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Neuroscience

Stimulus plan?

It may sound unusual, but it’s true: In recent years a growing number of people have been hooking their heads up to electrodes, in an attempt to stimulate their brains using a direct electrical current. Some of them do this via homemade…

Learning more about the brain

The question is straightforward enough: How does the brain learn to make sense of the visual world? The full answer is complicated by the fact that infants can’t talk about what they’re taking in. Pawan Sinha seems to have bridged this gap.…

A new glimpse into working memory

When you hold in mind a sentence you have just read or a phone number you’re about to dial, you’re engaging a critical brain system known as working memory. For the past several decades, neuroscientists have believed that as information is…

“Lost” memories can be found

In the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, patients are often unable to remember recent experiences. However, a new study from MIT suggests that those memories are still stored in the brain — they just can’t be easily accessed. The MIT…

It's all in our heads

A typical political scientist is not likely to develop a research plan that employs data from national archives, survey experiments, public health data, and an fMRI study in a single dissertation. But then, Marika Landau-Wells is not your…

Neuroscientists reverse autism symptoms

Autism has diverse genetic causes, most of which are still unknown. About 1 percent of people with autism are missing a gene called Shank3, which is critical for brain development. Without this gene, individuals develop typical autism…

Pinpointing loneliness in the brain

Humans, like all social animals, have a fundamental need for contact with others. This deeply ingrained instinct helps us to survive; it’s much easier to find food, shelter, and other necessities with a group than alone. Deprived of human…

Possible new weapon against PTSD

About 8 million Americans suffer from nightmares and flashbacks to a traumatic event. This condition, known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), is particularly common among soldiers who have been in combat, though it can also be…

Young brains can take on new functions

In 2011, MIT neuroscientist Rebecca Saxe and colleagues reported that in blind adults, brain regions normally dedicated to vision processing instead participate in language tasks such as speech and comprehension. Now, in a study of blind…

Taking stress to a new level

Robert Goldberg never spent much time thinking about fashion. All that changed six years ago, however, when as a visiting neuroscientist at John Gabrieli’s lab in MIT’s Department of Brain and Cognitive Science, he co-founded Neumitra. The…

How the brain controls sleep

Sleep is usually considered an all-or-nothing state: The brain is either entirely awake or entirely asleep. However, MIT neuroscientists have discovered a brain circuit that can trigger small regions of the brain to fall asleep or become…

How the brain keeps time

Keeping track of time is critical for many tasks, such as playing the piano, swinging a tennis racket, or holding a conversation. Neuroscientists at MIT and Columbia University have now figured out how neurons in one part of the brain…