What's up in

neuroscience

Animation of a neuron that periodically alters its responses to stimuli when it is reset into a new state by another input.
neural networks

Artificial Neural Nets Finally Yield Clues to How Brains Learn

February 18, 2021

The learning algorithm that enables the runaway success of deep neural networks doesn’t work in biological brains, but researchers are finding alternatives that could.

An illustration of a human brain against “pink noise” static.
neuroscience

Brain’s ‘Background Noise’ May Hold Clues to Persistent Mysteries

February 8, 2021

By digging out signals hidden within the brain’s electrical chatter, scientists are getting new insights into sleep, aging and more.

Portrait photo of Catherine Dulac of Harvard University and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
Q&A

Catherine Dulac Finds Brain Circuitry Behind Sex-Specific Behaviors

December 14, 2020

Catherine Dulac is overturning preconceptions about “male” and “female” instincts and opening new avenues to treating postpartum depression.

Fluorescent cross-section of a mouse’s brain.
Abstractions blog

Brain Cell DNA Refolds Itself to Aid Memory Recall

November 2, 2020

Researchers see structural changes in genetic material that allow memories to strengthen when remembered.

Yarn models of a deep learning network and a brain.
neuroscience

Deep Neural Networks Help to Explain Living Brains

October 28, 2020

Deep neural networks, often criticized as “black boxes,” are helping neuroscientists understand the organization of living brains.

Illustration of red spools with strands of DNA as the thread, with a blue brain in the background.
Quantized Columns

The Epigenetic Secrets Behind Dopamine, Drug Addiction and Depression

October 27, 2020

New research links serotonin and dopamine not just to addiction and depression, but to the ability to control genes.

Looping video of illustrated clocks stretching in different directions.
Abstractions blog

Reasons Revealed for the Brain’s Elastic Sense of Time

September 24, 2020

New research finds that the subjective experience of time is linked to learning, thwarted expectations and neural fatigue.

Illustration of a flying albatross, a swimming basking shark and the Lévy walk paths they take.
behavior

Random Search Wired Into Animals May Help Them Hunt

June 11, 2020

The nervous systems of foraging and predatory animals may prompt them to move along a special kind of random path called a Lévy walk to find food efficiently when no clues are available.

Illustration of an extremely tired person, surrounded by empty coffee cups.
sleep

Why Sleep Deprivation Kills

June 4, 2020

Going without sleep for too long kills animals but scientists haven’t known why. Newly published work suggests that the answer lies in an unexpected part of the body.