Neuroscience

  • Most Topular Stories

  • Alcoholism as a Reward System Dysfunction

    Brain Posts
    30 Oct 2014 | 8:20 am
    Alcoholism and other addictive behaviors often occur together within individual patients.For example, individuals with alcoholism commonly also are smokers and meet criteria for a diagnosis of nicotine dependence.This co-occurrence suggests multiple types of addiction may share genetic and environmental risk factors. Additionally, there might be a common neurobiological mechanism in play for many addictions.Kenneth Blum and other leading alcoholism researchers recently published a review that proposed a theory of addiction they labelled the "Reward Deficiency Solution System".Here are some of…
  • Dozens of genes associated with autism in new research

    Neuroscience News -- ScienceDaily
    29 Oct 2014 | 11:12 am
    Two major genetic studies of autism, involving more than 50 laboratories worldwide, have newly implicated dozens of genes in the disorder. The research shows that rare mutations in these genes affect communication networks in the brain and compromise fundamental biological mechanisms that govern whether, when, and how genes are activated overall.
  • Quasi-stability

    Mind Hacks
    vaughanbell
    29 Oct 2014 | 8:45 am
    Yesterday, before I got here, my dad was trying to fix an invisible machine. By all accounts, he began working on the phantom device quite intently, but as his repairs began to involve the hospice bed and the tubes attached to his body, he was gently sedated, and he had to leave it, unresolved. This was out-of-character for my father, who I presumed had never encountered a machine he couldn’t fix. He built model aeroplanes in rural New Zealand, won a scholarship to go to university, and ended up as an aeronautical engineer for Air New Zealand, fixing engines twice his size. More…
  • EEG test to help understand, treat schizophrenia

    Neuroscience News -- ScienceDaily
    29 Oct 2014 | 9:43 am
    An EEG test to study and treat schizophrenia has been validated by researchers. The findings offer a clinical test that could be used to help diagnose persons at risk for developing mental illness later in life, as well as an approach for measuring the efficacies of different treatment options.
  • Scientists Uncover Major Factor in Development of Huntingtons Disease

    Neuroscience RSS Feeds - Neuroscience News Updates
    Neuroscience News
    28 Oct 2014 | 1:55 pm
    A new study points to a functional connection between mTOR and huntingtin.
 
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    Neuroscience News -- ScienceDaily

  • Case study: Hearing loss in one infant twin affects mother's speech to both babies

    29 Oct 2014 | 5:39 pm
    Is it possible that hearing loss in one infant from a pair of twins can affect the mother’s speech to both infants? A new acoustics study zeroes in on this question and suggests that not only is this alteration of speech entirely possible, but that mothers speak to both infants as if they are hearing impaired.
  • Innovative study utilizing video games shows sleep apnea may affect memory of everyday events

    29 Oct 2014 | 5:37 pm
    Sleep apnea may affect your ability to form new spatial memories, such as remembering where you parked your car, new research suggests. The study demonstrates through the playing of a specific video game that disruption of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep as a consequence of sleep apnea impairs spatial memory in humans even when other sleep stages are intact.
  • Dozens of genes associated with autism in new research

    29 Oct 2014 | 11:12 am
    Two major genetic studies of autism, involving more than 50 laboratories worldwide, have newly implicated dozens of genes in the disorder. The research shows that rare mutations in these genes affect communication networks in the brain and compromise fundamental biological mechanisms that govern whether, when, and how genes are activated overall.
  • Liberal or conservative? Reactions to disgust are a dead giveaway

    29 Oct 2014 | 9:45 am
    The way a person's brain responds to a single disgusting image is enough to reliably predict whether he or she identifies politically as liberal or conservative. As we approach Election Day, the researchers say that the findings come as a reminder of something we all know but probably don't always do: 'Think, don't just react.'
  • EEG test to help understand, treat schizophrenia

    29 Oct 2014 | 9:43 am
    An EEG test to study and treat schizophrenia has been validated by researchers. The findings offer a clinical test that could be used to help diagnose persons at risk for developing mental illness later in life, as well as an approach for measuring the efficacies of different treatment options.
 
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    MIT News - Neuroscience

  • Xu Liu and Steve Ramirez win 2014 American Ingenuity Award

    Picower Institute for Learning and Memory
    27 Oct 2014 | 2:00 pm
    The Picower Institute for Learning and Memory congratulates postdoctoral associate Xu Liu and graduate student Steve Ramirez, both members of Susumu Tonegawa’s Picower lab, who recently received the 2014 Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award in Natural Sciences. Ten awards saluting extraordinary achievements in innovation across nine diverse categories, including performing arts, education, and social progress, were presented at a ceremony on Oct. 16 at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. In what is considered a significant breakthrough in neuroscience, Liu and Ramirez…
  • Kay Tye named 2014 NYSCF – Robertson Investigator

    Picower Institute for Learning and Memory
    20 Oct 2014 | 11:33 am
    The Picower Institute congratulates Kay Tye, a Picower principal investigator and the Whitehead Career Development Assistant Professor in the MIT Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences who is one of six promising scientists the New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) recently selected to receive a $1.5 million award over the next five years. The NYSCF Investigator Program, designed to support emerging scientists engaged in innovative neuroscience and stem cell research, fosters the careers of talented researchers as they transition from completing their postdoctoral studies to managing…
  • Autism as a disorder of prediction

    Anne Trafton | MIT News Office
    7 Oct 2014 | 12:45 pm
    Autism is characterized by many different symptoms: difficulty interacting with others, repetitive behaviors, and hypersensitivity to sound and other stimuli. MIT neuroscientists have put forth a new hypothesis that accounts for these behaviors and may provide a neurological foundation for many of the disparate features of the disorder. The researchers suggest that autism may be rooted in an impaired ability to predict events and other people’s actions. From the perspective of the autistic child, the world appears to be a “magical” rather than an orderly place, because events seem to…
  • Fifteen MIT scientists receive NIH BRAIN Initiative grants

    Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences | Picower Institute for Learning and Memory | McGovern Institute for Brain Research
    30 Sep 2014 | 12:12 pm
    Today, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced their first round of BRAIN Initiative award recipients. Six teams and 15 researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology were recipients. Mriganka Sur, principal investigator at the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory and the Paul E. Newton Professor of Neuroscience in MIT's Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences (BCS) leads a team studying cortical circuits and information flow during memory-guided perceptual decisions. Co-principal investigators include Emery Brown, BCS professor of computational neuroscience and…
  • Picower and MIT scientists awarded BRAIN Initiative grants

