337 posts tagged with brain.
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You all need to have your heads examined

The epidemic of mental illness plaguing the Americans and the overmedication of psychiatric patients are in part artifacts of the diagnostic method. [more inside]
posted by hat_eater on Jun 22, 2011 - 50 comments

Growing New Senses

More evidence of brain plasticity: Some blind people are able to use echolocation to perceive space and objects around them in surprising detail, even though the time differences in echoes necessary to do this are two small to be consciously perceived. An fMRI study by Lore Thaler, Stephen Arnott and Melvyn Goodale revealed that people who are especially adept at this use their calcarine cortex (a.k.a. V1 or primary visual cortex) to process spatial information from the echoes. The original paper. A shorter discussion. (Previously)
posted by nangar on Jun 20, 2011 - 13 comments

political orientation correlated with brain structure

Political Orientations Are Correlated with Brain Structure in Young Adults, Ryota Kanai, Tom Feilden, Colin Firth, Geraint Rees. Current Biology - 26 April 2011 (Vol. 21, Issue 8, pp. 677-680) [Full text .pdf]
  • Political liberalism and conservatism were correlated with brain structure
  • Liberalism was associated with the gray matter volume of anterior cingulate cortex
  • Conservatism was associated with increased right amygdala size
  • Results offer possible accounts for cognitive styles of liberals and conservatives
  • [more inside]
    posted by wilful on Jun 5, 2011 - 45 comments

    Extended Mind

    The Root of Knowledge - "Wikipedia trivia: if you take any article, click on the first link in the article text not in parentheses or italics, and then repeat, you will eventually end up at 'Philosophy.' " (via) [more inside]
    posted by kliuless on May 26, 2011 - 87 comments

    By hitting your brain. That's How.

    How a Magnet Can Turn Off Speech
    posted by jefficator on Apr 14, 2011 - 51 comments

    all about the brain

    Allen Human Brain Atlas - Brain Explorer 2 is a desktop software application for viewing the human brain anatomy and gene expression data in 3D. "Until now, a definitive map of the human brain at this level of detail simply hasn't existed," said Allan Jones, the nonprofit institute's chief executive. "For the first time, we have generated a comprehensive map of the brain that includes the underlying biochemistry." | Functional Neuroanatomy | 10 Great Sites for Reviewing Brain Anatomy | Harvard Brain Atlas. Bonus link: Brain massage with cosmic energy application in Pushkar, India. [more inside]
    posted by nickyskye on Apr 14, 2011 - 12 comments

    Shoot it in the head! Shoot it in the head!

    The Zombie Autopsies with Steven Schlozman, MD (SLVimeo)
    posted by cthuljew on Mar 24, 2011 - 8 comments

    Braindriver

    Braindriver is a car that allows you to steer, accelerate and decelerate with nothing more than the faint electrical signals generated by the brain.
    posted by jason's_planet on Mar 5, 2011 - 13 comments

    The International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge 2010

    The International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge 2010 - "Researchers are generating mind-boggling volumes of data at exponentially increasing rates. The ability to process that information and display it in ways that enhance understanding is an increasingly important aspect of the way scientists communicate with each other and—especially—with students and the general public. That's why, for the past 8 years, Science and the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) have co-sponsored annual challenges to promote cutting-edge efforts to visualize scientific data, principles, and ideas. This year's awardees span scales from nanoparticles to colliding galaxies, and from microseconds to millennia."
    posted by Blazecock Pileon on Feb 19, 2011 - 9 comments

    Chase Britton Doesn't Have a Cerbellum

    Chase Britton was born without a cerebellum. And doctors are stunned by his ability to live a relatively normal life for a three year old. Chase was born prematurely and is also legally blind.
    posted by zizzle on Feb 14, 2011 - 63 comments

    The Soul Niche

    Swimming around in a mixture of language and matter, humans occupy a particular evolutionary niche mediated by something we call 'consciousness'. To Professor Nicholas Humphrey we're made up of "soul dust": "a kind of theatre... an entertainment which we put on for ourselves inside our own heads." But just as that theatre is directed by the relationship between language and matter, it is also undermined by it. It all depends how you think it.
    posted by 0bvious on Feb 4, 2011 - 17 comments

    This is a subject of but small importance; and I know not whether it will interest any readers, but it has interested me.

