March 31, 2013

My Neuron (an original sonnet)

If I should think of all things in the world,
A tiny neuron in my brain is you.
Your axon weaves throughout my cortex, twirled—
About my thalamus your dendrites grew.
When not around, chloride ions invade
And inhibit my action potential,
Obstructing second-messenger cascade
And making sodium less substantial.
Occipital lobe neural synapses
Fire when you enter my field of view—
My nervous system instead collapses
As neurites shrug and declare, “I am through.”

For when you're here my whole body goes numb—
My brain can't function—I am so very dumb.

March 18, 2013

Why that echoey phone feedback drives us nuts

Hey, braniacs!

I'm over at's The Body Odd blog this week talking about delayed auditory feedback (DAF) and why it makes for such a difficult time speaking...

...and, strangely, why DAF can be used to improve fluency in those who stutter.

Check it out here!

March 3, 2013

Sleep studies: What's all that stuff they put on me?!

The following is a post written for the upcoming blog run by graduate students at Penn State College of Medicine. The blog will be aimed at high school students and residents of the community. I'll use these posts to introduce you to the research I'm conducting as a graduate student in neuroscience.

Have you ever had a sleep study done?

Perhaps you or a loved one has been referred to a sleep clinic for insomnia, apnea, narcolepsy, or restless legs syndrome. Maybe you’ve participated in a sleep research study—and if you’re in central Pennsylvania, you may even be part of our laboratory’s adult or child general population cohorts!

The hallmark of getting a sleep study done is—well, looking something like this: 

Looks rather scary, right? Fear not—each component has a very simple purpose.