Category Archives: Neuroscience

Is Progress Outpacing Precaution? Experts Weigh In

Illustration by An Arres.

No one expects the machinery of progress to roll backwards, but sometimes it seems that no one is watching the speedometer (or manning the brakes, assuming any exist).  Is this a fair assessment? If so, should we be worried — and what can we do about it?

In this feature, experts on technology, risk, science, policy and neuroscience discuss risk, innovation and how our values affect our conceptions of both.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
ASU Experts Weigh the Risks of Innovation

Biomarker-Based Concussion Test Passes Key Milestone

Diagram by Patrick J. Lynch, medical illustrator; C. Carl Jaffe, MD, cardiologist.

In one five-year period, college athletes suffered more than 10,000 concussions — one-third of them while playing football. But an unusual team-up has recently brought a new, biomarker-based concussion test one step closer.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
TGen, ASU And Riddell Team Up To Create New Concussion Test

Zebrafish Make a Big Splash in Arizona Medical Research

Photo by Nicholas Gerbis.

Mammals might seem like better human stand-ins than a minnow’s striped cousin, but zebrafish resemble us in surprising and useful ways. But zebrafish also offer practical advantages over other model species: They’re cheap, hardy, breed like rabbits on Viagra, and their skin can be made transparent.

To find out more about how Arizona researchers are using zebrafish in their research, read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
Tiny Fish Makes A Big Splash In Arizona Medical Research

Brain Activity Patterns Set Young Runners Apart from Healthy Peers

Spatial maps for (from top) the default mode network, frontoparietal network and motor network  (image courtesy Gene Alexander of University of Arizona).

The book The Runner’s Brain told runners how their minds could change their running. Now a University of Arizona study says the reverse might be true as well.

Using functional connectivity MRI (fcMRI), they found significant differences in areas that are active when the brain is at rest. Possibly, such networks could play a key role in the effects of aging and neurodegenerative diseases.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
Arizona Study: Brains Of Young Adult Runners Differ From Those Of Healthy Peers

Jeopardy-Winning Computer Crunches Numbers to Fight ALS

Watson on Jeopardy stage set at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California. Photo by Atomic Taco.

Barrow Neurological Institute is working with IBM’s Jeopardy-winning supercomputer, Watson, to identify treatment targets for Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS.

ALS is a poorly understood neuromuscular disease with only limited treatment options. Its capacity to strike anyone, at any time, seemingly without pattern, has puzzled researchers.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
BM’s Watson Computer Helps Barrow Identify New ALS Genes