    Picower Institute for Learning and Memory
    30 Sep 2014 | 9:24 am
    Today, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced the first round of Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative award recipients, including several MIT interdisciplinary teams. The BRAIN Initiative, spearheaded by President Obama in April 2013, challenges the nation’s leading scientists to advance our sophisticated understanding of the human mind and discover new ways to treat, prevent, and cure neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, autism, and traumatic brain injury. “The human brain is one of the most complicated…
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    ScienceBlogs

  • Throwback Thursday: Most Planets in the Universe are Homeless (Synopsis) [Starts With A Bang]

    Ethan
    30 Oct 2014 | 2:37 pm
    “You cannot be lonely if you like the person you’re alone with.” -Wayne Dyer We like to think of our Solar System as typical: a central star with a number of planets — some gas giants and some rocky worlds — in orbit around it. Yes, there’s some variety, with binary or trinary star systems and huge variance in the masses of the central star being common ones, but from a planetary point of view, our Solar System is a rarity. Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech. Because even though there are hundreds of billions of stars in our galaxy for planets to orbit, there are most…
  • Wayne Farms slammed by OSHA for gaming system on poultry worker injuries [The Pump Handle]

    Celeste Monforton, DrPH, MPH
    30 Oct 2014 | 7:49 am
    OSHA proposed serious and repeat violations yesterday to Wayne Farms for a variety of safety hazards, including those that led to musculoskeletal injuries among the company’s poultry processing workers. By my calculation, it was the first time in more than a decade that the Labor Department used its “general duty clause” to cite a poultry company for ergonomic hazards. OSHA conducted the inspection in response to a complaint filed six months ago by the Southern Poverty Law Center on behalf of a group of workers. The complaint described the harsh working conditions in the Jack, Alabama…
  • R.I.P., McKenzie Lowe. Stanislaw Burzynski failed you. [Respectful Insolence]

    Orac
    30 Oct 2014 | 12:50 am
    R.I.P., McKenzie Lowe. Unfortunately, Stanislaw Burzynski was no more able to save you than anyone else, his claims of great success treating pediatric brain tumors notwithstanding: HUDSON — Thirteen-year-old Hudson resident McKenzie Lowe died Friday evening after a 2-year-battle against an aggressive and inoperable brain stem tumor. McKenzie died at 10:27 p.m. in her own bed at her home in Hudson. McKenzie was diagnosed on Nov. 28, 2012 with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, or DIPG, a brain tumor located on the brain stem. Patients with DIPG typically survive for less than a year. Months…
  • Chaos In The Church [EvolutionBlog]

    jrosenhouse
    30 Oct 2014 | 12:09 am
    Pope Francis has been continuing his campaign of liberalization within the Roman Catholic Church. At the recent synod on the family, reform-minded bishops within the Church, many installed by Francis, proposed language that, while not changing doctrine, would have liberalized the Church’s stance toward homosexuals and divorced people. The paragraphs that are getting all the press are these: Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community: are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a fraternal space in our communities? Often they wish to…
  • What is the oldest star in the Universe? (Synopsis) [Starts With A Bang]

    Ethan
    29 Oct 2014 | 6:03 pm
    “Let others praise ancient times; I am glad I was born in these.” -Ovid With all that we know of astronomy, with the hundreds of billions of galaxies and hundreds of billions of stars in each that we know are there, it might surprise you to learn that the stars — for the most part — don’t segregate themselves by age, but rather live together in well-mixed populations. Image credit: European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope, of Planetary Nebula IC 1295. So how, then could we possibly hope to find the oldest stars that are out there? Believe it or not, we have…
 
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    Deric's MindBlog

  • Anti-aging interventions: from elixirs to fasting.

    30 Oct 2014 | 3:27 am
    de Cabo et al. have done a useful review of different approaches to delaying or reversing aging, and I pass on their abstract and two nice summary graphics. The phenomenon of aging is an intrinsic feature of life. Accordingly, the possibility to manipulate it has fascinated humans likely since time immemorial. Recent evidence is shaping a picture where low caloric regimes and exercise may improve healthy senescence, and several pharmacological strategies have been suggested to counteract aging. Surprisingly, the most effective interventions proposed to date converge on only a few cellular…
  • Update on ‘fitness age’ calculators…

    29 Oct 2014 | 2:37 am
    The research group that originated the fitness age calculator that I mentioned in a post a year ago has tweaked their online calculator just a bit, so I pass on that link again. (The group has found that a simple list of questions can generate an estimate of peak oxygen intake, a predictor of longevity, that is similar to results obtained with a more exhaustive treadmill test.) I seem to be getting the same result, a fitness age (60) twelve years less than my chronological age (72).
  • Brain resting state network stimulation for psychiatric and neurological diseases

    29 Oct 2014 | 1:30 am
    Fox et al. do a survey of therapy using either invasive approaches, such as deep brain stimulation (DBS), or noninvasive approaches, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation, and find that targets that are most effective in treating the same disease most often are nodes in the same brain network. I pass on their abstract and a summary graphic: Brain stimulation, a therapy increasingly used for neurological and psychiatric disease, traditionally is divided into invasive approaches, such as deep brain stimulation (DBS), and noninvasive approaches, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation. The…
  • The amygdala as the hub of three brain networks supporting our social life.

    28 Oct 2014 | 1:00 am
    I pass on this very useful summary by Bickart et al. that summarizes brain connectivity experiments in rodents, monkeys, and humans to develop a description that has the amygdala as a anchor in three partially distinct brain networks (serving perception, affiliation, and aversion) that each engage a distinct domain of social behavior. Their highlights, followed by the abstract and the main graphic:Highlights • We synthesize extant animal and human data to describe networks of the social brain. • The amygdala anchors 3 networks, each supporting a distinct social process. •…
  • Breath counting as an objective behavioral measure of mindfulness.

    27 Oct 2014 | 3:37 am
    Another fascinating piece of work from Richard Davidson's group at the University of Wisconsin, evaluating breath counting as a potential objective and rigorous behavioral measurement of mindfulness. (The technique of indexing mindfulness of breathing by breath counting is referenced as early as 430 AD.) A provisional PDF of the article describing four different studies evaluating this approach can be downloaded from the link.  I recommend that you read the discussion section.  For those who want just the bottom line, here it is from the abstract. They found: ...skill in breath…
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    Brain Blogger

  • Is It Sane To Agree That You’re Crazy?

