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December, 2014

Reaction to “Equal ≠ The Same: Sex Differences in the Human Brain”

A recent Cerebrum article by Larry Cahill about sex differences in the human brain has prompted a group of women academicians to respond and for the author to reply to their response. We encourage you to evaluate both points of view, as well as the original article, and form your own opinion. Read More...

December, 2014

You Say You Want a Revolution?

From the frontlines of spinal cord research, Wise Young and Patricia Morton lean on lessons from the past, their own experience, and events still unfolding as they raise questions about the future of all scientific research. Read More...

November, 2014

Review: Madness and Memory: The Discovery of Prions—A New Biological Principal of Disease

Prions, which are infectious proteins that cause neural degeneration, are responsible for ravaging the brains of animals suffering from scrapie and mad cow disease, and of humans with a variant of mad cow disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Author and prion researcher Stanley Prusiner tells the story of how he and others identified prions and convinced others that they did, indeed, exist.

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November, 2014

The Brain-Games Conundrum: Does Cognitive Training Really Sharpen the Mind?

Do you misplace your keys regularly? Forget appointments? Have trouble remembering names? No worries. A host of companies promise to “train” your brain with games designed to stave off mental decline. Regardless of their effectiveness, their advertising has convinced tens of thousands of people to open their wallets. As our authors review the research on cognitive-training products, they expose the science surrounding the benefits of brain games as sketchy at best.

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October, 2014

With A Little Help from Our Friends: How the Brain Processes Empathy

Why are certain individuals born with a brain that is wired to help others? What daily habits or life experiences reinforce compassion but also selfishness, narcissism, and psychopathy? Social neuroscience models have assumed that people simply rely on their own emotions as a reference for empathy, but recent studies suggest neurobiological underpinnings for how the brain processes empathy. A better understanding of these processes, says the author, could lead to more social cohesion and less antisocial harm in society. 

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September, 2014

Brain-to-Brain Interfaces: When Reality Meets Science Fiction

The scientist behind the robotic exoskeleton demonstration at the opening of last summer's soccer World Cup writes about the research that led up to the historic event and its potential to help paraplegics and others suffering from spinal-cord injuries to move by controlling machines with their thoughts.

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September, 2014

Truth, Justice, and the NFL Way

When League of Denial was published last fall,an avalanche of publicity followed. The book, about the ever-widening sports concussion crisis, was excerpted in both Sports Illustrated and ESPN the Magazine; PBS's Frontline and a number of sports magazine programs also ran segments in the book's dramatic revelations. As we begin a new NFL season, we've asked Philip E. Stieg, a neuro-trauma consultant on the sidelines of NFL games and neurosurgeon-in-chief of New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, to give us his thoughts on the book, written by  Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru. Read More...

August, 2014

The Time of Your Life

The circadian rhythm—the 24-hour cycle of the physiological processes of living beings—is instrumental in determining the sleeping and feeding patterns of almost all living things. Clear patterns of brain-wave activity, hormone production, cell regeneration, and other biological activities are linked to a daily cycle that reacts to daylight and darkness. Our author focuses on two relatively new areas of research and their potential for advancing medical insight. Read More...

July, 2014

Funny Science

Funny Science: Review: Ha! The Science of When We Laugh and Why and The Humor Code: A Global Search for What Makes Things Funny By Robert R. Provine, Ph.D. 2014-07-14 false In Robert Provine’s review of Ha: The Science of When We Laugh and Why and The Humor Code:

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July, 2014

The Age Gauge: Older Fathers Having Children

Is there a link between a father’s age and his child’s vulnerability to psychiatric problems? Two recent studies suggest that children born to middle-aged men are more likely than their older siblings to develop a range of mental difficulties, including bipolar disorder, autism, and schizophrenia. Read More...

June, 2014

One of a Kind: The Neurobiology of Individuality

 Mounting evidence suggests that brain circuits involved in our emotional responses change with experience and affect our temperament. New research also suggests that psychological interventions can further harness brain plasticity to promote positive behavioral changes that increase resilience and well-being. Read More...

May, 2014

Welcome to the Machine

In Jerome Kagan’s review of The Future of the Mind by physicist and futurist Michio Kaku, Kagan leans on his own experience as co-director of the Harvard Mind/Brain/Behavior Interfaculty Initiative to explore a book that imagines a world where we will have the power to record, store, and transmit signals of brain activity, and where interchangeable thoughts and self-aware robots will be part of everyday life. Read More...

May, 2014

Rich Man, Poor Man: Socioeconomic Adversity and Brain Development

With the widening economic gap between the haves and the have-nots in mind, our author examines new research that ties family income level and other factors to helping children develop the language, memory, and life skills that tilts the odds in their favor later in life. Read More...

April, 2014

Equal ≠ The Same: Sex Differences in the Human Brain

Editor’s Note: While advances in brain imaging confirm that men and women think in their own way and that their brains are different, the biomedical community mainly uses male animals as testing subjects with the assumption that sex differences in the brain hardly matter. This month’s Cerebrum highlights some of the thinking and research that invalidates that assumption.

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March, 2014

Mapping Your Every Move

Editor’s Note: In 2005, our authors discovered grid cells, which are types of neurons that are central to how the brain calculates location and navigation. Since that time, they have worked to learn how grid cells communicate with other types of neurons—place cells, border cells, and head direction cells—to affect spatial awareness, memory, and decision-making. Because the entorhinal cortex, which contains the grid-cell navigation system, is often damaged in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, future research to better understand how cognitive ability and memory are lost has great potential significance for the treatment of Alzheimer’s and other neurological disorders. 

 

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February, 2014

Standing in His Shoes

In Temple Grandin's review of The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida, she relates her own experience living with and studying autism to better understand the mind of a remarkable 13-year-old Japanese boy with severe autism. Structured as a series of questions that a nonautistic person might ask an autistic one, Naoki's book is translated by David Mitchell (author of the novel Cloud Atlas) and his wife, Keiko Yoshida, and contains an impassioned introduction in which Mitchell discusses his experience with his own autistic child. Read More...

February, 2014

Solving the Mystery of Memory

One of neuroscience’s primary missions is to understand how the brain processes memory and to improve treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, traumatic brain injury, drug addiction, and the many other afflictions associated with disrupted memory. Our article traces scientists’ progress in understanding memory over the last 15 years.

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January, 2014

Your Brain Under the Microscope: The Promise of Stem Cells

Scientists are just now beginning to improve their understanding of induced pluripotent stem cells. Our authors describe how they were discovered, what they are, and why a growing number of researchers and clinicians believe that they may be one of the keys in helping address a variety of brain disorders.

 

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About Cerebrum

 
Bill Glovin, editor
Carolyn Asbury, Ph.D., consultant

Scientific Advisory Board
Joseph T. Coyle, M.D., Harvard Medical School
Kay Redfield Jamison, Ph.D., The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Pierre J. Magistretti, M.D., Ph.D., University of Lausanne Medical School and Hospital
Robert Malenka, M.D., Ph.D., Stanford University School of Medicine
Bruce S. McEwen, Ph.D., The Rockefeller University
Donald Price, M.D., The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

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