Journal Club

Highlighting recently published papers selected by Academy members

Category Archives: Neuroscience

Journal Club: “Sandman” molecule controls when fruit flies wake up

Sleep cuts people off from the outside world, which entails considerable risks and costs that scientists reason must be counterbalanced by a vital but enigmatic benefit. Now scientists have discovered what makes a switch flip in the brains of fruit … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Experimental technique uncovers new cell types in the brain

The brain is the most complex organ in the body, and presents countless mysteries – including the very nature of all the cells contribute to its function. By using single-cell RNA sequencing to map the genetic activity in more than … Continue reading

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First Look: Brains missing key left-right bridge from birth compensate

The right and left halves of the brain are connected by a bridge known as the corpus callosum. When people have their corpus callosum surgically removed, it can lead to disconnection syndrome, where one half of the brain might not … Continue reading

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Babies have hard-wired hand-to-mouth movements

Although babies lack much in the way of motor skills, they can still accurately bring their hands toward their mouth in a motion to feed themselves. Now scientists have discovered this self-feeding movement is encoded in a part of the … Continue reading

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Differences between viewing light and dark explain old optical illusion

Astronomers and physicists starting with Galileo noticed centuries ago that when one looks at celestial objects — bright objects on a dark background — they appear to be too large. Now scientists have discovered the brain mechanisms underlying this effect. … Continue reading

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The sniff of death — Olfactory receptor found for death-associated odor cadaverine

Whether you are drawn or repelled by the smell of rotting flesh depends upon your perspective as a species. One whiff and we instantly recoil, avoiding the hazard of bacterial contamination. For animals such as rats, goldfish and some insects, … Continue reading

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False memories can come from beneficial brain processes

Memories of experiences are strengthened when we are frequently reminded of them, a key process known as memory reactivation. Although this phenomenon helps stabilize and update memories, it can also introduce errors, leading to false memories. Using brain scans, researchers … Continue reading

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Laser microsurgery opens windows into fly brain

With the same type of laser used in eye correction surgeries in humans, scientists can cut precise holes in the outer cuticle of fruit flies. The technique, described for the first time in a new PNAS Early Edition article, allows … Continue reading

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Monkeys experience body illusions also

In recent years, scientists have discovered that the brain’s image of its body, known as the body schema, is extraordinarily malleable — for instance, people can be fooled into thinking a rubber hand is part of their bodies. Now for … Continue reading

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Registering surprise and learning from it are different processes

Much of life is predictable. Every day the sun comes up in the east. When we use a toaster bread goes in cool and soft, pops up warm and crispy. Our brains build models of how the world works, helping … Continue reading

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