    "This is a subject of but small importance; and I know not whether it will interest any readers, but it has interested me."-C. D. Quick... what was Darwin's most popular book? If you answered The Origin of Species, you were wrong. It was his last book, published the year before he died, The Formation of Vegetable Mould Through the Action of Worms With Observation of Their Habits (illustrations [first presented 1 Nov. 1837, as noted in the record of the Royal Geological Society]). Darwin noted when he was beginning his career that worms churned up soil, causing heavier objects to sink slowly in the soil. He noted that all soil had passed through the alimentary duct of worms. It started off a fashion of cultivating worms by gardeners that continues to the present day. -We recently learned that we owe an element of our unique cerebral cortex, or pallium to our marine worm ancestors. (In amphibians, the cerebrum includes archipallium, paleopallium and some of the basal nuclei. Reptiles first developed a neopallium, which continued to develop in the brains of more recent species to become the neocortex of mammals." [&, ultimately, you and you and we]) [more inside]
    posted by infinite intimation on Dec 30, 2010 - 11 comments

    They do remember when

    Check out this 60 Mminutes segment about people with superior autobiographical memory, who can remember virtually every day of their life. [more inside]
    posted by nomadicink on Dec 20, 2010 - 40 comments

    The Beautiful Mind

    "It is only fitting that the story of the brain should be a visual one, for the visuals had the ancients fooled for millenniums. The brain was so ugly that they assumed the mind must lie elsewhere. Now those same skeletal silhouettes glow plump and brightly colored, courtesy of a variety of inserted genes encoding fluorescent molecules. A glossy new art book, “Portraits of the Mind,” hopes to draw the general reader into neuroscience with the sheer beauty of its images." Slide Shows: The Beautiful Mind and Portraits of the Mind [more inside]
    posted by zarq on Dec 2, 2010 - 6 comments

    Squishy Goodness

    Charlie Rose: The Brain Series
    posted by cthuljew on Nov 23, 2010 - 8 comments

    "Poetry is still beautiful, taking me with it."

    A memoir of living with a brain tumour: "For art critic Tom Lubbock, language has been his life and his livelihood. But in 2008, he developed a lethal brain tumour and was told he would slowly lose control over speech and writing. This is his account of what happens when words slip away." [more inside]
    posted by zarq on Nov 13, 2010 - 11 comments

    What's it like to be Peter Hacker?

    "The whole endeavour of the consciousness studies community is absurd – they are in pursuit of a chimera" - Peter Hacker on philosophy
    posted by Gyan on Oct 25, 2010 - 145 comments

    Believing is seeing, seeing is hearing

    Is seeing believing? BBC Horizon looks at sensory perception, illusions and the interplay of our different senses. (Full program for UK viewers here). Makes you feel like you've entered The Twilight Zone. [more inside]
    posted by philipy on Oct 18, 2010 - 16 comments

    Mind over matter.

    The brain speaks! Scientists decode words from brain signals. "In an early step toward letting severely paralyzed people speak with their thoughts, University of Utah researchers translated brain signals into words using two grids of 16 microelectrodes implanted beneath the skull but atop the brain."
    posted by Fizz on Sep 8, 2010 - 31 comments

    Don't interrupt me, I'm building my sense of self!

    An idle brain may be the self's workshop. 'Recent research suggests that mind-wandering may be important and that knowledge of how it works might help treat such conditions as Alzheimer's disease, autism, depression and schizophrenia.' Once upon a time, scientists didn't regard idle musings of the wandering mind as very important. 'But in the span of a few short years, they have instead come to view mental leisure as important, purposeful work — work that relies on a powerful and far-flung network of brain cells firing in unison. Neuroscientists call it the "default mode network."''Understanding that setting may do more than lend respectability to the universal practice of zoning out: It may one day help diagnose and treat psychiatric conditions as diverse as Alzheimer's disease, autism, depression and schizophrenia — all of which disrupt operations in the default mode network. Beyond that lies an even loftier promise. As neuroscientists study the idle brain, some believe they are exploring a central mystery in human psychology: where and how our concept of "self" is created, maintained, altered and renewed.' [more inside]
    posted by VikingSword on Sep 2, 2010 - 20 comments

