Why do nervous systems use slow voltage changes rather than fast electric currents along wires?

Richard Dawkins used his Twitter account to ask some unanswered questions about biology that he finds fascinating, inviting others to share ideas about hypothetical life forms that may or may not have evolved. By nature, these questions can only be addressed using some degree of speculation, but I find this one particularly interesting and I will attempt to answer it. He asks: Continue reading

Posted in Authors, Brain Basics, by Jean-Francois Gariepy, Cell Communication, Chemicals, Evolution, Neural Network Function, Neuroanatomy, Uncategorized
Posted by Jean-François Gariépy        Comment

Lucy and the 10 Percent Brain Myth

It’s unfair to have Morgan Freeman, with his smooth, deep voice, say it. In the trailer for the upcoming film Lucy, the actor who has played both the President and God addresses an auditorium of students and says, “It is estimated most human beings only use 10 percent of their brain’s capacity…Imagine if we could access 100 percent.” It’s hard not to believe Morgan Freeman. But in this case, he’s wrong. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized
Posted by the Dana Foundation        Comment

Why Girls Like Guys Who Kayak

            She’s checking out your on-line profile. 

            “I am a scientist who enjoys bird watching and canoeing.” 

            “Interesting!” she thinks. 

            Then she scrolls to the next profile; also a scientist:

            “I enjoy white water kayaking, and I study alligators in the wild.” 

            She passes on you with your canoe, and in eager anticipation sends the kayaker an electronic “wink.” 

            This, according to a study by psychologist John Petraitis, is what most women will do, but why?

  Continue reading

Posted in Addiction, Aging, by Douglas Fields, Childhood, Evolution, Psychiatric Disorders, Uncategorized
Posted by Douglas Fields        Comment

DABI Members Win Kavli Prize for Neuroscience

For the star-studded cast who made up two panels at this year’s Kavli Prize award ceremony (available via webcast) at the World Science Festival in New York City today, special significance was attached to the death in November of the Norwegian-born Fred Kavli, the benefactor of 17 institutes in various parts of the world, including five dedicated solely to neuroscience.

Continue reading

Posted in by the Dana Foundation, Learning and Memory, Policymakers, Press, Sensing, Thinking & Behaving, Uncategorized
Posted by the Dana Foundation        Comment

The Lone Wolf Delusion

Anguish grips the country with news of another horrific mass murder.  From local police to the Secret Service, law enforcement worry about the “lone wolf.”  These are individuals with no criminal record, feeling alienated and angry, plotting spectacular murder and violence in secret. “Experts” lament that there is no way to track lone wolf killers, but nothing could be farther from the truth.  The lone wolf is perhaps the easiest of all potential murderers to identify and stop before they act.    Continue reading

Posted in by Douglas Fields, Diseases & Disorders, In Society, Mood, Policymakers, Press, Psychiatric Disorders, Uncategorized
Posted by Douglas Fields        Comment

Lightning in Your Brain

I awoke this morning to a ferocious lightning storm.  The house shook from thunderous booms. The predawn darkness blanched in blazing white flashes.  Lightning is impressive; especially in contrast to the feeble bioelectricity generated by the body’s nerve cells.  Or is that just an illusion?  Neuroscientist Michael Persinger has done some back-of-the-envelope calculations that may surprise you.

Continue reading

Posted in by Douglas Fields, Cell Communication, Educators, Neural Network Function, Neuroanatomy, Neuroeducation, Uncategorized
Posted by Douglas Fields        Comment