Neuroscience

  • Most Topular Stories

  • The Seductive Power of Overconfidence

    Neuronarrative
    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
  • Best practices to assess and enhance brain functions via mobile devices and wearables

    SharpBrains
    SharpBrains
    21 Oct 2014 | 6:25 am
    Don’t miss the session Best prac­tices to assess and enhance brain func­tion via mobile devices and wearables at the 2014 Sharp­Brains Vir­tual Sum­mit next week, featuring: Corinna E. Lathan, Founder and CEO of AnthroTronix (just received FDA clearance) Eddie Mar­tucci, VP Research & Devel­op­ment at Akili Inter­ac­tive Labs Alex Doman, Co-Founder of Sleep Genius Joan Sev­er­son, Pres­i­dent of Dig­i­tal Artefacts (developer of BrainBaseline) Chair: Jayne Plun­kett, Mem­ber of the Group Man­age­ment Board for Swiss Re We are looking forward to it! –> Explore…
  • The Science of Acupuncture

    Brain Blogger
    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…
  • Researchers Untangle the Biological Effects of Blue Light

    Neuroscience RSS Feeds - Neuroscience News Updates
    Neuroscience News
    20 Oct 2014 | 5:41 pm
    Melanopsin and S-cones battle for control of the pupil under blue light.
  • Sport in old age can stimulate brain fitness, but effect decreases with advancing age

    Neuroscience News -- ScienceDaily
    20 Oct 2014 | 10:49 am
    Physical exercise in old age can improve brain perfusion as well as certain memory skills, say neuroscientists who studied men and women aged between 60 and 77. In younger individuals regular training on a treadmill tended to improve cerebral blood flow and visual memory. However, trial participants who were older than 70 years of age tended to show no benefit of exercise.
 
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    Neuroscience News -- ScienceDaily

  • Mental rest and reflection boost learning, study suggests

    20 Oct 2014 | 6:27 pm
    A new study, which may have implications for approaches to education, finds that brain mechanisms engaged when people allow their minds to rest and reflect on things they've learned before may boost later learning.
  • See-through sensors open new window into the brain

    20 Oct 2014 | 6:23 pm
    Developing invisible implantable medical sensor arrays, a team of engineers has overcome a major technological hurdle in researchers’ efforts to understand the brain. The team has now described its technology, which has applications in fields ranging from neuroscience to cardiac care and even contact lenses.
  • Scientists restore hearing in noise-deafened mice, pointing way to new therapies

    20 Oct 2014 | 6:23 pm
    Scientists have restored the hearing of mice partly deafened by noise, using advanced tools to boost the production of a key protein in their ears. By demonstrating the importance of the protein, called NT3, in maintaining communication between the ears and brain, these new findings pave the way for research in humans that could improve treatment of hearing loss caused by noise exposure and normal aging.
  • See-through, one-atom-thick, carbon electrodes powerful tool to study brain disorders

    20 Oct 2014 | 11:15 am
    A graphene, one-atom-thick microelectrode now solves a major problem for investigators looking at brain circuitry. Pinning down the details of how individual neural circuits operate in epilepsy and other brain disorders requires real-time observation of their locations, firing patterns, and other factors.
  • Sport in old age can stimulate brain fitness, but effect decreases with advancing age

    20 Oct 2014 | 10:49 am
    Physical exercise in old age can improve brain perfusion as well as certain memory skills, say neuroscientists who studied men and women aged between 60 and 77. In younger individuals regular training on a treadmill tended to improve cerebral blood flow and visual memory. However, trial participants who were older than 70 years of age tended to show no benefit of exercise.
 
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    MIT News - Neuroscience

  • 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…
  • Modeling shockwaves through the brain

    Jennifer Chu | MIT News Office
    29 Sep 2014 | 12:00 pm
    Since the start of the military conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, more than 300,000 soldiers have returned to the United States with traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by exposure to bomb blasts — and in particular, exposure to improvised explosive devices, or IEDs. Symptoms of traumatic brain injury can range from the mild, such as lingering headaches and nausea, to more severe impairments in memory and cognition. Since 2007, the U.S. Department of Defense has recognized the critical importance and complexity of this problem, and has made significant investments in traumatic brain injury…
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    ScienceBlogs

  • Sins of Our Fathers, a New Novel by Shawn Otto [Greg Laden's Blog]

