Roberta Diaz Brinton, Ph.D., ’79 ’81 ’84, works high above the University of Arizona campus in a sleek new building, Bioscience Research Laboratories, with sweeping views of the courtyard garden below.
University of Arizona neuroscientist and Regents’ Professor Carol Barnes wants to enhance people’s brain health and cognition. It’s something she’s been working on her whole career.
Creating intelligent robots has proved far more challenging than Star Trek may have led us to believe. But the UA’s robotics team has found success by looking for inspiration from a surprising source — smart, talented insects.
Yes, insects. Houseflies, dragonflies, even a moth, which can drive a vehicle nicknamed the Mothbot.
The UA is at the forefront of a branch of neuroscience that could soon lead to a flying robot that can smell, hear, touch, and, most important, see with the acute compound eyes of the insect world.
Our behavior, moods, movements, thoughts, memories, appetite, sleeping habits, and ways of communicating — fundamentally, everything we are — are controlled by the center of our nervous system: the brain.
If you’re reading this, your brain weighs about three pounds; that’s a little more than the average cantaloupe. Three pounds may not sound like much, but as a percentage of body mass it’s comparatively enormous. A sperm whale’s brain, for example, is as big as a beagle — but it’s tucked in a 30-ton frame.
Food is a powerful force for the health of the body and the brain. The brain needs energy in the form of glucose, amino acids (the building blocks of protein), and an assortment of vitamins and minerals to operate. Here are a few tips for dietary choices to protect and promote brain health.
The most important step toward protecting your brain’s health? Get started! It’s never too late to make healthy changes to your lifestyle, and even small changes can have a big impact.