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DIY Brain Stimulation

Inside the Strange New World of DIY Brain Stimulation. "Inspired by scientific studies, ordinary people are buying and building devices to send electrical current into their brains. Some say it has improved their memory and focus. Others have found relief from depression and chronic pain. But are they getting ahead of the science?" [Via]
posted by homunculus on May 7, 2014 - 42 comments

The Mind Readers

Thousands remain trapped between life and death. Three scientists are working to free them.
Another story from Mosaic Science via Longreads.
Extras:
A Measure of Consciousness
Proof of Life
Near-death Experience
posted by Joe in Australia on Apr 26, 2014 - 9 comments

Surfing Superheroes to the Rescue

AJ Lindner, a 6-year-old fan of Spider Man and other superheroes, recently underwent surgery for brain cancer. Facing the start of chemotherapy, which requires him to keep out of the water, the avid young swimmer had one wish: he wanted to go surfing. But the waters off Long Island were too cold. After a plea for a child-sized wetsuit went out on Facebook, a “Justice League” of surfers went to work to fulfill the boy’s dream.
posted by etaoin on Apr 25, 2014 - 14 comments

Gut Feeling

The future of psychiatry may be inside your stomach.
posted by monospace on Apr 14, 2014 - 29 comments

How Concussion Put Me On The Bench For Good

Soccer Broke My Brain [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Apr 11, 2014 - 51 comments

The Box

Twilight in the Box. "The suicide statistics, the squalor and the recidivism haven’t ended solitary confinement. Maybe the brain studies will." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Feb 28, 2014 - 24 comments

Supernormal Stimuli

Is Your Brain Truly Ready for Junk Food, Porn, or the Internet?
posted by Cash4Lead on Feb 9, 2014 - 103 comments

The Unfixed Brain

In this teaching video, Suzanne Stensaas, Ph.D., demonstrates the properties and anatomy of an unfixed brain, showing its squishiness and vulnerability. [WARNING: The video contains graphic images, a human brain from a recent autopsy.]
posted by Blasdelb on Nov 19, 2013 - 38 comments

Control a cockroach from your smartphone? There's an app for that.

After a TED Talk demonstration and a successful Kickstarter, Backyard Brains plans to release a kit instructing kids to strap a miniature backpack to cockroaches and insert electrodes into its brain, allowing the cockroach to be controlled by a smartphone app. Some scientists are less than pleased with the ethics of the project.
posted by meowzilla on Nov 8, 2013 - 128 comments

Automation turns us from actors into observers

Nicholas Carr's latest article for The Atlantic posits that automation presents risks, specifically of losing skill and talent. "The lack of awareness and the degradation of know-how raise the odds that when something goes wrong, the operator will react ineptly. The assumption that the human will be the weakest link in the system becomes self-fulfilling."
posted by Athanassiel on Nov 2, 2013 - 92 comments

New information from a very old brain

Some sites are calling this the oldest brain found. However, there have been other finds and at least one major site in Florida that holds older remains. The trick now is to extract DNA and information that can aid in medical advances.
posted by Eicats on Oct 29, 2013 - 18 comments

Why Sleep Deprivation Can Destroy You

In a nutshell, this new study provides evidence that we need a certain amount of sleep every night, because the brain takes this time to rid itself of toxic metabolic byproducts, which would otherwise accumulate in the brain and impair brain function, destroy neurons — and potentially cause neurodegenerative disorders.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Oct 19, 2013 - 87 comments

My mind to your mind; my thoughts to your thoughts.

At the University of Washington, researchers have performed what they believe is the first noninvasive human-to-human brain interface. [more inside]
posted by cairdeas on Aug 28, 2013 - 57 comments

League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions and the Battle for Truth

The New York Times is reporting that pressure from the NFL led ESPN to pull out of an investigative project with FRONTLINE regarding head injuries in American Football. The two-part investigative report and book will reveal how the NFL, over a period of nearly two decades, sought to cover up and deny mounting evidence of the connection between football and brain damage. ESPN has a $15.2 Billion deal with the NFL. (Football concussions previously: 1, 2, and 3)
posted by Public Policy on Aug 23, 2013 - 84 comments

Mouseunculus

Mouseunculus: How The Brain Draws A Little You. [Via]
posted by homunculus on Jul 25, 2013 - 16 comments

Cognitive hiccups

Our Brains Weren’t Hardwired To Catch Con Artists [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jun 30, 2013 - 80 comments

Might you be the plaything of Descartes’ evil demon?

How You Know You Are Not a Brain In a Vat [PDF] [more inside]
posted by not_the_water on Jun 25, 2013 - 104 comments

"a certain... moral flexibility would be the only way to describe it"

Our Inconsistent Ethical Instincts
We like to believe that the principled side of the equation is rooted in deep, reasoned conviction. But a growing wealth of research shows that those values often prove to be finicky, inconsistent intuitions, swayed by ethically irrelevant factors. What you say now you might disagree with in five minutes. And such wavering has implications for both public policy and our personal lives.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jun 18, 2013 - 26 comments

The neurons that shaped civilization. Empathy & types of mirror neurons.

