Sarah-Jayne Blakemore Discusses the Mysterious Workings of the Adolescent Brain
Brain Development / Did You Know? / Videos

Sarah-Jayne Blakemore Discusses the Mysterious Workings of the Adolescent Brain

What brain regions are employed when we interact with other people?  Cognitive neuroscientist Sarah-Jayne Blakemore explains the “social brain” in her TED talk and sheds light on the complex networks that enable us to evaluate the mental states of other people.  Her research focuses on the development of the social brain during adolescence.  Watch Dr. … Continue reading

Smells Like Teen Synapses: A Look Inside Adolescent Brains and Behaviors
Aging / Brain Development

Smells Like Teen Synapses: A Look Inside Adolescent Brains and Behaviors

“I would there were no age between sixteen and three-and-twenty, or that youth would sleep out the rest; for there is nothing in the between but getting wenches with child, wronging the ancientry, stealing, fighting…” The old shepherd’s thoughts from Shakespeare’s A Winter’s Tale resonate centuries later when we consider examples of stereotypical teenage behavior … Continue reading

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility: Neural Stem Cells
Brain Basics / Brain Development / Did You Know? / SfN 2014

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility: Neural Stem Cells

Stem cells have two characteristic and essential properties: Self-renewal. They can divide to give rise to another stem cell. Potency. They are capable of differentiating into specialized cells. Totipotent cells are stem cells that are capable of differentiating into all cell types in the entire organism. Pluripotent cells are descendant of totipotent cells, and are … Continue reading

Science Fiction, Serendipity and Interneuron Specification: A Conversation with Dr. Gordon J. Fishell
Brain Basics / Brain Development / Interviews with Neuroscientists / SfN 2014

Science Fiction, Serendipity and Interneuron Specification: A Conversation with Dr. Gordon J. Fishell

It is easy to assume that if a car has a gas pedal, it needs to have brakes, and similarly, if our brain has excitatory neurons, it needs inhibition too. For a long time, the field of neuroscience had thought of inhibitory interneurons as the “brakes” of the brain, providing suppression to neuronal activity. However, … Continue reading

What Can Songbirds Teach Us About Ourselves?
Brain Development / Did You Know? / Learning and Memory

What Can Songbirds Teach Us About Ourselves?

In my last post, “Vocal Practice is for the Birds” examined one similarity between human and songbird procedural learning: the necessity for practice before performance. Zebra finches sing a series of introductory notes to prepare before beginning their mating song, much like we warm up before playing an instrument or before an athletic competition. This … Continue reading

Genetic Tricks To Reverse Schizophrenic Symptoms
Brain Development / Learning and Memory / Neuro News / Neurological and Psychiatric Disorders

Genetic Tricks To Reverse Schizophrenic Symptoms

The human brain continues to develop and form new connections from birth until as late as the mid-20s. During this time, billions of connections are made and broken as the brain develops the architecture required for learning, memory, language, emotion and many other brain functions. Disruptions in how the brain forms connections during infancy and … Continue reading