In the past day you may have seen the internet lighting up with appreciations for the writer and neurologist Oliver Sacks. He died yesterday at age 82, leaving behind a lifetime of illuminating writing that helped us to understand our own brains as beautiful, imperfect machines. Here are a few of our favorite books…
Neurologist and writer Oliver Sacks passed away today at the age of 82. Sacks is best known for his writing, which brought neurological case studies to life for a general audience.
Mentally count the windows in your home. Did you close your eyes? Visualize your house’s layout in your head? I did, when I tried this task. But some people, researchers have discovered, seem to be incapable of producing and holding such images in their mind’s eye. (They’re also perfectly capable of answering the…
A few months ago I started getting headaches, and they were weird. If a bad hangover headache feels splitting, I’d describe these headaches as searing, as if someone had hit me over the head with a red hot rod of steel sending electric bolts of pain across my skull.
In a recent study, an "expensive" salt solution was shown to to be significantly more effective at managing the symptoms of patients with Parkinson's disease than an "inexpensive" one. The salt solutions were identical placebos.
Humans have asked where we come from for thousands of years, across all cultures. But only recently have we started to address the mystery of the evolution of the human brain — the organ that's the source of those existential questions, not to mention our evolutionary success itself.
Sleepwalking is equal parts fascinating and terrifying. The notion we can be in control of our bodies without having any responsibility for what we do is incredibly unnerving. But what actually happens in your brain (and your body) when you sleepwalk? Here's what science has found out.
A 24-year-old woman complaining of dizziness and nausea was admitted to a hospital in Shandong Province recently, where she told doctors she had struggled with balance all her life. When doctors performed a brain scan, they immediately noticed the problem: The woman was missing her cerebellum.
Here's one of the eerier conditions out there. Pathological laughter and crying can cause patients to go into fits of laughter, or tears, out of the blue. The people who have it generally feel calm, but can't physically restrain themselves in any way. Why?
Or, at least, that you're in a duplicate town, house, and hospital. Reduplicative paramnesia victims believe that someone or something has constructed a duplicate structure, that looks exactly like the one they remember being in. What part of the brain can make you think you're on the set of your own life?
This is the most cynical, horrifying thing I've heard in ages. PETA has restarted a campaign to try and pretend there's some link between "autism and dairy products," in an attempt to scare people into going Vegan. Update: We have a response from PETA.
One inch. That's as far away from you Bruce Lee's hand needed to be to deliver a devastating punch that could knock you across the room. Lee accomplished this amazing blow not just with physical mastery, but mental mastery as well.
Brains are funny things. Injure them or mess with them, and people change — they change personalities, they change languages, and sometimes, they change their opinions on the Man in Black, Johnny Cash.
Scientists have created the first map of the ways that the white matter in our brains connects with itself, and with our grey matter. The takeaway? It works like a scaffold, researchers say — and some connections are much more important than others.
Ever scratched your arm and felt a scratch over your ribs? How about pinching your leg and feeling a phantom twinge in your back? That sensation is called referred itch or mitempfindung. And here's why scientists think it happens.
It's probably morning where you are, and you may find yourself surrounded by yawning coworkers — which makes you, in turn, break into a yawn. Why does someone else's yawn make you yawn? This cute video from TED-Ed offers a few theories, along with the science of yawning.
People with a condition known as synesthesia are prone to swapping their senses. They can feel colors, see music, and smell words. This raises an important question for science: What's it like to have sex when you've got synesthesia? Thanks to some inquisitive researchers, we have the answer.
Have you heard? Scientists have discovered a drug that cures Down syndrome with a single injection! Only they haven't. They've cured Down syndrome in mice with a single injection. Except... well... they haven't really done that, either.
Locked-in syndrome (LIS) is the harrowing condition that leaves fully conscious patients unable to communicate due to complete paralysis. Now, researchers have uncovered a new way to help victims of LIS communicate with the outside world — by measuring changes in the diameter of their pupils.
In 2009, Andrew Johnson, 35, was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson's disease. Last November, and again in February, he underwent a procedure, during which surgeons implanted a device in his brain that controls his tremors. Today, you'd never guess he suffers from Parkinson's – but watch what happens when he turns…