"There is no real independent self, aloof from other human beings, inspecting the world, inspecting other people. You are, in fact, connected not just via Facebook and internet, you’re actually quite literally connected by your neurons." — V S Ramachandran
posted by nickyskye on Jun 8, 2013 - 19 comments

"I cried the first time I held a Nintendo 3DS."

Not Hugo, but the 3DS lets George Kokoris see in 3D.
posted by cthuljew on Apr 30, 2013 - 32 comments

What's The Question About Your Field That You Dread Being Asked?

"Maybe it's a sore point: your field should have an answer (people think you do) but there isn't one yet. Perhaps it's simple to pose but hard to answer. Or it's a question that belies a deep misunderstanding: the best answer is to question the question."
posted by the man of twists and turns on Apr 14, 2013 - 259 comments

Intelligence Tests

Is Psychometric g a Myth? - "As an online discussion about IQ or general intelligence grows longer, the probability of someone linking to statistician Cosma Shalizi's essay g, a Statistical Myth approaches 1. Usually the link is accompanied by an assertion to the effect that Shalizi offers a definitive refutation of the concept of general mental ability, or psychometric g." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Apr 11, 2013 - 113 comments

Brains have never looked so pretty

Karl Deisseroth and his team at Stanford University [previously] have developed a completely new technique to make a brain perfectly see-through. They call it CLARITY, and the result has to be seen to be believed. [more inside]
posted by harujion on Apr 10, 2013 - 43 comments

BRAIN Initiative

President Obama recently announced a big new effort to map and understand the human brain. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Apr 8, 2013 - 22 comments

the squidgy 1.5kg lump of pink stuff in our heads

NeuroBollocks: Debunking pseudo-neuroscience so you don't have to.
posted by cthuljew on Mar 31, 2013 - 18 comments

flashing fish brains

When cutting edge microscopy meets cutting edge genetics: flashing fish brains [more inside]
posted by kisch mokusch on Mar 19, 2013 - 23 comments

Acquired Savant Syndrome

When Brain Damage Unlocks The Genius Within. [Single page view] "Brain damage has unleashed extraordinary talents in a small group of otherwise ordinary individuals. Will science find a way for everyone to tap their inner virtuoso?" [Via]
posted by homunculus on Feb 22, 2013 - 22 comments

the power and beauty of mathematics

An eternity of infinities (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Feb 2, 2013 - 23 comments

What a thought looks like

Researchers at Japan's National Institute of Genetics have succeeded in imaging neuronal activity in a fish's brain. They showed a genetically modified (to enable easier imaging) fish some food and "correlate[d] neuronal activity in the brain with prey capture behavior." The video is short but cool. (A link to the study abstract in Current Biology)
posted by Sleeper on Feb 1, 2013 - 14 comments

Are you awake?

What does it mean to be conscious? The point of view of anesthesiology.
posted by Obscure Reference on Jan 5, 2013 - 42 comments

PTS Discussion

The newest segment in the Charlie Rose Brain Series, addressing Post-Traumatic Stress (SL Video) [more inside]
posted by beisny on Dec 18, 2012 - 6 comments

Deciphering the Tools of Nature’s Zombies

Deciphering the Tools of Nature’s Zombies: The ability of parasites to alter the behaviour of their hosts fascinates both scientists and non-scientists alike. One reason that this topic resonates with so many is that it touches on core philosophical issues such as the existence of free will. If the mind is merely a machine, then it can be controlled by any entity that understands the code and has access to the machinery. This special issue of The Journal of Experimental Biology highlights some of the best-understood examples of parasite-induced changes in host brain and behaviour, encompassing both invertebrate and vertebrate hosts and micro- and macro-parasites. Full issue annotated inside: [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Dec 9, 2012 - 13 comments

SPAUN of the living

The simulated brain - "First computer model to produce complex behaviour performs almost as well as humans at simple number tasks." [1,2,3,4,5,etc.]
posted by kliuless on Dec 8, 2012 - 22 comments

DOWNTIME for the BRAIN

"Having felt what it’s like to have all the backlog of experiences cleared out of my head, I’m intolerant of letting it build up a backlog again. It feels too good when it’s all clean and clear. Another way of talking about this is to say that the frantic, amped up feeling of too much seeking clears away. When we are seeking all the time, we are intaking new material constantly without ever actually dealing with it."
posted by 2or3whiskeysodas on Nov 30, 2012 - 31 comments

What's gonna happen outside the window next?

