Brain on Fire, published by New York Post reporter Susannah Cahalan in 2012, is a powerful autobiographical account of the author’s ‘lost month of madness’.

Image source: Upsplash

It all started with a couple of bedbug bites. Well, maybe it did, or maybe they were just in her head. Maybe those tiny marks on Susannah’s arm were simply the first symptom of Susannah’s life-changing illness. It was a period of her life where she came close to death that, perhaps mercifully, she remembers little of. Brain on Fire is Susannah’s opportunity to look back on her illness and reclaim the time she lost…


Want to get better at writing but not sure where to start? Here are seven pieces of advice for any aspiring writer who wants to improve their style and expand their readership.

1. Be clear on your main message

When you know a topic well, it can be easy to gloss over the main messages and get stuck into the gritty details. But remember, someone coming to your writing fresh will not have the same level of insight and background. Being clear on your main messages, and putting these front and centre of your writing, is the best way to ensure that the reader understands what you’re trying to convey and gets the most out of it.

Before you start writing, plan what your take-home messages are, and emphasise these throughout. Propose the ideas in the introduction, start each…


Here are the top 10 ways to help your CV stand out from the crowd to help you land your dream job!

Image by Shafin Al Asad Protic from pixabay.com

It is really a difficult time right now to find a job, so you need to make sure your CV stands out from the crowd. The following 10 tips will help you to optimise your CV or resume, particularly your academic CV, to help you ace those tricky applications!

1. Tailor your CV for every application

The most important thing to do when crafting your CV is to work out who you’re writing it for! Who will be reading your CV? What will they be expecting to see? What do you want them to focus on when they’re reading you CV?

Your CV will change for every…


2020 will go down in history as the year that changed everything. Here are ten of the books that shaped my year.

2020 has, on the whole, been a pretty awful year. But if one good thing has come out of this year, it has been rediscovering my love for reading. As a child, every second that could be spared would be spent with a book in my hand. But as life got busier and more complicated, this particular hobby had fallen by the wayside. …


In a year with lots of spare time for reading, several non-fiction books have helped me broaden my horizons and learn more about the world around me.

This year has been a chance to reflect and think more deeply about the world around us. Whether that be the incredible work of medical professionals, the Black Lives Matter movement or learning more about my subject, this year I have focused on expanding my horizons with the books I’ve been reading.

Here is a list of the five best non-fiction books that I’ve read this year.

When breath becomes air — Paul Kalanithi (2016)

I’d thought I might write a…


In a year with lots of spare time for reading, several fiction books have stood out as prime examples of escapism at its best.

With all the stress and upheaval that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought, one of the small upsides of spending so much time at home this year was rediscovering my love of reading! The escapism that the following books have provided this year was critical for getting me through this difficult year, as well as being an enjoyable way to spend all that spare time!

The following are seven of the best books I read this year…


It doesn’t take a psychologist to tell you that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on our mental health. Loneliness, social isolation, fear and uncertainty are all factors known to have a detrimental effect on our wellbeing and have all been exacerbated during the pandemic.

This time has been particularly difficult for vulnerable groups, such as those with chronic illnesses, existing mental health issues or those living on their own. But one particular group has gone through a lot of stress and upheaval this year — students. …


In so many fields of neuroscience, scientists have produced models and theories to help explain the conditions and factors that contribute to the risk of developing neurological diseases. However, so many fail to acknowledge major sex and gender factors that can alter the course of a disease. I wanted to take a closer look at the brain and cognitive reserve theory in Alzheimer’s disease, and how sex and gender factors can have a huge impact on how people experience this devastating neurological condition.

Picture by Eberhart Grossgasteiger, Pixaby

Last week, I hosted a talk with Maria Teresa Ferretti, one of the co-founders of the Women’s…


New research has found that women working in neuroscience are consistently underrepresented in reference lists and investigates the reasons behind these issues.

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Men have historically dominated all scientific disciplines. This is something that I, as a woman working in science, as well as a lot of the general public are aware of. Just ask a child to draw a “scientist”, and they’ll draw a white man in a lab coat. The idea that men are scientists and women are, well, just not, is pervasive throughout history. “Men of science” was the term used to refer to scientists until 1834, and even then, the idea of using the word “scientist” to encompass both genders was mocked. …


A recent report highlights the important steps that need to be taken to protect jobs and livelihoods during the public health response to COVID-19 in low- and middle-income countries.

Image source: Daniel Lozano Valdes on Usplash

At the time of writing, there have been more than 11 million cases of COVID-19 worldwide, killing over half a million people. Although the number of cases is declining in the UK and other European countries, the pandemic is only just emerging in Latin America and Africa. We are now starting to see a spike in the number of cases being reported in a huge number of low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), with Brazil, India and Peru now in the top five countries with the highest number of confirmed cases.

Aside from the obvious public health crisis that COVID-19 has…

Helen M Collins

DPhil Student in Neuroscience at the University of Oxford 🔬 Science 🧠 Neuroscience 🎓 University Life

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