Brain Bits: Best of 2017*

Welcome to a special year-end Brain Bits! Today I’ll discuss some of my favorite brain-related research from 2017. *Note: “Best of” = random papers that I liked. Apologies to the authors of all the other awesome 2017 papers that are not mentioned here!   How the brain creates an internal compass My favorite neuroscience story of the year was the discovery of the mechanism that … Continue reading

Why It’s Tough to Teach an Old Brain New Tricks

Ever wondered why you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? It’s the same reason why you can’t pick up a new language nearly as fast as your kid, or why your grandparents suck at typing. (Sorry Grandma.) It’s also the reason why sports stars or piano virtuosos are usually folks who have been practicing since they were barely out of the womb. Young brains … Continue reading

Brain Bits, 4/11/15

Welcome to Brain Bits, where I highlight important or interesting recent news in the world of neuroscience. This week: implanting a compass into the brain, creating an encyclopedia of neurons, discovering how our brains learn so many different things, and more!   A new paper in Current Biology demonstrated that blind rats can navigate just as well as sighted rats using a neuroprosthetic compass connected to their … Continue reading

Sex in the Brain: Genes, Hormones, and Evolution

The fact that men and women tend to behave differently is so widely accepted that it’s become a cliche. The subject of hundreds of relationship books and self-help seminars. The constant butt of lame jokes in second tier Sunday cartoons. So, what makes men and women behave differently anyway? Or perhaps you’re first wondering, are there actually innate, biological differences in the behavior of men … Continue reading

Brain Bits, 3/7/15

Welcome to the second installment of Brain Bits, where I highlight important or interesting recent news in the world of neuroscience. This week: how to build a human brain, what female fruit flies do after sex, DIY brain stimulation, and celebrating crappy results.   A hallmark of the human brain is the dramatic enlargement of the neocortex, which is believed to mediate higher-level thought and cognition. Last week a new study in Science … Continue reading