The Dark Side of our Brain

Sometimes, we feel hopeless. For some people this hopelessness is inescapable, or rather their brain tells them so. How can thought of ending one’s existence arise in our brain which is so trained on survival? In this post we want to look at the neurobiology that underlies this phenomenon. Continue reading The Dark Side of our Brain

Meet the Organoids: Growing Human Brains in a Petri Dish

As Madeline Lancaster lifts a clear plastic dish into the light, roughly a dozen clumps of tissue the size of small baroque pearls bob in a peach­colored liquid. These are cerebral organoids, which possess certain features of a human brain in the first trimester of development—including lobes of cortex (Russ Juskalian, MIT Technology Review). Continue reading Meet the Organoids: Growing Human Brains in a Petri Dish

SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER (SAD): A “WINTER BLUES” IN OUR BRAIN?

Every winter the cycle repeats itself: we look outside our windows and despair to the sight of a cloudy winter sky, with no trace of the sunny days. But the familiar “winter blues” feelings might not be just a “phase”: for some people such periods of low light exposure represent a serious problem to face, and that’s where the term “seasonal affective disorder” (SAD) comes in place. Why does SAD start, and can a look at the neurobiology of the brain help us to understand it more? Continue reading SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER (SAD): A “WINTER BLUES” IN OUR BRAIN?

It’s a Gut Feeling: What is our Gut Bacteria telling our Brain?

There is so much bacteria in your gut that they can easily outweigh your brain. In recent years, researchers have found that the bacteria in our gut communicate with the brain and vice versa. Now we want to know how this communication takes place, whether the food we eat is altering our gut bacteria, and what types of signals they are sending to the brain. Continue reading It’s a Gut Feeling: What is our Gut Bacteria telling our Brain?

Think with your head, AND with your heart

As you’re reading this, your heart is beating somewhere between 60 and 100 times per minute, it’s generating electrical signals in the heart to maintain that pace, and your blood is being pushed against your artery walls with each beat. The autonomic nervous system, which regulates not just the heart but also other internal organ functions like digestion, respiration, and sexual arousal, is extremely active. … Continue reading Think with your head, AND with your heart

Sleep Paralysis – Awake in a Nightmare

”. . . in the night time, when she was composing her self […] to sleep, sometimes she believed the devil lay upon her and held her down, sometimes that she was choaked […] by a great dog or thief lying upon her breast, so that she could hardly speak or breath, and when she endeavoured to throw off the burthen, she was not able … Continue reading Sleep Paralysis – Awake in a Nightmare