Author Archives: José Ramón Alonso

<span property="name">José Ramón Alonso</span>
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.

Metacognition is «cognition about cognition», or «knowing about knowing». It comes from the root word «meta», meaning beyond, and the word «cognition» that includes all mental abilities and processes related to knowledge: attention, memory, judgment and evaluation, reasoning, biological computation, […]

Sleep has a critical function in metabolic homeostasis. Its restorative function may be a consequence of the enhanced removal of potentially neurotoxic waste products that accumulate in the awake central nervous system . The glymphatic system is a functional waste […]

An «earworm» is a tune that arises seemingly spontaneously in the mind and becomes “stuck” in the head for hours or days. It is also called brainworm, musical imagery repetition, involuntary musical imagery, and stuck song syndrome. Sometimes we feel […]

Ants communicate through different mechanisms in order to regulate their social organization. The best known is through scented chemicals known as pheromones. These chemical messengers are received at the tips of the antennae and differences in concentration between the left […]

Ant nests are complex three-dimensional spaces with particular places allocated for specific functions: egg-laying, care of the brood, food storage… In the chambers and tunnels, many insects live in very confined spaces and are thus especially vulnerable for infectious […]

Laziness, sloth or indolence is, depending on who you ask, a sin, a psychological characteristic, or a basic human right. It is usually used as a pejorative and is considered a disinclination, a personal choice where one the lazy […]

There are two main groups of mammalian brains. Lissencephalic brains have a smooth surface and can be found, for example, in mice, rats or manatees. Gyrencephalic brains, by contrast, have deeply folded brains with gyri (ridges) and sulci (depressions or […]


Fernando Nottebohm was born in Buenos Aires in 1940, a second generation Argentine. Animals fascinated him since he was a child and he always wanted to understand how birds sing. After moving to the United States, he began to […]

Mayans considered chocolate to be the food of gods, something that is remembered in the scientific name of the cacao plant (Theobroma cacao). Although these presumably consumers are not any longer considered, chocolate is an important dietary […]

The lymphatic system performs important immune functions, and runs parallel to the blood circulatory system to provide a secondary circulation that transports excess interstitial fluid, proteins and metabolic waste products from the systemic tissues back into the blood. For centuries, […]