    Ann Reitan, PsyD
    30 Oct 2014 | 4:00 am
    Therapeutic reflection – the act of re-stating the client’s ideas using different words – represents an avenue towards mirroring the client’s internal state through therapeutic verbal interaction and the therapeutic stance of the person-centered therapist. Carl Rogers developed person-centered and humanistic theory and psychotherapy as a way to ameliorate psychological problems. He advocated unconditional positive regard, genuineness and accurate empathy on the part of the therapist as having curative qualities when received by the individual in psychotherapy. He also asserted…
  • Psychotherapy for Paranoid Schizophrenia

    Ann Reitan, PsyD
    27 Oct 2014 | 4:00 am
    Often psychotherapy is not considered to be effective with individuals dealing with schizophrenia spectrum disorders. But a cognitive-relational psychotherapy approach helps form a warm, trusting and detached relationship, conveys an understanding and concern for one’s client, and involves the therapist telling that individual their own empathic views about what that individual is dealing with. Often clinicians assume that psychotherapy does not work well with persons manifesting what are called “thought disorders” – conceived to be irrational, unrealistic and factually…
  • Exercise Reduces the Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

    Viatcheslav Wlassoff, PhD
    24 Oct 2014 | 4:00 am
    Physical activity is a holistic strategy for increasing overall health and lowering disease risk among a wide range of individuals, and people with neurological conditions can benefit from them too. The benefits of physical activity for individuals with, or at risk of, dementia are not particularly well known to the general public. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is one of the most common forms of dementia. It is still debatable what exactly causes the disease but its risk increases with age. In 2001, the results of a study comparing the effects of physical activity on cognitive impairment were…
  • Comparing the 5 Theories of Emotion

    Beppe Micallef-Trigona, MD, MRCPsych, MSc
    22 Oct 2014 | 4:00 am
    Emotions seem to dominate many aspects of our lives. But what exactly are emotions? The word first appears in our language in the mid-16th century, adapted from the French word émouvoir, which literally means, “to stir up”. However, one can find precursors to the word emotion dating back to the earliest known recordings of language. When searching for a definition, Hockenbury describes an emotion as “a complex psychological state that involves three distinct components: a subjective experience, a physiological response, and an expressive response.” Researchers have…
  • The Science of Acupuncture

    Sara Adaes, PhD (c)
    21 Oct 2014 | 4:00 am
    Acupuncture has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for over 2,000 years. In the Western world, acupuncture has been a highly controversial therapy, mostly due to the lack of scientific explanations for its mechanisms of action. Nevertheless, acupuncture has become increasingly accepted, having spread worldwide and having become a frequently sought-after alternative therapy. In 1997, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Consensus Development Program recognized acupuncture as a therapeutic intervention of complementary medicine. The World Health Organization (WHO) now recommends the…
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    Mind Hacks

  • Quasi-stability

    vaughanbell
    29 Oct 2014 | 8:45 am
    Yesterday, before I got here, my dad was trying to fix an invisible machine. By all accounts, he began working on the phantom device quite intently, but as his repairs began to involve the hospice bed and the tubes attached to his body, he was gently sedated, and he had to leave it, unresolved. This was out-of-character for my father, who I presumed had never encountered a machine he couldn’t fix. He built model aeroplanes in rural New Zealand, won a scholarship to go to university, and ended up as an aeronautical engineer for Air New Zealand, fixing engines twice his size. More…
  • Spike activity 24-10-2014

    vaughanbell
    24 Oct 2014 | 12:26 pm
    Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: A Victorian lunatic asylum begins to reveal its secrets. The Wellcome Library now has the first of many digitised asylum records online. Narratively has an excellent piece on legendary San Francisco eccentric Emperor Norton. The marketers latest fad – make it seem it’s a feminist social campaign – has been taken on as an attempt to sell a rejected antidepressant as a treatment for the invented ‘female sexual dysfunction’. In-depth and important article in the BMJ. Time magazine has a special features that…
  • A Rush of Blood to the Brain

    vaughanbell
    15 Oct 2014 | 5:36 am
    An article from Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry that discusses the concept of ‘moral disability’ and brain trauma in Victorian times includes a fascinating section on what was presumably thought to be the science of ‘knocking some sense into the brain’. The piece is by medical historian Brandy Shillace who researches Victorian scientific ideas and how they affected society. Sadly, the article is locked (quite rightly, humanities can kill if not used correctly) but this is the key section: While eighteenth-century French philosopher François Bichat had suggested that…
  • Hallucinating astronauts

    vaughanbell
    5 Oct 2014 | 1:28 am
    I’ve got a piece in The Observer about the stresses, strains and mind-bending effects of space flight. NASA considers behavioural and psychiatric conditions to be one of the most significant risks to the integrity of astronaut functioning and there is a surprisingly long history of these difficulties adversely affecting missions. Perhaps more seriously, hallucinations have been associated with the breakdown of crew coherence and space mission stress. In 1976, crew from the Russian Soyuz-21 mission were brought back to Earth early after they reported an acrid smell aboard the Salyut-5…
  • Spike activity 05-10-2014

    vaughanbell
    4 Oct 2014 | 4:48 am
    Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: Dropping science: neuroscientists throw down epic / excruciating rap battle on Twitter. Bring the line noise. The New Yorker has an interesting piece on the neuroscientific legacy of the Vietnam War. In neuroscience terms, it was America’s World War One. The latest edition of Nature NeuroPod is particularly good: psychosis, detecting animacy, network theory for brains. Livescience covers an interesting study finding that the uncanny valley effect is affected by loneliness. The US Government spend $300 million on BRAIN initiative…
 
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    Neuroethics & Law Blog

  • PEBS Neuroethics Roundup (JHU)

    NELB Staff
    30 Oct 2014 | 3:12 pm
    Last Edition's Most Popular Article(s): New Antidepressant: Rapid Agent Restores Pleasure-Seeking Ahead of Other Antidepressant Action, ScienceDaily Upcoming Event: International Neuroethics Society Annual Meeting Washington, D.C. November 13-14, 2014 In The Popular Press: Your Brain’s Response to Vile Images Says...
  • "What Does It Mean to be a Mechanism? Stephen Morse, Non-Reductivism, and Mental Causation"

    NELB Staff
    29 Oct 2014 | 3:18 pm
    Recently published in SSRN (and forthcoming in Criminal Law and Philosophy): "What Does It Mean to be a Mechanism? Stephen Morse, Non-Reductivism, and Mental Causation" KATRINA SIFFERD, Elmhurst College Stephen Morse seems to have adopted a controversial position regarding the...
  • "Binding Future Selves"

