How the Tremendous Boost in Brain Power Arose Suddenly in Evolution–The Mystery of Myelin

 “Why, if species have descended from other species by fine gradations, do we not everywhere see innumerable transitional forms?” — Charles Darwin in The Origin of Species.     Charles Darwin proposed that evolution is driven by gradual variations in organisms that have survival advantage in a changing environment, but he recognized that new traits often…

Read More

Big Mystery About the Little Brain

With all the stunning advances in neuroscience it may come as a surprise that a major part of the brain is a mystery to scientists.  It is not a small oversight.  This peculiar brain lobe contains ¾ of all the brain’s neurons!  Astonishingly, its cellular structure is unlike anywhere else in the brain.  The neurons…

Read More

Why the ‘Havana Syndrome’ happened

I was invited to write a commentary, “Why the Havana Syndrome Happened,” which was just published in the International Journal of Social Psychiatry.  This syndrome refers to brain injury allegedly caused by a clandestine energy beam weapon employed by unknown agents who are hostile to the United States and its allies.   The saga began…

Read More

How Early Trauma Can Pass Through Generations

Is it possible that psychological trauma that your grandparents suffered long before you were born could have been passed down through generations to reappear as mental health issues that afflict you? New experimental research by a team of investigators in Canada and Italy suggests the answer is yes. Mental health problems can be a legacy…

Read More

Why Your Tongue Sticks Out When You Thread a Needle

Ever wonder why your tongue sticks out when you thread a needle?  To find out why (and understand rock singer Joe Cocker’s wild gesticulations), see my article in Quanta Magazine   One day, while threading a needle to sew a button, I noticed that my tongue was sticking out. The same thing happened later, as…

Read More

COVID-19 School Closures Harmed Children’s Mental Health

There has been much conjecture about possible detrimental long-term consequences of school closures on young children and adolescents, but now a new study published in the journal Scientific Reports provides convincing evidence that the mental health of school children was impaired by school closures during the pandemic. The study surveyed 907 adolescents and their parents in…

Read More

Why the Brain and Body are Cross Wired

Flickr creative commons

Someone who suffers a stroke in their left cerebral hemisphere will lose control over the right side of their body.  Every doctor relies upon this well-known fact in performing neurological exams, but when I asked my doctor last week why this should be, all I got was a shoulder shrug.  So I asked Professor Catherine…

Read More

Survivor Guilt

It is a perplexing human response: Survivors are frequently stricken with profound guilt if they were in the company of others who were not so fortunate during a traumatic event. This can happen when there is no rational basis for feelings of failure; indeed, even those who respond heroically and saved others’ lives are frequently…

Read More

Rhythmic Electrical Brain Stimulation Improves Memory in Elderly People

On Monday, Neuroscientists at Boston University published a new approach to improve memory in elderly people. “This is an entirely different approach,” Robert Reinhart, who led the study, said in a press conference announcing the findings. The method uses specific frequencies of weak electrical current applied to the scalp at appropriate spots to target brain circuits…

Read More