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

    Dog wins tally of nerve cells in the outer wrinkles of the brain

    Golden retrievers rate at the top for numbers of nerve cells, a study of some carnivores finds.

  2. Brain

    Alzheimer’s protein can sneak into the brain from the blood

    Experiments in mice show that proteins linked with Alzheimer’s disease can enter the brain from the blood, then stockpile there.

  3. Brain

    Brains may need flexible networks to learn well

    New data suggest that brain cells may learn best when they are able to easily make and break off communications with neighbors — or distant brain regions.

  4. Brain

    To reveal how the brain creates joy, start by tickling rats

    Rats love a good tickle. Not only do they beg for more, but the action itself activates a part of the brain that detects touch, researchers find.

  5. Brain

    Lying sets up a liar’s brain to lie more

    As people lie more, activity in one brain region falls, a new study finds. It’s an area associated with emotion.

  6. Brain

    Pain is contagious — at least in mice

    Pain can move from one mouse to another. The trigger may be smell.

  7. Brain

    Out-of-whack body clock causes more than sleepiness

    When the body’s “clock” doesn’t match the cues its getting from outside, people can feel bad. Researchers are using math to explain this “circadian-time sickness.”

  8. Brain

    Mice brains hint at how bodies keep their cool

    Nerve cells in mice can keep the body cool and may prevent high fevers. The discovery could have implications for obesity and other health issues.

  9. Health & Medicine

    To remember something new: Exercise!

    People who exercised strenuously for a half hour after learning something new cemented those memories. But the trick: Wait four hours before getting the heart pumping vigorously.

  10. Brain

    Left brain stands guard during sleepovers

    Part of the left half of the brain remains on alert while the rest of the brain and body snooze.

  11. Health & Medicine

    Scientists link Zika to nerve disease

    The Zika virus is spreading in the Americas. There has also been an uptick in cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome. Scientists think the two are linked.

  12. Brain

    Early intro to sign language has lasting benefits

    Children introduced to sign language as babies performed better on mental-processing tasks at age 12 — and as adults — than did people who learned sign language at age 3.