Scientists control rat’s movements with their minds

The concept of mind control sounds like something that only exists in sci-fi movies. Until now. Recent work from Zhejiang University on developing a system appears to allow human mind control over the rat’s movements. This “brain-to-brain interface”, or BBI, is achieved by wirelessly coupling the brains of a human operator and a “rat cyborg” and transmitting brain activity in real time. Brain cells communicate … Continue reading Scientists control rat’s movements with their minds

Oral bacteria may be responsible for Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of dementia. It progressively worsens multiple aspects of health over time, from short-term memory loss to behavioral changes to loss of bodily functions. The actual cause of Alzheimer’s is currently unknown. One widely-accepted hypothesis proposes that Alzheimer’s is caused by the accumulation of misfolded proteins in the brain. Unfortunately, many drugs targeting misfolded proteins perform poorly in clinical trials, … Continue reading Oral bacteria may be responsible for Alzheimer’s disease

How Marijuana Exposure Affects Developing Babies’ Brains

As states have begun to legalize marijuana, its use has been more openly discussed. While the effects of other commonly used drugs, such as alcohol, have been studied extensively, the effects of marijuana – especially on developing babies during pregnancy – have been much less studied and less widely publicized. This relative silence from the scientific community has affected the public’s opinion on the safety … Continue reading How Marijuana Exposure Affects Developing Babies’ Brains

‘Pacemaker for the brain’ may help prevent seizures and treat movement disorders

Anyone who has ever been scolded for talking over someone knows that speaking and listening simultaneously is a hard thing to do. Conducting an intelligent conversation requires active listening, understanding the received knowledge, and crafting a meaningful response, which often requires blending the new information with one’s own experiences. On a microscopic scale, each neuron in the brain must do exactly this – listen to … Continue reading ‘Pacemaker for the brain’ may help prevent seizures and treat movement disorders

Just Keep Swimming

When you read a research article, what you see is a finished product. Behind that finished product are countless hours, weeks, months, and likely years of time and effort that went into making that published article. Not only do the experiments take time, but so does setting up and troubleshooting all of the techniques that were used. In science, things rarely work the first time … Continue reading Just Keep Swimming

My Favorite Things

The orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) is an area of the brain located in the prefrontal cortex, which, as its name suggests, is the front part of the brain. The OFC is my favorite area of the brain, partially because it was the first region I studied, but mostly because of its complex role in motivated behaviors. The OFC is comprised of five subregions: medial, ventral, ventrolateral, … Continue reading My Favorite Things

Gad to the Bone

The Ventral Pallidum (VP) is an area of the brain that is part of the Basal Ganglia system. The VP is involved in regulating motivation and reward learning, connected with a variety of other brain regions, including another part of the Basal Ganglia called the Nucleus Accumbens (NAc). The NAc is also heavily implicated in motivation and reward learning, and a large part of the … Continue reading Gad to the Bone

Sweet Serotonin

The Dorsal Raphe Nucleus, or DRN, is an area of the brain located along the midline of the brainstem, which is found towards the back of your brain. The DRN contains the largest number of serotonin-containing neurons, called serotonergic neurons, in the brain. You may recognize serotonin from the drug advertisements on TV, as it is a popular target for treating depression. Unsurprisingly, serotonin is … Continue reading Sweet Serotonin

Clearing Out the Junk: Healthy lifestyle choices boost brain waste disposal

by Benjamin Andreone figures by Nick Lue An apple a day keeps the doctor away, right? From packing in nutrients with a veggie-rich diet, to keeping off body fat through daily exercise, we have been taught our whole lives that healthy lifestyle choices are good for our bodies.  What has been more mysterious, however, is how these same choices affect our minds. Researchers from the … Continue reading Clearing Out the Junk: Healthy lifestyle choices boost brain waste disposal