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  • News

    Brain waves may focus attention and keep information flowing

    We can’t see it, but brains hum with electrical activity. Brain waves created by the coordinated firing of huge collections of nerve cells pinball around the brain. The waves can ricochet from the front of the brain to the back, or from deep structures all the way to the scalp and then back again.

    Called neuronal oscillations, these signals are known to accompany certain mental states....

    03/13/2018 - 13:00 Neuroscience
  • Reviews & Previews

    How biology breaks the ‘cerebral mystique’

    The Biological MindAlan JasanoffBasic Books, $30

    At a small eatery in Seville, Spain, Alan Jasanoff had his first experience with brains — wrapped in eggs and served with potatoes. At the time, he was more interested in finding a good, affordable meal than contemplating the sheer awesomeness of the organ he was eating. Years later, Jasanoff began studying the brain as part of his...

    03/12/2018 - 07:00 Neuroscience, History of Science, Psychology
  • Feature

    Depression among new mothers is finally getting some attention

    On the hormonal roller coaster of life, the ups and downs of childbirth are the Tower of Power. For nine long months, a woman’s body and brain absorb a slow upwelling of hormones, notably progesterone and estrogen. The ovaries and placenta produce these two chemicals in a gradual but relentless rise to support the developing fetus.

    With the birth of a baby, and the immediate expulsion of...

    03/11/2018 - 05:00 Neuroscience, Mental Health
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers muse about memory, magnetic monopoles and more

    Memory lane

    Inspired by flatworm memory experiments from the 1950s, researchers are on the hunt for the elusive engram — the physical mark that a memory leaves on the brain — Laura Sanders reported in “Somewhere in the brain is a storage device for memories” (SN: 2/3/18, p. 22).

    Readers flooded Science News with their thoughts and questions on the topic.

    Elizabeth Elliott...

    03/09/2018 - 10:20 Neuroscience, Animals, Particle Physics
  • News in Brief

    The debate over how long our brains keep making new nerve cells heats up

    Adult mice and other rodents sprout new nerve cells in memory-related parts of their brains. People, not so much. That’s the surprising conclusion of a series of experiments on human brains of various ages first described at a meeting in November (SN: 12/9/17, p. 10). A more complete description of the finding, published online March 7 in Nature, gives heft to the controversial result, as well...

    03/08/2018 - 17:14 Neuroscience
  • News

    Some flu strains can make mice forgetful

    With fevers, chills and aches, the flu can pound the body. Some influenza viruses may hammer the brain, too. Months after being infected with influenza, mice had signs of brain damage and memory trouble, researchers report online February 26 in the Journal of Neuroscience.

    It’s unclear if people’s memories are affected in the same way as those of mice. But the new research adds to...

    02/26/2018 - 13:00 Neuroscience
  • News in Brief

    Babies can recover language skills after a left-side stroke

    AUSTIN, Texas — Babies’ stroke-damaged brains can pull a mirror trick to recover.

    A stroke on the left side of the brain often damages important language-processing areas. But people who have this stroke just before or after birth recover their language abilities in the mirror image spot on the right side, a study of teens and young adults shows. Those patients all had normal language...

    02/18/2018 - 15:45 Neuroscience
  • News

    To hear the beat, your brain may think about moving to it

    If you’ve ever felt the urge to tap along to music, this research may strike a chord.

    Recognizing rhythms doesn’t involve just parts of the brain that process sound — it also relies on a brain region involved with movement, researchers report online January 18 in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. When an area of the brain that plans movement was disabled temporarily, people...

    02/16/2018 - 10:49 Neuroscience, Clinical Trials
  • News

    Cutting off a brain enzyme reversed Alzheimer’s plaques in mice

    Knocking back an enzyme swept mouse brains clean of protein globs that are a sign of Alzheimer’s disease. Reducing the enzyme is known to keep these nerve-damaging plaques from forming. But the disappearance of existing plaques was unexpected, researchers report online February 14 in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

    The brains of mice engineered to develop Alzheimer’s disease were...

    02/14/2018 - 13:12 Health, Neuroscience
  • News

    The wiring for walking developed long before fish left the sea

    View the video

    These fins were made for walking, and that’s just what these fish do — thanks to wiring that evolved long before vertebrates set foot on land.

    Little skates use two footlike fins on their undersides to move along the ocean floor. With an alternating left-right stride powered by muscles flexing and extending, the movement of these fish looks a lot like that of many...

    02/08/2018 - 17:40 Neuroscience, Evolution