Deep Brain Stimulation: A Cognitive Panacea?

His name is Andres Lozano, and he's a virtuoso (we encourage you to watch his TED talk to see him change lives with the flip of a switch) on the cutting edge of neuroscience. His canvas: the human brain. His brush: deep brain stimulation. The technique, allowed by state of the art surgical techniques, allows him to implant electrodes virtually anywhere within the brain. If we imagine the brain to be a big circuit board, these electrodes are like…

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Inside the Brain of a Math Wizard

There's no doubt that truly gifted mathematicians think differently than the rest of us. It's often observable during their everyday social interactions. But is there a neuroanatomical explanation for the difference, or is it merely the result of training? Cutting-edge fMRI studies suggest the former. You'll recall from last week's post a discussion of the revelations gleaned from the dissection of Einstein's brain: it was more connective, and had a smaller than average language center  (a.k.a., Broca's…

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Left-Handedness and Genius

Despite stunning scientific advances in genetics, nanotechnology and robotics (to name a few), many neurologic phenomena remain unexplained. Take hand dominance. Scientists have been struggling for centuries to explain why, unlike animal populations whose right vs. left limb dominance always follows a 50/50 distribution, nearly 90% of the human population is right-handed. Although the answer is still blurry, the history of how neuroscientists arrived at it--including a dissection of Einstein's brain--is fascinating. As a preliminary matter, it is…

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10 Remarkable Things You Don’t Know About Einstein

Everybody knows that Einstein was an extraordinary genius, but very few know that his brain and eyes were stolen post mortem.  That's right: plucked right from his cold, blue corpse, which was scheduled for cremation and storage in a secret location (to avoid the erection of a shrine by his fans).  The thief was infamous pathologist Thomas Harvey, who snuck into Princeton's morgue and absconded with Einstein's brain and eyeballs hoping to learn the secret of his brilliance (Harvey…

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Sleep Like a Genius

Dreaming of success? Maybe it's literally time to stop dreaming. Sleep, or lack thereof, seems to be a common thread among some of history’s most successful people. Leonardo DaVinici never got a full night’s sleep, and instead relied on 20 minute naps every 4 hours! In this week’s Science Saturday, check out this infographic to help you sleep like a genius.    

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