Optogenetics and anxiety-related behaviors, with Kay Tye.

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

Posted in About Neuroscience, Across the Lifespan, Authors, Brain Basics, by Steven Miller, Cell Communication, Mood, Neural Network Function, Neuroanatomy, Sensing, Thinking & Behaving, Stress and Anxiety, Technologies
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