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. older person watching TV
    Health & Medicine

    Watching hours of TV is tied to verbal memory decline in older people

    The more television people age 50 and up watched, the worse they recalled a list of words in tests years later, a study finds.

  2. young plasma bags
    Health & Medicine

    The FDA says don’t buy young plasma therapies. Here’s why

    Infusions of plasma from young people may hold the secret of youth, but there’s not much evidence to support the idea yet.

  3. rat eating

    Brain cells combine place and taste to make food maps

    A select group of brain cells responds to both flavor and location, a specialty that may help an animal find the next good meal.

  4. neural activity
    Health & Medicine

    Brain-zapping implants that fight depression are inching closer to reality

    Researchers are using electric jolts to correct the faulty brain activity that sparks depression.

  5. illustration of brain activity

    Brain scans decode an elusive signature of consciousness

    Newly described patterns of brain activity may help reveal the level of awareness in people with brain injuries.

  6. pregnant women sitting
    Health & Medicine

    In the third trimester, a pregnant woman’s sense of personal space grows

    Women’s sense of personal space grows to accommodate a larger belly during pregnancy, a small study suggests.

  7. gingipains

    No, we don’t know that gum disease causes Alzheimer’s

    A recent study linked gum disease and Alzheimer’s disease, but the results are far from conclusive.

  8. person snoozing in a hammock

    Rocking puts adults to sleep faster and makes slumber deeper

    People sleep better when their beds are gently rocked, a small study finds.

  9. brain illustration

    The cerebellum may do a lot more than just coordinate movement

    A study in mice finds that the cerebellum helps control social behavior, a result that has implications for autism and schizophrenia.

  10. nerve cells

    New ways to image and control nerve cells could unlock brain mysteries

    Methods that target single nerve cells in mice and fruit fly brains are starting to tease apart the brain’s complexity.

  11. nerve cells

    Nerve cells from people with autism grow unusually big and fast

    In some forms of autism, nerve cells develop faster than normal, possibly setting the stage for the disorder, a study finds.

  12. young boy with a tummy ache
    Health & Medicine

    Probiotics don’t help puking kids, two large trials suggest

    Parents might want to spend their money on ginger ale and Jell-O instead.