34 posts tagged with neurology and science.
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If we're not in pain, we're not alive

You invest so much in it, don't you? It's what elevates you above the beasts of the field, it's what makes you special. Homo sapiens, you call yourself. Wise Man. Do you even know what it is, this consciousness you cite in your own exaltation? Do you even know what it's for?
Dr. Peter Watts is no stranger to MetaFilter. But look past his sardonic nuptials, heartbreaking eulogies, and agonizing run-ins with fascists (and fasciitis) and you'll find one of the most brilliant, compelling, and disquieting science fiction authors at work today. A marine biologist skilled at deep background research, his acclaimed 2006 novel Blindsight [full text] -- a cerebral "first contact" tale led by a diverse crew of bleeding-edge post-humans -- is diamond-hard and deeply horrifying, wringing profound existential dread from such abstruse concepts as the Chinese Room, the Philosophical Zombie, Chernoff faces, and the myriad quirks and blind spots that haunt the human mind. But Blindsight's last, shattering insight is not the end of the story -- along with crew/ship/"Firefall" notes, a blackly funny in-universe lecture on resurrecting sociopathic vampirism (PDF - prev.), and a rigorously-cited (and spoiler-laden) reference section, tomorrow will see the release of Dumbspeech State of Grace Echopraxia [website], the long-delayed "sidequel" depicting parallel events on Earth. Want more? Look inside for a guide to the rest of Watts' award-winning (and provocative) body of work. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Aug 25, 2014 - 84 comments

Our Microbiome May Be Looking Out for Itself

Your body is home to about 100 trillion bacteria and other microbes, collectively known as your microbiome. Naturalists first became aware of our invisible lodgers in the 1600s, but it wasn’t until the past few years that we’ve become really familiar with them. This recent research has given the microbiome a cuddly kind of fame. We’ve come to appreciate how beneficial our microbes are — breaking down our food, fighting off infections and nurturing our immune system. It’s a lovely, invisible garden we should be tending for our own well-being. But in the journal Bioessays, a team of scientists has raised a creepier possibility. Perhaps our menagerie of germs is also influencing our behavior in order to advance its own evolutionary success — giving us cravings for certain foods, for example.
Maybe the microbiome is our puppet master.
[more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Aug 18, 2014 - 57 comments

we know a lot, but not everything

Inside the Science of an Amazing New Surgery Called Deep Brain Stimulation
posted by Potomac Avenue on May 22, 2014 - 40 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

Maybe they'll get lucky.

Get Data [SLYT]
posted by zennie on Nov 8, 2013 - 36 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

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

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

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

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

Near Death, explained

"...Pam agreed to die in order to save her life—and in the process had what is perhaps the most famous case of independent corroboration of out of body experience (OBE) perceptions on record...Pam later said, she felt herself “pop” out of her body and hover above it, watching as doctors worked on her body. Although she no longer had use of her eyes and ears, she described her observations in terms of her senses and perceptions...with considerable accuracy.

NDE studies [such as these] suggest that after physical death, mind and consciousness may continue in a transcendent level of reality that normally is not accessible to our senses and awareness."
Near Death, explained. [more inside]
posted by anazgnos on Apr 23, 2012 - 111 comments

2061

On November 22, 2011, TEDxBrussels held an all day event whose theme was: "A Day in the Deep Future." Speakers were asked to try and contemplate what life will be like for mankind in 50 years. Overview. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Dec 28, 2011 - 29 comments

Subject presents with insatiable appetite for human flesh.

What can neuroscience teach us about zombies? A pair of neurology blogs go over nine common symptoms: Aggression, Lumbering Walk, Memory Loss, Aphasia, Capgras-Delusion, Impaired Pain Reception, Locked Attention, Flesh Addiction, Insatiable hunger, Conclusions.
posted by empath on Oct 31, 2011 - 45 comments

A Real Science of Mind

A Real Science of Mind Neurobabble piques interest in science, but obscures how science works. Individuals see, know, and want to make love. Brains don’t. Those things are psychological — not, in any evident way, neural.
posted by shivohum on Dec 27, 2010 - 21 comments

Squishy Goodness

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

Don't Worry. I Will Survive. I'm Just Singin' In The Rain.

