Posts Tagged ‘biochemistry’

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“2013’s Nobel Prize Winners” — Podcast 11: James Rothman, Randy Schekman & Thomas Südhof

On Episode 11 of The Connectome Podcast, I’m joined by all three of 2013’s Nobel Prize winners in the Physiology/Medicine category — James Rothman, Randy Schekman and Thomas Südhof! All three of these guys contributed crucial pieces to a longstanding puzzle: How, exactly, do our brain cells communicate with each other? See, biologists had known […]

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Deciphering Sleep: Our Interview with David Rye

Why do we need to sleep? In all of human biology, few questions are more persistent – or more mythologized – than this one. Almost as puzzling as sleep itself are sleep disorders like narcolepsy and insomnia, which make us wonder why some of us need so much more sleep than others do. David Rye, […]

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The Listeners from Below

Deep within your brain, they are listening. In still silence, they await signals from afar – dim echoes of distant calls. And when they hear what they’ve been waiting for… they will awaken. They are known as neural stem cells – and not only are they real; researchers have just made some major discoveries about […]

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Aliens in the Lab

Researchers are creating new lifeforms that are chemically unrelated to any other life on earth. In fact, for the first time ever, scientists in Japan have built an artificial synapse, from the molecules up. What?! How can this be? Read on, intrepid voyager of the unknown, and discover for yourself. The basic idea is that […]

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Prometheus Unbound

What would you do if you could feel any way you wanted, at will? I’m not just talking about mind-hacks for calming yourself down or getting motivated. I mean, what if you could become drunk, instantly, just by deciding to – and then completely sober up at a moment’s notice? What if tripping on mescaline […]

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3 Popular Neuroscience Ideas…That Aren’t Really True

Like science? Sure – we all do. And you like to stay informed about it – but it’s not like you’re going to set aside hours of your time for studying scholarly journals, when you could be…eating ham, or whatever it is you enjoy doing. And who could blame you? Science journals don’t have that […]

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Reward Lasers

Our ability to feel pleasure in rewarding situations depends on a delicate balance of two specific types of brain circuits, a new study reports. By using targeted lasers to activate specific cells in a mouse brain, researchers can disrupt and reactivate small sections of that brain’s reward pathway, causing mice to drastically change their behavior. […]

Neuroscience Friends!

I’ve just returned from a thrilling weekend at the BIL Conference in Long Beach, California (yes, the pun on “TED” is very intentional) where I met all kinds of smart, fun people – including lots of folks who share my love for braaaiiins! So I thought I’d introduce you guys to some of the friends […]

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Beyond Perfection

If you continue to practice a skill even after you’ve achieved mastery of it, your brain keeps learning to perform it more and more efficiently, says a new study. As we perform a task – say, dunking a basketball or playing a sweet guitar lick – over and over again, we eventually reach a point […]

The Memory Master

A gene that may underlie the molecular mechanisms of memory has been identified, says a new study. The gene’s called neuronal PAS domain protein 4 (Npas4 to its friends). When a brain has a new experience, Npas4 leaps into action, activating a whole series of other genes that modify the strength of synapses – the connections […]

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