Suzana Herculano-Houzel

Why did it take me so long to realize I was autistic? Because I am autistic, duh

…and it’s all the more telling that it took me FOUR YEARS after my diagnosis to realize that the reason why I didn’t realize sooner that I was autistic was exactly because I was autistic. Let me explain. Autism is characterized by sensory hyper- OR hyposensitivities. Most commonly, the hypersensitivities are visual/auditory/haptic (fancy for “touch-related”)…...

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Brain 101: Behavior requires no brain

First things first: this section explores what brains are ultimately about, and how they came to be. What is the relationship between brain and behavior? Is there behavior without a brain? If so, what does having a brain change in the life of an animal? Plenty of life – most of it, actually – does…...

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On how I found myself on the spectrum

Frankly, what made me discover that I was autistic – or “Aspie”, as I like to put it – was my seemingly ever-growing talent to piss off my then-husband. Unwittingly – without even trying. Actually, it seemed I could piss him off exactly by trying to not piss him off. My son had been reading…...

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If only more scientists were like Harry Jerison

I was nobody. I was this Brazilian woman who trained with nobody to be a quantitative neuroanatomist, who did this outrageous thing of turning brains into soup, and had come out of left field from counting neurons with her brain soup to claim that bigger brains were not necessarily made of more neurons; that larger…...

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Brain 101: First Principles

Neuroscience is the systematic pursuit of understanding how come we act the way we do: how do we come to have idiosyncratic tastes, preferences and dislikes; skillsets, talents, and absolute incapabilities; interests, opinions, and world views; and how we come to act on them in those particular ways that define our individual selves – all…...

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Animals are heterotrophic creatures with a nervous system

Let’s get something out of the way: life does not need a nervous system. Plenty of life – most of it, actually – does not have a nervous system, much less a brain. Yet, all animals – with the exception of sponges, to the present knowledge – have one. “Why?”, is often the question asked. “So they can move and thrive…...

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Life 101: You are not a plant – you need to eat to transfer energy to your body

It would take over nine hours of your day if you were just a regular primate, but thanks to the craftiness of your ancestors of some 3 million years ago, who came up with tools, then fire to transform food before it goes into your mouth, you can eat all that you need for the…...

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Not a little dark: REALLY dark

We always hear that it’s important to sleep in the dark: “It’s so your eyes can really rest”, “it’s so your brain knows it’s night”, “it’s so your body can relax”. Silence is also important, for similar reasons: “to quiet the brain”. Hence the bedroom separated from the rest of the house, the electric lights…...

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Life 101: You need energy to keep existing

Living human, meet your worst enemy: Entropy, also known as the Second Law of Thermodynamics. And no, sorry: this is not the kind of law that you can break then just pay a fine and walk away scott-free. The Laws of Physics have this misleading name that allows you to think that they can be…...

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Life 101: Heat stroke is death by your own gut bacteria

Never mind the part about the extreme temperatures that are becoming the new normal. Ok, do mind, but go back to doing that in a few minutes. Right now, worry about something else, so that you can keep yourself safe: What is so dangerous about heat stroke, and how does one die of it? Very long story…...

This content is for Complete Neuroscience Writings and Crash Course in Neuroscience + Complete Neurocientist Writings members only.
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