by Gizem Terzioglufigures by MJ Park Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that affects millions of people worldwide, and despite years of research efforts, there is still no cure. However, recent studies have highlighted the crucial roles of microglia, the resident immune cells of our brain, in the development and progression of Alzheimer’s disease. But the question remains: do microglia defend our brain against … Continue reading Are microglia the hero or the villain in Alzheimer’s disease?
by Cheshta Bhatiafigures by Jasmin Joseph-Chazan Ubiquitous actions that we perform in our daily lives, like tying our shoelaces or playing basketball, rely on our brain’s ability to learn and execute motor skills; this ability to knit movements into a series of actions enables us to walk, dance, or play the piano. However, have you ever wondered why we can improve at these tasks with … Continue reading How do motor behaviors get better with practice?
Animals frightened by a close call with a predator eat less and produce fewer offspring in the future. Continue reading Frightening Interactions with Predators Have Long-Term Impacts on Animal Brain and Behavior
A recent study brings us closer to understanding how and why we sneeze. Continue reading Something to Sneeze at: How Neurons Drive the Sneezing Reflex
by Xiaomeng Han If your best friend Betty told you that she has a sore throat, a runny nose, and has lost her sense of smell or taste, you might immediately recognize the symptoms of COVID-19. But what if she had become very forgetful lately, instead? Recent emerging evidence suggests that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can infect cells in the brain. In fact, … Continue reading An Unexpected Invasion: How SARS-CoV-2 affects the human brain
by Anqi Zhang figures by Yunlong Zhao Cyborgs may sound like science fiction, but the field of brain-machine interfaces has been around for quite some time. If you paid attention to Elon Musk’s brain implant announcement, they are aiming to test the system on a human patient by the end of 2020. In reality, electricity forms the basis of these novel cyborg-like interfaces. Brain cells called … Continue reading Nanowire Army Glances at the Interior of Neurons
As you read this article, you may not be consciously trying to memorize each sentence, but the words do need to stick around temporarily. After all, you have to remember what you just read to understand the full article. This is your working memory, sometimes called “short-term memory,” and it allows us to remember things just long enough to complete a task. Its decline is … Continue reading Need to jog your memory? A zap to the brain could help
They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks – but maybe you can have an old brain grow new neurons. New research published in Nature Medicine has shed some light onto the debated topic of whether adult brains can create new neurons in the hippocampus, the region of the brain that is important in short- and long-term memory consolidation. As you might expect, … Continue reading Old Brain, New Neurons?
Note to the Reader: The following article discusses material of a potentially upsetting nature. While the narrative details are fictional, the ideas and themes—both scientific and personal—are real. Information regarding resources for those in crisis can be found at the end of this article. by Emily Orwell figures by Sean Wilson I’m having one of those days. You know, the type where I accidentally slice my … Continue reading When Everything Hurts: The story of a grad student trying to rise above chronic pain and depression
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