    Greg Laden
    21 Oct 2014 | 5:16 pm
    Sins of Our Fathers, by Shaw Otto, is coming out shortly but can be preordered. JW, protagonist, is a flawed hero. He is not exactly an anti-hero because he is not a bad guy, though one does become annoyed at where he places his values. As his character unfolds in the first several chapters of Shawn Otto’s novel, Sins of Our Fathers, we like him, we are worried about him, we wonder what he is thinking, we sit on the edge of our proverbial seats as he takes risk after risk and we are sitting thusly because we learn that he does not have a rational concept of risk. We learn that his inner…
  • Limiting global warming to 2°C: the philosophy and the science? [Stoat]

    William M. Connolley
    21 Oct 2014 | 3:01 pm
    Its at The Conversation and a retweet near you, no doubt. By Lawrence Torcello, who – doubtless to my loss rather than his discredit – I’ve never heard of, and Michael E Mann, who needs no introduction. LT is a philosopher, and I guess that’s the peg to hang this one off, since we start with stuff like: It is possible, then, that we’ll benefit in the long run from having to deal with human-caused global warming, by being forced to mature politically and ethically. This sounds to me like the rather familiar idea: we’ll use GW as leverage to get the other things…
  • Occupational Health News Roundup [The Pump Handle]

    Kim Krisberg
    21 Oct 2014 | 2:47 pm
    In an amazing three-part investigation, Seattle Times reporters Christine Willmsen, Lewis Kamb and Justin Mayo bring to light an occupational hazard not often heard about: the risk of lead poisoning at the nation’s gun ranges. They write that thousands of people, many of them gun range employees, have been contaminated due to poor ventilation and contact with lead-coated surfaces. Legally, gun range owners are responsible for protecting employees, but the investigation found that officials do little to enforce regulations. The investigative series offers a “first-of-its-kind analysis of…
  • PPE for Ebola: This is how Emory does it [erv]

    ERV
    21 Oct 2014 | 2:39 pm
    Remember how I said my lab wanted to do a PPE response video to Sanjay Guptas terrifying attempt? But we couldnt for liability reasons? Now there is an even better option! We can all take a peek into how Ebola patients are treated at Emory University, and get to see their protocols for putting on/taking off PPE: Emory Healthcare launches Ebola protocols website as resource on prevention and patient care But before you can see their videos, you have to 1) register, and 2) agree not to hold Emory University responsible if you get infected with Ebola. The information provided on this site,…
  • A small piece of interplanetary fiction [Greg Laden's Blog]

    Greg Laden
    21 Oct 2014 | 11:46 am
    that I wrote is here.
 
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    Deric's MindBlog

  • Pianists’ brains are different from everyone else...

    21 Oct 2014 | 3:48 am
    Because I'm a pianist who started lessons at age 6 and now usually give two concerts a year, I'm always fascinated by articles like this one from a music site (pointed out to me by my artistic daughter-in-law, who does improvisation theater), that points to several interesting studies on brain changes that are caused by high level music training, most pronounced if training is begun before age 7. Because the hands of pianists must negotiate 88 keys with ten fingers, sometimes playing 10 notes at once, the normal asymmetry of hand motor area of the brain associated with being right or left…
  • Vitamin D prevents cognitive decline

    20 Oct 2014 | 3:34 am
    ...in aging rats, to be sure. Work like the following piece from my colleagues at the University of Wisconsin reinforces my determination to continue my vitamin D supplements (over the objection of my internist). At the risk of TMI (too much information), I can also report that I sense the association of my vitamin D (25-hydroxyvitamin D) levels with androgen (testosterone) levels that has been reported. Latimer et al.: Significance Higher blood levels of vitamin D are associated with better health outcomes. Vitamin D deficiency, however, is common among the elderly. Despite targets in the…
  • How culture shapes spatial conceptions of time - Is your past in front of, or behind you?

    17 Oct 2014 | 2:54 am
    A interesting perspective from Fuente et al. on spatial conceptions of time. Some clips from their article: Across many of the world’s languages, the future is “ahead” of the speaker, and the past is “behind.” In English, people can look “forward” to their retirement or look “back” on their childhood....yet some languages exhibit the opposite space-time mapping. In the Andean language Aymara, for example, metaphors place the past in front (e.g., nayra mara, tr. “front year,” means last year) and the future behind (e.g., qhipa marana, tr. “back year,” means next…
  • Why are we fooled by the ventriloquist?

