Laura Sanders

Laura Sanders

Senior Writer, Neuroscience

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. an illustration showing a woman falling. She is chained to a huge spikey red COVID-19 virus. Other viruses around her are also chained to falling people.
    Health & Medicine

    2022 was the year long COVID couldn’t be ignored

    Long covid’s heavy toll grew clearer as millions of people reported lingering symptoms, and scientists and doctors looked for treatments.
  2. An illustration of a woman with the top of her appearing to open on a hinge and her pull a thin white string out of a tangled collection of string where her brain would be

     New brain implants ‘read’ words directly from people’s thoughts

    In the lab, brain implants can translate internal speech into external signals, technology that could help people who are unable to speak or type.
  3. an organoid made of human nerve cells, shown in bright green, on the upper left side of a rat brain, shown in dark green

     Clumps of human nerve cells thrived in rat brains

    New results suggest that environment matters for the development of brain organoids, 3-D nerve cell clusters that grow and mimic the human brain.
  4. Tua Tagovailoa, wearing a teal jersey with the number 1, tries to throw a football amid a tackle

     Why traumatic brain injuries raise the risk of a second, worse hit

    Recent hits to Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa have reignited discussions of brain safety for professional football players. Brain experts weigh in.
  5. A man has lowered his face mask to smell a sliced lemon.

     COVID-19 gave new urgency to the science of restoring smell

    With newfound pressure from the pandemic, olfactory training and a host of other newer treatments are now getting a lot more attention.
  6. side-by-side microscope images of pigs’ kidneys with actin highlighted in green

     An hour after pigs’ deaths, an artificial system restored cellular life

    Sensors, pumps and artificial fluid staved off tissue damage in pigs after cardiac arrest. The system may one day preserve organs for transplantation.
  7. photo of Michel Roccati standing and using a walker as a researcher monitors his progress on an tablet

     Spinal stimulation gives some people with paralysis more freedom

    Methods that stimulate the spine with electrodes promise to improve the lives of people with spinal cord injuries, in ways that go well beyond walking.
  8. photo of a beagle sniffing sand on a beach

     Dogs are great sniffers. A newfound nose-to-brain connection helps explain why

    A new anatomical description of how smell works in a dog brain shows why they’re such good sniffers.
  9. photo of two sets of fences in front of the Supreme Court building
    Health & Medicine

     5 misunderstandings of pregnancy biology that cloud the abortion debate

    The Supreme Court’s scrapping of Roe v. Wade shifts decisions about related health care to states. Accurate science is often missing in those talks.
  10. Glia cell in mouse spleen

     Glial cells may take on big jobs in unexpected parts of the body

    Scientists are finding mysterious glia in the heart, spleen and lungs and wonder what they’re doing there.
  11. woman smelling a candle
    Health & Medicine

     Missing COVID-19 data leave us in the dark about the current surge

    Yankee Candle reviews and wastewater testing offer indirect hints, but we’re “flying blind,” says data expert Beth Blauer of Johns Hopkins University.
  12. Two musk oxen stand in the snow, about to butt heads.

     Headbutts hurt the brain, even for a musk ox

    Though musk oxen are built to bash, a study of the headbutters turned up signs of brain damage. But that may not be catastrophic for the bovids.