    NELB Staff
    29 Oct 2014 | 3:16 pm
    Recently published in SSRN (and recently published in 75 Louisiana Law Review No. 1 (2014)): "Binding Future Selves" KAIPONANEA T. MATSUMURA, Arizona State University Courts traditionally treat a person entering an agreement as the same person at the time of...
  • Interesting Study on Deception

    Adam Kolber
    29 Oct 2014 | 12:20 pm
    When given an opportunity to question people about cheating, we may not be so bad after all at assessing credibility. See the research ("Expertise in Deception Detection Involves Actively Prompting Diagnostic Information Rather Than Passive Behavioral Observation") summarized here. Abstract...
  • PEBS Neuroethics Roundup (JHU)

    NELB Staff
    23 Oct 2014 | 3:07 pm
    Last Edition's Most Popular Article(s): Q&A: Robots and the Law, Science Upcoming Event: International Neuroethics Society Annual Meeting Washington, D.C. November 13-14, 2014 In The Popular Press: New Algorithms Search for Signs of Consciousness in Brain Injury Patients, Wired Burden...
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    Neuromarketing

  • New Brainfluence Translations

    Roger Dooley
    28 Oct 2014 | 8:33 am
    I’m happy to say that there are (or will be) two new translations of Brainfluence – one in simplified Chinese, and (finally!) one in Spanish. Simplified Chinese Brain Surgery The simplified Chinese version is already in print and shipping. As [...]
  • How to Scare Your CMO, Brain Upgrades, More – Roger’s Picks

    Roger Dooley
    27 Oct 2014 | 8:30 am
    Ease into the week off with some reading material, mostly about the brainy side of marketing and sales! My Stuff In digital marketing, we constantly refer to the sales funnel. Scott Stratten, in his book Unselling: The New customer Experience [...]
  • Do You Suffer From Funnel Vision?

    Roger Dooley
    21 Oct 2014 | 7:02 am
    They say if you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. One of the favorite tools of marketers, the sales funnel, may produce the same kind of myopia, according to Unmarketing’s Scott Stratten. Stratten’s new book, Unselling: The New [...]
  • Packaging Power, Imaginative Imagery, More – Roger’s Picks

    Roger Dooley
    20 Oct 2014 | 8:14 am
    Here’s my latest content for the week, and hand picked items both I and my readers liked, too. My Stuff Brands often think about the retail packaging of their product, since they know it reflects on their brand and product. [...]
  • Weird Mood Effects, Psycho Trolls, Unselling, and More – Roger’s Picks

    Roger Dooley
    10 Oct 2014 | 10:02 am
    Here’s the most compelling stuff we found all week, plus what I published. I hope that’s compelling, too! My Stuff Internet trolls are toxic to communities, and their antics can drive away productive and helpful members. The common assumption has [...]
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    SharpBrains

  • Brain Performance Dashboards @ 2014 SharpBrains Virtual Summit

    SharpBrains
    30 Oct 2014 | 11:16 am
    After two very intense Summit days, today we have Expo Day, looking at the latest solutions and initiatives by Summit Sponsors — including the cognitive performance dashboard below, by Peak. Many people working on ways to engage, educate, empower and better equip everyone with a brain!
  • Day 2 @ 2014 SharpBrains Virtual Summit has started!

    SharpBrains
    29 Oct 2014 | 8:32 am
    After a great Day 1 yesterday, we have another excellent Summit Agenda today. We look forward to it, and to sharing the main insights and take-aways with the SharpBrains community!
  • 2014 SharpBrains Virtual Summit starts today

    SharpBrains
    27 Oct 2014 | 8:02 am
    The 2014 SharpBrains Virtual Summit is starting today Tuesday, October 28th, at 8.15am US Pacific Time (San Francisco, CA time)! Each of the blue dots in the map below represents a participant (or group of participants) — more than 200, in 17 countries! (Registration is now closed; Registered participants can already enter the virtual meeting room as instructed by email)
  • Cognitive maintenance 2.0: From crossword puzzles to targeted mental stimulation

    SharpBrains
    26 Oct 2014 | 6:18 pm
    The Silver Economy: Brain training fired up by hard evidence (Financial Times): “Not so long ago, people kept ageing brains active through reading and writing, talking with friends and family, and perhaps playing cards or doing puzzles. Now a rapidly growing number are taking a high-tech approach to cognitive maintenance, through computer programs designed to stimulate the brain… Two factors lie behind this rapid growth. One is the improving hardware and software, particularly graphics, that make brain-training programs appealing to elderly users who are not comfortable with computers or…
  • Douglas Ziedonis (UMass­ Med­ical School) to speak on scaling up meditation and mindfulness

    SharpBrains
    24 Oct 2014 | 6:03 am
    Excited to announce that Dr. Dou­glas Ziedo­nis, Pro­fes­sor and Chair of the Depart­ment of Psy­chi­a­try at at the Uni­ver­sity of Mass­a­chu­setts Med­ical School, will share his work and insights on Scal­ing up med­i­ta­tion and mind­ful­ness via well­ness pro­grams and biofeed­back sensors at the 2014 Sharp­Brains Vir­tual Sum­mit (Octo­ber 28-30th). Dr. Ziedo­nis is also Pres­i­dent of UMass Memo­r­ial Behav­ioral Health Ser­vices. He is inter­na­tion­ally rec­og­nized for his research and lead­er­ship in address­ing co-occurring…
 
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    BSP Show Notes - Brain Science Podcast

  • What Do Mirror Neurons Really Do? (BSP 112)

    Ginger Campbell, MD
    16 Oct 2014 | 5:11 am
    Greg Hickok, PhD (Click on photo to hear his interview) Ever since their chance discovery back in 1992 mirror neurons have captured the imagination of both scientists and nonscientists, but their actual role remains mostly speculative. In The Myth of Mirror Neurons: The Real Neuroscience of Communication and Cognition Dr. Gregory Hickok (UC-Irvine) explains why the most popular theory is probably wrong. He also provides a fascinating account of how science is really done and the sobering lesson that scientists can fall prey to the same cognitive biases (and tendencies toward laziness)…
  • 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:…
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    Neuronarrative

  • The Surprising, Infuriating Power of Overconfidence

    David DiSalvo
    15 Oct 2014 | 6:27 am
    Belief sells, whether it’s true or not. In the case of overconfidence, the belief in one’s ability—however out of proportion to reality—generates its own infectious energy. Self-deception is a potent means of convincing the world to see things your way.read more
  • 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
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    Neuroscience News