    16 Oct 2014 | 3:09 am
    As we watch the movement's of a dummy's mouth while it is sitting in a ventriloguist's lap, we perceive the speech as coming from the dummy's mouth, rather than it's master's voice. Berger and Ehrsson show that this illusory translocation is associated with increased activity the left superior temporal sulcus (L. STS). This is the region that has been shown to be central in determining the spatial coordinates of our experienced self. (It is associated also, for example, with the out of body illusion.) It is well understood that the brain integrates information that is provided to our…
  • Our microbial aura - in the house and in the garden

    15 Oct 2014 | 3:33 am
    I've always been fascinated by the fact that in "our" bodies most of the cells are not our own, they are microbial symbionts. I pass on here two more takes on this. First, from Lax et al. on microbial interaction between humans and the indoor environment, signature microbes follow us from house to house: The bacteria that colonize humans and our built environments have the potential to influence our health. Microbial communities associated with seven families and their homes over 6 weeks were assessed, including three families that moved their home. Microbial communities differed…
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    Brain Blogger

  • 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…
  • Life After Death – The Science of Near Death Experiences

    Carla Clark, PhD
    19 Oct 2014 | 4:00 am
    For millennia, we have wondered what happens after death. This October 2014, scientists at Southampton University have published the largest ever study looking into what happens when patients return from death’s door. The outcomes seem to confirm the incredible – that consciousness continues on after you are considered clinically dead. Classical near death experiences are typically described as being vivid, peaceful and joyous, with heightened senses and an altered perception of time, sometimes encountering spirits or beings. The ‘bright light at the end of the tunnel’ is often…
  • Can Brain Imaging Detect Risk Takers?

    Daniel Faris
    18 Oct 2014 | 4:00 am
    Risk-taking seems to come naturally for some people – from those who don’t hesitate asking for a new promotion, to those who don’t flinch before artfully diving off a cliff into the ocean below. Others play it safer. While upbringing may have some role in our risk-taking probabilities, there are plenty of cases where siblings raised in the same environment have different tendencies to take risks. Several studies have investigated the correlation between brain structure and risk-taking. In response to the statistic that unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death among…
  • Antifeminism – An Online Trend

    Lorena Nessi, PhD, MA
    15 Oct 2014 | 4:00 am
    Feminism isn’t necessary anymore. At least that’s the claim made by many proponents of a growing antifeminism movement. No longer is this movement the prerogative, as it has been historically, of backwards-looking males who have no wish to see the status quo reconstructed. In fact a recent trend rocking the Internet has seen many women voicing antifeminist views. There’s a plethora of websites discussing the topic and a large debate on Tumblr and Twitter, using the hashtag of the now famous social media campaign Women Against Feminism. Their Facebook group has more than 16,000…
  • Poor Social Judgment – An Aspect of Schizophrenia

    Ann Reitan, PsyD
    12 Oct 2014 | 4:00 am
    There are three components that generally typify an individual emerging with schizophrenia: alienation, introversion and divergent thinking. Together, these characteristics diminish the schizophrenic individual’s capacity for exercising good judgment in social situations. Alienation People with emerging schizophrenia are generally socially impaired and isolated. As stated by Burns (2006), “premorbid developmental and social impairments have been well documented in adult schizophrenia.” People with schizophrenia tend to be unpopular and uninvolved in primary and secondary school, and…
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    Mind Hacks

  • 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…
  • A review of Susan Greenfield’s “Mind Change”

    vaughanbell
    2 Oct 2014 | 6:30 am
    I was asked to write a review of Susan Greenfield’s new book “Mind Change” for the October edition of Literary Review magazine which has just been published. You can read the review in the print edition and I did have the full text posted here but the good folks at the magazine have also put it online to read in full, so do check it out at the link below. Mind Change marshals many published sources to address these claims. However, this provides little scientific insight owing to Greenfield’s difficulty with synthesising the evidence in any meaningful sense, while she also…
  • Buggin’ Out

    vaughanbell
    27 Sep 2014 | 9:06 am
    Sociology journal Transition has a fascinating article giving a history of the surprisingly frequent appearance of schizophrenia in rap music. In psychiatric circles, schizophrenia is considered a serious mental illness that causes delusions, hallucinations, and social withdrawal. But in rap, schizophrenia means something else: a mode of defiance, a boast, or a threat. The term appears frequently when describing competition between rappers. In “Speak Ya Clout,” the duo Gang Starr rhymes that they are “schizophrenic with rhyme plus we’re well organized” as a way of warning that they…
 
