Spotlight On: Vision

Credit: iStock If you’re reading this article, you can thank the crafty and tireless work of evolution. While we may take vision for granted as a simple and straightforward process, how we see is not so simple at all. How we see While the evolution of sight—from a primitive eyespot that could only discriminate between … Continue reading Spotlight On: Vision

Spotlight On: Itching

Credit: iStock You probably don’t think much about itching until you have an itchy spot that’s just out of reach. Then, it’s all you can think about until you’re able to get rid of the “not-quite-painful-but-almost” feeling with a satisfying scratch. What exactly is itching? And what purpose does it serve? A review published in … Continue reading Spotlight On: Itching

Fainting, the Brain and the Chilean Miners’ Rescue

The Fénix capsule brought the Chilean miners safely to higher ground. Credit: iStock On August 5, 2010, 33 Chilean miners became trapped 2,300 feet underground when the San José copper-gold mine in the Atacama Desert caved in. Sixty-nine days later, they were rescued when a 21-inch-wide torpedo-shaped container called a Fénix capsule brought the miners … Continue reading Fainting, the Brain and the Chilean Miners’ Rescue

Blood Pressure and Alzheimer’s Disease: Healthy Heart, Healthy Brain

Credit: iStock It’s important to monitor your blood pressure and keep it within normal levels to prevent life-threatening conditions such as heart disease and stroke. But you might not know that maintaining a normal blood pressure is also important for brain health and can help reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Over time, … Continue reading Blood Pressure and Alzheimer’s Disease: Healthy Heart, Healthy Brain

Your Brain During Microsleep

Credit: iStock If you’ve ever forgotten your morning cup of coffee and noticed yourself dozing off in the middle of the day, you might have experienced microsleep, a brief but very deep episode of drowsiness. Microsleep and regular sleep affect our bodies in similar ways, including changing our brain activity and decreasing how much attention … Continue reading Your Brain During Microsleep

Binge Drinking and Fatty Liver: It Could Be All in Your Head

Credit: iStock Alcohol consumption is a normal part of culture for many: The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports more than 55 percent of adults over 18 say they have had an alcoholic drink in the past month. It’s often a social lubricant and a mainstay at holiday gatherings and other important events. … Continue reading Binge Drinking and Fatty Liver: It Could Be All in Your Head

Is (Winter) Happiness in the Eye of the Beholder?

Credit: iStock Long winter nights got you down? If you’re having trouble getting in the holiday spirit and these emotions feel more persistent as the season progresses, it may be time to talk to your doctor. For some people, this time of year triggers a type of winter depression called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD … Continue reading Is (Winter) Happiness in the Eye of the Beholder?

Try High-intensity Interval Exercise: Your Brain Might Thank You

Credit: iStock Imagine burning 30 percent more calories in half the amount of time you usually spend working out—and continuing to burn calories after the workout ends. High-intensity interval exercise (HIIE)—a type of workout that alternates bursts of intense cardiovascular exercise with brief breaks—does just that. A recent study from Brazil suggests that HIIE does … Continue reading Try High-intensity Interval Exercise: Your Brain Might Thank You

Spotlight On: The Nervous System

Credit: iStock Of all the organs in our bodies, the brain is the most complex and deeply tied to what makes us human. Billions of nerve cells (neurons) in the nervous system make trillions of connections that are the basis of our thoughts, feelings and actions. Our genes make sure our nervous system is generally … Continue reading Spotlight On: The Nervous System

How Your Smartphone May Be Keeping You Up at Night

I struggled with sleep deprivation while I was in graduate school. Even though I did not take medication to help me sleep, many colleagues and family members took sleeping pills because they could not get a good night’s rest. Research shows that up to 60 percent of all students nationwide suffer from poor sleep quality. … Continue reading How Your Smartphone May Be Keeping You Up at Night