What do Singing in the Rain, Live Is Life, Don't Worry, Be Happy, I Will Survive and Ça fait rire les oiseaux have in common? In a study, French-speaking Internet users identified these five pop songs out of 100, as the most pernicious earworms. Here are their top 25 picks from BRAMS, including audio clips. [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 27, 2010 - 58 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

The "Still-Face" Experiment

The "Still Face" Paradigm (YT video) designed by Dr. Edward Tronick of Harvard and Childrens Hospital’s Child Development Unit, is an experiment which shows us how a 1-year old child will react to a suddenly unresponsive parent. It allows us to understand how a caregiver's interactions and emotional state can influence many aspects of an infant's social and emotional development. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 15, 2010 - 22 comments

(glowing) prairie voles illuminate the human condition

Monogamouse
Prairie voles have many vasopressin receptors in the reward centres of their brains. It seems as though these are wired up in a way that causes the animal to take pleasure from monogamy. (previously 1|2)
posted by kliuless on Jan 9, 2010 - 20 comments

he of the weird al hair and santa claus beard

R.Sapolsky on the uniqueness of humans in relation to the rest of the animal world (via)
posted by kliuless on Dec 20, 2009 - 28 comments

Inflammatory

"We were concerned that the study would raise a lot of controversy and be misused," Pardo said. "We were right." Some practitioners treat autistic children with the anti-inflammatory intravenous immunoglobulin, citing a study by Carlos Pardo, et al. showing inflammation in the brains of deceased autistic patients. Pardo: "modulators of immune reactions (e.g. intravenous immunoglobulins, IVIG) WOULD NOT HAVE a significant effect." Others, following the work of Simon Baron-Cohen on autism and the male brain, treat autistic children with testosterone inhibitors, a prospect which Baron-Cohen says "fills me with horror." Another anti-inflammatory treatment, hyperbaric therapy, is supported by one recent clinical trial, but looks bad in another. Side effects include horrible death by fire. (via the Chicago Tribune)
posted by escabeche on Nov 23, 2009 - 49 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

The Lobotomy King

The Lobotomist (PBS American Experience) - During his illustrious career as a self-styled neurosurgeon, Walter Freeman performed nearly 3500 lobotomies. [Inspired by this thread] [more inside]
posted by Burhanistan on Aug 11, 2009 - 73 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

So Size Really Doesn't Matter

So you thought that old cliche about civil servants having only half a brain was just a conservative canard? Well, think again.
posted by saulgoodman on Jul 20, 2007 - 45 comments

I, for one, welcome...

[scifilter] Scientists use a supercomputer to simulate a biological neural structure "as big and as complex as half of a mouse brain"
posted by delmoi on Apr 29, 2007 - 51 comments

Insert You Momma So Fat Joke Here

High BMI Now Means Cognitive Difficulties Later? A study published in Neurology attempts to discover if there is a link between cognitive function, cognitive decline and BMI (body mass index) over time. Yes, I am aware that BMI is a flawed metric.
Full Text (sub. req'd).
posted by fenriq on Jan 10, 2007 - 32 comments

The Science of a Human Obsession

Daniel Levitin is a musical neurologist. His new book, This is Your Brain on Music, has an intriguing premise, and a very entertaining website.
posted by owhydididoit on Sep 5, 2006 - 12 comments

The Hobbit's Brain

The Hobbit's Brain. Recent analysis of the Homo floresiensis skull (previous discussion) gives clues about its brain structure and ancestry. The technical paper is here [Science subscription required].
posted by painquale on Mar 3, 2005 - 7 comments

Tragically, as many as 9625 out of every 10,000 individuals may be neurotypical.

neurodiversity
An amazingly wide and varied site which began as a collection of articles about Autism but which has expanded to survey such varied topics as left-handedness, gender and sexual orientation, hysteria, and a fascinating collection of articles on "Neurotypical Issues." Hours and hours of material from a wide variety of viewpoints.
posted by anastasiav on Sep 13, 2004 - 12 comments

Zzzzzzzz...

Effectiveness of 'sleeping on it' scientifically confirmed. You are now permanently excused for coming into work late.
posted by badstone on Jan 22, 2004 - 2 comments

2003ReithLectures

2003 Reith Lectures. Neuroscientist Vilayanur S. Ramachandran, Director of the Centre for Brain and Cognition at the University of California, talks about a number of fascinating neurological disorders and the insights they provide into mental functioning.
posted by srboisvert on May 24, 2003 - 10 comments

Music

Rock n Roll! We know that Sex and Drugs ain't good for us, but researchers at McGill University are using very fancy devices to learn how our brains react to music. (Probably not much to discuss, but it's an interesting article)
posted by adamms222 on Nov 27, 2002 - 6 comments

Tumor-induced Pedophilia

Tumor-induced Pedophilia - the BBC reports on an american man who, at the age of 40, developed completely uncontrollable and ammoral sexual impulses after developing a tumor in the right lobe of the orbifrontal cortex. After the tumor was removed, he returned to normal. More inside...
posted by Irontom on Oct 21, 2002 - 28 comments

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