The brain

From autism and schizophrenia to Alzheimer’s, in this month’s BBC Focus we explore the lab-grown mini brains could be the key to solving the biggest mysteries about human development and disease - subscribe here.

  • Get yourself a serious dose of Yuletide knowledge, from cooking the perfect turkey to optimising your tinsel-to-fairylight ratio.
  • Could data-crunching warn us about the next major attack before it actually happens? New research suggests it just might.
  • Mammoth tusks are worth a lot of money – and Siberia has thousands of them, spawning an illegal trade with nasty consequences.
  • Computer scientist Peter Bentley on the inscrutability of the form of AI known as deep learning.

The brain is the organ that makes us human and the most complex organ in an organism. This mind-boggling structure is located at the centre of the nervous system and contains billions of neurons that can simultaneously process information from around the body. The brain is found in all vertebrates and most invertebrates, and is located in the head, usually closest to the sensory organs such as vision.

Why we still don’t understand sleep, and why it matters

For the first 20 years of his life, Henry Nicholls had a healthy relationship with sleep. Shortly after his 21st birthday, he began to experience symptoms of narcolepsy, a debilitating disorder that’s plagued him ever since. Sleep research is progressing, so why are he and others like him still waiting for a cure?

BBC Focus Magazine Subscription