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Neuroscience


Latest significant advancements in neuroscience research. Reporting on the far-reaching impacts of neuroscience on society and humanity.

A Paralyzed Man Used His Mind to Control Two Robotic Arms to Eat Cake

The man sat still in the chair, staring intently at a piece of cake on the table in front of him. Wires protruded from electrode implants in his brain. Flanking him were two giant...

Metasurfaces Open the Door to Telekinesis and Telepathy With Technology

Stranger Things fans will be familiar with this scene: Eleven, a girl with telekinetic powers, stares intently at a Coke can. Without physically touching the can, she completely crushes it using her mind alone. Changing...

What Is It About the Human Brain That Makes Us Smarter Than Other Animals? New Research

Humans are unrivaled in the area of cognition. After all, no other species has sent probes to other planets, produced lifesaving vaccines, or created poetry. How information is processed in the human brain to...

A Critical Immune Protein Helps the Brain Link Memories, and Could Combat Aging

Memories are like scenes in a movie, and the brain is an excellent video editor. Take a normal day as an example. A morning routine—shower, coffee, checking emails—is seamlessly cut into one continuous scene. Other...

The Brain Has a Built-in System to Keep Unwanted Memories Out, Study Finds

We all have memories we’d rather forget. Yet too often they bubble up into our consciousness. That gaffe at work or during an interview? A faceplant after slipping on ice on a first date?...

Scientists Used Brain Scans to See How Magic Mushrooms Battle Depression. Here’s What They Found

For depression, magic mushrooms may indeed be magic. Over the past decade, a slew of pioneering trials found that just one or two doses of psilocybin, the main component in magic mushrooms, rapidly pulls people...

Largest-Ever Collection of Brain Maps Charts How the Brain Changes Over a Lifetime

Our brains are unique snowflakes that change shape throughout our lives. Yet buried underneath individual differences is a common throughline, with the brain growing rapidly during childhood then slowly declining with age. But that’s just...

Brain Implant Allows Locked-In Man to Translate Thoughts Into Written Sentences

ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is devastatingly cruel. As neurons that control movement slowly die off, you lose the ability to walk, speak, and breathe. Your mind remains sharp, but you’re completely locked in, without...

Scientists Use AI to Trace the Origins of Psychedelic Experiences in the Brain

For the past several decades, psychedelics have been widely stigmatized as dangerous illegal drugs. But a recent surge of academic research into their use to treat psychiatric conditions is spurring a shift in public...

New Brain Map Charts Every Component in the Biological Universe

Neurons make up less than half of the brain. Yet when it comes to brain mapping, they get all the limelight. It’s easy to see why: as shockingly powerful mini-processors, neurons and their connections—together dubbed...

Scientists Created Artificial Neurons That Can Make a Venus Flytrap Snap

Getting man-made electronics to interface with the squishy world of biology could open up a host of exciting doors. Now researchers have made a major leap in that direction with an artificial neuron that...

A Spinal Cord Implant Allowed Paralyzed People to Walk in Just One Day

Michel Roccati never thought he’d walk again, much less swim, cycle, or paddle a kayak. A terrifying motorcycle collision in 2017 damaged his spinal cord, leaving him completely paralyzed from the waist down. Yet on...

Everything We See Is a Mash-Up of the Brain’s Last 15 Seconds of Visual Information

Our eyes are continuously bombarded by an enormous amount of visual information—millions of shapes, colors, and ever-changing motion all around us. For the brain, this is no easy feat. On the one hand, the...

Psychedelics Without the Trip Could Be ‘Healing Magic’ for Mental Health

Once counterculture staples, LSD and magic mushrooms are starting to trip out another world: psychiatry. A small—but rapidly growing—group of doctors is embracing the drugs as powerful tools against a myriad of mental demons....

New Research: Memories May Be Stored in the Connections Between Brain Cells

All memory storage devices, from your brain to the RAM in your computer, store information by changing their physical qualities. Over 130 years ago, pioneering neuroscientist Santiago Ramón y Cajal first suggested that the...

The Biggest Brain Maps Ever Created Are Pushing the Frontiers of Neuroscience

Our quest to understand the brain’s connections is a bit like aliens trying to understand Earthlings from outer space. Imagine having to track down every single person and their conversations across different continents, reconstruct...

