Neuroscience

  • Most Topular Stories

  • Controlling movement with light

    MIT News - Neuroscience
    Anne Trafton | MIT News Office
    25 Jun 2014 | 2:00 pm
    For the first time, MIT neuroscientists have shown they can control muscle movement by applying optogenetics — a technique that allows scientists to control neurons’ electrical impulses with light — to the spinal cords of animals that are awake and alert.   Led by MIT Institute Professor Emilio Bizzi, the researchers studied mice in which a light-sensitive protein that promotes neural activity was inserted into a subset of spinal neurons. When the researchers shone blue light on the animals’ spinal cords, their hind legs were completely but reversibly immobilized. The findings,…
  • A Dangerous New Dish

    The Neurocritic
    7 Sep 2014 | 11:26 pm
    Bibimbop Brugmansia ** Do NOT try this at home.Edible flowers can make for a beautiful garnish on salads and trendy Brooklyn cocktails, but these decorative flourishes can be a disaster for the oblivious amateur. An unusual case report in BMC Research Notes summarizes what happens when you sprinkle toxic flower petals on your bibimbop (Kim et al., 2014).A 64 year old Korean woman came to the emergency room with incoherent speech and fluctuations in attention, orientation and comprehension. She had called her daughter for help but couldn't remember why. (Hint: that's because she ingested…
  • Two Words That Change How People Think of You

    Neuromarketing
    Roger Dooley
    16 Sep 2014 | 5:18 am
    Almost certainly, there are two words that have been drilled into you as important since the day you started talking. Now, research shows these words have surprising power over how others perceive you. The words, as you may have guessed, [...]
  • Gut Feeling: How Bacteria Manipulates Your Brain

    Neuronarrative
    David DiSalvo
    8 Sep 2014 | 5:40 pm
    The next time you can’t figure out why you’re suddenly craving a huge slab of ultra-decadent chocolate cake—consider the possibility that it’s not just you doing the craving. New research suggests that the armies of bacteria living in our guts can pull the strings in our brains to get what they want.read more
  • Indulging in Junk Food Linked to Lapses in Brain Function

    Neuroscience RSS Feeds - Neuroscience News Updates
    Neuroscience News
    16 Sep 2014 | 4:55 pm
    A lapse in function in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is partly responsible for people caving into their high calorie cravings, a new study reports.
 
 
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    MIT News - Neuroscience

  • Picower study finds connection between rare muscle disease and autoimmune disorders

    Deborah Halber | Picower Institute for Learning and Memory
    4 Sep 2014 | 11:05 am
    Patients with a rare neuromuscular disorder and those with nerve damage tied to autoimmune disorders may share the same faulty synapses, neuroscientists at MIT’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory report in the September issue of the American Journal of Human Genetics. The work supports the notion that some muscle problems originate in nerve cells, not in the muscle itself. The study identifies for the first time a presynaptic cause for a class of incurable neuromuscular diseases — known as congenital myasthenic syndromes — in which muscles weaken or waste away. The syndromes are…
  • $650 million commitment to Stanley Center at Broad Institute aims to galvanize mental illness research

    News Office
    21 Jul 2014 | 9:43 pm
    The following is adapted from a press release issued today by the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. The Broad Institute today announced an unprecedented commitment of $650 million from philanthropist Ted Stanley aimed at galvanizing scientific research on psychiatric disorders and bringing new treatments based on molecular understanding to hundreds of millions of people around the world. The Stanley commitment — the largest ever in psychiatric research, and among the largest for scientific research in general — will support research by a collaborative network of researchers within the…
  • Controlling movement with light

    Anne Trafton | MIT News Office
    25 Jun 2014 | 2:00 pm
    For the first time, MIT neuroscientists have shown they can control muscle movement by applying optogenetics — a technique that allows scientists to control neurons’ electrical impulses with light — to the spinal cords of animals that are awake and alert.   Led by MIT Institute Professor Emilio Bizzi, the researchers studied mice in which a light-sensitive protein that promotes neural activity was inserted into a subset of spinal neurons. When the researchers shone blue light on the animals’ spinal cords, their hind legs were completely but reversibly immobilized. The findings,…
  • Rett syndrome drug shows promise in clinical trial

    Anne Trafton | MIT News Office
    23 Jun 2014 | 12:00 pm
    Rett syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that causes intellectual disabilities, autism, and physical deformities, has no cure. However, a small clinical trial has found that a growth factor known as IGF1 can help treat some symptoms of the disease. Children who received the drug for four weeks showed improvements in mood and anxiety, as well as easier breathing, in a trial led by researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital. MIT scientists first identified IGF1 as a possible treatment for Rett syndrome in 2009. “This trial shows that IGF1 is safe in the cohort of 12 kids, and at least on…
  • How a new approach to funding Alzheimer’s research could pay off

    Peter Dizikes | MIT News Office
    18 Jun 2014 | 11:00 am
    More than 5 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, the affliction that erodes memory and other mental capacities, but no drugs targeting the disease have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration since 2003. Now a paper by an MIT professor suggests that a revamped way of financing Alzheimer’s research could spur the development of useful new drugs for the illness. “We are spending tremendous amounts of resources dealing with this disease, but we don’t have any effective therapies for it,” says Andrew Lo, the Charles E. and Susan T. Harris Professor of…
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    ScienceBlogs

  • September 2014 Open Thread [Deltoid]

    Tim Lambert
    18 Sep 2014 | 1:04 am
    Past time for more thread.
  • The Physics of the Death Star (Synopsis) [Starts With A Bang]

    Ethan
    17 Sep 2014 | 7:52 pm
    “What’s that star? It’s the Death Star. What does it do? It does Death. It does Death, buddy. Get out of my way!” -Eddie Izzard It’s said — at least by Darth Vader — that the power to destroy a planet is nothing compared to the power of the force. But how much energy is that, really? Image credit: Lucasfilm / Star Wars: Episode IV, a New Hope. (Motion Picture). While it is, objectively a lot of energy, that kind of destruction really isn’t so unfathomable, not if you’re willing to consider the ultimate tool of destruction for physically practical…
  • U.S. Census: 2013 poverty rates lower than previous year, but not significantly different [The Pump Handle]

    Kim Krisberg
    17 Sep 2014 | 2:15 pm
    New data from the U.S. Census Bureau finds that the U.S. poverty rate declined slightly between 2012 and 2013, however the numbers of people living at or below the poverty level in 2013 didn’t represent a real statistical change. Yesterday, the Census Bureau released two annual reports: “Income and Poverty in the United States: 2013” and “Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2013.” The agency found that between 2012 and 2013, the nation’s poverty rate declined from 15 percent to 14.5 percent. But the 45.3 million people living in poverty as of 2013 was not a…
  • Bad Graphics, STEM Diversity Edition [Uncertain Principles]

    Chad Orzel
    17 Sep 2014 | 10:35 am
    There was a article in Scientific American about diversity in STEM collecting together the best demographic data available about the science and engineering workforce. It’s a useful collection of references, and comes with some very pretty graphics, particularly this one, showing the demographic breakdown of the US population compared to the science and engineering fields: Demographic breakdown of general population vs. science and engineering, from the Scientific American post. This is a very professionally made graphic, but also misleading in the worst way. When I first looked at…
  • Artificial Sweeteners, Your Gut Bacteria and You [The Weizmann Wave]

    weizmann science writer
    17 Sep 2014 | 10:08 am
    Could artificial sweeteners be helping cause the very thing they are supposed to prevent? They may well do so, and you can probably blame your microbiota – those masses of mostly-friendly bacteria that live in your gut. According to a paper by Weizmann Institute scientists that appeared today in Nature, artificial sweeteners not only encourage the wrong kind of bacteria to expand their numbers, they also induce mix-ups in the cross-communication between these bacteria and your body. Those mix-ups can lead to glucose intolerance – the first step toward metabolic syndrome and diabetes. So,…
 
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    Deric's MindBlog

  • Parasites practicing mind control.

