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FOR READERS: I Want to See Your Brain

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FOR READERS Today’s reader topic comes from QSFer Jennifer Slusher: If you could spend the day walking around the inside of your favorite queer author’s head,  who would it be and why? Writers: This is a reader chat – you are welcome to join it, but please do not reference your own works directly. Thanks! Join the chat: FB: MeWe:

SCIENCE: Boy Could Literally Be Scared to Death

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A 5-year-old boy has a rare brain condition that could cause him to be literally scared to death, according to news reports. Reed Havlik, who lives in Iowa, has a condition called vanishing white matter disease, a disorder that’s been reported in only about 200 people worldwide, according to South West News Service (SWNS). Vanishing white matter disease is a genetic condition that mainly affects the brain and spinal cord, and causes deterioration of nerve fibers known as “white matter,” according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s Genetics Home Reference (GHR). People with the condition are particularly vulnerable to … Read more

SCIENCE: Space Shrinks Your Brain

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Going to space does more than change the way you look at the world — it also changes your brain. In a new small study, published today (Oct. 24) as a Letter to the Editor in The New England Journal of Medicine, a team of researchers from Germany, Belgium and Russia detailed changes in the brains of 10 cosmonauts before and after long-term missions to space, finding “extensive” changes to the brain’s white and gray matter. What these changes mean for the cosmonauts is still an open question. “However, whether or not the extensive alterations shown in the gray and … Read more

SCIENCE: There’s a Brain in Your Butt

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You’re reading these words because you have a brain in your head. But did you know you also have a brain in your butt? OK, not a literal brain — more of an autonomous matrix of millions of neurons that can, somehow, control intestinal muscle movements without any help from your central nervous system. And these neurons don’t actually live in your butt, but they do live in your colon, or large intestine — that tube-like organ that connects the small intestine to the rectum and shepherds what remains of the food you ate through the final leg of the … Read more

SCIENCE: Trans Kids’ Brains Resemble Their Gender Identity

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A new study led by a Belgian neurologist found that brain activity in transgender people resembles that found in cisgender people of their gender more than their sex assigned at birth. Julie Bakker of the University of Liege led the research, which involved MRI scans of 160 transgender people diagnosed with gender dysphoria who were children and teenagers. The scans also measures brain microstructures using a technique called diffusion tensor imaging. Their brain scans were compared to people of comparable age who were not diagnosed with gender dysphoria. The study found that transgender boys’ brain activity resembled cisgender boys’, and … Read more

SCIENCE: Dying Brains Silence Themselves in a Spreading Dark Wave


At the edge of life and death is a spreading dark wave. Scientists spotted it first in rabbits. In a series of papers published throughout the 1940s, Harvard biologist Aristides Leão described finding a sudden silencing of electrical activity in the exposed brains of his unconscious experimental animals after subjecting them to injuries — applying electrical shocks, poking them with glass rods or cutting off the blood in their arteries. The “spreading depression,” as he termed it, began at the injured spot within 5 minutes of the injury, before eclipsing more distant parts of the brain. Seven decades later, a … Read more

New Company Wants to Map Your Brain, But It Will Kill You

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Four things are true: One, a startup called Nectome plans to embalm the living brains of dying people, with the promise that the preserved tissues might someday be brought back to life. Two, the grim plan has gotten a ton of press coverage in the past few days, ever since MIT Technology Review covered it on Tuesday (March 13). Three, most of that press coverage doesn’t cite any outside neuroscience experts. And four, all of the experts that Live Science contacted to discuss the story have expressed, one way or another, that they found the plan ridiculous. Nectome plans to … Read more

SCIENCE: Your Brain is a Multiverse


Scientists studying the brain have discovered that the organ operates on up to 11 different dimensions, creating multiverse-like structures that are “a world we had never imagined.” By using an advanced mathematical system, researchers were able to uncover architectural structures that appears when the brain has to process information, before they disintegrate into nothing. Their findings, published in the journal Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience, reveals the hugely complicated processes involved in the creation of neural structures, potentially helping explain why the brain is so difficult to understand and tying together its structure with its function. The team, led by scientists … Read more