The ‘Twilight Zone’ Before Deep Sleep Could Boost Your Creativity

Sleep on it. That’s the advice we’ve all heard when challenged with a seemingly impossible dilemma. A new study suggests it’s not just folklore. When over 100 volunteers were given the chance to nap, if...

How AI Is Deepening Our Understanding of the Brain

Artificial neural networks are famously inspired by their biological counterparts. Yet compared to human brains, these algorithms are highly simplified, even “cartoonish.” Can they teach us anything about how the brain works? For a panel at...

New Spiking Neuromorphic Chip Could Usher in an Era of Highly Efficient AI

When it comes to brain computing, timing is everything. It’s how neurons wire up into circuits. It’s how these circuits process highly complex data, leading to actions that can mean life or death. It’s...

Friend or Foe? Single Neurons in the Brain Control Social Interaction, Study Finds

Neurons live in a society, and scientists just found the ones that may allow us to thrive in our own society. Like humans, individual neurons are strikingly unique. Also like humans, they’re constantly in touch...

How Nanotechnology Will Help Us Probe the Brain in Unimaginable Detail

One of the biggest challenges when it comes to probing and manipulating the brain are the blunt tools we have at our disposal. But breakthroughs in nanotechnology could soon change that, say researchers. Neuroscience has...

AI-Powered Brain Implant Eases Severe Depression With a Zap of Electricity

Sarah hadn’t laughed in five years. At 36 years old, the avid home cook has struggled with depression since early childhood. She tried the whole range of antidepressant medications and therapy for decades. Nothing worked....

This Amazing GIF Shows a Million Individual Neurons Firing in a Mouse’s Brain

The brain is the center of every human being's world, but many of its inner workings are yet mysterious. Slowly, scientists are pulling back the veil. Recently, for example, researchers have created increasingly intricate maps...

When Did Humans Start Experimenting With Alcohol and Drugs?

Humans constantly alter the world. We fire fields, turn forests into farms, and breed plants and animals. But humans don’t just reshape our external world—we engineer our internal worlds, and reshape our minds. One way...

New Study Finds a Single Neuron Is a Surprisingly Complex Little Computer

Comparing brains to computers is a long and dearly held analogy in both neuroscience and computer science. It’s not hard to see why. Our brains can perform many of the tasks we want computers to handle...

New Research Shows How Dopamine Plays a Key Role in Consciousness

Consciousness is arguably the most important scientific topic there is. Without consciousness, there would after all be no science. But while we all know what it is like to be conscious—meaning that we have...

Can Consciousness Be Explained by Quantum Physics? New Research

One of the most important open questions in science is how our consciousness is established. In the 1990s, long before winning the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics for his prediction of black holes, physicist...

Treating the Brain Through the Stomach: Tweaking the Gut Microbiome Slowed ALS in Mice

Ask any neuroscientist 20 years ago if gut bug excrement could slow down an untreatable brain disease, and they’d brush off the idea without a second thought. Yet the gut-brain connection has emerged as one...

A Neuron’s Sense of Timing Encodes Information in the Human Brain

We like to think of brains as computers: A physical system that processes inputs and spits out outputs. But, obviously, what’s between your ears bears little resemblance to your laptop. Computer scientists know the intimate...

How Virtual Reality Unveiled a Unique Brain Wave That Could Boost Learning

As the rats ran down a short balance beam, stopping occasionally to poke their noses at a water fountain, their brains knew something was off. Inside the hippocampus, a brain region that documents the stories...

A New Brain Implant Automatically Detects and Kills Pain in Real Time

Chronic pain is like a horror movie monster that sneaks up on you. It’s unpredictable, lingers silently, and when it strikes it’s often too late to tame. More diabolically, our best weapon against it—pain...

Is It Time to Give Up on Consciousness as ‘the Ghost in the Machine’?

As individuals, we feel that we know what consciousness is because we experience it daily. It’s that intimate sense of personal awareness we carry around with us, and the accompanying feeling of ownership and...

Google and Harvard Unveil the Largest High-Resolution Map of the Brain Yet

Last Tuesday, teams from Google and Harvard published an intricate map of every cell and connection in a cubic millimeter of the human brain. The mapped region encompasses the various layers and cell types of...