    18 Sep 2014 | 3:01 am
    Zimmer points to a further installment in the fascinating story of Toxoplasma gondii parasites, who can infect any mammal or bird, but can reproduce only inside of a cat whose feces then contain cysts that infect new hosts. Infected rats and mice become unafraid of feline odor, and thus become easier prey. It turns out the parasites use a very elegant technique to alter their host's behavior: they use an enzyme to remove inhibiting methyl groups from the arginine vasopressin gene, and the resulting increase in arginine vasopressin makes rats become more fearless. The abstract: Male rats…
  • Associative memory enhanced by brain stimulation.

    17 Sep 2014 | 3:32 am
    Wang et al. do a proof that the hippocampus facilitates associative memory formation in humans by interacting with distributed brain regions. Here is a description of their approach (sufficiently sophisticated that one will probably not be seeing DIY self help kits on the internet anytime soon!): We ...developed methods to modulate cortical-hippocampal brain networks in healthy adults (n = 16 subjects) in order to test their role in associative memory. We focused modulatory stimulation on the lateral parietal cortex component of a well-characterized cortical-hippocampal network on the basis…
  • Norm enforcement is biased from its emergence.

    16 Sep 2014 | 3:02 am
    Interesting work from Jordan et al. on the appearance of in-group bias in punishing selfish behaviors in insiders versus outsiders: When enforcing norms for cooperative behavior, human adults sometimes exhibit in-group bias. For example, third-party observers punish selfish behaviors committed by out-group members more harshly than similar behaviors committed by in-group members. Although evidence suggests that children begin to systematically punish selfish behavior around the age of 6 y, the development of in-group bias in their punishment remains unknown. Do children start off enforcing…
  • Early music training improves neural encoding of speech in children and arrests auditory decline in older adults.

    15 Sep 2014 | 3:04 am
    Fascinating work from Kraus et al.: Musicians are often reported to have enhanced neurophysiological functions, especially in the auditory system. Musical training is thought to improve nervous system function by focusing attention on meaningful acoustic cues, and these improvements in auditory processing cascade to language and cognitive skills. Correlational studies have reported musician enhancements in a variety of populations across the life span. In light of these reports, educators are considering the potential for co-curricular music programs to provide auditory-cognitive enrichment…
  • Study on relationship between genomics and well being receives a critical trashing.

    12 Sep 2014 | 3:01 am
    I recently did a post passing on (as usual, uncritically) what looked like a neat correlation between genomics and human well-being. Brown et al. now issue a foot stomping refutation of that work: Fredrickson et al. [Fredrickson BL, et al. (2013) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 110(33):13684–13689] claimed to have observed significant differences in gene expression related to hedonic and eudaimonic dimensions of well-being. Having closely examined both their claims and their data, we draw substantially different conclusions. After identifying some important conceptual and methodological flaws in…
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    Brain Blogger

  • The Phantom Menace

    Sara Adaes, PhD (c)
    16 Sep 2014 | 4:00 am
    After the amputation of a body part, patients frequently feel that the amputated area is still present. Sensation of the position and movement of the limb, as well as of heat, cold, itching, and even pain, are often described for a limb that is no longer present. Pain in a limb that has been amputated is known as “phantom limb pain”. According to statistical data, it can occur in up to 80% of all amputees, although to varying extents. The incidence of phantom limb pain seems to increase with age. In congenital amputees, there are occasional reports of phantom limb pain arising later in…
  • How Temperature Affects People With Multiple Sclerosis

    Viatcheslav Wlassoff, PhD
    13 Sep 2014 | 4:00 am
    Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a neurological disorder that presents with myriad of symptoms. The disease causes physical as well as emotional changes in the patients. One peculiar symptom seen in people with MS is their sensitivity to heat. While heat sensitivity is a symptom of many other conditions as well, the exacerbation of the other symptoms, when the core body temperature rises, is a disturbing and unfortunate feature that affects people with MS. What causes the symptoms in MS? Multiple Sclerosis is an autoimmune disorder. This auto-immunity, the tendency of the body’s immune system to…
  • Back to School Suicides

    Carla Clark, PhD
    10 Sep 2014 | 6:15 am
    Back to school suicides. No, it’s not the name of the latest band. Worryingly, it is a heavily underreported, and barely understood or investigated, yet wholeheartedly devastating new age phenomenon. Having more than tripled since the 1950s, a recent study may indicate that the rise in youth suicide is strongly linked with attending school, lending a macabre tone to the seemingly innocent phrase “back to school blues”. It might shock you that suicide is the third leading cause of death among teens (10-19 years old) in the United States. To date, many studies have identified…
  • Spinal Cord Injury and Wearable Robotics

    Vincent Huang, MD
    9 Sep 2014 | 4:00 am
    Following a spinal cord injury (SCI), the paramount question in the minds of most patients and their loved ones is: “Will I be able to walk again?” Though there is no simple answer to this question, with advances in medical research and the advent of wearable exoskeletal robotic systems, the hope is that a SCI will no longer colloquially synonymous with the inability to walk. The annual incidence of SCI is approximately 12,000 new cases each year. Currently, there are approximately 273,000 people in the United States living with SCI. 80% are male with the average of 42 years of age at the…
  • The Hollywood Medical Reporter – The Land of Oz

    Daliah Leslie
    7 Sep 2014 | 4:00 am
    Ethics are murky when it comes to the depiction of medical science on television shows and films. Despite a growing consensus that many of these shows dangerously misinform the public, there is no clear consensus for a solution. The primary reason for this situation: these forms of media are designed as entertainment, not education. As a result, their artistic license – freedom of expression – frees them from much regulation. However, this argument reflects dated preconceptions about the media, and television specifically. Broadcast television of today has nothing more than a tangential…
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    Mind Hacks

