Neuroscience

Brain cellsThe human brain contains an estimated 100 billion nerve cells (blue), as well as support cells known as glia (red and green). Neuroscientists are striving to understand how these cells are born, grow, connect and work together to give rise to our thoughts and actions. (Credit: NICHD/J. Cohen)

Neuroscience seeks to understand the most complex biological structure in the Universe, with an estimated 100 billion brain cells, or neurons, and trillions of connections between them. To make sense of the brain’s complexity, neuroscientists draw on expertise from numerous fields, including biology, physics and computer science, neurology, psychology and even philosophy. Some of the main questions they are trying to answer are: How does the brain, in which networks of cells course with electrical and chemical signals, give rise to the mind? How does the brain compute? How do we learn and remember (See "Memory")? What is the biological basis of language (See "Language")?  And what causes psychiatric and neurological illnesses (See “Brain diseases & disorders”)?

Many neuroscientists feel the field is entering a new era, spurred by new technologies and techniques (See “Neurotechnology”) with which they can finally explore the working brain and begin to answer these questions. Hand in hand with this is a surge of interest in the field among graduate students, funding agencies as well as philanthropists and private enterprises. And, since 2013, a handful of big science project have launched to study the brain including the European Commission’s Human Brain Project to create a supercomputer simulation of the human brain and the U.S. Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative (See “BRAIN Initiative”) to develop new brain research tools, along with smaller efforts in Japan, Israel and China.

It Takes the World to Map the Brain

Nov 15, 2014
Brain

Leaders from the U.S. BRAIN Initiative, Europe’s Human Brain Project and Japan’s Brain/MINDS discuss their ambitious projects, which are aimed at nothing less than transforming our understanding of the human brain.

Modeling the Brain on ‘Replay’: A Q&A with Attila Losonczy

Sep 30, 2014

KIBS researchers aim to crack the code of the mammalian brain, starting with one of its memory networks. Neuroscientist Attila Losonczy discusses the ambitious plan and why it has received the support of President Obama’s BRAIN Initiative.

2014 Kavli Prize in Neuroscience: A Discussion with Brenda Milner, John O’Keefe and Marcus E. Raichle

Sep 07, 2014

The winners of the 2014 Kavli Prize in Neuroscience – Brenda Milner, John O’Keefe and Marcus E. Raichle – discuss what led them to study memory and cognition and the challenges they faced in getting their discoveries about the brain accepted.

Evolution: What’s Uniquely Human About the Human Brain?

Jul 07, 2014
Brain Evolution

Three geneticists – James Sikela of the University of Colorado School of Medicine, James Noonan of the Kavli Institute for Neuroscience at Yale, and Daniel Geschwind of UCLA – discuss how their field is revolutionizing the study of human brain evolution.

Addiction: Can the Brain Control Our Uncontrollable Urges?

Jun 09, 2014
Addiction: Can the Brain Control Our Uncontrollable Urges?

Nora D. Volkow (National Institute of Drug Abuse), Eric Nestler (Friedman Brain Institute), and Marina Picciotto (Yale University) discuss the biology of addiction and prospects for improved pharmacological treatments.

The Craving Brain: The Neuroscience Of Uncontrollable Urges

Jun 06, 2014

Nora D. Volkow, Kim Janda, Eric Nestler, and Amir Levine discuss how addiction changes the very fabric of the brain, and what new insights could mean for addicts trying to win back their lives, in this webcast recorded at the World Science Festival.

Neural Circuits and Motor Control: A Q&A with Eiman Azim

May 13, 2014
Measuring mouse movement

Eiman Azim, Columbia University's Kavli Institute for Brain Science, discusses recent findings about excitatory neurons needed to make accurate and precise movements, and a second group is inhibitory neurons necessary for achieving smooth movement of the limbs.

Aging and the Changing Landscape of Memory

Apr 04, 2014

For most of us, a declining memory is a normal consequence of growing old. But why? What’s happening in the brain that causes age-related memory decline, and is there anything we can do to slow this decline?

2014 Annual Meeting Communicating Science Seminar

Mar 06, 2014

Seminar from the 2014 AAAS Annual Meeting, shares science communication expertise in working with different types of content, across a range of formats, for various audiences. The session was separated into three videos, with each video relating to engagement with one of these audiences:  journalists, social media and public events.

Spotlight Live: Memory and Aging

Nov 06, 2013

Nobel Laureate Dr. Eric R. Kandel, and Drs. Elias Pavlopoulos and Scott A. Small discuss compelling evidence that age-related memory loss is a syndrome in its own right apart from Alzheimer’s disease.

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