What’s the Origin of Consciousness? Global Effort Puts Two Top Theories to the Test

How does consciousness work? A frenemy collaboration is duking it out. Six different teams from across the globe are uniting in a challenge to test our fundamental theories of consciousness. They don’t agree on where...

To What Extent Are We Ruled by Unconscious Forces?

Sometimes when I ask myself why I’ve made a certain choice, I realize I don’t actually know. To what extent we are ruled by things we aren’t conscious of? – Paul, 43, London Why did...

How Gene Therapy and Algae Proteins Partially Restored a Blind Man’s Sight

Thanks to gene therapy and optogenetics—a neuroscience game-changer that relies on light to control neurons—a previously blind man can now partially see the world. And he’s doing it with the help of light-sensing algae...

A New Brain Implant Turns Thoughts Into Text With 90 Percent Accuracy

Texting might not be faster than speech, but for many of us it’s a natural way to communicate. Thanks to a new brain-computer interface (BCI), people with paralysis can now do the same—with a twist....

How Scientists Used Ultrasound to Read Monkeys’ Minds

Thanks to neural implants, mind reading is no longer science fiction. As I’m writing this sentence, a tiny chip with arrays of electrodes could sit on my brain, listening in on the crackling of my...

Evolution: Lab-Grown ‘Mini Brains’ Suggest One Mutation Might Have Rewired the Human Mind

How we humans became what we are today is a question that scientists have been trying to answer for a long time. How did we evolve such advanced cognitive abilities, giving rise to complex...

Scientists Communicated With People While They Were Lucid Dreaming

We’ve probed the depths of Earth’s deepest trench, sent rovers to Mars, and observed other worlds billions of light years away. Yet we’ve never been able to decipher the mysterious, bizarre, and disjointed world...

This Is Where Empathy Lives in the Brain, and How It Works

Mind reading comes easily to most of us. For all our divisions, humans are uncannily efficient at simulating another person’s thoughts and beliefs. It’s how you can “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes,” know...

Meet Assembloids, Mini Human Brains With Muscles Attached

It’s not often that a twitching, snowman-shaped blob of 3D human tissue makes someone’s day. But when Dr. Sergiu Pasca at Stanford University witnessed the tiny movement, he knew his lab had achieved something special....

2020 in Neuroscience, Longevity, and AI—and What’s to Come

Covid-19 sucked most of the oxygen out of science this year. But we still had brilliant wins. The pandemic couldn’t bring rockets or humans down: multiple missions blasted off to the red planet in the...

How Does Social Interaction Change Our Brains? Hyperscans Can Show Us

Brain scans, like social distancing, are inherently very lonely. Regardless of the equipment, brain scans often rely on a single person performing a single task, often completely still, outside of their normal environment. It’s powerful,...

Scientists Beamed Shapes and Motion Directly Into Monkeys’ Brains Using Light

Being able to beam images directly into someone's brain could help restore sight to the blind and open up a host of new possibilities in everything from communication to entertainment. And now researchers have...

This Is How We’ll Engineer Artificial Touch

Take a Jeopardy! guess: this body part was once referred to as the “consummation of all perfection as an instrument.” Answer: “What is the human hand?” Our hands are insanely complex feats of evolutionary engineering. Densely-packed...

How Do We Remember Places? This Study Used Lasers and VR to Point the Way

The curious contraption at University College London bordered between scientific wizardry and a terrifying Black Mirror episode. It might have just proved a decades-long theory of how the brain’s GPS system works. Let me paint...

Media Multitasking Is Ruining Our Memory. Can We Fix It?

I picked up a bad habit during lockdown: binge Netflix at double speed, while scrolling through the Twitter cesspool on my phone. I think I feel mentally stimulated, and trick myself into believing that...

Scientists Found a New Way to Control the Brain With Light—No Surgery Required

If I had to place money on a neurotech that will win the Nobel Prize, it’s optogenetics. The technology uses light of different frequencies to control the brain. It’s a brilliant mind-meld of basic neurobiology...

How a Memory Quirk of the Human Brain Can Galvanize AI

Even as toddlers we’re good at inferences. Take a two-year-old that first learns to recognize a dog and a cat at home, then a horse and a sheep in a petting zoo. The kid...

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