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Post Archive
2018 (0)2013 (2)2012 (29)
December (1)November (2)

Give thanks this Thursday—and always
Monday, November 19, 2012

"neuroBLOGical" turns 1!
Sunday, November 4, 2012
October (4)September (1)

Sight without seeing: Balint's syndrome
Sunday, September 16, 2012
August (2)

Catnip fever: why your cat acts high
Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Paralyze your face, fight depression
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
July (2)June (4)May (3)April (2)March (3)February (2)

Seeing into the future? The neuroscience of déjà vu
Sunday, February 26, 2012

Your love is my drug
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
January (3)
2011 (7)
Blogger Profile

Jordan Gaines
Neuroscience
Pennsylvania State University USA

A blog on biology, psychology, cognition, learning, memory, aging, and everything in between. Explaining recent discoveries in neuroscience, translated to language we can all understand!

My posts are presented as opinion and commentary and do not represent the views of LabSpaces Productions, LLC, my employer, or my educational institution.

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Recent Comments

Your blog is perhaps one of the best pieces of science writings I have recently come across! Brilliant work ! I have been meaning to start something similar..now am inspired :) By the way- . . .Read More
May 08, 2013, 2:08pm

When you get to smell, I have some burning questions.   What's the scoop on that new car smell, and why does it make you want to buy?  :)   . . .Read More
Jan 28, 2013, 7:14pm

Coolest series ever!  I can't wait for the next one. . . .Read More
Dec 10, 2012, 9:46am
Comment by Brian Krueger, PhD in "neuroBLOGical" turns 1!

I'm starting as the Associate Director of the Genomic Analysis Facility at Duke University in two weeks!  Hopefully once things settle down I'll actually be able to write again and start recruitin. . .Read More
Nov 06, 2012, 7:20am
Comment by Jordan Gaines in "neuroBLOGical" turns 1!

Excellent! What's the new job? . . .Read More
Nov 05, 2012, 5:37pm
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Feb 01, 2011, 10:42am
Jan 07, 2011, 2:16pm
Views: 3625 | Comments: 0
Scientific literature is, to say the least, pretty dull.

It's rife with redundant phrases, confusing methodologies, and tiny graphs. Reading page after page of long words in small font is better than any over-the-counter sleep aid out there for getting the job done.

Occasionally, the rare gem will come along just when you least expect it, providing a readable (dare I say—enjoyable) account of the latest research.

So begins a paper published this past week in Neurology:

"It was a quiet Thursday afternoon when 'A.S.', a 68-year-old woman from a suburb of Chicago, awakened from a nap to the realization that something was terribly wrong.

What?! What's wrong! Must...keep...reading...

As the article continues, we learn how A.S. and another patient, J.D., adjust to their lives before and after their diagnoses of Bálint's syndrome.

A.S. couldn't find doors or cabinets in her house. She had difficulty naming familiar household objects, and she was unable to read a book or the numbers on her phone.

Armed with an ophthalmologist's' note declaring 20/20 vision with glasses, the next step was to visit a neurologist.

J.D.'s fir . . . More
Views: 4440 | Comments: 2
Last by Jordan Gaines on Aug 29, 2012, 8:27am
There are few things in this world more entertaining than cats. Except for, perhaps, cats on catnip.

Yes, "on" catnip. I speak of it like a drug, because it is.

Sure, make a laser pointer dance around the room and you've got endless hours of entertainment. But give Mittens a little toy mouse infused with catnip and—well, something changes.

Mittens will rub against the toy, rolling around and ecstatically chewing it. She may drool and become either sleepy or anxious. If you try to take the toy, she might act aggressive, scratching or biting at you.

Forget the mouse—Mittens wants the catnip inside. So what is catnip, and why is it causing your sweet kitty to behave so dichotomously?

What is catnip?

Catnip, also called catswort or catmint, is a plant of the genus Nepeta. Native to Asia and Europe, it's become common worldwide—in fact, you're likely to see it growing along many North American highways and railroads. Catnip is a relative of oregano and spearmint.

In the past, humans consumed the plant in the form of juice, tea, alcohol, or by smoking—for medicinal purposes such as pain, insomnia, colic, and, er, flatulence.

What is it doing to my cat?!

The toys that drive our feline . . . More
Views: 1358 | Comments: 0
3 Quarks Daily is a pretty fascinating site. In essence, the site writers post interesting tidbits daily, from science to art to literature to current affairs—anything they find interesting. I encourage everyone to check it out if they haven't already.

What I've been looking forward to most all year, however, is the 3 Quarks Daily 2012 Science Prize. And guess what? My blog post from back in February on the neuroscience of deja vu has been nominated!

If you are so inclined, I would appreciate a vote and a share! You can vote for me here—find me alphabetically under "Gaines, on Brains" (which is the name of my main blog). Voting is open until this Saturday at 11:59 PM.

Thanks for your support!

. . . More
Views: 2955 | Comments: 3
Last by Mohammadbagher on May 20, 2012, 3:36am
A random sample of Americans was polled a few years ago. The purpose of this poll was to gauge our population's knowledge and beliefs on human life and evolution. Religious beliefs aside, this statement particularly stood out to me:

A quarter of Americans believed that this is true. This absolutely floors me.

But it also has me wondering: do people understand what, exactly, a genetic defect is? Do they understand what DNA is beyond, say, mentionings in the O.J. Simpson case or paternity tests on Maury?

Another poll states that 80% of Americans believe the U.S. should create a "DNA bank" of its citizens. What exactly are they believing in, then?

There is a great divide between the scientific community and the average non-scientific layperson. And just before I enrolled in my Ph.D. program to begin my scientific career, it became clear to me how I'd like to use my knowledge: to educate others, in their terms, about what's going on in their bodies.


There are two truths about which I have been certain for most of my life: I love to write and create, and science is endlessly fascinating.

Back home, a large box is filled to the brim with papers I'd taped together to create books—st . . . More
Views: 1072 | Comments: 4
Last by Jordan Gaines on Nov 16, 2011, 10:24am


Welcome to my new blog, neuroBLOGical! My name is Jordan, and I'm a 22-year old graduate student in the Neuroscience program at Penn State Hershey. I'm a native of the Baltimore area, and graduated from the beautiful St. Mary's College of Maryland in May with my Bachelor's in Biology and Neuroscience.

I have had an interest in neuroscience since 8th grade—that's possibly before I even knew what "neuroscience" meant. The brain fascinated me, and I wanted to learn everything that I could about the mysterious 3-lb. organ that simultaneously controlled my thoughts, speech, and movement.

I've worked in a number of labs, from cellular (a model of Huntington's disease) to organismal (salamander limb regeneration), from chemical (measuring vitamin D levels) to behavioral (RATS!). Conducting scientific research is fascinating, but can also be extraordinarily tedious. I can't tell you how many times I used to nod off in the dark microscopy room after being awake since 5 AM for my college rowing practices.

To protect myself from the occasional disappointment that sometimes accompanies failed experiments, I've always enjoyed reading about a wide variety of scientific topics, usually in popular science magaz . . . More
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