  • Don't Miss: The neuroscience of survival horror

    30 Oct 2014 | 12:26 pm
    … players? In this new feature, neuroscientist Maral Tajerian, of Thwacke! Consulting …
  • Scientists link 60 genes to autism risk

    30 Oct 2014 | 12:00 pm
    … Dan Smith, senior director of neuroscience at the advocacy organization Autism …
  • Duchenne muscular dystrophy clinical trial results presented at RNA 2015

    30 Oct 2014 | 10:32 am
    RNA Therapeutics 2015 takes place on 16th & 17th February 2015 at the Marriott Regents Park Hotel, London UK LONDON, LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM, October 30, 2014 /EINPresswire.com/ -- RNA therapeutics hold immense promise for the treatment for a number …
  • Neuroscience: Why scratching makes you itch more

    30 Oct 2014 | 9:15 am
    Turns out your mom was right: Scratching an itch only makes it worse. New research from scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis indicates that scratching causes the brain to release serotonin, which intensifies the itch …
  • Mental Leaps Cued by Memory’s Ripples

    30 Oct 2014 | 6:56 am
    … Memory The New York University neuroscientist György (Yuri) Buzsáki still remembers … colleague Matthew Wilson, now a neuroscientist at the Massachusetts Institute of … Shmahalo/Quanta Magazine, source: Nature Neuroscience   Buzsáki is excited about the …
 
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    "On the Brain" with Dr. Michael Merzenich

  • Video: Michael Merzenich in Conversation with the Dalai Lama

    Dr. Merzenich
    29 Oct 2014 | 12:44 pm
    Of all the neuroscientists in the world, who had the honor of sharing the stage with the Dalai Lama last week? Our co-founder and chief scientist, Dr. Michael Merzenich, was chosen for a very special on-stage discussion with His Holiness that took place this past weekend week at the University of Alabama, Birmingham. The symposium, […]The post Video: Michael Merzenich in Conversation with the Dalai Lama appeared first on "On the Brain" with Dr. Michael Merzenich.
  • Lifting the Fog of Chemobrain

    Dr. Merzenich
    13 Oct 2014 | 7:10 am
     Sometimes it’s incredibly frustrating to get the word out about BrainHQ and how it can help people. Let’s take people experiencing “chemobrain” (cognitive losses resulting from chemotherapy) as an example. Clinical scientists have shown that using BrainHQ exercises virtually re-normalizes the brain of an individual suffering from chemobrain. Benefits clearly extend beyond those skills and abilities that […]The post Lifting the Fog of Chemobrain appeared first on "On the Brain" with Dr. Michael Merzenich.
  • We’re All to Blame When the Punishment is Worse Than the Crime

    Dr. Merzenich
    6 Oct 2014 | 8:30 am
    I would guess that a lot of citizens were pretty angry when they read the tragic story of Kalief Browder in The New Yorker this month. I certainly was. If you haven’t read it, allow me to summarize: a young man near the end of his sophomore year in high school is accused of robbery and assault under […]The post We’re All to Blame When the Punishment is Worse Than the Crime appeared first on "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.
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    NeuroLogica Blog

  • Homeopathy for Ebola

    Steven Novella
    30 Oct 2014 | 5:18 am
    New Zealand Green MP, Steffan Browning, stepped in it recently when he signed a petition asking the World Health Organization (WHO) to develop and distribute homeopathic remedies to end the Ebola epidemic. Unfortunately this is not an Onion article. Browning later tried to do damage control by stating that his support of the petition was “unwise” and he blamed it partly on it being late at night when he signed it. Asked whether he thought homeopathy could cure Ebola, Mr Browning said: “It’s not for me to go down that track at all. The World Health Organisation, world…
  • What Americans Believe

    Steven Novella
    28 Oct 2014 | 5:31 am
    Surveys are always problematic because they are subject to interpretation, the precise phrasing of questions, sampling bias, and perhaps hidden assumptions on the part of those taking the survey. The results of any single survey, therefore, should be taken with a grain of salt. Still, they can provide a useful snapshot (if done well) of the current culture.  Skeptics are always interested in what the general public “believes.” The term “belief” is itself problematic, and when used in a survey it is subject to interpretation by those taking the survey. I am not one of…
  • 7 Propaganda Talking Points Against GMOs

    Steven Novella
    27 Oct 2014 | 5:43 am
    After reading about genetically modified organisms for years, it seem pretty clear to me that the anti-GMO activist position is not an objective science-based position. Rather it has all the features of a political/marketing campaign. The campaign has talking points that are all spin and propaganda. Like a slick car commercial, it is selling a vibe, a worldview and a certain self-image. Also like many political and commercial campaigns it is based on fear. Fear is a great motivator and politicians know the value of making the voters afraid of what will happen if their opponent is elected.
  • The Many Interacting Worlds Hypothesis

    Steven Novella
    24 Oct 2014 | 7:50 am
    Howard Wiseman, a theoretical quantum physicist at Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia, and his colleagues have come up with an entirely new theory to explain the weird behavior of particles at the quantum level. The idea is that quantum effects result from classical universes interacting with each other. Classical physics is essentially the physics of Newton and describes the macroscopic world. In classical physics particles have a definitive location and momentum. At the scale of fundamental particles, however, the world behaves very differently. At this so-called quantum level,…
  • A Brain-Training Update

    Steven Novella
    23 Oct 2014 | 5:19 am
    Can playing video games or specifically designed computer games improve your cognitive function? There are many companies who claim that they can and who would like to sell you such games that they claim are “scientifically designed.” So-called brain-training is a burgeoning business, with perhaps the best known product being Lumosity. Lumosity promises: “Scientifically designed games: Lumosity scientists study many common neuropsychological tasks, design some new ones, and transform these tasks into fun, challenging games.” They claim to be a “leader in the…
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    WordPress Tag: Neuroscience

  • This Week In Chemistry Class

    Sue Houston
    26 Oct 2014 | 1:02 pm
    example of excellent student work: Kelly Yu Two weeks ago my wonderful honors chemistry students asked to do a more project based assessment for the upcoming chapter instead of a traditional test.  So now I can come back to this blog and report on their amazing work! They did such a fantastic job and I am convinced they learned much more with the projects than with a traditional test. Not only did they learn more, but they had way more fun doing it too, and as I have been repeating over and over on this blog, I do believe a learner’s emotional state is one crucial key to his or her…
  • Do you taste with your tongue or your brain?

