November 20, 2018

The holidays are often a time of good food. You probably don’t think of eating as being “hard,” but there was a time in your life when even the simplest of things, like using a spoon to successfully deliver food to our mouths, was something new to you. Watch this new video from our co-founder Dr. Michael Merzenich about the massive changes in the brain that are required for a kid to learn the basic task of learning to use a spoon-an example of brain plasticity at work!


Best regards,

Jeff Zimman
Posit Science

Looking Deep in the Brain
Advances in engineering have helped neuroscience move forward by leaps and bounds—and this new invention is no different. A newly developed hair-thin endoscope allows scientists to get high resolution images of deep brain structures that have previously been hard to access. Learn more.

New Part of the Brain Discovered
Brain maps will never be the same! Researchers have just discovered the “Endorestiform nucleus,” a previously unknown cluster of brain cells that may help you play the piano, knit a sweater, use a keyboard, and perform other fine motor tasks. Learn more.

Can Placebos Actually Work? 
“Placebos” are harmless treatments that supposedly do no real good, even if a patient thinks they do. But new research suggests that positive results to a placebo—the “placebo effect”—may have a root in biological processes. This research could upend how we think about medical research and treatment. Learn more.

Holidays on the Brain
The holiday season is upon us! Some people cherish this time of year, while others could do without it. According to a (very small) study, the brains of the holiday lovers may have a “holiday network,” while the others do not. Learn more.

Mind Reading 
After many years of work, scientists are getting closer to developing brain implants that may read electrical impulses in the brain (thoughts) and translate them into speech. Their goal is to start with the basics: yes, no, hungry, pain, and so on, in order to help meet the needs of people with disabilities who cannot speak. Learn more.

Books of the Month:
The holidays are a great time to inspire understanding and love—of the brain! This month, we’re highlighting three children’s books about the brain that would make a great gift for the young ones in your life.

  • My First Book About the Brain (Patricia J. Wynne and Donald M. Silver) is a coloring book that introduces readers aged 8-12 about the many marvelous workings of the brain.
  • Rosie’s Brain (Linda Ryden) is a cute story that helps children learn about what’s going on in the brain when we’re angry, and how to tap into it to calm down and solve problems peacefully.
  • The award-winning book Your Fantastic Elastic Brain: Stretch It, Shape It (JoAnn Deak) inspires young readers to learn and grow through an understanding of how the brain works.