  • An earlier death

    vaughanbell
    14 Sep 2014 | 2:05 pm
    Journalism site The Toast has what I believe is the only first-person account of Cotard’s delusion – the belief that you’re dead – which can occur in psychosis. The article is by writer Esmé Weijun Wang who describes her own episode of psychosis and how she came to believe, and later unbelieve, that she was dead. It’s an incredibly evocative piece and historically, worth remembering. Somatic details figure heavily in these recollections: what I wore, what I looked like. I told myself, through mirrors and dressing-up and Polaroids and weighing myself, You have a…
  • Spike activity 12-09-2014

    vaughanbell
    12 Sep 2014 | 1:15 pm
    Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: New Scientist reports that sleeping brains can process and respond to words. Forward directly to boss. “Cyranoids” – Stanley Milgram’s Creepiest Experiment. Neuroskeptic covers the science behind a little known Milgram experiment and a curiously common TV trope. The Neurocritic reports on a case of mistakenly garnishing your dish with hallucinogenic flowers. America’s New Bedlam. Genuinely disturbing BBC Radio Assignment documentary on mental illness in US prisons. Podcast at this mp3 link. Science News reports on the…
  • Mental health debates without the stress

    vaughanbell
    10 Sep 2014 | 2:05 pm
    If you work in mental health, you could do much worse than reading the editorial in today’s Lancet Psychiatry about unpleasant debates and how to avoid them. Unfortunately, debates in mental health tend to get nasty quite quickly – but I’ve seen no part of the debate spectrum which has a monopoly on bigotry or a blessed surplus of consideration. But instead of throwing up their hands in despair, the editorial team wrote some sensible guidance on bringing some respect to moving mental health forward. The first is to assume the best of one’s opponent: that their argument…
  • Agents, social encounters and hallucinated voices

    vaughanbell
    9 Sep 2014 | 2:58 pm
    I’ve written a piece for the new PLOS Neuro Community about how the social aspects of hallucinated voices tend to be ignored and how we might go about making it more central in psychology and neuroscience. It came about because the PLOS Neuro Community have asked authors of popular papers to write a more gentle introduction to the topic, so the piece is based on a PLOS Biology paper I wrote last year. I’ve met a lot of people who hear hallucinated voices and I have always been struck by the number of people who feel accompanied by them, as if they were distinct and distinguishable…
  • Talk, 28 Oct 2014: The power of reason

    tomstafford
    8 Sep 2014 | 1:28 am
    I am giving a talk on 28th October at Off the Shelf, Sheffield’s festival of words. Here is the blurb: Is it true that “you can’t tell anybody anything”? From pub arguments to ideology-driven party political disputes it can sometimes people have their minds all made up, that there’s no point trying to persuade anybody of anything. Popular psychology books reinforce the idea that we’re emotional, irrational creatures, but Tom Stafford argues against this bleak portrait of human irrationality. He has investigated the psychological science of persuasion by…
 
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    Neuroanthropology

  • Anth 207: new open education space – update!

    gregdowney
    22 Aug 2014 | 5:34 am
    If you follow Neuroanthropology, either here or on Facebook, you may have noticed something new. We’ve had a bit of a facelift to this site and added a page: Anth 207 Neuroanth 101. This new venture is an effort to generate open educational resources for people interested in psychological anthropology: students, teachers, researchers, the curious… The first video for Anth 207  Neuroanth 101 is already posted: WEIRD psychology. We’ll be adding more videos slowly, as well as suggested readings, other related resources, reflection questions, and notes. The goal is to start…
  • Almost Here! The Encultured Brain: An Introduction to Neuroanthropology

    dlende
    20 Aug 2012 | 5:22 am
    It started on this blog. In 2007, Greg and I co-founded Neuroanthropology. Five years later our book is out! “The Encultured Brain” will be published by MIT Press this Friday, August 24th, 2012. You can already order itat Amazon! The brain and the nervous system are our most cultural organs. Our nervous system is especially immature at birth, our brain disproportionately small in relation to its adult size and open to cultural sculpting at multiple levels. Recognizing this, the new field of neuroanthropology places the brain at the center of discussions about human nature and…
  • Neuroanthropology Now on Facebook

    dlende
    4 Aug 2012 | 7:54 am
    Neuroanthropology now comes in two forms on Facebook! The Blog – With Extra Content If you want to follow everything that we’re doing on the Neuroanthropology PLOS blog, and you also want short, fun posts that Greg and I have specifically written for Facebook, then head over to the Neuroanthropology Blog Facebook Page. I just stuck the great photo featured here up on Facebook – just a sample! Neuroanthropology Interest Group An active interest group – with lots of shared links and discussion – is growing quickly on Facebook. Here you can share and discover news…
  • Neuroanthropology on PLoS – Best of 2011

    dlende
    17 Jan 2012 | 1:47 pm
    The last year was a great one for us over at Neuroanthropology’s new home on the Public Library of Science – our first full year as part of PLoS Blogs, a lot of great writing, and a vivid sense that anthropology online is developing into a robust arena. Here is a quick run-down of the most read 2011 posts by Greg and by Daniel, as well as a selection of other notable posts. Greg – Top Five ‘The last free people on the planet’ *Greg’s comprehensive take on media hype over “uncontacted” Indian tribes, and how these groups truly challenge those of us living in…
  • Neuroanthropology.net at 1,000,000

    dlende
    20 Dec 2010 | 6:29 pm
    Neuroanthropology.net just broke through the 1,000,000 visits mark! We’ve done that in three years. Our very post came in December 2007. Even though Greg and I have moved over to Neuroanthropology PLoS, this site has continued to generate impressive traffic since September 1st. Here are some of the posts that got us over the top: We agree it’s WEIRD, but is it WEIRD enough? -Greg dissects the excellent study by Henrich et al. that took psychologists to task for basing claims about universal psychology using samples of college students Inside the Mind of a Pedophile -Absolutely incredible…
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    Neuroethics & Law Blog

  • "Neuroimagery and the Law"

    NELB Staff
    16 Sep 2014 | 4:16 pm
    Recently published in SSRN (and recently published in The Jury Expert, Vol. 26, Issue 1 (2014)): "Neuroimagery and the Law" JILLIAN M WARE, Arizona State University (ASU) JESSICA L JONES, Arizona State University (ASU) N. J. SCHWEITZER, Arizona State University...
  • PEBS Neuroethics Roundup (JHU)

    NELB Staff
    11 Sep 2014 | 3:52 pm
    Last Edition's Most Popular Article(s): Where Is The Brain In The Human Brain Project? Nature News In The Popular Press: Could Deep-Brain Stimulation Fortify Soldiers’ Minds? Scientific American Brain-to-Brain Communication Is Finally Possible. It's Just Very Clunky, Vox Woman of...
  • "Toward a Jurisprudence of Psychiatric Evidence: Examining the Challenges of Reasoning from Group Data in Psychiatry to Individual Decisions in the Law"

    NELB Staff
    11 Sep 2014 | 3:50 pm
    Recently Published in SSRN (and forthcoming in the University of Miami Law Review): "Toward a Jurisprudence of Psychiatric Evidence: Examining the Challenges of Reasoning from Group Data in Psychiatry to Individual Decisions in the Law" Carl E. Fisher,Columbia University -...
  • "The Selective Allure of Neuroscientific Explanations"

    NELB Staff
    11 Sep 2014 | 3:37 pm
    Recently published on PLoS One: "The Selective Allure of Neuroscientific Explanations" NICHOLAS SCURICH, University of California, Irvine ADAM SHNIDERMAN, Texas Christian University Some claim that recent advances in neuroscience will revolutionize the way we think about human nature and legal...
  • Neurolaw in Sydney