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    Neuroethics & Law Blog

  • PEBS Neuroethics Roundup (JHU)

    NELB Staff
    16 Oct 2014 | 3:06 pm
    Last Edition's Most Popular Article(s): 5 Myths About the Human Brain Debunked, Vox In The Popular Press: How Scientists are Studying Consciousness — With Mirrors, Electrodes, and Anesthesia, Vox Let Science Decide the Voting Age, NewScientist In Interrogations, Teenagers Are...
  • "Confronting Cognitive 'Anchoring Effect' and 'Blind Spot' Biases in Federal Sentencing: A Modest Solution for Reforming a Fundamental Flaw"

    NELB Staff
    15 Oct 2014 | 4:18 pm
    Recently published in SSRN (and recently published in 104 Journal of Criminal law and Criminology 489 (2014)): "Confronting Cognitive 'Anchoring Effect' and 'Blind Spot' Biases in Federal Sentencing: A Modest Solution for Reforming a Fundamental Flaw" MARK W. BENNETT, U.S....
  • "The Brain, Cognitive Enhancement Devices, and European Regulation"

    NELB Staff
    15 Oct 2014 | 4:15 pm
    Recenlty published in SSRN: "The Brain, Cognitive Enhancement Devices, and European Regulation" ANDREAS KUERSTEN, Government of the United States of America - National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) ROY HAMILTON, University of Pennsylvania - School of Medicine Few things excite...
  • "Brain Control: Developments in Therapy and Implications for Society"

    NELB Staff
    15 Oct 2014 | 4:13 pm
    Recently published with Palgrave Macmillan "Brain Control: Developments in Therapy and Implications for Society" David Linden With the burden of brain disorders increasing worldwide, there has been a resurgence of interest in techniques to control the brain and thereby improve...
  • PEBS Neuroethics Roundup (JHU)

    NELB Staff
    9 Oct 2014 | 3:13 pm
    Last Edition's Most Popular Article(s): Baby Used in Notorious Fear Experiment is Lost No More, New Scientist Health Blog In The Popular Press: Bionic Arm Restores Sense of Feeling, BBC News An Underwear Fetish Brain?, Discover Nobel Prize in Medicine...
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    Neuromarketing

  • 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 [...]
  • Do Twitter And TV Shrink Your Brain?

    Roger Dooley
    7 Oct 2014 | 4:02 am
    Media multitasking, watching TV while using Twitter on a phone, for example, is becoming extremely common. A new study finds, however, that these multiple screen users have less gray matter in a specific area of the brain.
  • The Two-Pizza Rule, Costco’s Sampling Secrets, More… Roger’s Picks

    Roger Dooley
    3 Oct 2014 | 4:12 am
    Diverse topics this week include a one-word motivator that boosts effort and results, why Costco gives you free food, how to create a call to action that gets results, the psychology behind Jeff Bezos's "two pizza" team rule, how music makes your brain work better, and more.
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    SharpBrains

  • Best practices to assess and enhance brain functions via mobile devices and wearables

    SharpBrains
    21 Oct 2014 | 6:25 am
    Don’t miss the session Best prac­tices to assess and enhance brain func­tion via mobile devices and wearables at the 2014 Sharp­Brains Vir­tual Sum­mit next week, featuring: Corinna E. Lathan, Founder and CEO of AnthroTronix (just received FDA clearance) Eddie Mar­tucci, VP Research & Devel­op­ment at Akili Inter­ac­tive Labs Alex Doman, Co-Founder of Sleep Genius Joan Sev­er­son, Pres­i­dent of Dig­i­tal Artefacts (developer of BrainBaseline) Chair: Jayne Plun­kett, Mem­ber of the Group Man­age­ment Board for Swiss Re We are looking forward to it! –> Explore…
  • Adam Gazzaley, Director of UCSF Neuroimaging Center & Akili co-founder, to speak at 2014 SharpBrains Virtual Summit