    Digital Devices Deprive Brain of Needed Downtime

    YOUR BRAIN ON COMPUTERS “Almost certainly, downtime lets the brain go over experiences it’s had, solidify them and turn them into permanent long-term memories,” said Loren Frank, assistant professor in the department of physiology at the university, where he specializes in learning and memory. He said he believed that when the brain was constantly stimulated, “you prevent this learning process.”
    posted by wherespaul on Aug 25, 2010 - 42 comments

    Kurzweil vs. Myers

    Ray Kurzweil: Reverse-Engineering of Human Brain Likely by 2030. PZ Myers: Ray Kurzweil does not understand the brain.
    posted by homunculus on Aug 18, 2010 - 195 comments

    Death and The Slow-Mo Effect

    Dr. David Eagleman, a neuroscientist at Baylor College of Medicine, wanted to find out how the human brain processes time in a near death situation. [more inside]
    posted by two lights above the sea on Aug 17, 2010 - 26 comments

    You Dirty Chicken Plucker

    Howard Bloom: Exercising the Animals in the Brain [more inside]
    posted by nola on Aug 9, 2010 - 25 comments

    Too much cofffee man

    What Caffeine Actually Does to Your Brain
    posted by Artw on Jul 13, 2010 - 136 comments

    Concealed Neuroanatomy in Michelangelo's Separation of Light From Darkness

    In a Michelangelo Fresco, Visions of a Brain Stem. "It has been hiding in plain sight for the past 500 years, and now two Johns Hopkins professors believe they have found it: one of Michelangelo’s rare anatomical drawings in a panel high on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Michelangelo was a conscientious student of human anatomy and enthusiastically dissected corpses throughout his life, but few of his anatomical drawings survive. This one, a depiction of the human brain and brain stem, appears to be drawn on the neck of God, but not all art historians can see it there."
    posted by homunculus on Jun 21, 2010 - 62 comments

    Strangers in the mirror.

    Prosopagnosia, or face blindness, is an impairment which limits one's ability to recognize faces (previously). As part of the World Science Festival, Robert Krulwich interviews two famous suffers of this little known disease: the portrait artist Chuck Close and the neuroscientist and writer Oliver Sacks. [more inside]
    posted by 1f2frfbf on Jun 18, 2010 - 78 comments

    Zik Zak Zoom

    Halation can interfere with your brain making out the shapes of distorted words, such as on passing highway signs. Banned from advertising in F1 racing, a major tobacco company that sponsors a team came up with a novel design solution that may play on this visual effect to an opposite, suggestive effect, depending on the observer. European officials were not amused, going so far as to call the design "subliminal". Ferrari responded by removing traces of the design from its cars. Judas Priest could not be reached for comment. [via]
    posted by Blazecock Pileon on May 13, 2010 - 53 comments

    This is your brain on... a layer of bits?

    The first massively parallel evolutionary circuit has been built. Brain-like computing on an organic molecular layer. I, for one... overlords... you know.
    posted by cross_impact on Apr 27, 2010 - 42 comments

    The Neurology of Morality

    Researchers at MIT's Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences have identified two "morality centers" of the brain. In two separate experiments, they have shown a correlation between a particular part of the brain and the ability to make moral jusgments related to intent to commit a crime. In one experiment, patients with brain damage in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex of the brain don't consider hypothetical perpetrators to be morally responsible for their actions. In another experiment (noted on NPR today) the researchers showed that they could switch off the moral judgment function by applying a magnetic field to the right temporoparietal junction (TPJ) of the brain. The TPJ has also been implicated in "out of body experiences", both in cases of brain damage and by artificially stimulating the area.
    posted by darkstar on Mar 29, 2010 - 32 comments

    Me Tarzan. You Jane. He Skeptic.