    Myers
    26 Oct 2014 | 9:12 am
    Maybe it’s your brain that tricks you into preferring more expensive things? Or is it your mind? How foodies were duped into liking McDonald’s.
  • Neuroeducation video package

    jkcarillo
    26 Oct 2014 | 8:58 am
    This is the project I was talking about in my old post about Neuroeducation that I had to do. Hope you like it. Enjoy!
  • Paper daggers and prickly needles

    ragavpayne
    26 Oct 2014 | 7:29 am
    I completely forgot about this blog and the life I lived when I wrote some of the stuff I wrote here and the passion I had for the things that I wrote about and how I chose to express them. I’ve changed a lot in the past four years. I am rarely frustrated these days and I now live a life of contentment and with thoughts of tackling bigger and more interesting challenges in my future. I’m happy. This post is a retrospective reflection on the trajectory that I’ve taken since writing this article. I am now in my final year of college in a small town in the US called Wooster. A…
  • what is a trigger?

    Jane
    26 Oct 2014 | 6:17 am
    The fact that the cell membrane and a computer chip are homologues means that it is both appropriate and instructive to better fathom the workings of the cell by comparing it to a personal computer. The first big-deal insight that comes from such an exercise is that computers and cells are programmable. The second corollary insight is that the programmer lies outside the computer/cell. Biological behavior and gene activity are dynamically linked to information from the environment, which is downloaded into the cell.   Bruce H. Lipton Ph.D.. The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of…
 
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    Journal of Neuroscience current issue

  • This Week in The Journal

    29 Oct 2014 | 9:00 am
  • Taking Action in the Face of Threat: Neural Synchronization Predicts Adaptive Coping

    Collins, K. A., Mendelsohn, A., Cain, C. K., Schiller, D.
    29 Oct 2014 | 9:00 am
    The ability to take action in the face of threat is highly diverse across individuals. What are the neural processes that determine individual differences in the ability to cope with danger? We hypothesized that the extent of synchronization between amygdala, striatum, and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) would predict successful active coping performance. To test this, we developed a novel computer task based on the principals of Sidman avoidance. Healthy human participants learned through trial and error to move a marker between virtual game board compartments once every 3 s to avoid mild…
  • Oxytocin Treatment for Amphetamine-Induced Social Impairments

    Carson, D. S.
    29 Oct 2014 | 9:00 am
  • Munc13-3 Superprimes Synaptic Vesicles at Granule Cell-to-Basket Cell Synapses in the Mouse Cerebellum

    Ishiyama, S., Schmidt, H., Cooper, B. H., Brose, N., Eilers, J.
    29 Oct 2014 | 9:00 am
    Munc13-3 is a presynaptic protein implicated in vesicle priming that is strongly expressed in cerebellar granule cells (GCs). Mice deficient of Munc13-3 (Munc13-3–/–) show an increased paired-pulse ratio (PPR), which led to the hypothesis that Munc13-3 increases the release probability (pr) of vesicles. In the present study, we analyzed unitary synaptic connections between GCs and basket cells in acute cerebellar slices from wild-type and Munc13-3–/– mice. Unitary EPSCs recorded from Munc13-3–/– GCs showed normal kinetics and synaptic latency but a…
  • Annexin A2 Regulates TRPA1-Dependent Nociception

    Avenali, L., Narayanan, P., Rouwette, T., Cervellini, I., Sereda, M., Gomez-Varela, D., Schmidt, M.
    29 Oct 2014 | 9:00 am
    The transient receptor potential A1 (TRPA1) channel is essential for vertebrate pain. Even though TRPA1 activation by ligands has been studied extensively, the molecular machinery regulating TRPA1 is only poorly understood. Using an unbiased proteomics-based approach we uncovered the physical association of Annexin A2 (AnxA2) with native TRPA1 in mouse sensory neurons. AnxA2 is enriched in a subpopulation of sensory neurons and coexpressed with TRPA1. Furthermore, we observe an increase of TRPA1 membrane levels in cultured sensory neurons from AnxA2-deficient mice. This is reflected by our…
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    Brain Posts

  • Alcoholism as a Reward System Dysfunction

    30 Oct 2014 | 8:20 am
    Alcoholism and other addictive behaviors often occur together within individual patients.For example, individuals with alcoholism commonly also are smokers and meet criteria for a diagnosis of nicotine dependence.This co-occurrence suggests multiple types of addiction may share genetic and environmental risk factors. Additionally, there might be a common neurobiological mechanism in play for many addictions.Kenneth Blum and other leading alcoholism researchers recently published a review that proposed a theory of addiction they labelled the "Reward Deficiency Solution System".Here are some of…
  • Night Owls Show Increased Alcohol Use Risk

    28 Oct 2014 | 8:50 am
    Humans commonly display a circadian rhythm preference for getting up early in the morning or staying up late at night (night owls).This sleep timing, or diurnal preference appears to have genetic contributions.Additionally, diurnal preference may contribute to risk for alcohol consumption as more alcohol is consumed later in the day and during the night time.Nathaniel Watson and colleagues at the University of Washington and the University of Texas recently explored the relationship between diurnal preference and alcohol use using a twin study design.The key elements of their study design…
  • Brain Imaging In Alcoholic Brain Thiamine Deficiency

    27 Oct 2014 | 8:10 am
    Chronic consumption of large quantities of alcohol can produce severe deficiency of thiamine (vitamin B1).This can precipitate an acute brain failure known as Wernicke's encephalopathy. Wernicke's encephalopathy is characterized by sudden onset of mental status changes, eye muscle impairment and disturbed gait or ataxia.Other illnesses can also produce this level of severe thiamine deficiency. A partial list of these non-alcoholism causes for thiamine deficiency with encephalopathy includes:Gastric bypass surgerySevere vomiting of pregnancyAnorexia nervosaDietary thiamine deficiency…
  • Smartphone App Boosts Alcoholism Treatment Outcome

    23 Oct 2014 | 7:20 am
    Smartphone apps and other mobile technology are emerging as promising tools in medical treatment.A recent randomized study published in JAMA Psychiatry found evidence that a smartphone app improves alcoholism treatment outcomes.David Gustafson and colleagues conducted a study funded by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.A series of 349 adults with DSM-IV alcohol dependence were enrolled as they entered a alcoholism residential treatment program.Approximately half of the subjects were provided with a smartphone that had an app known as Addiction-Comprehensive Health…
  • Sleep Problems in Alcoholism Treatment