    SharpBrains
    20 Oct 2014 | 6:33 am
    Happy to share that Adam Gaz­za­ley, Direc­tor of UCSF Neu­ro­science Imag­ing Cen­ter and Co-founder of Akili Inter­ac­tive Labs, will share his work and insights on Improv­ing brain & men­tal health via dig­i­tal plat­forms, neu­ro­plas­tic­ity research and the White House BRAIN initiative, at the 2014 Sharp­Brains Vir­tual Sum­mit (October 28-30th). Dr. Gaz­za­ley is a fac­ulty mem­ber in the Neu­rol­ogy, Phys­i­ol­ogy and Psy­chi­a­try depart­ments, and prin­ci­pal inves­ti­ga­tor of a cog­ni­tive neu­ro­science lab­o­ra­tory that…
  • Hábitos para una vida laboral más próspera

    SharpBrains
    20 Oct 2014 | 6:25 am
    Dormir la siesta te hace mejor profesional (Expansión): “El español Álvaro Fernández Ibáñez dirige SharpBrains, una empresa estadounidense que investiga cómo mejorar la salud, la educación y la formación a través de la ciencia del cerebro y la innovación, y es coautor de Cómo invertir en su cerebro, publicado en castellano el pasado febrero. “No hay que esperar a tener un problema médico para cuidar tu cerebro. Cuanto más lo ejercites, más rendirás en el trabajo, mejorarás tu estado de ánimo y ayudarás a prevenir enfermedades”, explica Fernández Ibáñez.”
  • Focused ultrasound as emerging method of non-invasive neurotechnology

    SharpBrains
    17 Oct 2014 | 12:08 pm
    Sound Waves Can Heal Brain Disorders (Scientific American): “…Physicians are also considering high-intensity focused ultrasound as an alternative to brain surgery. Patients with movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and dystonia are increasingly being treated with implanted electrodes, which can interrupt problematic brain activity. A team at the University of Virginia hopes to use focused ultrasound to deliver thermal lesions deep into the brain without having patients go under the knife…The benefits of focused ultrasound might extend well beyond restoring mobility and…
  • AnthroTronix CEO Corinna Lathan to discuss 510(k) FDA clearance of its DANA neurocognitive test at 2014 SharpBrains Virtual Summit

    SharpBrains
    16 Oct 2014 | 6:06 am
    Happy to share that Dr. Lathan, CEO of AnthroTronix, will discuss the brand-new 510(k) FDA clearance of their DANA neurocognitive test at the 2014 Sharp­Brains Vir­tual Sum­mit (October 28-30th), during the session Best prac­tices to assess and enhance brain func­tion via mobile devices and wearables. Dr. Corinna Lathan leads Anthro­Tronix, a bio­med­ical engi­neer­ing prod­uct devel­op­ment com­pany and pio­neer in mobile plat­form tech­nol­ogy. Their DANA™ prod­uct is a mobile med­ical app intended to col­lect and dis­play per­for­mance infor­ma­tion for use in…
 
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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 Seductive 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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    "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.
  • 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.
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    NeuroLogica Blog

  • Graphene Neuro-electrode

    Steven Novella
    21 Oct 2014 | 5:20 am
    This news item combines two technologies that I have been eagerly following, graphene and brain-machine interface. Researchers have developed a 1-molecule thick graphene electrode that is transparent and can be used for high-resolution electrophysiological recordings of brain cell activity. Before I explain why this is such a cool advance, I will quickly review these technologies. Graphene is an allotrope of carbon – it is made of a single atom thick layer of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal sheet like chickenwire. This arrangement is very stable with strong bonds, making for a…
  • Defending Sick Children

    Steven Novella
    20 Oct 2014 | 5:32 am
    One of the most difficult issues that skeptical physicians face is dealing with children sick with cancer whose parents refuse standard therapy. These cases are always highly charged, because the stakes are extremely high. Obviously the stakes are highest for the child as their life is literally on the line. The stakes are also high for society, however, because they force a specific decision regarding the relative rights of parents vs the responsibility of the state to care for minors. Two recent cases once again raise these issues. One comes from Western Australia where 10-year-old Tamara…
  • Brain Activity in Vegetative Patients

