Pharyngula

Lua Yar

Olfactory nerves (student post)

Today in class we learned about the functioning of olfactory nerves. It was really quite interesting, especially to find out how the olfactory system is organized. Let’s begin in the nasal cavity. Here, present in the mucus layer, are projections of the olfactory receptor cells. Each receptor cell is only capable of binding to one…

Genetic link of OCD explored (student post)

Researchers at Cambridge conducted a study that measured cognitive function and analyzed images of the brain in individuals with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was used to capture images of each participants’ brain, and computerized tests were given to study the ability of the individual to stop repetitive behaviors. Also included in…

I was happily absorbed in my slightly vegetative stupor on the couch when my roommate walked into the room and starting talking about physics. Ugh, physics, I thought, but I politely listened as she began talking about lenses, specifically how they are related to sight. It is common knowledge that the images we see are…

Rapture of the Deep

In preparation for my trip to the Caribbean next semester, I spent this weekend taking a class to learn how to SCUBA dive. My class and I learned all about the necessary equipment, what to do in emergency situations, and how to stay safe while SCUBA diving. We also learned about the physics of pressure,…

I found an article about new brain cells that I thought was really interesting. Researchers at the Yale School of Medicine discovered the mechanism behind how new neural cells are integrated into the adult brain. It turns out that new neural cells take a while to mature and fully integrate themselves into existing neural networks…

So while most of my fellow undergraduates were leaving town to go somewhere, anywhere, other than Morris for fall break, I had to stay behind. Sure, staying in Morris is not really all that bad, I mean, some people actually live here (sorry Professor). But I will be honest-it really is not on my list…

So one of the questions on our Neurobiology test due today was to see if there were any heritable diseases in humans that are caused by defects in ion channel genes. I discovered that mutations in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene have been linked to Cystic Fibrosis (CF). CF is a genetic…

While I was reading the assigned chapters of the book Soul Made Flesh (Zimmer, 2004) for class this past week, I came upon the story of the physician Thomas Sydenham. He was particularly good at making careful bedside observations while he was treating patients. In fact, he made the observation that diseases acted the same…

Lua muses on…

Adult neurogenesis The creation of new neurons, known as neurogenesis, is an important process. It is by this process that the brain forms, and most of it occurs during pre-natal development. An early theory proposed by neuroanatomists that has recently been refuted by experimental evidence is that adult neurogenesis does not occur. In adult neurogenesis,…

Lua Yar talks about…

The neurobiology of intelligence Where do people get the idea that intelligence has a biological basis? Oh yeah, from those geneticists, whose research has shown that intelligence levels can be inherited. One fairly new development for researching intelligence is through the conduction of brain imaging studies. Recently, two neuroscientists by the names of Richard Haier…