    Adam Kolber
    10 Sep 2014 | 12:17 pm
    Allan McCay writes with the following information: Inter-university Neuroscience and Mental Health Conference Monday and Tuesday, 29 and 30 September, 2014 University of Sydney, Australia Conference Website http://sydney.edu.au/neuroscience-network/news-events/ NEUROLAW WORKSHOP (TUESDAY) My brain made me do it! 10:30 Diseased preferences:...
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    Neuromarketing

  • Two Words That Change How People Think of You

    Roger Dooley
    16 Sep 2014 | 5:18 am
    Almost certainly, there are two words that have been drilled into you as important since the day you started talking. Now, research shows these words have surprising power over how others perceive you. The words, as you may have guessed, [...]
  • Productivity Secret, Twitter Psychology, Body Language Fails… Roger’s Picks

    Roger Dooley
    12 Sep 2014 | 5:47 am
    Essential reading for the weekend… They say money can’t buy happiness, but can science get you to a happier state? Lots of researchers are working on that, so the answer may be “yes.” Dr. Jeremy Dean (@PsyBlog) shares some of [...]
  • Manipulation vs. Customer Focus, Dilbert-style

    Roger Dooley
    9 Sep 2014 | 3:49 am
    One of the post-speech questions I’m often asked is whether employing my neuromarketing strategies is “manipulative” and/or unethical. This weekend’s Dilbert strip by Scott Adams highlights the divide between manipulation and customer focus: All too often some people in a [...]
  • The Perfect Daily Routine, Landing Page Secrets, more – Roger’s Picks

    Roger Dooley
    5 Sep 2014 | 4:09 am
    We usually avoid brain diagrams here at Neuromarketing, but Neil Patel (@neilpatel) not only gives you a brain map but tells you how to target each major area with different kinds of content. Get the scoop in How Your Landing Page Can [...]
  • Tweets, Viewers Predicted by Brain Studies

    Roger Dooley
    3 Sep 2014 | 8:56 am
    A study with a rather opaque title, Audience preferences are predicted by temporal reliability of neural processing, has some interesting findings for the field of neuromarketing. Published in Nature, the paper found correlation between fMRI and EEG studies. And, the [...]
 
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    SharpBrains

  • Trend: School-based programs to enhance resilience and emotional/ cognitive flexibility

    Mosaic Science
    17 Sep 2014 | 6:48 am
    Dozens of programs to encourage resilience have been introduced in schools all over the world, both to help children recover from trauma, but also cope better with their day-to-day stresses. Many use techniques such as ‘mindfulness’, which some claim can foster a stronger state of mind. Meanwhile, researchers have been studying adults who have thrived under severe stress to try and identify what it takes to be truly resilient. Can you really teach people to be mentally tougher? For scientists the concept of psychological resilience began in the 1970s with studies of children who did fine…
  • Study: A new psychosocial treatment for Inattentive ADHD

    Dr. David Rabiner
    16 Sep 2014 | 6:23 am
    Children with the inattentive type of ADHD (ADHD-I) show high rates of attention difficulties without the hyperactive and impulsive behavior shown by children with ADHD Combined Type (ADHD-C). The inattentive type of ADHD is quite common and is associated with significant impairment with school work, planning and organizational skills, processing speed, and peer relations. Even so, children with ADHD-I tend to be identified later than those with ADHD-C, perhaps because they do not typically display the disruptive behavior problems that command parents’ attention early on. They are also less…
  • To build a healthier future, let’s empower and equip individuals to be in control of their well-being

    SharpBrains
    15 Sep 2014 | 6:48 am
    How we can all build a healthier future (World Economic Forum blog): “Just 40 years ago life expectancy in Asia was slightly above age 50. In 2000, the continent’s 210 million people aged over 65 could expect to live just another five years, to 70 on average. By 2050, it’s estimated by the United Nations that the majority of people within this demographic – which is expected to have quadrupled – will live to at least age 77… …we must also encourage consumers to operate twin strategies in their own lives. Not only should they have access to hospitals, nursing care and treatments,…
  • Three Ways to Bring Mindfulness Into Therapy

    Greater Good Magazine
    12 Sep 2014 | 6:46 am
    Many therapists have come to regard cultivating moment-to-moment awareness as a curative mechanism that transcends diagnosis, addresses underlying causes of suffering, and serves as an active ingredient in most effective psychotherapies. The clinical value of mindfulness interventions has been demonstrated for many psychological difficulties, including depression, anxiety, chronic pain, substance abuse, insomnia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. And it doesn’t matter which therapeutic approach we take, be it psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, humanistic, or any other. Mindfulness…
  • Study: Long-term use of anxiety and sleeping pills can increase Alzheimer’s risk

    SharpBrains
    11 Sep 2014 | 12:59 am
    Anxiety and sleeping pills ‘linked to dementia’ (BBC): “A study of older Canadian adults found that past benzodiazepine use for three months or more was linked to an increased risk (up to 51%) of dementia…Benzodiazepines are used to treat anxiety disorders and insomnia. Dr James Pickett, head of research at the Alzheimer’s Society, said with 1.5 million people in the UK being prescribed benzodiazepines at any one time, “evidence that their long-term use increases the risk of dementia is significant, and raises questions about their use”. Despite published guidance on their…
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    BSP Show Notes - Brain Science Podcast

  • Exercise Promotes Brain Plasticity (BSP 111)

    Ginger Campbell, MD
    2 Sep 2014 | 1:00 am
    John Ratey, MDClick picture to hear interview According to psychiatrist Dr. John Ratey the best way to improve brain plasticity is by exercise.  I spoke to him shortly after he published his best-seller Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain (2008). He commented that even compared to drugs "Exercise is the champ."Download BSP 111 Since then Dr. Ratey has been traveling the world promoting the value of exercise for people of all ages, but his main focus has been on young people and on trying to restore and invigorate physical education programs in the schools. In…
  • "Neurobiology for Dummies" (BSP 110)

    Ginger Campbell, MD
    26 Jul 2014 | 11:09 am
    Frank Amthor, PhD: Click image to play BSP 110 Frank Amthor's latest book Neurobiology for Dummies isn't just for readers who are new to neuroscience. In this excellent follow-up to his Neuroscience for Dummies Dr. Amthor discusses a wide variety of brain-related topics. Since I have known Frank for several years it was a special treat to interview him for BSP 110. We talked about a wide variety of ideas ranging from what makes neurons special to how brains differ from current computers.  How to get this episode:FREE: audio mp3 (click to stream, right click to download)Buy…
  • John Ratey Returns

    Ginger Campbell, MD
    24 Jun 2014 | 1:00 am
    Richard Manning and John Ratey (click on photo to hear Dr. Ratey's interview) Back in 2008 I interviewed Dr. John Ratey twice: first about his then new book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain (BSP 33) and then later about his work with ADHD (BSP 45). Dr. Ratey was one of my favorite guests so I was eager to interview him about his new book Go Wild: Free Your Body and Mind. This latest book explores the science behind the current movement to embrace a more healthy lifestyle based on lessons learned from our hunter gatherer ancestors. Since the topic…
  • Avoiding "Neuromania" (BSP 109)

