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Here’s What Neuroscience’s Newest ‘Genius’ Discovered About the Brain

Beth Stevens was featured in a September 2015 New York Magazine article entitled "Here's What Neuroscience's Newest 'Genius' Discovered About the Brain".


You have fewer synapses in your brain now than a 2-year-old. That may sound like an insult, but it’s a scientific fact. We’re all born with heads full of lonely, isolated neurons. But as our baby brains are inundated with sensory information over the first two years of life, those neurons rapidly form connections, or synapses. A toddlers’ brain teems with more than 100 trillion of them. By the time that toddler becomes an adult, though, the brain will have pared back roughly half of them — synapses that are used frequently become stronger, while those that aren’t wither away. Neuroscientists have known about so-called synaptic pruning for a long time. But in 2012, Harvard University neuroscientist Dr. Beth Stevens made a discovery that transformed her field’s understanding of the mechanisms behind the process. Stevens’s contribution was so profound, the MacArthur Foundation awarded her one of its coveted “genius” grants last night.


Read the full article here.

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