Spotlight On: The Brain

Credit: iStock Our understanding of the human brain has come a long way since scientists first started studying this intricate organ. Throughout history, the brain has been thought to have different purposes and varying levels of importance, with some thinking that it was not really important at all. But steadily, researchers grew to understand more … Continue reading Spotlight On: The Brain

Spotlight On: Alzheimer’s Disease

Credit: iStock As we age, the risk of developing dementia increases. Dementia is basically losing the ability to think and remember clearly, though it is a general term, not a specific disease. There are many diseases that fall under the umbrella term of “dementia.” One of the most common is Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease was … Continue reading Spotlight On: Alzheimer’s Disease

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

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

Time to Breathe

Like a candle flame, our metabolism consumes oxygen and releases carbon dioxide (CO2). Breathing removes the CO2 and brings in fresh oxygen, ensuring that metabolism—and life— can continue. It is the buildup of CO2 more than the lack of fresh oxygen that makes you feel a strong urge to inhale when you hold your breath—like … Continue reading Time to Breathe

Spinal Cord Injury: Let’s Clear the Air(ways)

The spinal cord is the information processing highway in animals (including humans) that have a backbone. In humans, the spinal cord contains nerve cells called motor neurons that control movement in the muscle fibers of the body, similar to the way a puppeteer controls the movements of a puppet. About 17,000 people in the U.S. … Continue reading Spinal Cord Injury: Let’s Clear the Air(ways)

Myasthenia Gravis May Be (Literally) All Greek to You

Myasthenia gravis is a disease that affects the way that muscles receive signals from nerves. Myasthenia is Greek for “muscle weakness,” which is a good description of this disease’s symptoms. Muscle weakness, which worsens after physical activity but gets better with rest, is the primary symptom of the condition. Weakness may occur in any skeletal … Continue reading Myasthenia Gravis May Be (Literally) All Greek to You

Ouch! How Getting Hurt Hurts

If you’ve dropped a heavy object on your toe or slammed your finger in the door, you’ll notice that a sharp pain happens immediately, followed by a dull, throbbing ache later. Why the lag? It’s because two kinds of neurons—cells that relay signals between your body and brain—are working. The key difference between these neurons … Continue reading Ouch! How Getting Hurt Hurts