Suzana Herculano-Houzel

Is it Alzheimer’s or isn’t it?

Scientific meetings are often opportunities for researchers to exchange ideas and present to each other what they have just discovered or have begun to study but have not yet made public. That’s why a recent meeting on Alzheimer’s disease was so extraordinary. Two private institutions, the international Alzheimer’s Association and Hong Kong’s Croucher Foundation, brought […]

I don’t know when to stop

Another transatlantic flight, another six hours of non-stop work. Tied to a chair, with no options but to go to the toilet or grab something gluten-free from the tray served as a meal, with no emails, internet, messages, students or dogs and cats around my desk wanting attention, I write very well. What else is […]

Open up the mind

The ways of the human mind are a delightful, if occasionally thorny, subject. Several times, in the question period after lectures, on radio shows or in emails prompted by something I’ve written, I receive the criticism that science, and neuroscience in particular, by reducing the mind to a handful of matter removes the divine from […]

Help yourself

Every time a new drug is tested, it has to be determined whether the substance is inherently active, capable of acting on the body in the desired way – as an anti-inflammatory, antidepressant or antihistamine, for example. As a rule, the effects of the substance are first tested on cells grown in the laboratory, and […]

Sleeping in the clouds

Here I am once again on a plane heading for the USA, to do my work on how many neurons it takes to build a monkey brain. An old monkey when it comes to long journeys, after seven years living abroad, I took advantage of the ease of buying tickets online to secure the place […]

The pitfalls of self-service food

I know a Frenchman who, when he arrived in Brazil a few years ago, turned up his nose at the eating habits of those who frequent self-service restaurants. Mixing rice, potatoes, pasta and farofa on the same plate could only be the work of barbarians with no gastronomic education: in France, after all, the main […]

Adoptive mothers work too!

Last week I wrote about the marks that institutionalizing babies leaves on their brains years later, even when they are adopted in infancy: slower development, reaching a brain volume 10% smaller than that of children of the same age who have always been raised by their own families. On the one hand, this and other […]

The thrill of music

There are sites for everything on the Internet, and the other day I discovered one that sold music that supposedly induced “brain states” similar to those produced by drugs. For a few dollars, the site offered the experience of a lysergic, cocaine or cannabinoid trip produced by your brain in response to specifically created music […]

The reality of psychosomatic stress

How annoying it is to hear from others that a problem you feel on your skin is “just in your head”. It’s good that science has freed us from other people’s beliefs, including this one: health problems that are “just psychosomatic”. Well, they’re so real that even rats suffer the effects of stress. What kind […]

Observations from an autistic neuroscientist on twitter

When a disability is a superpower Bombastic news to start the new year: it’s been four years since I found out I’m autistic. Please spare me the “nice” or “flattering” comments like “gee, you don’t look it”, or “but you look so normal”. Functioning in the world of normals, or “neurotypicals”, takes a lot of […]

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