    Steven Novella
    17 Oct 2014 | 5:31 am
    A vegetative state is a particular kind of coma in which patients appear to be awake but give no signs (by definition) of any awareness. They do not respond to their environment in any way or do anything purposeful. Some patients display a flicker of awareness, and they are categorized as minimally conscious. Neuroscientists have been using the latest technology to look at brain function in vegetative subjects and comparing that function to healthy controls. In this way they hope to gain insight into the neurological correlates of consciousness – what brain activity is necessary for and…
  • Lockheed Martin’s Fusion Reactor

    Steven Novella
    16 Oct 2014 | 5:30 am
    Since I recently covered the new claims being made for the E-cat cold fusion device (which, in my opinion, is almost certainly bogus), I found it interesting that Lockheed Martin recently produced details for their research into a hot fusion reactor. Their research team, called the Skunk Works, have been working on a new design for a fusion reactor. It has two distinct advantages over the E-cat – it does not require the assumption of new physics, and it is not being promoted by a convicted con-artist. Fusion is a type of nuclear reaction that involves combining lighter elements into…
  • Ebola and Human Error

    Steven Novella
    14 Oct 2014 | 5:28 am
    It has been fascinating, and a little scary, to watch the first ever Ebola epidemic from the comfort of my Connecticut environs – about as far from the epidemic as you can get. Two thoughts keep coming back to me. The first, as this epidemic progresses and the CDC and WHO keep advancing their predictions about how bad it’s going to get, is this question: are we witnessing the unfolding of a major epidemic or even pandemic? Are we going to look back at the second half of 2014 and wonder how no one recognized how serious this is going to get? Of course, I do not want to overstate…
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    WordPress Tag: Neuroscience

  • The Issue of Consciousness

    Kanbei85
    17 Oct 2014 | 9:26 am
    As a prologue to this post, let me first explain what it is. This is a research paper I wrote many years ago as a senior in high school- it was 2004, to be exact. I find that it is no less relevant and important today than it was a decade ago when I first wrote it. Enjoy! Abstract Consciousness is a thing that nearly everyone takes for granted. It is a topic on which the average person spends minimal time thinking, although it is consciousness that allows people to think in the first place. This paper examines the historical and modern beliefs about consciousness, explains the impact…
  • These are the pervasive brain myths that teachers around the world believe

    Adam Epstein
    17 Oct 2014 | 8:10 am
    Have you heard the one about how human beings use only 10% of their brains? That myth, of course, has been debunked time and time again. But many teachers—those entrusted with children’s brain development—believe it, according to a recent survey. A survey conducted by Paul Howard-Jones at the University of Bristol and published in Nature Reviews Neuroscience asked teachers in China, Greece, Turkey, Netherlands, and the UK whether or not they agreed with a series of popularly held—but erroneous—beliefs about the brain. The results, to put it mildly, were disconcerting.
  • A preview: How the brain knows where the things are? --- information flow and the feature detectors

    Milan Jovovic
    17 Oct 2014 | 7:59 am
      Information flow:L       Information flow: R Conditions reveal an area specifically sensitive to auditory distance cues.
  • Brain Games - Science or Fiction?

    raiseyouriqbraintraining
    17 Oct 2014 | 7:54 am
    Are brain games based on science or fiction?. Brain games should be designed to provide some benefit to the user that is meaningful in helping the brain along lifes journey. However a quick Google search will reveal sites with strap lines like “Give your brain a workout” or “Games that sharpen your mind”, strap lines that have little scientific evidence or academic research to support any boosts. The term “brain games” has been hijacked by software gaming companies hoping to sell thousands of apps leaving the real science based brain health companies wondering should they…
  • Both free and determined?

    Myers
    17 Oct 2014 | 6:42 am
    The more we understand about the world and especially our brains, the more it seems that our decisions are determined by forces — our genes, our neurons, our upbringing, for example — that are beyond our control. And yet we experience making choices. In “The Benefits of Binocularity,” Erik Parens explains the “better way to go about trying to understand what sorts of beings we are is to see ourselves as both free subjects and as determined objects, and to accept that we aren’t wired for seeing ourselves in both ways at once. Using either lens alone can lead…
 
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    The Brain Understanding Itself