    Ginger Campbell, MD
    28 May 2014 | 9:55 am
    I have spent the last 7 1/2 years sharing and promoting neuroscience and while it has been encouraging to see the field grow in popularity, there has also been a disturbing trend toward increased hype. One goal of the Brain Science Podcast is to provide accurate information that helps the average listener enjoy the science and avoid pseudoscience. BSP 109 was inspired by several excellent books that have documented the hazards of what some writers are calling "neuromania" or neurocentrism, which is the tendency to see the brain as the only path to understanding. How to get this episode:FREE:…
  • Consciousness as Social Perception (BSP 108)

    Ginger Campbell, MD
    15 Apr 2014 | 1:00 am
    Michal Graziano and Kevin (click image to play interview) In his latest book Consciousness and the Social Brain  Princeton neuroscientist Michael Graziano proposes a unique and compelling theory of consciousness. He proposes that the same circuits that the human brain uses to attribute awareness to others are used to model self-awareness. He emphasizes that his attention schema theory is only tentative, but it is testable and it does fit our current knowledge of brain function.In a recent interview for the Brain Science Podcast (BSP 108), Graziano used the…
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    Neuronarrative

  • Gut Feeling: How Bacteria Manipulates Your Brain

    David DiSalvo
    8 Sep 2014 | 5:40 pm
    The next time you can’t figure out why you’re suddenly craving a huge slab of ultra-decadent chocolate cake—consider the possibility that it’s not just you doing the craving. New research suggests that the armies of bacteria living in our guts can pull the strings in our brains to get what they want.read more
  • The Happiness Equation

    David DiSalvo
    22 Aug 2014 | 8:01 pm
    I can’t pretend to understand how the researchers developed the equation, but one word in their lengthy explanation resonates with my math-addled brain: expectations. After all the complex analyses, it really all comes down to what we expect and how strongly we expect it.read more
  • Why Is Being Alone With Our Thoughts So Hard?

    David DiSalvo
    9 Aug 2014 | 10:55 am
    Have we become so enraptured with gadgets, social media and the dull roar of crowds that we can’t stomach facing ourselves? read more
  • Why Profile Photos Are Liars

    David DiSalvo
    21 Jul 2014 | 5:05 pm
    Psychology researchers want us to know something about our profile photo-centrism – it’s a lie, and it’s leading us to draw conclusions that likely have zero basis in reality.read more
  • Can Money Really Buy Happiness? Well, Maybe

    David DiSalvo
    8 Jun 2014 | 5:04 pm
    "Everyone has been told if you spend your money on life experiences, it will make you happier, but we found that isn't always the case," said Ryan Howell, an associate professor of psychology at SF State and co-author of the study. But "extremely material buyers, who represent about a third of the overall population, are sort of stuck." They aren't happy either way.read more
 
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    "On the Brain" with Dr. Michael Merzenich

  • The Story of “Hack My Brain,” Todd Sampson, BrainHQ, and Me

    Dr. Merzenich
    15 Sep 2014 | 4:35 pm
    On September 19, 2014, at 8:00 p.m., the Science Channel will air a 3-part documentary called “Hack My Brain.” As the chief scientific consultant for the show, I helped the host, Todd Sampson, improve his memory, attention, and processing speed using BrainHQ. (If you want to try the same assessments and training Todd used, go […]The post The Story of “Hack My Brain,” Todd Sampson, BrainHQ, and Me appeared first on "On the Brain" with Dr. Michael Merzenich.
  • New Eye Test Can Detect Early Alzheimer’s

    Dr. Merzenich
    6 Aug 2014 | 11:35 am
    I wrote recently about some things that can increase or decrease amyloid beta protein in the body, and how the protein plays a role in Alzheimer’s disease. Now, scientists are working on an eye test that scans for amyloid beta deposits in the retina as a way to detect early Alzheimer’s. The research is still […]The post New Eye Test Can Detect Early Alzheimer’s appeared first on "On the Brain" with Dr. Michael Merzenich.
  • Why Does Brain Speed Matter, and What Can I Do to Improve It?

    Dr. Merzenich
    12 Mar 2014 | 4:40 pm
    I just saw an article in Scientific American about why brain speed is important, how it decays as we age, and what the effects are on daily life over time. But this is nothing new: we have been talking about brain speed for years! Some highlights from the article include: “Studies suggest that the speed […]The post Why Does Brain Speed Matter, and What Can I Do to Improve It? appeared first on "On the Brain" with Dr. Michael Merzenich.
  • Brain Science Podcast: Dr. Merzenich Talks with Ginger Campbell …

    Dr. Merzenich
    3 Feb 2014 | 3:23 pm
    We are big fans of Ginger Campbell, MD’s Brain Science Podcast series – she features fascinating neuroscience luminaries in her in-depth, hour-long interviews, including Norman Doidge, Jeff Hawkins, Sharon Begley, Edward Taub, and many more. Learn more and listen now >>> Brain Science Podcast: Dr. Merzenich Talks with Ginger Campbell About Brain Plasticity Posit Science […]The post Brain Science Podcast: Dr. Merzenich Talks with Ginger Campbell … appeared first on "On the Brain" with Dr. Michael Merzenich.
  • Landmark Study Shows Benefits of BrainHQ Training Last 10 Years

    Dr. Merzenich
    14 Jan 2014 | 3:27 pm
    I am incredibly excited to announce that the scientists who ran the ACTIVE trial have reported that certain types of brain training—including one of the exercises in BrainHQ from Posit Science—can drive cognitive benefits that last 10 years. The study, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, is the first to show such […]The post Landmark Study Shows Benefits of BrainHQ Training Last 10 Years appeared first on "On the Brain" with Dr. Michael Merzenich.
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    NeuroLogica Blog

  • Artificial Sweeteners and Diabetes

    Steven Novella
    18 Sep 2014 | 5:12 am
    A new study published in Nature is getting a lot of press, and it seems making a lot of people worried. The Nature News article discussing the study has the headline: Sugar substitutes linked to obesity. I think this headline is misleading. Here’s a breakdown of what the study does and does not tell us. The study’s title is more descriptive, as one might expect: Artificial sweeteners induce glucose intolerance by altering the gut microbiota. The authors (A team led by Eran Elinav of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel) studied three noncaloric artificial…
  • The Genetics of the Schizophrenias

    Steven Novella
    16 Sep 2014 | 5:22 am
    A new study sheds further light on the genetic basis of the group of psychiatric disorders known collectively as schizophrenia. Further, the study (actually a collection of four studies) takes a new approach that might prove generally useful in associating genetic variation with disease risk, even beyond psychiatry. Schizophrenia In popular culture the term “schizophrenic” is often used to mean split personality or multiple personality, but this has never been the actual definition of the term. I’m not sure what the origin of this misconception is. The word…
  • Stem Cell Transplant First

    Steven Novella
    15 Sep 2014 | 5:21 am
    NeurologicaBlog is very meta. I like to not only communicate science, but explore how best to communicate science, including thinking about how to communicate the need to think about thinking. (Cue the endless meta-regression.) For example, there is often much to criticize about how science news is reported in the general media. Part of the problem is that science mostly advances by accumulating baby steps.  Baby steps, however, don’t always make for compelling headlines, and so every advance becomes a “breakthrough,” every mystery has scientists “baffled,” and…
  • Features of Denialism

