Laura Sanders

Neuroscience, Senior Writer, Science News

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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Health & Medicine

    Behavior of genes could identify type of infection

    The behavior of hundreds of genes can identify a viral infection, a new study finds. That could help doctors determine treatment for a sick patient.

  5. Environment

    Brain damage seen in potent-marijuana smokers

    Brain scans of people smoking potent forms of pot showed abnormalities in white matter. Studies have not yet looked to see if these changes are also linked with changes in memory, risk of depression or other types of harm.

  6. Life

    Scientists discover itch-busting cells

    A study in mice finds the body has a special way of dealing with an itch that’s caused by a light touch. The results could lead to treatments for chronic itch.

  7. Health & Medicine

    Nobel goes for developing drugs from nature

    The 2015 Nobel Prize in medicine went to scientists who used nature as the model for important human drugs to combat malaria and serious infections.

  8. Health & Medicine

    News Brief: Stress may break diet willpower

    A new study suggests stress can affect our behavior — and willpower — by making tasty foods look more irresistible.

  9. Microbes

    How ‘brain-eating’ amoebas kill

    When people infected with a “brain-eating amoeba” die, their own immune systems might be to blame.

  10. Health & Medicine

    Sugar makes mice sleepy

    Sugar may amp up sleep-promoting cells in the brain, a new study in mice finds.

  11. Genetics

    Altered gene leaves people totally painfree

    That’s not a good thing for these people. Still, it could lead to a new class of drugs to help people who now suffer from chronic pain.

  12. Health & Medicine

    Catching ZZZs may retrieve lost memories

    Forgetful? Maybe you’ve forgotten to get enough shuteye. A study in fruit flies suggests that a good sleep can boost their ability to remember things.