Weekend Links: Barn Owls and ADHD Research, How Your Brain Creates a Sense of Self and More

Barn owl

Welcome to Weekend Links, a collection of fascinating science stories from across the web, curated by your science-loving friends at the Mass General Research Institute.

The ‘Me’ Illusion: How Your Brain Conjures Up Your Sense of Self

Sofia Deleniv writing for New Scientist

Look into a mirror and you may see pimples, wrinkles or unruly facial hair, but beneath the superficial lies something far more interesting. Every time you lock eyes with your reflection, you know exactly who is looking back at you. The sense of self is unmistakable. It is so much a part of being human that we often fail to notice it. Yet self-awareness is one of the biggest mysteries of the mind. How did it arise and what is it for?


Futuristic Organ-on-a-Chip Technology Now Seems More Realistic Than Ever

Lakshmi Supriya writing in Science

You might find yourself enthralled by the dazzling pink and blue 3D specimens of rays, seahorses, and sharks that grace natural history museums—and some online slideshows. Now, a new improvement to an old imaging technique promises to reveal even more details in vertebrates, with scans that might be as at home in the art gallery as in the lab.
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Scientists study barn owls to understand why people with ADHD struggle to focus

Jon Hamilton writing for NPR

Kids with ADHD are easily distracted. Barn owls are not.

So a team at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore is studying these highly focused predatory birds in an effort to understand the brain circuits that control attention.

The team’s long-term goal is to figure out what goes wrong in the brains of people with attention problems, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.


Diving Deep to Reveal the Microbial Mysteries of a Lost City

Anna Kusmer writing for Smithsonian.com

The trillions of microbial residents of Lost City, perched on top of the Atlantis Massif, have become a fascination for scientists. These microbes, thriving in a hydrothermal vent field deep in the Atlantic, hold the secret to life’s survival in such hostile environments—and they may even provide clues about the origins of life on Earth. Learn More


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Massachusetts General Hospital is home to the largest hospital-based research program in the United States. Research at Mass General takes place in over 30 departments, centers and institutes and is supported by federal and state funding, foundations, industry partners and philanthropic donations. 

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