    Steven Novella
    12 Sep 2014 | 5:35 am
    Denialism is a thing. What I mean is that denialism is a definable intellectual strategy, with consistent features that tend to cluster together. I first wrote about denialism 12 years ago, before global warming denial made the term more widespread. I pointed out that certain beliefs tend to follow the same fallacious arguments – HIV denial, creationism (evolution denial), holocaust denial, and mental illness denial. I would add now global warming denial and germ theory/vaccine science denial. I characterized denialism as a subset of pseudoscience, one that tries to cloak itself in the…
  • 19 Years of Feeding Animals GMO Shows No Harm

    Steven Novella
    11 Sep 2014 | 5:38 am
    Often GMO critics will argue that the biotech industry is conducting a massive experiment with our food supply by introducing genetically modified organisms. The implication is that GMOs are not adequately studied, which is at best debatable, but in a way they are correct. We can look at what has happened in the 19 years of GMO use starting in 1996 to see if there have been any adverse effects.  A newly published study, Prevalence and impacts of genetically engineered feedstuffs on livestock populations, does just that. (Full study, may be behind a paywall.) The study authors, Van Eenennaam…
 
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    Sports Are 80 Percent Mental

  • Maybe Your Kids Inherited Your Couch Potato Genes

    26 Aug 2014 | 8:26 am
    On the road to sports success, young athletes need two ingredients, innate skills and the willingness and determination to get better.  We all know boys and girls who showed early promise that got them noticed but then didn’t have the drive to practice every day to develop that talent.  Often labeled lazy or unmotivated, the assumption was that they chose their own path by not working hard.  However, new research shows evidence that genetics may play a role not only in the natural abilities of a developing superstar but also in their practice persistence and…
  • See The Game Through The Eyes Of The Quarterback

    6 Aug 2014 | 1:57 pm
    Going into the start of football season, there is plenty of expert commentary on what makes up the “right stuff” when evaluating quarterbacks. Everything from arm strength to height to foot skills to the size of their hands was measured and dissected to find the magic combination of variables. While the body mechanics of delivering a football on target are vital, QBs rely even more on their vision both before and after the ball is snapped.It’s not just knowing where and when to look at an opposing defense but also understanding what to look for across the line. Defensive players are…
  • How To Train The Runner's Brain - An Interview With Jason Fitzgerald

    5 Jun 2014 | 10:49 am
    As productive human athletes, we just assume that we can knock down any walls put in front of us and conquer new feats of greatness if "we just put our mind to it."  Our conscious brain sets goals, gives pep talks and convinces us that with the right training plan, we can finish a race of any distance. But, when we're stretching our training run farther than ever before, the little voice in our head pops up to try to talk some sense into us; "that's enough for today" or "there's a lot of pain happening right now, time to quit."  As I discussed in last week's post about the…
  • Fight Fatigue By Overriding Your Brain's Urge To Quit

    29 May 2014 | 1:44 pm
    What makes an endurance athlete quit? Not quit the sport, but quit during a competition.  Every runner, swimmer, or cyclist starts a race with the desire to win or at least achieve a personal best time.  They’ve done the pre-race math - keep at a certain pace for the entire distance to achieve the target time.  Their wearable technology keeps them updated on heart rate, distance and split times to stay on that pace.  However, at the finish line, many athletes are not able to maintain their strides/strokes per minute, giving in to the perception that their energy tank is…
  • Marathons Are Tough On The Heart, But Training Helps

    20 Apr 2014 | 2:20 pm
    Now that it’s mid-April, thousands of amateur runners are realizing the time has come to get serious about their Spring marathon training plans.  The easier 4-6 mile weekday jogs increase quickly into 10-15 mile weekend long runs.  For those new to endurance distances, this jump in mileage can put a strain not only on the legs but also on the heart.  In fact, there’s been some confusing research in the press lately with some claiming a marathon can do some coronary damage while others praising the health benefits of the cardiovascular training.First, the encouraging news.
 
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    Brain Posts

  • Antidepressants Modulate Memory in the Healthy Brain

    17 Sep 2014 | 8:28 am
    The mechanism of antidepressant drug response is not well understood.One theory posits antidepressant effects are only seen in those with clinical depression leaving the healthy brain unchanged.In a previous post, I outlined a study demonstrating effects of antidepressants on brain connectivity measures in the healthy brain.A recent fMRI study extends our understanding of the potential mechanisms for antidepressant drugs.CT Cerqueira and colleagues from Brazil studied the effects of the antidepressant clomipramine in a series of human subjects without a personal or family history of…
  • Cannabis-induced Paranoia: Cognitive Mechanisms

    16 Sep 2014 | 8:01 am
    Some individuals appear vulnerable to paranoia induced by exposure to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in cannabis.The mechanism for this effect is poorly understood.Daniel Freeman from University of Oxford along with colleagues in England and Switzerland recently conducted an interventional research study on this issue.In this study, 121 subjects were recruited to receive injections of THC in a laboratory setting.These subjects were required to have taken cannabis at least once before participation in the study.Additionally, the subjects were required to have experience at least one paranoid…
  • The Social Brain: Weekend Reading Links

    29 Aug 2014 | 8:36 am
    The theme for September Brain Posts will be human attachment and social neuroscience research.Here are a series of relevant links to abstracts on this topic that I will be reviewing.All abstract links are to manuscripts that have free full-text access.These highlighted abstracts are culled from over 100 recent publications abstracts I reviewed on this topic.To access the abstract, click on the topic title and you will be sent to the PubMed link.For U.S. readers, Happy Labor Day!The photo on today's post is an overlook view of Santa Fe, NM from the Dale Ball mountain trail using the iPhone…
  • Gambler Sub-types: Three Distinct Profiles

    28 Aug 2014 | 8:40 am
    One method to advance understanding of a disorder is to use statistical modeling for sub-type or class analysis.Lia Nower and colleagues recently published the results of such an analysis from the large general population data-set known as the U.S. National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC).In this sample, 851 adults 18 years and older were identified with disordered gambling.This group then underwent a type of latent class statistical analysis known as the Pathways Model.Using this Pathways Model, the research team was able to identify three groups of disordered…
  • Diagnostic Profile in Pathological Gamblers

    27 Aug 2014 | 7:58 am
    Behavioral disorders like pathological gambling (PG) rarely occur alone as a single uncomplicated disorder.In a previous post, I noted the overlap of PG with personality disorder, anxiety disorder, depression, bipolar disorder and substance abuse.A recent study from Germany adds to our knowledge of the general diagnostic profile in the PG population.Erbas and Buchner reviewed German national data sources and other German studies to come up with a series of findings:Twelve month prevalence rates for PG are estimated to range from 0.2% to 0.6% Men make up 70% to 80% of the PG populationWomen…
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    The Neurocritic

  • Should Policy Makers and Financial Institutions Have Access to Billions of Brain Scans?

