Brain Bits, 2/27/16

Welcome to Brain Bits, where I highlight important or interesting recent news in the world of neuroscience. I know guys, I’ve been falling behind in writing full-length posts because I’ve been incredibly busy this semester, but I thought some Brain Bits would at least tide you over for now. In store for today: revolutionizing scientific publishing, how your different senses interact, a new method for studying human brain … Continue reading

Brain Bits, 1/10/16

Welcome to Brain Bits, where I highlight important or interesting recent news in the world of neuroscience. In store for today: recording the activity of an entire moving brain, sensing different types of touch, optogenetics trials in humans, and more!   Neuroscientists have long dreamed of recording the activity of every neuron in the brain at the same time: since everything the brain does is … Continue reading

Brain Bits, 10/24/15

Welcome to Brain Bits, where I highlight important or interesting recent news in the world of neuroscience. In store for today: why every brain cell may be unique, a call for national brain observatories, simulating your brain in a supercomputer, and more!   In 2012, a group of six prominent neuroscientists proposed a large-scale brain mapping project that formed the basis for President Obama’s BRAIN … Continue reading

How Dopamine Helps You Predict the Future

All of us can predict the future. No, we’re not psychic. But we can all learn. At its core, learning is predicting the future based on the past. When something good or bad unexpectedly happens, you learn what events or cues predict that outcome. Your brain is full of predictive associations. For example, I predict that eating a Godiva truffle will lead to several moments … Continue reading

Brain Bits, 9/12/15

Welcome to Brain Bits, where I highlight important or interesting recent news in the world of neuroscience. Today’s Brain Bits are going to be chunkier than usual because there are some really cool recent papers that I want to talk about and actually explain properly. I know, I’ve been away too long! (I’ve turned one of the chunks into a full post for next week, … Continue reading

Brain Bits, 6/21/15

Welcome to Brain Bits, where I highlight important or interesting recent news in the world of neuroscience. This week: sexist comments that went viral, happy thoughts make mice less depressed, why broken DNA can be a good thing, and more!   Well, we might as well start with the story that no one could stop talking about for the last two weeks: Nobel Prize winner Tim … Continue reading

Brain Bits, 5/17/15

Welcome to Brain Bits, where I highlight important or interesting recent news in the world of neuroscience. This week: why you get hangry, how flies fly without getting lost, kicking old professors out of the lab, and more!   Deep in the brain, within a region called the hypothalamus, there are neurons that control eating. These cells, called AGRP neurons, fire when mice are hungry and … Continue reading

Brain Bits, 4/25/15

Welcome to Brain Bits, where I highlight important or interesting recent news in the world of neuroscience. This week: more oxytocin hype, rethinking how our brain controls movement, engineering for neuroscientists, and Newt Gingrich takes a stand on funding science…?!   Just as I finished writing last week’s post about how the hormone oxytocin isn’t really a “love drug”, another oxytocin paper hit the news and triggered a whole new … Continue reading

How Oxytocin Changes Mothers’ Brains

We all know that Nature likes to publish sexy stories. Well, at least we scientists know. For the rest of you, Nature is one of the premier scientific journals that everyone and their mom tries to get their papers published in. The competition is brutal. Not only do you need to have a flawless story (as I’ve discussed before), it usually needs to be sexy, too. … 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