Laura Sanders

Laura Sanders

Senior Writer, Neuroscience

Laura Sanders reports on neuroscience for Science News. She wrote Growth Curve, a blog about the science of raising kids, from 2013 to 2019 and continues to write about child development and parenting from time to time. She earned her Ph.D. in molecular biology from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, where she studied the nerve cells that compel a fruit fly to perform a dazzling mating dance. Convinced that she was missing some exciting science somewhere, Laura turned her eye toward writing about brains in all shapes and forms. She holds undergraduate degrees in creative writing and biology from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, where she was a National Merit Scholar. Growth Curve, her 2012 series on consciousness and her 2013 article on the dearth of psychiatric drugs have received awards recognizing editorial excellence.

All Stories by Laura Sanders

  1. Neuroscience

    Spinal stimulation gives some people with paralysis more freedom

    Methods that stimulate the spine with electrodes promise to improve the lives of people with spinal cord injuries, in ways that go well beyond walking.

  2. Dogs are great sniffers. A newfound nose-to-brain connection helps explain why

    A new anatomical description of how smell works in a dog brain shows why they’re such good sniffers.

  3. Health & Medicine

    5 misunderstandings of pregnancy biology that cloud the abortion debate

    The Supreme Court’s scrapping of Roe v. Wade shifts decisions about related health care to states. Accurate science is often missing in those talks.

  4. Neuroscience

    Glial cells may take on big jobs in unexpected parts of the body

    Scientists are finding mysterious glia in the heart, spleen and lungs and wonder what they’re doing there.

  5. Health & Medicine

    Missing COVID-19 data leave us in the dark about the current surge

    Yankee Candle reviews and wastewater testing offer indirect hints, but we’re “flying blind,” says data expert Beth Blauer of Johns Hopkins University.

  6. Neuroscience

    Headbutts hurt the brain, even for a musk ox

    Though musk oxen are built to bash, a study of the headbutters turned up signs of brain damage. But that may not be catastrophic for the bovids.

  7. Neuroscience

    A very specific kind of brain cell dies off in people with Parkinson’s

    Of out 10 kinds of dopamine-making nerve cells, only one type is extra vulnerable in Parkinson’s disease.

  8. Neuroscience

    Mom’s voice holds a special place in kids’ brains. That changes for teens

    Unfamiliar voices hold special appeal for teens, a sign of a shift from a focus on mostly family to wider networks, brain scans suggest.

  9. Humans

    Where you grew up may shape your navigational skills

    People raised in cities with simple, gridlike layouts were worse at navigating in a video game designed for studying the brain.

  10. Health & Medicine

    What do we mean by ‘COVID-19 changes your brain’?

    The events of our lives are reflected in the size, shape and behavior of our constantly changing brains. The effects of COVID-19 changes aren’t clear.

  11. Neuroscience

    How a scientist-artist transformed our view of the brain

    The book ‘The Brain in Search of Itself’ chronicles the life of Santiago Ramón y Cajal, who discovered that the brain is made up of discrete cells.

  12. Neuroscience

    A hit of dopamine sends mice into dreamland

    New results are some of the first to show a trigger for the mysterious shifts between REM and non-REM sleep in mice.