Best Of 2020

Cognitive Health in Racially Segregated Neighborhoods

According to a new study published by the journal JAMA Neurology, black Americans who grow up in segregated neighborhoods could be at a greater risk of cognitive decline when they reach middle age. The study followed participants and the communities in which they lived over a 25-year period.

Where Stress Lives In Your Brain

For a long time, scientists believed that subjective stress — our feelings of pressure and anxiety — was somehow always inextricably linked to the hypothalamus. Now, researchers are less confident that such is always the case, and that the neurobiological origin of subjective stress could come from somewhere else

We Are Not Born With Bigotry

Lately, a serious discussion about systemic racism in the United States has finally become front and center in the public sphere, which caused me to reflect on a classic discrimination experiment done at the end of the 1960s by an elementary schoolteacher. Jane Elliott was ironing a teepee for a classroom activity

How Loneliness Can Make Us More Vulnerable to COVID-19

In many countries across the planet, U.S. included, the elderly in nursing homes have found themselves on total lockdown during the pandemic — to protect their health, the thinking went. And they were not the only ones. In hospitals coronavirus patients spend hours sealed off from anyone else, completely alone.

How Exercise Improves Your Motor Skills

It’s hardly news that a routine of physical daily exercise benefits the body — and there’s hardly anything that it doesn’t benefit — your motor skills, memory, disease immunity, overall mood, and daily energy level, even if your routine is as simple as running for a few minutes every day. What’s still obscure are

Dr. Daniel Amen on “The End of Mental Illness”

When I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Daniel Amen — author of the new book “The End of Mental Illness: How Neuroscience Is Transforming Psychiatry and Helping Prevent or Reverse Mood and Anxiety Disorders, ADHD, Addictions, PTSD, Psychosis, Personality Disorders, and More,” — several years ago

Don’t Touch Your Face! Know Your Brain: The Basal Ganglia

“Wash your hands frequently and don’t touch your face.” This is generally the most practical advice we’ve been given throughout the COVID-19 pandemic — and it makes sense. The eyes, nose, and mouth are notorious portals for contagions to enter the body, particularly for something like coronaviruses that are

What “Tip of the Tongue” Tells Us About How Memory Works

She’s your favorite actress. You’ve been following her career since she was in her early teens. You know her face with as much familiarity as family members. You can see the time she was being interviewed on the red carpet and gave her passing co-star a high five in your minds eye photographically.

Boost Your Attention by Training Your Brain Waves

If you’re like most people, you may have a hard time channeling your attention span for more than a few minutes — maybe even finding it harder to stay focused each time. Periods where you personally invest in a task at work or a presentation can sometimes shift as abruptly as our own moods. You might have

Coronavirus: What It Tells Us About Risk

“A newly discovered disease,” perhaps one of the worst possible articles to find in a sentence, particularly when you’re scanning the headlines. When people first read just a few short weeks ago about the Wuhan coronavirus — a respiratory virus that began infecting people in the mainland of China

Eating Without Thinking: Your “Food impulsivity” Brain Circuit

We don’t think much of overeating. Bigger portions are never something to complain about, even if the food itself isn’t all that great. We might not even notice when we do it ourselves, when it’s symptomatic of a physical illness like Type 2 diabetes, let alone due to other causes like depression or binge eating

How Our Dreams Ready Us To Face Our Fears

At least half of adults report having occasional nightmares — this number even goes as high as 85 percent. While some of us accept it as just a part of everyday life, usually those of us who rarely have them, there are those who have their own rituals to avoid having uneasy dreams — whether it’s

How Your Brain Detects the Rhythms of Speech Into Syl-la-bles

As we read, our brain decodes the letters of each sentence into a specific set of sounds, moving in rhythm. Until now, we were never quite sure as to how the brain processed this. Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, think they may have come across a clue.

Making “New” Neurons for Recovery After Brain Injury

New research effort is taking the concept of neuroplasticity further — looking at diseased and injured brains that have permanently lost neurons. The effort, led by neuroscientist Magdalena Götz, explores whether “astrocytes” — non-neuronal, structural cells in the brain, can be reprogrammed to take up

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