How To Implant Truly False Memory

On July 26, 2013, the 341st volume of the world renowned journal Science delivered news that seemingly took the neuroscience field by storm. From page 387 to 391, Steve Ramirez and colleagues reported that they have created “a false memory in the hippocampus” ((Ramirez, S., Liu, X., Lin, P.-A., Pignatelli, M., & Tonegawa, S. (2013). Creating a False Memory in the Hippocampus. Science.)) Every major news outlet followed suit. “Scientists Trace Memories of Things That Never Happened” […]

The chicken or the egg question in a floppy infant syndrome: do motoneurons get sick before sensory neurons?

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? It is an old riddle that has puzzled countless generations. Yet, scientists are now faced with another similar dilemma in Spinal Muscular Atrophy: which came first, sick motoneurons or sick sensory neurons? Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) affects 1 in every 6,000 newborns worldwide, making it the number one inherited cause of infant death ((Norrgard, K. (2008) Medical ethics: genetic testing and spinal muscular atrophy. Nature Education 1(1)).  Children with the most severe form […]

The OCD brain strikes again

Who would have ever thought that Cameron Diaz, the cute voice actress behind Fiona from Shrek, actually suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)? In fact, she opens doors with her elbows, refusing to touch the germ-ridden doorknobs with her bare hands! Although OCD is not a disease that "kills", it can be a distressing experience for individuals. A classic example is someone who has an obsession with cleanliness. Driven by a fear of germs, an OCD person […]

What do thoughts look like? A fireworks show of neurons in action

The human brain is composed of 86 billion cells ((Azevedo, Carvalho, Grinberg, Farfel, Ferreti, & Herculano-Houzel. (2009). Equal numbers of neuronal and nonneuronal cells make the human brain an isometrically scaled-up primate brain. Journal of Comparative Neurology)). To put that number in perspective, 86 billion is still more than the current population of the earth times 10 (7 billion x 10= 70 billion). Proposed by the Spanish anatomist Santiago Ramon y Cajal 100 years ago, the […]

The nervous prostate cancer: from neuron to neoplasm

The nervous system is the control center for many of our daily activities. While we are the boss of many parts of the body, such as our legs, we have autopilots for essential functions such as digestion and blood circulation. Thank goodness we do not have to think every time we need the heart to beat! These autopilots are known as the autonomic nervous system, which include sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves. It is well established […]