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The Mind

The growing link between microbes, mood and mental health

New research suggests that to maintain a healthy brain, we should tend our gut microbiome. The best way to do that right now is not through pills and supplements, but better food.

Scientists scrutinize happiness research

From meditation to smiling, researchers take a second look at studies claiming to reveal what makes us happy

Top science stories of 2023

Twelve standout news events and trends in a tumultuous year

Neanderthals: More knowable now than ever

They have held our fascination ever since we first identified their remains. Today, thanks to new artifacts and technologies, findings about our closest relatives are coming thick and fast.

A magnetic therapy for depression gains precision

Approved over a decade ago, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is moderately effective. Tailoring the treatment to individual brains may improve results.

Do spiders dream? What about cuttlefish? Bearded dragons?

Researchers are finding signs of multiple phases of sleep all over the animal kingdom. The ‘active’ sleep phases look very much like REM.

Charles Henry Turner’s insights into animal behavior were a century ahead of their time

Researchers are rediscovering the forgotten legacy of a pioneering Black scientist who conducted trailblazing research on the cognitive traits of bees, spiders and more

The psychopathic path to success

Psychopathic tendencies may be present to some extent in all of us. New research is reframing this often sensationalized and maligned set of traits and finding some positive twists.

Medications for opioid use disorder — MOUD — and adolescents

Treatment with drugs such as buprenorphine, methadone and naltrexone is deemed the gold standard for youth with opioid addictions. Why isn’t it used more often?

How the placebo effect went mainstream

PODCAST: Sloppy by today’s standards, and maybe even back when it was published in 1955, Henry Beecher’s paper paved the way for sounder drug trials and pushed scientists to better understand how we process pain (Season 3, Episode 3)

Better therapy for Asian Americans

Most of today’s psychotherapies are grounded in Western values. Researchers hope that tailoring treatments to patients’ cultural backgrounds will improve mental health outcomes.

The neurons that make us feel hangry

Neuroscientists think a cluster of cells in the brain that stimulate appetite could be a target for eating disorder therapies

Reading the mind with machines

Researchers are developing brain-computer interfaces that would enable communication for people with locked-in syndrome and other conditions that render them unable to speak

Teens can have excellent executive function — just not all the time

Adolescents’ brains are highly capable, if inconsistent, during this critical age of exploration and development. They are also acutely tuned into rewards.

Hope for haploinsufficiency diseases

Genetic conditions like Dravet syndrome, which causes severe childhood epilepsy, are hard to tackle with traditional gene therapy. New approaches in the works include using antisense therapy to boost mRNA splicing.

Zooming in on the brains of babies

New tools are helping neuroscientists investigate why early life is such a crucial time for neural development

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