    This article, about differences between male and female brains, is doing the rounds on various blogs. (I found it via reddit.) Meanwhile, debunkers are doing their best to rip the author a new asshole.
    posted by grumblebee on Mar 25, 2010 - 86 comments

    Music and the Brain

    Music and the Brain The Library of Congress' Music and the Brain podcasts offer lectures and conversations about new research at the intersection of cognitive neuroscience and music. Sufi rituals, Wednesday is Indigo Blue (synaesthesia), Your Brain on Jazz, The Music of Language and the Language of Music, and more.
    posted by carter on Feb 15, 2010 - 13 comments

    DSM-5

    At midnight tonight, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) released a proposed draft of the new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). [more inside]
    posted by emilyd22222 on Feb 9, 2010 - 58 comments

    It's a cruel season that makes you get ready for bed while it's light out.

    Vegetated State conversations: To find out whether a simple conversation was possible, the researchers selected one of the four - a 29-year-old man who had been in a car crash. They asked him to imagine playing tennis if he wanted to answer yes to questions such as: Do you have any sisters? Is your father's name Thomas? Is your father's name Alexander? And if the answer to a question was no, he had to imagine moving round his home.
    posted by bigmusic on Feb 3, 2010 - 22 comments

    Change Your Mind Change Your Brain

    Change your mind, change your brain - Matthieu Ricard talks about creating the inner conditions for authentic happiness, and the effects of meditation on the brain. [more inside]
    posted by MetaMonkey on Jan 31, 2010 - 17 comments

    Optimizing Your Brain At Work

    Optimizing Your Brain at Work is a pretty fascinating talk at Google by David Rock about managing your brain's internal states and attention, as well as threat responses with the goal of optimizing information processing. It is a Youtube link, and fairly long (~55min). He also mentions The Neuroscience of Mindfulness during the talk, so here is a convenient link to that.
    posted by Vulpyne on Dec 3, 2009 - 28 comments

    A Belgian man diagnosed as being in a coma for 23 years was actually conscious the whole time.

    "I shall never forget the day when they discovered what was truly wrong with me – it was my second birth. Rom Houbens was simply paralysed and had no way to let doctors caring for him what he was suffering. Only the re-evaluation of his case at the University of Liege brought to light that Houben was only paralysed all these years. Hi-tech scans showed his brain was still functioning almost completely normally.
    posted by njbradburn on Nov 23, 2009 - 94 comments

    Genes that cause depression?

    A gene variant associated with serotonin transport (STG) , and normally associated with depression is strangely more prevalent, but also less likely to induce depression in collectivistic East Asian cultures. The study took data from 29 countries, and found a consistent trend towards this same genetic variant being strongly associated with episodes of major depression in Western cultures.
    posted by mdpatrick on Oct 29, 2009 - 27 comments

    Feeling 'Selfy' ? Regarding 'The Ego Tunnel: The Science of the Mind, and the Myth of the Self' by Thomas Metzinger

    Natasha Mitchell: So it's not a little man or woman inside our heads...

    Thomas Metzinger: ...that looks at pictures. But the experience of looking, of being directed to one's own feelings or to one's sensory perceptions of the outside world, this is itself an image. There is nobody looking at the image, it's like the camera is part of the picture or the viewing is itself a part of the process of viewing. This is how a first-person perspective emerges in our own case, the question is, okay, if it's not a thing, if it's not something in the brain, what kind of a process is it?
    [more inside]
    posted by y2karl on Oct 14, 2009 - 56 comments

    The "boy-killing, man-mutilating, money-making, education-prostituting, gladiatorial sport."

    Does american football unavoidably lead to brain damage over time? Does a culture favoring perseverance at the expense of well being begin in high school?
    posted by phrontist on Oct 13, 2009 - 96 comments

    A Few Strange Notes About Schizophrenia

    Here's a strange one for the books: Science has taken notice that a really, really LARGE proportion of schizophrenic patients smoke. In fact, Scientific American Mind reports that an average of 85% of schizophrenic patients smoke cigarettes compared to only 20% in the general population. Many schizophrenics also appear to have abnormal thermoregulation, an impaired ability to understand body language, an inability to perceive an optical illusion called "the hollow mask illusion," an impaired ability to produce a brain protein known as the muscarinic M1 receptor, and an abnormally large number of genetic mutations known as CNV's or "copy number variations."
    posted by mdpatrick on Sep 29, 2009 - 65 comments

    An ingenious device for avoiding thought...

