Disordered diagnosis: the problem with establishing – or excluding – a mental health condition

For depression, anxiety, or one of the many other mental health illnesses in the DSM – the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – there’s no blood test to say if you’re sick. Going to the doctor means assessment by a psychiatrist based on diagnostic criteria. Although this might be the best we’ve got … Continue reading Disordered diagnosis: the problem with establishing – or excluding – a mental health condition

Paralysed man ‘handwrites’ with brain chip

For the first time, a man paralysed from the neck down has been able to ‘handwrite’ by using a special AI brain chip. The man, a 65-year old who had suffered a spinal injury, had two tiny electrodes put on the area of his brain associated with movement of his arm, and the sensors picked … Continue reading Paralysed man ‘handwrites’ with brain chip

Migraine masters

Australian-born Peter Goadsby is one of four neuroscientists who have won this year’s prestigious international Brain Prize. The group has been recognised for discovering a key mechanism that causes migraines. The prize-winning research – conducted by Lars Edvinsson (Sweden), Goadsby (Australia/UK/USA), Michael Moskowitz (USA) and Jes Olesen (Denmark) – is the culmination of four decades … Continue reading Migraine masters

Hans Berger has a real brainstorm

Hans Berger, inventor of electroencephalography, wanted to investigate the mysteries of the stars but ended up revealing some of the secrets of the human brain. A recent article about Berger, born on 21 May 1873 in Neuses, in southern Germany, describes how in 1892 he’d enrolled in the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena as a … Continue reading Hans Berger has a real brainstorm

A cheat sheet to help know your neurons

Not all neurons are equal, so researcher are building a “cheat sheet” to clarify things. In the largest categorisation of mouse visual neurons to date, researchers from Allen Institute for Brain Science have devised an elegant three-trait system to sort and classify neurons. They found more than expected with 28 specific types, as described in … Continue reading A cheat sheet to help know your neurons

How adults learn a new language

Learning languages is a breeze for young children, but once that window of opportunity closes, for adults it becomes notoriously difficult. Now, Spanish scientists have shed more light on how we get around this. While it’s thought that language is specialised in the left side of the brain, the researchers found that the right side … Continue reading How adults learn a new language

“Hidden” thoughts in visual part of brain

How much control do you have over your thoughts? What if you were specifically told not to think of something – like a pink elephant? A recent study led by UNSW psychologists has mapped what happens in the brain when a person tries to suppress a thought. The neuroscientists managed to ‘decode’ the complex brain activity … Continue reading “Hidden” thoughts in visual part of brain

Why the brain can see faces in everyday objects

If you tend to notice faces in inanimate objects around you, you’re not alone. It could be the Virgin Mary in a toastie, a house scowling at you, a bowling ball surprised you want to put your fingers in there, or a capsicum screaming in horror – our brains love to put faces where they’re … Continue reading Why the brain can see faces in everyday objects

Scientists don’t really get the female brain

Science tells us that female and male brains are different yet biomedical research is largely conducted on males, as if they’re a neutral stand-in for the human population as a whole. The problem is, female brains can have starkly different neuroimmune responses from males. And our lack of basic understanding is having a very real … Continue reading Scientists don’t really get the female brain