Introducing Neuwritewest.org, the Neuroblog’s new home

Introducing Neuwritewest.org, the Neuroblog's new home

The Stanford Neuroblog has transitioned to a new platform and a new url. We hope you’ll join us at NeuwriteWest.org!

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NeuroTalk S2E10 Peter Crino

NeuroTalk S2E10 Peter Crino

This week on the Neurotalk podcast, we talk to SNI speaker Peter Crino about the balance between medicine and research science, and how dysregulation of the mTOR signaling pathway can lead to both cancer and cognitive disorders.   Dr. Crino is a professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Neurology at Temple University and Shriners Hospital Pediatric Research Center. Our conversation with professor Crino can also be streamed or downloaded here: NeuroTalk S2E10 Peter Crino You can also subscribe to NeuroTalk though iTunes by searching for “Neuwritewest” in the iTunes store and subscribing to our channel.  

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New Year’s Resolutions and the Neural Circuitry of Habitual Behavior

New Year’s Resolutions and the Neural Circuitry of Habitual Behavior

As we leave 2013 behind and enter into a New Year, many of us make New Year’s resolutions. Most everyone has bad habits that they would like to break or new habits that they would like to start. Perhaps the resolutions center around diet, exercise, or work habits. Whatever your New Year’s resolution may be, sticking to it is hard work! During performance of a habit, the brain seems to be running on autopilot, executing an entire program of actions as if they were one action. Fortunately for those of us engaged in the fight against undesireable habits, a few intriguing studies from the Graybiel lab at M.I.T shed light on how to break out of such automatic brain states. In this post, I’ll be summarizing one of the studies (Smith et al. 2012), and discussing how I think about it in the context of my own and general human habitual behavior, and what implications this study has for enacting long-term behavior change.

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Feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme: new insights into musical beat perception

Feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme: new insights into musical beat perception

Music and rhythm are fundamental and essential components of human civilization. When we dance we anticipate beat placement to coordinate our hands, feet, arms, and legs, while also twirling our dance partners in sync with the music (or so we hope). Our need for music has also materialized in the clinical world. It has been shown that patients with Parkinson’s disease, who often exhibit difficulty initiating motor movements, can move more fluidly when listening to music. Unfortunately, despite our common interactions with music, extremely little is known regarding how our brains process it. Recent findings at Stanford should open the door to studying neural components of rhythm perception and their potential clinical implications.

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How to be absolutely fascinating at your New Years Party

Cross-section through sparrow fovea. Source: Lockie, 1952.

Stanford University is closed until January 6th. Logistical translation: the heat in the Stanford School of Medicine is off until January 6th. Practical translation: I’ve been occupying the spare bedroom of my parents’ house for over a week, and I’m running out of entertaining neuroscience facts to spout. A critical situation, as my primary purpose as the token Doctoral Candidate is the spouting of random neuroscience facts. Or holding forth about my research. MyresearchisgoingfinenoIdon’twanttotalkaboutit. Does this sound at all familiar? Has your store of neuroscience tidbits been exhausted by the constant presence of relatives? Are you wondering how you will…

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