Based in Corvallis, Oregon, 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. bats

    Mice and bats’ brains sync up as they interact with their own kind

    The brain activity of mice and bats aligns in social settings, a coordination that may hold clues about how social context influences behavior.

  2. parent combing child's wet hair looking for lice and nits
    Health & Medicine

    When fighting lice, focus on kids’ heads, not hats or toys

    Learning a little about lice makes for a more efficient battle against the bugs.

  3. Health & Medicine

    Extra fingers, often seen as useless, can offer major dexterity advantages

    Two people born with six fingers on each hand can control the extra digit, using it to do tasks better than five-fingered hands, a study finds.

  4. person dreaming

    A new experiment didn’t find signs of dreaming in brain waves

    Brain activity that powers dreams may reveal crucial insight into consciousness, but a new study failed to spot evidence of the neural flickers.

  5. girl writing on chalkboard
    Health & Medicine

    Being bilingual is great. But it may not boost some brain functions

    A large study of U.S. bilingual children didn’t turn up obvious benefits in abilities to ignore distractions or switch quickly between tasks.

  6. teen jail
    Health & Medicine

    A cognitive neuroscientist warns that the U.S. justice system harms teen brains

    The U.S. justice system holds adolescents to adult standards, and puts young people in situations that harm their development, a researcher argues.

  7. measles infection
    Health & Medicine

    Measles erases the immune system’s memory

    The measles virus can usher in other infections for months, or even years.

  8. older person with dementia
    Health & Medicine

    A mysterious dementia that mimics Alzheimer’s gets named LATE

    An underappreciated form of dementia that causes memory trouble in older people gets a name: LATE.

  9. grid of electrodes
    Health & Medicine

    A neural implant can translate brain activity into sentences

    With electrodes in the brain, scientists translated neural signals into speech, which could someday help the speechless speak.

  10. kratom supplements

    The herbal supplement kratom comes with risks

    The supplement kratom can cause heart racing and agitation.

  11. pig brain cells

    Dead pig brains bathed in artificial fluid showed signs of cellular life

    Four hours after pigs died, the animals’ brain cell activity was restored by a sophisticated artificial system.

  12. nerve cells
    Health & Medicine

    Ketamine cultivates new nerve cell connections in mice

    In mice, ketamine prods nerve cells to connect, which may explain the hallucinogenic drug’s ability to ease depression.