Noam Chomsky on Where Artificial Intelligence Went Wrong
posted by cthuljew on Nov 18, 2012 - 55 comments

CO2 make dumb

Have you ever been in a room with lots of people and not great ventilation. Or even a room with normal ventilation. You may be cognitively impaired due to elevated levels of CO2 once considered safe now thought enough to make you a little dumb. 600ppm is now thought too much, but “there are plenty of buildings where you could easily see 2,500 ppm of CO2 — or close to it — even with ventilation designs that are fully compliant with current standards.. classrooms frequently exceed 1,000ppm." [more inside]
posted by stbalbach on Oct 18, 2012 - 50 comments

It's a jungle in there

It's the hottest new metaphor for the brain, they say. Your brain is a rain forest. [more inside]
posted by Twang on Oct 11, 2012 - 39 comments

Always wondered if Tom went on to work in banking.

John D. Fitzgerald had written three fictionalized memoirs of his family's life in the late 19th-century Utah west before the night he happened to regale a group of friends with childhood stories of his money-crazed brother, Tom. At their urging, he crafted a funny and clever series of children's books chronicling the adventures of The Great Brain. Like countless other readers, the blogger and researcher behind Finding Fitzgerald (and its companion blog and Facebook page) has been fascinated with discovering the real settings and stories behind the books. And the truly committed can even watch Jimmy Osmond in the 1978 film adaptation.
posted by Miko on Oct 10, 2012 - 40 comments

"Beyond the Brain"

"Beyond the Brain" In the 1990s, scientists declared that schizophrenia and other psychiatric illnesses were pure brain disorders that would eventually yield to drugs. Now they are recognizing that social factors are among the causes, and must be part of the cure.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies on Sep 20, 2012 - 28 comments

Don't even Blink...

Your brain on pseudoscience: the rise of popular neurobollocks
posted by Artw on Sep 14, 2012 - 64 comments

Grape Apes: The Origins of Morality

Chimp Fights and Trolley Rides from Radiolab's morality episode: "try to answer tough moral quandaries. The questions--which force you to decide between homicidal scenarios--are the same ones being asked by Dr. Joshua Greene. He'll tell us about using modern brain scanning techniques to take snapshots of the brain as it struggles to resolve these moral conflicts. And he'll describe what he sees in these images: quite literally, a battle taking place in the brain. It's 'inner chimp' versus a calculator-wielding rationale."
posted by kliuless on Sep 2, 2012 - 36 comments

A Watched Clock Never Moves

Have you ever wondered why you don't see motion blur when your eyes flick to a new position? Why, if you sit in front of a mirror and watch yourself, you never see your eyes move? That is saccadic masking, one of the lies your brain tells to avoid confusing you. Have you noticed that the first tick after glancing at a clock with a second hand can take more than one second? No, it's not just you! That's a related phenomenon called chronostasis, or more commonly the stopped clock illusion.
posted by gilrain on Aug 16, 2012 - 46 comments

How I Hacked My Brain With Adderall

How I Hacked My Brain With Adderall
posted by secretdark on Jul 26, 2012 - 108 comments

I would just show you my butt, right now.

Ze Frank previously and Rainn Wilson talk about the Teen Brain.
posted by lazaruslong on Jul 11, 2012 - 28 comments

The man in your picture is almost unrecognizable

Former all pro NFL running back, 38 year old Priest Holmes feels that all NFL players suffer from the violence of the game, but believes running backs are at an increased risk if they average dozens of carries a game for years at a time. Holmes recalled how hits changed the color of the sky. Another former NFL running back, 32 year old Jamal Lewis talked about his memory losses and head trauma. Both men could encounter the cognitive decline lesser known former Chargers running back 45 year old Steve Hendrickson has experienced. [more inside]
posted by cashman on Jul 8, 2012 - 68 comments

Sleep Deprivation Amps Up the Brain

Sleep deprivation making you feel jumpy? It's not in your head. Human cortical excitability increases with time awake. [Abstract and link to full paper.]
posted by stoneweaver on Jul 3, 2012 - 12 comments

Debunking the Myth of Intuition

"Can doctors and investment advisers be trusted? And do we live more for experiences or memories? In a SPIEGEL interview, Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman discusses the innate weakness of human thought, deceptive memories and the misleading power of intuition."
posted by vidur on Jun 3, 2012 - 43 comments

Hit me Einstein, one more time!

When a Blow to the Head Creates a Sudden Genius
posted by Brandon Blatcher on May 19, 2012 - 29 comments

Tapeworms Living Inside People's Brains

Tapeworms Living Inside People's Brains
posted by Foci for Analysis on May 16, 2012 - 140 comments

A traditional brain on a computer

SynthNet is a brain emulator. Unlike most modern software neural networks, it works at the electrochemical level. Each neural structure in it is generated from a genetic virtual machine that executes instructions in a genetic assembly language.
SynthNet is at an early stage, but right now, it can emulate a classic fear-conditioning experiment.

posted by ignignokt on May 9, 2012 - 31 comments

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