The latest in neuroscience from around the web:

Painting by Paul Spragg depicting delusions and hallucinations

Brain Decoder – Creativity and psychosis may share a genetic link [SIMPLE SCIENCE / SHORT READ] 

FROM VAN GOGH TO ZELDA FITZGERALD, the link between creativity and madness has long been anecdotally recognised. Now, scientists have analysed the genes of more than 150,000 people, and found that individuals with genetic mutations associated with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder were more likely to be creative.


Astoņkājis (Octopus vulgaris) by Augšupielādēja Albert kok under CC BY-SA 3.0

The Guardian – The octopus can see with its skin [MEDIUM SCIENCE / MEDIUM READ]

NOW YOU SEE IT, NOW YOU DON’T: octopuses contain light-sensitive proteins called opsins in their skin, which may allow them to camouflage themselves in response to their environment. 


A Sailor is vaccinated by Petty Officer 2nd Class Christopher LeBlanc aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman by Kilho Park under Public Domain

The Guardian  Uncomfortably numb: the people who feel no pain  [MEDIUM SCIENCE / MEDIUM READ]

NO PAIN, NO GAIN: Pain, while unpleasant, acts as a biological alarm, alerting us about injuries that are potentially life-threatening. For individuals with rare genetic mutations that cause insensitivity to pain, the consequences can be dire. Researchers have now discovered a third gene mutation that can lead to the disorder. 


A DNA molecule fragment that is methylated at two cytosines by Christoph Bock (Max Planck Institute for Informatics) under CC BY-SA 3.0

National Geographic – Editing human embryos: so this happened [SIMPLE SCIENCE / LONG READ]

IT’S CHEAP, EASY AND POWERFUL: CRISPR is a new genetic technique that has the potential to revolutionise biology (including neurobiology) and medicine. But researchers worry that the science is getting ahead of the regulations. What is CRISPR and how can it be used?

(For a little more detail on how CRISPR actually works, check the diagram here)


Dr. Ling doing the fist bump with an artificial arm patient by Department of Veterans Affairs - U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs under Public Domain

Nature Magazine – The Pentagon’s gamble on brain implants, bionic limbs and combat exoskeletons [SIMPLE SCIENCE / LONG READ]

THE PENTAGON’S DARPA PROGRAM IS A BEAST, and now it has neuroscience in its sights. This in-depth article covers the rapid expansion of the Pentagon’s research arm into biological and neurobiological research. DARPA funds high-risk, high-reward research, and has played a crucial role in developing the internet and creating bionic arms that amputees can control through severed nerves in their remaining stump.