  • Alive Inside: The Story of Music and Memory

    Alex Doman
    1 Oct 2014 | 2:09 pm
    Perhaps you saw the viral video that was going around in the summer of 2012. It featured an elderly gentleman in a nursing home, coming alive through listening to music from his era as if it was manna from heaven. I posted about Henry’s Music back then not knowing that two years later a social worker named Dan Cohen, the man responsible for giving the gift of music to Henry would be my guest on The Listening Program® Radio. That video was a clip from the production of Alive Inside, the 2014 Sundance Audience Award winning documentary, which brings attention to the work of nonprofit Music…
  • The Irlen Method Explained

    Alex Doman
    19 Aug 2014 | 12:08 pm
      Earlier this summer I had the good fortune of attending the Advanced Clinical Summit with my friends and colleagues at EEG Info in Southern California.  My wife and I were there together speaking with many of the leading Neurofeedback practitioners from around the world. During the course of that weekend I noticed a familiar face in the room. That familiar face was Helen Irlen, creator of the Irlen Method. Helen’s name has come up often with our network of providers who offer The Listening Program® and inTime™ music listening therapy methods. Many of whom combine our brain…
  • Full Access to inTime Video Series

    Alex Doman
    21 Jul 2014 | 2:58 pm
    During the launch of inTime earlier this year we were very honored to have The Rockefeller University host us in their Science and Lecture Series for inTime: Intercultural Rhythms, Music, Sound and Science. The event was a panel discussion with fellow inTime producers Sheila Allen, Nacho Arimany and me, moderated by neuroscientist Dr. Kamran Fallahpour. Following the panel inTime music composer and multi-instrumentalist Nacho Arimany treated us to an incredible concert of his original world-music compositions. Why am I sharing this with you now? Well, our friends at Ferro Productions and…
  • Forgive me

    Alex Doman
    15 May 2014 | 3:25 pm
      Forgive me, I can’t contain my excitement! After months of hard work by an amazing group of people today we launched the entirely new Sleep Genius app for iOS. And then the most amazing thing happened… It has been featured as a Best New App in the App Store! Personally, I have to  agree with Apple on that point. Can’t sleep like 25% of your family and friends? Check out the app and tell me what you think! Android users, the new app will be in Google play anytime now. Wearables anyone? Sleep Genius seamlessly integrates with Jawbone Up and Fitbit. Note you’ll…
  • Back At It

    Alex Doman
    13 May 2014 | 11:20 am
    Did you miss me? Perhaps you didn’t notice I was gone… Either way, I wanted to share that I’m back at it! Back at what you ask? Blogging… In November I decided to take a hiatus from writing posts so I could focus with a really awesome team of people to launch two exciting products for Advanced Brain Technologies and Sleep Genius. One of these launched in February. It is a rhythm-based music listening therapy called inTime and I must say it is incredible! I couldn’t be happier about the response to it and the stories I am already hearing about the lives it is…
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    Brain Posts

  • 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…
  • Persistent Insomnia and Alcoholism

    20 Oct 2014 | 7:56 am
    Sleep problems complicate the treatment and recovery in alcoholism. Heavy alcohol consumption modifies the nature of sleep architecture.A high blood alcohol concentration at bedtime may promote sleep early in the sleep cycle.However, as alcohol levels decline, sleep is often interrupted with limiting rapid eye movement (REM) sleep duration.Shortened total sleep time with alcohol can produce a lack of feeling well rested on awakening.For those with alcoholism or alcohol dependence, successful treatment and alcohol abstinence can restore a normal sleep pattern. However, the clinical…
  • Personality, Emotion and Psychopathology: David Watson Lecture Notes

    7 Oct 2014 | 1:15 pm
    I had the privilege to attend today the William K Warren Frontiers in Neuroscience Conference in Tulsa, OK by Dr. David Watson from Notre Dame University.Dr. Watson's lecture was titled: An integrative model of personality, emotion and psychopathology. This lecture summarized a body of research examining personality, psychological symptoms and a variety of brain disorders.Here are my lecture notes and links to relevant research citations. The first two citations have links to a free full-text manuscript for those with more interest in the topic.Lecture Notes:Dr. Watson opens by…
  • Alcohol Research: Weekend Reading Links

