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Alison Pearce Stevens' Articles

  • A new ‘spin’ on concussions

    football
    Scientists have suspected that rotational forces in the brain may underlie concussions. A new study used athletic mouthguards containing sensors. Data on head movements during collisions suggest that a twisting of the brain may underlie mild brain injuries, including concussion.
  • Harry Potter reveals secrets of the brain

    Reading harry potter
    Figuring out how the brain makes sense of what we read isn’t easy. So scientists enlisted the magical world of Harry Potter. It allowed experts to predict with great accuracy which brain areas would be active in a given part of the story.
  • Tiny — but mighty — food-cleanup crews

    apple core
    Discarded food wastes can turn city spaces into food courts for disease-carrying rats and pigeons. But a new study shows tiny cleanup crews — especially pavement ants — are doing their best to eliminate such wastes. This, in turn, makes cities less attractive to bigger pests.
  • Germs help each other fend off antibiotics

    Staphylococcus aureus bacteria
    Drug-resistant bacteria can cause persistent infections. A new study finds these germs fight drugs in different ways. And they can swap various compounds, increasing their neighbors’ chances of overcoming the drugs meant to kill them.
  • The distracted teenage brain

    teen texting and driving
    Teens often show poor judgment in decision-making. Scientists have long blamed this on the fact that their brains are still developing. A new study offers another explanation: distractions form rewarding behaviors — ones that persist even after the reward itself has disappeared.
  • Solved: Mystery of the ‘sailing’ rocks

    trail of moving rocks
    Rocks and boulders periodically move across the Racetrack Playa in Death Valley, leaving tell-tale tracks in their wake. Using advanced technology, scientists have finally solved the mystery of how this happens.
  • Mistakes: A key to learning

    experimental setup to test memory and mistakes
    This man uses a robotic arm to move a cursor across a computer screen. The screen blocks his view of his hand and arm. This focuses his attention on any errors he makes as he tries to move a cursor to a target location.

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