Laura Sanders

Neuroscience Writer, Science News

Based in Corvallis, Oregon, Laura Sanders reports on neuroscience for Science News. She wrote Growth Curve, a blog about the science of raising kids, from 2013 to 2019 and continues to write about child development and parenting from time to time. She earned her Ph.D. in molecular biology from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, where she studied the nerve cells that compel a fruit fly to perform a dazzling mating dance. Convinced that she was missing some exciting science somewhere, Laura turned her eye toward writing about brains in all shapes and forms. She holds undergraduate degrees in creative writing and biology from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, where she was a National Merit Scholar. Growth Curve, her 2012 series on consciousness and her 2013 article on the dearth of psychiatric drugs have received awards recognizing editorial excellence.

All Stories by Laura Sanders

  1. Animals

    Mice show their feelings on their faces

    Pleasure, pain, fear and disgust — all can show on a mouse’s face. As computational analyses show, you just need to know what to look for.

  2. Science & Society

    Brainwaves of people with coarse, curly hair are now less hard to read

    Electrodes weren’t designed for people with coarse, curly hair. A redesign was needed, scientists say.

  3. Environment

    Greener than burial? Turning human bodies into worm food

    Composting human bodies yielded good results — and good soil — in one small study. It could become an alternative to burial or cremation in one state.

  4. Brain

    Sleep may jumpstart the brain’s power washing system

    Waves of fluid wash into the human brain during sleep. That’s good. They just may help clean out toxic proteins.

  5. Animals

    Breeding has given different dogs distinct brain shapes

    An analysis of the shapes of brains in different dog breeds shows how humans have altered the animals’ brain anatomy.

  6. Brain

    Brain ‘ripples’ appear just before you remember something

    Nerve cells in the brain’s hippocampus, a key memory center, fire together a second or two before people begin to recall an image, data now show.

  7. Brain

    Routine hits in a single football season may harm players’ brains

    A group of college football players underwent brain scans after a season of play. The results suggest playing the sport could harm neural signaling.

  8. Brain

    Lasers make mice hallucinate

    Scientists used a technique called optogenetics to make mice “see” vertical or horizontal lines that didn’t actually exist.

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    Health & Medicine

    Measles can harm a child’s defense against other serious infections

    Getting the measles can leave the body vulnerable to other infections months or even years later, scientists are finding.

  10. Brain

    High fat diet removes brain’s natural brake on overeating

    At least in mice, high-fat diets promote overeating. And the problem appears to trace to changes that these foods make to cells in an appetite-control center within the brain.

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    Health & Medicine

    A sixth finger can prove extra handy

    Two people born with six fingers on each hand adeptly control their extra digits, using them to do tasks better than five-fingered hands.

  12. Brain

    The U.S. prison system can harm young brains, scientist warns

    The U.S. justice system holds teens to adult standards. And that can harm a teen’s developing brain, one researcher now argues.