    16 Sep 2014 | 3:18 am
    "Individual risk attitudes are correlated with the grey matter volume in the posterior parietal cortex suggesting existence of an anatomical biomarker for financial risk-attitude," said Dr Tymula. This means tolerance of risk "could potentially be measured in billions of existing medical brain scans." 1 -Gray matter matters when measuring risk toleranceLet's pretend that scientists have discovered a neural biomarker that could accurately predict a person's propensity to take financial risks in a lottery. Would it be ethical to release this information to policy makers? That seems to be the…
  • A Dangerous New Dish

    7 Sep 2014 | 11:26 pm
    Bibimbop Brugmansia ** Do NOT try this at home.Edible flowers can make for a beautiful garnish on salads and trendy Brooklyn cocktails, but these decorative flourishes can be a disaster for the oblivious amateur. An unusual case report in BMC Research Notes summarizes what happens when you sprinkle toxic flower petals on your bibimbop (Kim et al., 2014).A 64 year old Korean woman came to the emergency room with incoherent speech and fluctuations in attention, orientation and comprehension. She had called her daughter for help but couldn't remember why. (Hint: that's because she ingested…
  • Whitman Was Not a Neuroscientist

    31 Aug 2014 | 3:18 pm
    Do I contradict myself?Very well then I contradict myself,(I am large, I contain multitudes.)-Walt Whitman, "Song of Myself" (from Leaves of Grass)Science is the search for objective truth based on physical laws of the universe. Scientific theories try to explain the consistent and predictable behavior of natural systems. They are generally reductionist, meaning that complex systems are reduced to simpler and more fundamental elements. The principles of physics, for instance, are expressed in the form of beautiful equations that are the envy of the softer sciences.xkcd: PurityThe enterprise…
  • Autobiographical Memory for a Life-Threatening Airline Disaster

    24 Aug 2014 | 11:04 pm
    “My attention shifts to the fact that the comforting engine hum is eerily gone. Where has the comforting hum of the engines gone. Something has gone very, very wrong, the plane continued to shake.” -Daniel Goncalves, recalling the terror of Air Transat Flight 236I'm sitting here in an airport, reading a harrowing first person account of Air Transat Flight 236, which fell out of the sky when it lost all power on Aug. 24, 2001.The plane was bound from Toronto, Ontario to Lisbon, Portugal when a fuel leak in the right engine began 3 hrs and 46 min after takeoff (at 04:38 UTC). The leak went…
  • The Neuro Sci-Fi of the Near Future

    14 Aug 2014 | 2:56 am
    NEUROTECH LIGHT AND DARK »Tweet length visions of our DARPA-funded futureThe Neurocritic has recently blogged about The Neuroscience of the Future:Neural prosthetics, brain-computer interfaces (BCI), “closed-loop” deep brain stimulation (DBS) devices, and a world without human brain disorders. The first three of these are already here... is the last one possible?Here’s a sample of Neurotech Light and Dark, a sci fi collection of 16 very short stories about neuroscience and technology, by S. Kay.A brain-computer interface controls her robotic arm. As easily as not thinking, she uses it…
 
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    The Beautiful Brain

  • Neuroaesthetics: The Gathering

    Noah Hutton
    4 Sep 2014 | 9:22 pm
    Top scientists and philosophers working at the intersection of art and neuroscience gather in New York City for the 2014 International Association of Empirical Aesthetics summit. Ville cranienne (Skull City). AndreÌ Masson, 1940. Drawing on paper. It’s hard to know how much we don’t know about the brain. The presence of vast unknowns in the field means that many current debates in neuroscience hinge on differing scales of inquiry and the significance of results from current methods. Are single neurons the place to look? How much weight do fMRI results bear? Do we actually even…
  • E.O. Wilson on the Brain

    Ben Ehrlich
    19 Aug 2014 | 7:39 pm
    In this month’s issue of Harper’s magazine, legendary biologist E.O. Wilson—the ant man who also authors books about the meaning of existence—takes on consciousness and the brain. The article, “On Free Will,” carries the unsurprising subtitle: “And how the brain is like a colony of ants.” He runs down the essential anatomical, functional, genetic and evolutionary information about the brain, defining the complex organ and its unique importance. Then, he relates the efforts of philosophers to find a physical basis for consciousness, which may or may…
  • Sculptor of Her Own Brain

    Ben Ehrlich
    16 May 2014 | 7:54 am
    Rebecca Kamen believes that artists and scientists have a similar mission, and she tries to reflect these similarities in her sculptures. Inspired by the work of Santiago Ramón y Cajal, “the father of modern neuroscience,” some of her sculptures are on display at the National Institutes for Health, where she has been the artist in residence in the neuroscience program. PBS NewsHour has published an article about her story, called “Portrait of a dyslexic artist, who transforms neurons into ‘butterflies.'” Ramón y Cajal famously referred to the cells in our…
  • Science on Screen

    Ben Ehrlich
    27 Mar 2014 | 3:12 pm
    On March 31st, seventeen independent theaters in cities across the country will host Science on Screen, an evening pairing mainstream film and scientific presentation. Supported by the Coolidge Corner Theater and The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Science on Screen will feature different programs nationwide If you live in New York City, for example, Brooklyn’s BAM is showing Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, followed by a discussion of emotion and memory with Joseph LeDoux, director of the Emotional Brain Institute at New York University. See if your local theater is…
  • Fridtjof the Great

    Ben Ehrlich
    24 Feb 2014 | 8:29 pm
    I never knew about Fridtjof Nansen. His 1887 doctoral thesis argued for the independence of the nerve cell, making him one of the earliest defenders of what would be called “the neuron doctrine.” He promptly quit neuroscience and went on an arctic expedition across Greenland. Then he went to the North Pole. He topped it all off with a Nobel Peace Prize, after serving his native Norway in the League of Nations for a decade. His lasting legacy, however, is probably the “Nansen passport” for stateless persons, still recognized by over fifty countries. “It is better…
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    The Neurocritic

  • Should Policy Makers and Financial Institutions Have Access to Billions of Brain Scans?

    The Neurocritic
    16 Sep 2014 | 3:18 am
    "Individual risk attitudes are correlated with the grey matter volume in the posterior parietal cortex suggesting existence of an anatomical biomarker for financial risk-attitude," said Dr Tymula. This means tolerance of risk "could potentially be measured in billions of existing medical brain scans." 1 -Gray matter matters when measuring risk toleranceLet's pretend that scientists have discovered a neural biomarker that could accurately predict a person's propensity to take financial risks in a lottery. Would it be ethical to release this information to policy makers? That seems to be the…
  • A Dangerous New Dish

    The Neurocritic
    7 Sep 2014 | 11:26 pm
    Bibimbop Brugmansia ** Do NOT try this at home.Edible flowers can make for a beautiful garnish on salads and trendy Brooklyn cocktails, but these decorative flourishes can be a disaster for the oblivious amateur. An unusual case report in BMC Research Notes summarizes what happens when you sprinkle toxic flower petals on your bibimbop (Kim et al., 2014).A 64 year old Korean woman came to the emergency room with incoherent speech and fluctuations in attention, orientation and comprehension. She had called her daughter for help but couldn't remember why. (Hint: that's because she ingested…
  • Whitman Was Not a Neuroscientist

