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. Jon Nelson sits next to his son.
    Health & Medicine

    How brain implants are treating depression

    This six-part series follows people whose lives have been changed by an experimental treatment called deep brain stimulation.

  2. A photo of Amanda sitting on a couch looking at the camera.

    Today’s depression treatments don’t help everyone

    In the second story in the series, deep brain stimulation is a last resort for some people with depression.

  3. A computer monitor shows various brain imagery, while two surgeons operating on a person are visible in the background.
    Health & Medicine

    The science behind deep brain stimulation for depression

    The third part of the series explores the promising brain areas to target for deep brain stimulation for depression.

  4. A photo of the connector cords used for external electrodes on a cap which can be seen on a man's head in the background.

    What’s it like to live with deep brain stimulation for depression?

    The fourth article in the series explores the physical and emotional challenges of experimental brain implants for depression.

  5. Jon Nelson walks along a New York subway platform holding a bag.
    Health & Medicine

    There’s a stigma around brain implants and other depression treatments

    The fifth article in the series asks why people are so uncomfortable with changing the brain.

  6. A photo of Jon Nelson and his family.

    What’s the future of deep brain stimulation for depression?

    The final story of the series describes efforts to simplify and improve brain implants for severe depression.

  7. A retail package of the semaglutide weight-loss drug Wegovy sits on a table
    Health & Medicine

    The weight-loss drug Wegovy may also help treat addiction

    Recent studies in mice and rats suggest that semaglutide drugs, like Wegovy, can curb some addictions. Several human trials are underway.

  8. A photo of several brain scans.
    Health & Medicine

    New Alzheimer’s drugs are coming. Here’s what you need to know

    Several new drugs that target brain plaques slow mental decline in people with Alzheimer’s disease. But they are not for everyone, researchers caution.

  9. A photo of several different flavors of Monster, Red Bull and other energy drinks sitting on grocery store shelves.
    Health & Medicine

    Taurine slows aging in mice. Will it ever work for people?

    The amino acid taurine — found in meats, produced by the body and common in energy drinks — may have a role in health and aging, a new study suggests.

  10. Two images of a brain. The image on the left shows a forward-facing brain scan with a purple section in the middle and yellow sections on the bottom, both with red dots scattered throughout the colored sections. The image on the right is a profile view of the same brain with the same colored section.

    Brain implants have revealed a signature for chronic pain

    Brain implants in four people with chronic pain gave researchers an inside look at the debilitating condition.

  11. illustration of human heads

    Neuroscientists decoded people’s thoughts using brain scans

    The finding may lead to better communication aids for people who can’t communicate easily. It also raises privacy concerns.

  12. An illustration of a person's head in profile created with words.
    Health & Medicine

    A chemical imbalance doesn’t explain depression. So what does?

    The causes of depression are much more complex than the serotonin hypothesis suggests