It’s Friday night and you are at a concert, wishing you hadn’t woken up at 4:45am to go to spin class. As the night wears on you get more tired and fall asleep on the train ride home. Why do you get tired the longer you stay awake? It’s not your muscles-- they could keep … Continue reading Too much phosphorylation, time to go to sleep!
Parkinson disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by motor deficits and aggregates of a protein called α-synuclein (α-syn) in the brain (pronounced sin-NU-clee-in). Genetics plays a role in PD, because there are some early-onset forms of PD that are caused by mutations in α-syn that cause it to more readily clump together and form … Continue reading Microbiome accelerates neurodegeneration
Spoken language conveys meaning in two ways: the meaning of the words (semantics or lexical knowledge) and the intonation that the speaker uses. We can sense questions by the rising pitch at the end of the sentence. Likewise, we can tell if someone is upset or being sarcastic based on how they say the words. … Continue reading Human language in dog brains
We have all heard that the sequence of human DNA differs from chimpanzee DNA by only about 1%. Yet humans are capable of building complex civilizations while the chimps are still eating bugs in the forest. If you compare the human brain to the brain of any other primate, it’s easy to see where our … Continue reading Bigger brains with Frizzled HARE
One of the most remarkable things about our brains is how organized they are. Sensory information from our eyes, mouth, skin, nose and ears goes to different locations in the brain. For example, visual signals are processed first in the very back of the brain, whereas sensations of touch and pain activate the middle region … Continue reading Smart phone use changes the brain
Three months ago, if I had seen this article about the ctenophore genome, I would have moved right passed it without a second look. What is a ctenophore and why would I care about the sequence of its DNA? But then I taught Bio 2 this spring and learned about animal diversity and the evolutionary … Continue reading Ctenophores come before
Female mammals have two copies of the X chromosome while males have only one copy (because they have a Y chromosome instead). Chromosomes contain genes and genes are the instructions for making proteins, so if females have twice as many copies of each gene on the X chromosome, will they make twice as much protein? … Continue reading The mosaic female brain