    The Neurocritic
    31 Aug 2014 | 3:18 pm
    Do I contradict myself?Very well then I contradict myself,(I am large, I contain multitudes.)-Walt Whitman, "Song of Myself" (from Leaves of Grass)Science is the search for objective truth based on physical laws of the universe. Scientific theories try to explain the consistent and predictable behavior of natural systems. They are generally reductionist, meaning that complex systems are reduced to simpler and more fundamental elements. The principles of physics, for instance, are expressed in the form of beautiful equations that are the envy of the softer sciences.xkcd: PurityThe enterprise…
  • Autobiographical Memory for a Life-Threatening Airline Disaster

    The Neurocritic
    24 Aug 2014 | 11:04 pm
    “My attention shifts to the fact that the comforting engine hum is eerily gone. Where has the comforting hum of the engines gone. Something has gone very, very wrong, the plane continued to shake.” -Daniel Goncalves, recalling the terror of Air Transat Flight 236I'm sitting here in an airport, reading a harrowing first person account of Air Transat Flight 236, which fell out of the sky when it lost all power on Aug. 24, 2001.The plane was bound from Toronto, Ontario to Lisbon, Portugal when a fuel leak in the right engine began 3 hrs and 46 min after takeoff (at 04:38 UTC). The leak went…
  • The Neuro Sci-Fi of the Near Future

    The Neurocritic
    14 Aug 2014 | 2:56 am
    NEUROTECH LIGHT AND DARK »Tweet length visions of our DARPA-funded futureThe Neurocritic has recently blogged about The Neuroscience of the Future:Neural prosthetics, brain-computer interfaces (BCI), “closed-loop” deep brain stimulation (DBS) devices, and a world without human brain disorders. The first three of these are already here... is the last one possible?Here’s a sample of Neurotech Light and Dark, a sci fi collection of 16 very short stories about neuroscience and technology, by S. Kay.A brain-computer interface controls her robotic arm. As easily as not thinking, she uses it…
 
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    The Brain from Top to Bottom Blog - Intermediate Level

  • The Intelligence in Our Hands

    Bruno Dubuc
    15 Sep 2014 | 2:34 pm
    The first crisp days of autumn are great for outdoor chores like chopping firewood, installing storm windows, and raking leaves. Distracted by the blazing fall foliage, you may sometimes find yourself performing complex tasks with your hands while your mind is clearly off somewhere else. It’s as if your hands had “a mind of their own.” But this mental aspect of manual work is not just a passing impression you may have; it’s also one of the hottest topics in cognitive science today. MIT Press has just published The Hand, an Organ of the Mind: What the Manual Tells the Mental. This…
  • Nervous and Immune Systems Closely Tied

    Bruno Dubuc
    2 Sep 2014 | 1:27 pm
    By the late 20th century, cognitive neuroscientists had recognized that they would never truly understand how the brain functions unless they also considered the body in which it does so. This concept of “embodied” cognition implies that the brain constantly maintains a dynamic relationship with the rest of the body, which in turn is totally immersed in its physical and social environment. This model contrasts sharply with others that compare the brain to a computer or treat it as a disembodied organ that simply manipulates symbolic representations of inputs to provide appropriate…
  • The myth of left-brained and right-brained personalities

    Bruno Dubuc
    18 Aug 2014 | 9:59 am
    One often reads that certain functions of the human brain are lateralized—for example, that the left hemisphere is more involved in language and the right in the processing of visuospatial information. One also often hears it said that some people are left-brained (meaning that they are analytical, logical, and focused on details) while others are right-brained (more subjective and creative, with more of a tendency to see things as a whole). But according to a study published on August 14, 2013 in the online journal PLOS ONE, although there is abundant evidence for the lateralization of…
  • Daniel Wegner: An Unforgettable Scientific Contribution

    Bruno Dubuc
    23 Jul 2014 | 7:48 pm
    For many people, the name of pioneering social psychologist Daniel Wegner will always be associated with a polar bear, because he famously used an image of this animal to demonstrate how hard it is to suppress a thought if someone simply asks you not to think about it. Wegner died on July 5, 2013 at the age of 65 from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a disease characterized by degeneration of the motor neurons of the spinal cord. Acknowledging his passing, the scientific community saluted him as one of the most original thinkers in his field. His friend and fellow psychologist Daniel…
  • Summer school in cognitive sciences 2014 : Web Science and the mind

    Bruno Dubuc
    1 Jul 2014 | 11:54 am
    Every two years, the Cognitive Sciences Institute of the University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM) holds a summer school on a selected topic in the cognitive sciences. In 2010, the topic was the origin of language, in 2012 it was the evolution and function of consciousness. This summer, from July 7 to 18, 2014, the school will be holding its 5th edition, and the topic will be web science and the mind. The school will be taught and attended by international specialists on the subject of distributed cognition in the brain, between brains, and between brains and computers. The speakers at this…
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    Your Brain Health

  • Does fasting improve mental acuity and help you live longer?

    Sarah McKay
    11 Sep 2014 | 5:13 pm
    Todays guest blog post comes from Dr Devika Garg, a fresh PhD in neurosciences from the National University of Singapore, with a passion for bringing complex science to the public in simple and engaging ways. She has interests in poetry, music, the creative ways neurons function to create complex animal behaviors, and the wonderful way […] The post Does fasting improve mental acuity and help you live longer? appeared first on Your Brain Health.
  • This is your brain on therapy

    Sarah McKay
    4 Sep 2014 | 1:53 pm
    Dr. Dan Metevier is a psychologist from Carlsbad, California. He works with a variety of clients and helps these people feel better about themselves, their lives, and their relationships. You can visit Dan’s website here. So, what really happens to your brain when you go to a therapist? Let’s start from the very beginning (a very good place […] The post This is your brain on therapy appeared first on Your Brain Health.
  • Why working too hard impairs your thinking.

    Sarah McKay
    20 Aug 2014 | 9:36 am
    This week’s blog post comes from Rebekah Lambert. Rebekah makes her living as marketing, content creation and copywriting freelancer at Unashamedly Creative and as head of Disruption for Discordia Zine. Rebekah has just begun a mission to improve the mental health and wellness outcomes for freelancers and entrepreneurs as one half of the Hacking Happiness team. You can follow her journey […] The post Why working too hard impairs your thinking. appeared first on Your Brain Health.
  • Neuroplasticity: the battle in your brain

    Sarah McKay
    7 Aug 2014 | 1:34 pm
    Today’s blog comes from my courageous friend and fellow brain blogger, Debbie Hampton, who writes over at The Best Brain Possible. In her words her blog provides: information and inspiration for anyone with a brain and desiring to improve it. The Battle in Your Brain When Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel, he had to work […] The post Neuroplasticity: the battle in your brain appeared first on Your Brain Health.
  • Are music lessons the key to smarter kids?

    Sarah McKay
    17 Jul 2014 | 1:30 pm
    My 4 year-old son Jamie started piano lessons last year. This might seem a little young, but the classes are designed to make learning music fun. Jamie’s teachers use an unique multi-sensory approach that engages the different senses: auditory, visual and kinaesthetic (movement). The kids learn the notes as: do, re, mi, fa, so, etc, and each note has […] The post Are music lessons the key to smarter kids? appeared first on Your Brain Health.
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