February 18, 2014

Why Don't Figure Skaters Get Dizzy?

If you've been faithfully watching the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, you've probably found yourself asking the question, "Don't those figure skaters get dizzy?"

Well, the truth is: yes, they do.

But what causes dizziness, and, most importantly, how do figure skaters seem to recover from it so well? As it turns out, they've got some tricks up their sheer, sequined sleeves.

Check out my latest piece with NBC News Health to learn more here!

February 6, 2014

Love, Love Medulla: The Neuroscience of Beatlemania

The term “Beatlemania” has come to be associated with many things over the past half-century.

Coined in October 1963 during the Beatles’ tour of Scotland, the extent of Beatlemania in the United States is obvious by record sales alone. Between the 1964 release of “I Want to Hold Your Hand” on the Billboard Hot 100 and the Let it Be EP in 1970, the Lads from Liverpool had a Number One single for, on average, one out of every six weeks, and the top-selling album once every three weeks.

But to most, “Beatlemania” incites a vivid image of frenzied fans, predominantly teenage girls, looking as though they’ve just witnessed a gruesome murder. Fat buttons proclaiming “I LOVE GEORGE” adorn cardigan sweaters, hanging on for dear life as their owners attempt to push past overwhelmed human police barricades. Nurses stand at the ready, armed with smelling salts and ready to rouse the next fainting victim. Lots of tears. Lots of screaming.

As we approach the 50th anniversary of John, Paul, George, and Ringo’s first U.S. appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show this Sunday, we can’t help but look back and laugh nostalgically. Just what was it about the moptop haircuts, Cuban heels, and “yeah yeah yeah”s that turned us, our parents, or our grandparents into primeval beings whose sole purpose was to drown out the blare of a Vox AC30 amplifier?

As it turns out, neuroscience can (partially) explain the phenomenon.