Author archives: José Ramón Alonso

Image of José Ramón Alonso

José R. Alonso has a PhD in Neurobiology and is professor of Cell Biology at the University of Salamanca. He has been researcher and visiting professor at the University of Frankfurt/Main and the University of Kiel, in Germany, and the University of California, Davis and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, in the United States. He has authored more than 145 articles in peer-reviewed journals and written 20 books including university textbooks and popular science for both adults and children.

Smelling armpits

Smelling armpits

BiochemistryNeurobiology

By José Ramón Alonso

Body odor is present in all mammals, including of course humans. It has a clear genetic basis, although it is modulated by different conditions, both normal and pathological. Interestingly, although it is believed to have an important communicative function and to be involved in sexual attraction, body odor is considered unpleasant by most people, which […]

Interleukin-35 and autism

Interleukin-35 and autism

Neurobiology

By José Ramón Alonso

The cause of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is not known yet, but it is clear that there is a complex interaction between many genes and many environmental factors. Autism affects not only those aspects that are used for diagnosis: social interaction, communication, and restricted and repetitive behaviors, but also many other factors related to the […]

Maternity and autism

Maternity and autism

Neurobiology

By José Ramón Alonso

Research on autism is addressing some of the many issues that are pending and one of them is the situation and perspectives of the rest of the family: fathers, mothers, siblings, grandparents… A recent study examines some aspects of women with autism who have had a child with ASD, compared to women without autism who […]

Corpus callosum and autism

Corpus callosum and autism

Neurobiology

By José Ramón Alonso

The complexity of the brain stems from its connectivity. This is evidenced by the disproportionate increase in the volume of white substance throughout primate evolution even though the “grey matter” is the one that takes the fame; that is, there are more and more “wires” connecting the different cortical regions over long distances according to […]

Myelin and autism

Myelin and autism

Neurobiology

By José Ramón Alonso

Myelin is a lipid-rich substance that surrounds the axons of the neurons, which would be like the “wires” of the nervous system. This fatty structure serves to insulate the axons and to increase the speed with which electrical impulses, the so-called action potentials, pass along the axon. The myelinated axon can be compared to an […]

Sex and the brain

Sex and the brain

Neurobiology

By José Ramón Alonso

An interesting question is whether the brains of gay and straight people are the same or different. One study found that they are slightly different and that the brains of gay men, in the aspects analyzed, are more similar to those of heterosexual women. This would support the idea that sexual orientation is a biological […]

Living with half a brain

Living with half a brain

Neurobiology

By José Ramón Alonso

Many people think of their brain as a computer full of microchips and wires, as a storehouse full of memories and learned things, as a clock with millions of mechanisms intimately intertwined with each other, so it is incredible to think that someone can live with much less than that, with only one brain hemisphere […]

Habituation and autism

Habituation and autism

Neurobiology

By José Ramón Alonso

Some people with autism do not get used to certain stimuli as normotypical people seem to do without problem. This would fit in with what in neuroscience, particularly in learning and memory issues, is called habituation. Habituation is a process by which, when faced with a repeated stimulus, the response is less and less intense […]