People tend to think of memories as deeply personal, ephemeral possessions — snippets of emotions, words, colors and smells stitched into our unique neural tapestries as life goes on. But a strange series of experiments conducted decades ago offered a different, more tangible perspective. The mind-bending results have gained unexpected support from recent studies.
In 1959, James Vernon...
Nerve cells in the brain make elaborate connections and exchange lightning-quick messages that captivate scientists. But these cells also sport simpler, hairlike protrusions called cilia. Long overlooked, the little stubs may actually have big jobs in the brain.
Researchers are turning up roles for nerve cell cilia in a variety of brain functions. In a region of the brain linked to...
News in Brief
Old blood can prematurely age the brains of young mice, and scientists may now be closer to understanding how. A protein located in the cells that form a barrier between the brain and blood could be partly to blame, experiments on mice suggest.
If something similar happens in humans, scientists say, methods for countering the protein may hold promise for treating age-related brain...
In movies, exploring the body up close often involves shrinking to microscopic sizes and taking harrowing rides through the blood. Thanks to a new virtual model, you can journey through a three-dimensional brain. No shrink ray required.
The Society for Neuroscience and other organizations have long sponsored the website BrainFacts.org, which has basic information about how the human...
Improvisation may give jazz artists a creative boost not seen among musicians more likely to stick to the score. Jazz musicians’ brains quickly embrace improvisational surprises, new research on the neural roots of creativity shows.
Neuroscientist Emily Przysinda and colleagues at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn., measured the creative aptitudes of 12 jazz improvisers, 12...
Globs of an inflammation protein beckon an Alzheimer’s protein and cause it to accumulate in the brain, a study in mice finds. The results, described in the Dec. 21/28 Nature, add new details to the relationship between brain inflammation and Alzheimer’s disease.
Researchers suspect that this inflammatory cycle is an early step in the disease, which raises the prospect of being able to...
An astonishing number of things that scientists know about brains and behavior are based on small groups of highly educated, mostly white people between the ages of 18 and 21. In other words, those conclusions are based on college students.
College students make a convenient study population when you’re a researcher at a university. It makes for a biased sample, but one that’s still...
If more nerve cells mean more smarts, then dogs beat cats, paws down, a new study on carnivores shows. That harsh reality may shock some friends of felines, but scientists say the real surprises are inside the brains of less popular carnivores. Raccoon brains are packed with nerve cells, for instance, while brown bear brains are sorely lacking.
By comparing the numbers of nerve cells, or...
Year in Review
There have been hints for years that playing football might come at a cost. But a study this year dealt one of the hardest hits yet to the sport, detailing the extensive damage in football players’ brains, and not just those who played professionally.
In a large collection of former NFL players’ postmortem brains, nearly every sample showed signs of chronic traumatic...
Year in Review
One of the top stories of 2016 quietly exited much of the public’s consciousness in 2017. But it’s still a hot topic among scientists and for good reasons. After Zika emerged in the Western Hemisphere, it shook the Americas, as reports of infections and devastating birth defects swept through Brazil and Colombia, eventually reaching the United States. In a welcome turn, the number of Zika...