Science x philosophy x technology x writing — word wrangler & concept cuddler.

Medium offers writers (some) creative freedom and financial compensation, but is it worth your time?

(Pixabay, geralt)

Milling around

This is a personal reflection, which is why I didn’t submit it to a Medium publication (more on those below). It also means that everything that follows is based on my own experience. Other people will have other thoughts on Medium.

With the rise of the internet, we’ve witnessed the…

Our bodies make small amounts of formaldehyde, but when this process goes wrong our brains suffer

Human brain preserved in formaldehyde. (Wikimedia commons, Maksym Kozlenko)

Formaldehyde, made in yourself

Formaldehyde is a foul-smelling colorless gas that is usually stored in liquid form (dissolved in water it’s known as formalin). That’s how most of us know it, as a preserving fluid (or maybe it’s just my biology background that makes me think of it in that way).

It has plenty…

Stress-induced hormones can mess with the immune system, which enables some gut bacteria to cause infection

(Pixabay, KELLEPICS)

Gutsy gut bugs

Ah, bacteria. Love ’em or hate ’em, they’re everywhere. Including inside ourselves.

Microbiome is a broad term that refers to a community of micro-organisms that live together in a certain habitat, but these days when you read ‘microbiome’ there’s a pretty good chance it’s about the gut microbiome. …

Brain organoids grown from patient cells display signs of frontotemporal dementia and might lead to new discoveries

(Pixabay, geralt)

Organs, the mini version

Roughly a decade ago, our increasing knowledge about stem cells made some researchers wonder why we weren’t making organs to order.

Reality, however, is always more complicated than it seems. Organs are not flat sheets of cells, but living, three-dimensional, interacting communities of cell types.

And yet…

Adding our stem…

APOE alleles influence gene activity in glial cells, potentially leading to inflammation in the brain

(Pixabay, GDJ)

Beyond neurons

The study of the brain (and broader nervous system) is called neuroscience for a reason. Neuro comes from the Greek for nerve. Nerve, in turn, most often refers to cells that pass along electrochemical messages.

AKA neurons.

Fortunately, science does not stand still. As we’ve become able to study the…

Changes in brain network organization are tied to educational level and correlate with cognitive aging

(Pixabay, geralt)

Brain aging and flexibility

Our brains are not immune to age.

Even brains that are spared from dementia shrink, become prone to strokes, and develop lesions. Gene activity goes haywire, fluid intelligence flows less smoothly, and some types of memory and learning are rustier than we remember. (If we even remember that correctly. Meta.)

Karakorum, the capital of the Mongol empire between 1235 and 1263 is finally revealed to its full extent

Model of the Khan Palace in Karakorum in the National Museum of Mongolian History in Ulan Bator. (Wikimedia commons, Brücke-Osteuropa)

The Khan dynasty

The name Genghis Khan reverberates through history.

He was born as Temüjin around 1162, the first son of Hoelun, the second wife of the Kiyad chief Yesügei. The Kiyad were one of the many tribes that roamed the steppes of present-day Mongolia.

According to legend, little Temüjin was born clutching…

Gunnar De Winter

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