    3 Oct 2014 | 7:15 am
    In October, I will be looking at selected alcohol-related research studies.Here is a list of a few abstracts that caught my attention.These abstracts all have links to a free full-text manuscript for further reading.These selected abstracts come from a review of over 200 recent research studies.Smartphone alcoholism recovery supportThis randomized trial compared outcome in those who did and did not use a smartphone alcoholism continuing care app. Smartphone app users reported fewer numbers of heavy drinking days in the follow up period.Alcohol intake and risk of depressionFive thousand men…
  • Five Things I Learned About Ebola: #CDCChat Today

    2 Oct 2014 | 2:13 pm
    There was a lively Ebola discussion on Twitter this afternoon with members of the CDC using the #CDCChat forum.I followed the discussion that was lively with many good questions that needed to be sorted out from many that were irrelevant. There were several CDC Twitter accounts responding to questions showing a high level of respect for Twitter Chat to disseminate information.Here are the five CDC Twitter accounts that tried to keep up with the many questions. Here are five responses I found informative.1. A questioner asked about the risk of the Ebola virus mutation posing new…
 
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    Psychology Headlines Around the World

  • The Psychology of Edible "Willy Wonka" Packaging

    The Guardian
    21 Oct 2014 | 12:46 am
    Source: The GuardianFrom edible water bottles to yoghurt encased in fruit flavoured skins, the packaging industry is getting creative, but psychological barriers persist If Willy Wonka did packaging, itd probably look something like the WikiPearl a soft, durable and water-resistant edible membrane, made from natural food particles, designed to protect a bite-size portion of food that its encasing. Created by David Edwards , a Harvard professor and biomedical...
  • Aspirin Seems to Benefit Schizophrenia Treatment

    ScienceDaily
    21 Oct 2014 | 12:46 am
    Source: ScienceDailySome anti-inflammatory medicines, such as aspirin, estrogen, and Fluimucil, can improve the efficacy of existing schizophrenia treatments, new research suggests. Research has shown that the immune system is linked to certain psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Research has shown that "antioxidants and anti-inflammatory drugs could not only reduce symptoms associated with the disorders but also prevent the...
  • Mental Rest and Reflection Boost Learning, Study Suggests

    ScienceDaily
    21 Oct 2014 | 12:45 am
    Source: ScienceDailyA new study, which may have implications for approaches to education, finds that brain mechanisms engaged when people allow their minds to rest and reflect on things they've learned before may boost later learning.
  • Immigration Wave Lifts U.S. Diversity to Record High

    USA Today - U.S. News
    21 Oct 2014 | 12:44 am
    Source: USA Today - U.S. NewsFor the first time, the next person you meet will probably be of a different race or ethnicity than you.
  • Sexual Preference for Masculine Men, Feminine Women Is Urban Habit

    ScienceDaily
    21 Oct 2014 | 12:43 am
    Source: ScienceDailyA groundbreaking new study suggests that, rather than being passed down through a long process of social and sexual selection, preferences for masculine men and feminine women is a relatively new habit that has only emerged in modern, urbanized societies.
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    The Neurocritic

  • 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…
  • Anthropomorphic Neuroscience Driven by Researchers with Large TPJs

    26 Sep 2014 | 4:51 am
    For immediate release — SEPTEMBER 26, 2014Research from the UCL lab of Professor Geraint Rees has proven that the recent craze for suggesting that rats have “regrets” or show “disappointment” is solely due to the size of the left temporal-parietal junction (TPJ) in the human authors of those papers (Cullen et al., 2014). This startling breakthrough was part of a larger effort to associate every known personality trait, political attitude, and individual difference with the size of a unique brain structure.Cullen and colleagues recruited 83 healthy behavioral neuroscientists and…
  • 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…
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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

  • 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…
  • Anthropomorphic Neuroscience Driven by Researchers with Large TPJs

    The Neurocritic
    26 Sep 2014 | 4:51 am
    For immediate release — SEPTEMBER 26, 2014Research from the UCL lab of Professor Geraint Rees has proven that the recent craze for suggesting that rats have “regrets” or show “disappointment” is solely due to the size of the left temporal-parietal junction (TPJ) in the human authors of those papers (Cullen et al., 2014). This startling breakthrough was part of a larger effort to associate every known personality trait, political attitude, and individual difference with the size of a unique brain structure.Cullen and colleagues recruited 83 healthy behavioral neuroscientists and…
  • 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…
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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

  • 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.
  • 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.
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