    21 Oct 2014 | 8:25 am
    In a previous post, I summarized a research study six month outcome of insomnia in a group of subjects treated for alcoholism.This study found a high persistence of insomnia despite reduction, and in many cases abstinence, from alcohol.A second study recently published by investigators at the National Institute of Health provides some additional insight into this topic.Gwenyth Wallen and colleagues studied a series of 164 participants admitted to a 4-6 week inpatient program for alcohol dependence.Subjects had an average inpatient length of stay of 32 days. Sleep problems were assessed using…
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    Psychology Headlines Around the World

  • Brain Scans Support Claim That Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Is Real

    Google News - Health
    29 Oct 2014 | 10:14 am
    Source: Google News - HealthIt took two years and six doctors before Lindsay Sihilling was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. Though it helped to have an explanation for the crushing fatigue, mental fogginess and constant flu-like symptoms, Sihilling still faced the skeptics who...
  • Feminism Is "Not Dogmatic," It’s About Having Choices, Says Emma Watson

    Time Magazine
    29 Oct 2014 | 10:14 am
    Source: Time MagazineShe'll be on the cover of Elle's feminism issue in December.
  • Sleep Woes Common Among Troubled Young Children

    U.S. News and World Report
    29 Oct 2014 | 10:14 am
    Source: U.S. News and World ReportResearchers link psychiatric issues to 'behavioral insomnias of childhood'.
  • Kazakhstan Court Awards Damages Over Same-Sex Kiss Poster

    The Guardian
    29 Oct 2014 | 10:13 am
    Source: The GuardianAdvertising agency ordered to pay musicians offended by gay club poster showing poet Alexander Pushkin kissing composer Kurmangazy Sagyrbayuly. EurasiaNet reports A court in Almaty has ordered an advertising agency to pay damages for designing a controversial poster showing two 19th-century cultural icons kissing. The complaint was brought by a group of musicians who claimed that the poster, which shows Kazakh composer Kurmangazy Sagyrbayuly and...
  • Extremely Violent Crimes Tied to Gene in Study of 700 Criminals

    Google News - Health
    29 Oct 2014 | 10:12 am
    Source: Google News - HealthA gene previously linked to risk-taking and aggression appears to contribute to extreme violent behavior as well, according to a study that may open the way for treatments to prevent such behavior. The gene, identified in an analysis of more than...
 
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    The Neurocritic

  • Fright Week: The Stranger in the Mirror

    30 Oct 2014 | 4:38 am
    In the mirror we see our physical selves as we truly are, even though the image might not live up to what we want, or what we once were. But we recognize the image as “self”. In rare instances, however, this reality breaks down.In Black Swan, Natalie Portman plays Nina Sayers, a ballerina who auditions for the lead in Swan Lake. The role requires her to dance the part of the innocent White Swan (for which she is well-suited), as well as her evil twin the Black Swan — which is initially outside the scope of her personality and technical abilities. Another dancer is favored for the role…
  • Fright Week: The Waking Nightmare of Lord Voldemort

    25 Oct 2014 | 6:43 pm
    Nightmares can seem very real at times, but then we wake up and realize it was all a bad dream. Now imagine having a vivid nightmare with all the reality of waking life and then... it turns out you're actually awake through it all!This happened to an 11 year old Italian boy who reported frightening auditory and visual hallucinations of Voldemort, the archenemy of Harry Potter, for three straight days. These hallucinations began after a bout of sore throat and fever (38°C).  As Vita et al. (2008) report:The day after the resolution of fever, he began to present hallucinations.
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Mid-Cingulate Cortex

    15 Oct 2014 | 1:17 am
    What happens in the brain during a highly immersive reading experience? According to the fiction feeling hypothesis (Jacobs, 2014), narratives with highly emotional content cause a deeper sense of immersion by engaging the affective empathy network to a greater extent than neutral narratives. Emotional empathy in this case, the ability to identify with a fictional character via grounded metarepresentations of ‘global emotional moments’ (Hsu et al., 2014) relies on  a number of brain regions, including ventromedial prefrontal cortex (PFC), dorsomedial PFC, anterior insula (especially…
  • The use and abuse of the prefix neuro- in the decades of the BRAIN

    6 Oct 2014 | 3:04 am
    Two Croatian academics with an anti-neuro ax to grind have written a cynical history of neuroword usage through the ages (Mazur & Rinčić, 2013). Actually, I believe the authors were being deliberately sarcastic (at times), since the article is rather amusing.1 Placing that phenomenon of "neuroization" of all fields of human thought and practice into a context of mostly unjustified and certainly too high – almost millenarianistic – expectations of the science of the brain and mind at the end of the 20th century, the present paper tries to analyze when the use of the prefix neuro- is…
  • White House BRAIN Conference

    1 Oct 2014 | 3:35 am
    September 30 is the last day of the fiscal year for the US government. So it's no coincidence that President Obama's BRAIN Initiative1 ended the year with a bang. The NIH BRAIN Awards were announced on the last possible day of FY2014, coinciding with the White House BRAIN Conference. A total of $46 million was dispersed among 58 awards involving over 100 scientists.Census of Cell Types (RFA MH-14-215)  Tools for Cells and Circuits (RFA MH-14-216)  Next Generation Human Imaging (RFA MH-14-217)  Large-Scale Recording-Modulation - New Technologies (RFA NS-14-007)  Large-Scale…
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    The Beautiful Brain

  • Can Computers Write Books?

    Ben Ehrlich
    18 Oct 2014 | 8:01 pm
    What’s that thing about monkeys typing Shakespeare? Give an abstract device an infinite amount of time to produce a endless string of random linguistic symbols and there is a technically a non-zero probability that such a “monkey” will eventually hit upon any existing piece of literature, the theorem goes. In other words, pure chance can be highly creative. In the 1960s, movements like the Oulipo imposed certain constraints on their work, following certain patterns (the most famous example may be the experimental novel La Disparition by Georges Perec, written without…
  • World’s Oldest Art

    Ben Ehrlich
    9 Oct 2014 | 10:55 am
    New analysis of cave sites in Indonesia have revealed some of the oldest art in human history. Forty thousand years ago, with natural mineral pigments mixed with water or other liquids, people painted animals like the “babirusa” (deer-pig) and left hand signatures stenciled out of negative space. The findings brings into relief our Eurocentric view of culture. Either this creativity developed independently in Asia or, as the research now suggest, the homosapien brain was perhaps able to create art before leaving Africa. (Photo credit: AP/Kinez Riza, Nature Magazine)
  • 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…
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    The Neurocritic