    The brain's plasticity has some neuroscientists worried about what the internet will do to reading - and to humanity. [more inside]
    posted by smoke on Aug 13, 2009 - 64 comments

    The undiscovered cortex

    Why is your brain wrinkled?
    posted by Brandon Blatcher on Aug 6, 2009 - 66 comments

    Is there no problem the internet can't solve - Flickr finds only known photo of Phineas Gage

    While many quirky news buffs may be aware of the story of Phineas Gage -- the Vermont railroad foreman who had a three foot iron rod penetrate his skull as the result of an explosion and lived to tell about it -- fewer know that the only known photograph of him was recently discovered. Fewer still know that the identification of that photograph happened via a Flickr comment. (no thanks to you LA Times, previously) [more inside]
    posted by jessamyn on Jul 29, 2009 - 77 comments

    a pink sliver of rat brain sat in a beaker

    The simulated brain - "The scientists behind Blue Brain hope to have a virtual human brain functioning in ten years... Dr. Markram began by collecting detailed information about the rat's NCC, down to the level of genes, proteins, molecules and the electrical signals that connect one neuron to another. These complex relationships were then turned into millions of equations, written in software. He then recorded real-world data -- the strength and path of each electrical signal -- directly from rat brains to test the accuracy of the software." Is it possible to digitally simulate a brain accurately? Can it only be analog? And are there quantum effects to be considered? (previously 1 2 3 4) [more inside]
    posted by kliuless on Jul 18, 2009 - 251 comments

    Neurosecurity

    Neurosecurity: security and privacy for neural devices. "An increasing number of neural implantable devices will become available in the near future due to advances in neural engineering. This discipline holds the potential to improve many patients' lives dramatically by offering improved—and in some cases entirely new—forms of rehabilitation for conditions ranging from missing limbs to degenerative cognitive diseases. The use of standard engineering practices, medical trials, and neuroethical evaluations during the design process can create systems that are safe and that follow ethical guidelines; unfortunately, none of these disciplines currently ensure that neural devices are robust against adversarial entities trying to exploit these devices to alter, block, or eavesdrop on neural signals. The authors define 'neurosecurity'—a version of computer science security principles and methods applied to neural engineering—and discuss why neurosecurity should be a critical consideration in the design of future neural devices." [Via Mind Hacks]
    posted by homunculus on Jul 8, 2009 - 22 comments

    Thanksgiving dinner explained

    "If some of the same genetic risks underlie schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, perhaps these disorders originate from some common vulnerability in brain development...Of course the big question then is how some people develop schizophrenia and others develop bipolar disorder." So hold off on the celebrations.
    posted by Brandon Blatcher on Jul 2, 2009 - 36 comments

    I await Trepanation with great Trepidation.

    We've discussed trepanation, the boring of holes in the head as practiced in antiquity and by a fringe do it yourself-ers, before. There now seems to be research indicating that the procedure may have medical merit, and even help stave off age related cognitive decline. This curious research brought to you by the Beckly Foundation which "promotes the investigation of consciousness and its modulation from a multidisciplinary perspective" and has a sweet logo.
    posted by phrontist on Jun 18, 2009 - 50 comments

    Wait, wait, I almost have it!

    Why do we get "tip of the tongue" moments?? We’ve all experienced the tip of the tongue moment where we wanted to say something but just couldn’t remember the word. But what causes this momentary lapses in vocabulary?
    posted by CaptKyle on Jun 12, 2009 - 43 comments

    Kick, Punch, It's All in the Mind

    How Music Works - UK Channel 4 documentary (~180 mins.)
    Why do some rhythms get our toes tapping, while others make us feel mellow? How does a love song bring tears to our eyes? What links African drumming to J S Bach?
    Part 1 - Melody (alt)
    Part 2 - Rhythm (alt)
    Part 3 - Harmony (alt)
    Part 4 - Bass (alt)
    Then: Music producer and neuroscientist Daniel Levitin, author of This is Your Brain on Music: The Science of Human Obsession and The World in Six Songs: How the Musical Brain Created Human Nature, shares some of his thoughts at Google Talk.
    posted by Christ, what an asshole on Jun 4, 2009 - 31 comments

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