The Fugue of Life: Why Complexity Matters in Physiology and Neuroscience
Brain Basics / Did You Know? / Neurological and Psychiatric Disorders

The Fugue of Life: Why Complexity Matters in Physiology and Neuroscience

People like simplicity. Each decade, corporate logos grow progressively minimalistic, pop songs use ever simpler melodies, and visual art embraces simpler compositions, as Monet gives way to Picasso and Picasso gives way Rothko.  This zeitgeist, summarized as “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” shapes our perceptions of physiology in interesting ways.  The thumping of a beating … Continue reading

Melatonin: An Old Hormone with New Tricks
Did You Know? / Neurological and Psychiatric Disorders / Sleep

Melatonin: An Old Hormone with New Tricks

Melatonin: you’ve undoubtedly seen it in the supplement aisle at the drugstore…that natural sleep remedy your aunt recommended once, sounding vaguely like a portmanteau of mellow and serotonin.  But between the occasional internet medical forum and your would-be pharmacist aunt, how much do you really know about this sandman hormone? Melatonin is an ancient, multipurpose … Continue reading

(Transneuronal) Attack of the Mutant Huntingtin!
Did You Know? / Movement / Neurological and Psychiatric Disorders

(Transneuronal) Attack of the Mutant Huntingtin!

Huntington’s disease (HD) is an incredibly debilitating neurodegenerative disorder. Currently, there is no treatment that effectively reverses the progression of the disease or delays its onset. Huntington’s is a particularly difficult diagnosis because it is an autosomal dominant degenerative disease, meaning that any child of an affected parent has a 50% chance of inheriting the … Continue reading

The Split Brain: Making Two Hemispheres Whole
Brain Basics / Neurological and Psychiatric Disorders / Popular Articles / Sensation and Perception

The Split Brain: Making Two Hemispheres Whole

Admit it!  You’ve taken one of those online quizzes to see if you’re more “right-brained” or “left-brained.”  Too bad it’s all bunk!    Popular culture would have you believe that creative and artistic people are right-brain dominated, while logical, methodical, and analytical people are left-brain dominated.    The fact of the matter is that you … Continue reading

Decoding the Brain’s “Low Fuel” Signal
Neuro News / Neurological and Psychiatric Disorders

Decoding the Brain’s “Low Fuel” Signal

The human body is an efficient model to explore the popular theory of supply and demand.  When you physically exert yourself, your bioenergetic “supply” is down, so you feel hungrier as your system “demands” more food.  In much the same way, the neurons in your brain are busy firing action potentials, and their bioenergetic fuel … Continue reading

Reconciling the Past with Pills: A New Approach to PTSD Treatment
Learning and Memory / Neuro News / Neurological and Psychiatric Disorders

Reconciling the Past with Pills: A New Approach to PTSD Treatment

Over a lifetime, the human brain stores countless memories.  Some are mundane and practical, others are subjective, and some influence our thinking and behaviour.  Not all of them are good. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) encompasses intrusive traumatic memories, which dictate behavior.  Currently, PTSD is treated with antidepressants and cognitive therapy, but it is often treatment … Continue reading

The Tenets of Tauists
Learning and Memory / Neuro News / Neurological and Psychiatric Disorders

The Tenets of Tauists

For the labs working tirelessly to understand the underpinnings of Alzheimer’s disease, there are often two camps: BAPtists and tau-ists.  The former subscribe to the beta amyloid cascade hypothesis that implicates amyloid plaque deposition as the primary culprit in causing memory loss and degeneration.  In this model, neuronal cell loss and axonal transport problems associated … Continue reading