  • Fright Week: The Stranger in the Mirror

    The Neurocritic
    30 Oct 2014 | 4:38 am
    In the mirror we see our physical selves as we truly are, even though the image might not live up to what we want, or what we once were. But we recognize the image as “self”. In rare instances, however, this reality breaks down.In Black Swan, Natalie Portman plays Nina Sayers, a ballerina who auditions for the lead in Swan Lake. The role requires her to dance the part of the innocent White Swan (for which she is well-suited), as well as her evil twin the Black Swan — which is initially outside the scope of her personality and technical abilities. Another dancer is favored for the role…
  • Fright Week: The Waking Nightmare of Lord Voldemort

    The Neurocritic
    25 Oct 2014 | 6:43 pm
    Nightmares can seem very real at times, but then we wake up and realize it was all a bad dream. Now imagine having a vivid nightmare with all the reality of waking life and then... it turns out you're actually awake through it all!This happened to an 11 year old Italian boy who reported frightening auditory and visual hallucinations of Voldemort, the archenemy of Harry Potter, for three straight days. These hallucinations began after a bout of sore throat and fever (38°C).  As Vita et al. (2008) report:The day after the resolution of fever, he began to present hallucinations.
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Mid-Cingulate Cortex

    The Neurocritic
    15 Oct 2014 | 1:17 am
    What happens in the brain during a highly immersive reading experience? According to the fiction feeling hypothesis (Jacobs, 2014), narratives with highly emotional content cause a deeper sense of immersion by engaging the affective empathy network to a greater extent than neutral narratives. Emotional empathy in this case, the ability to identify with a fictional character via grounded metarepresentations of ‘global emotional moments’ (Hsu et al., 2014) relies on  a number of brain regions, including ventromedial prefrontal cortex (PFC), dorsomedial PFC, anterior insula (especially…
  • The use and abuse of the prefix neuro- in the decades of the BRAIN

    The Neurocritic
    6 Oct 2014 | 3:04 am
    Two Croatian academics with an anti-neuro ax to grind have written a cynical history of neuroword usage through the ages (Mazur & Rinčić, 2013). Actually, I believe the authors were being deliberately sarcastic (at times), since the article is rather amusing.1 Placing that phenomenon of "neuroization" of all fields of human thought and practice into a context of mostly unjustified and certainly too high – almost millenarianistic – expectations of the science of the brain and mind at the end of the 20th century, the present paper tries to analyze when the use of the prefix neuro- is…
  • White House BRAIN Conference

    The Neurocritic
    1 Oct 2014 | 3:35 am
    September 30 is the last day of the fiscal year for the US government. So it's no coincidence that President Obama's BRAIN Initiative1 ended the year with a bang. The NIH BRAIN Awards were announced on the last possible day of FY2014, coinciding with the White House BRAIN Conference. A total of $46 million was dispersed among 58 awards involving over 100 scientists.Census of Cell Types (RFA MH-14-215)  Tools for Cells and Circuits (RFA MH-14-216)  Next Generation Human Imaging (RFA MH-14-217)  Large-Scale Recording-Modulation - New Technologies (RFA NS-14-007)  Large-Scale…
 
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    The Brain from Top to Bottom Blog - Intermediate Level

  • Reading Novels Increases Connectivity of Areas in the Brain

    Bruno Dubuc
    20 Oct 2014 | 1:58 pm
    Immersing yourself in reading a good novel is an excellent way to take a break from the stresses of daily life. By seeing things from the protagonists’ point of view while you are reading those few hundred pages, not only do you feel as if you have access to another world, but you may also continue to have this feeling for some time, or even for your entire life, if the book has really made an impression on you. The neurobiological bases of this phenomenon would appear to have been discovered in a study that Gregory S. Berns and his colleagues published in the journal Brain Connectivity in…
  • Poverty Imposes a Cognitive Burden on the Brain

    Bruno Dubuc
    6 Oct 2014 | 11:47 am
    Neuroscience is providing growing evidence that poverty can have serious consequences not only for the health of people who are “struggling to make both ends meet” (something that has been known for a long time), but also on their cognitive abilities. The most recent of these studies looking specifically at this aspect of poverty was published in the journal Science in August 2013 by economist Anandi Mani and her colleagues. Using two different approaches, this research team reached the same conclusion: for people at the low end of the socioeconomic spectrum, everyday life requires so…
  • 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…
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    Your Brain Health

  • 30 minutes cycling (equivalent to half a spin class) promotes brain plasticity

    Sarah McKay
    30 Oct 2014 | 12:00 pm
    Don’t have time to exercise? Remember the blog post I wrote about Tony Abbott, Barak Obama and Richard Branson and how they find time every day to exercise? I believe success goes hand in hand with exercise because the world’s most successful people exercise every day. President Obama, possibly one of the world’s busiest people, works […] The post 30 minutes cycling (equivalent to half a spin class) promotes brain plasticity appeared first on Your Brain Health.
  • Season of your birth affects your mood in later life

    Sarah McKay
    24 Oct 2014 | 1:07 am
    I’m turning 40 early in the new year and planning to celebrate fearlessly and fabulously with a mid-summer cocktail party. I’m a summer baby, and according to new research that means I have a tendency to be excessively positive! I’m sure I can grumble with the best of them, but my husband confirms he wouldn’t have […] The post Season of your birth affects your mood in later life appeared first on Your Brain Health.
  • Should teenagers sleep in and start school later in the day?

    Sarah McKay
    16 Oct 2014 | 7:26 am
    Would teenagers do better in their exams if they could sleep in and start school later in the day? Can physical fitness improve academic achievement? Will teaching the same lesson multiple times over with breaks between sessions improve learning? Can computer games teach children to read? These questions above are part of a multi-million-pound research project, […] The post Should teenagers sleep in and start school later in the day? appeared first on Your Brain Health.
  • Not all scientific studies are created equal [video]

    Sarah McKay
    11 Oct 2014 | 12:35 pm
    Daily we’re bombarded by attention grabbing headlines that promise miracle cures to all of our ailments — often backed up by a ‘scientific study’ or calling into doubt ‘previous research’. But what are these studies, and how do we know if they are reliable? In this groovy little video, David H. Schwartz dissects two types […] The post Not all scientific studies are created equal [video] appeared first on Your Brain Health.
  • How stem cells can help to repair the damaged brain.

    Sarah McKay
    3 Oct 2014 | 2:10 am
    At the time of publishing this blog post I’m in Marrakesh with my family about to start month three of our travels! So I’m very grateful to once again publish an article from a guest blogger.   This week’s post comes from Dr Matt Tomlinson a research scientist who has over a decade of lab work looking […] The post How stem cells can help to repair the damaged brain. appeared first on Your Brain Health.
 
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