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The Consciometer

The Consciometer - What if scientists could precisely measure when life begins and ends?
Common sense, law, medicine, and philosophy have long considered consciousness a central aspect of our moral existence as human beings. Sometime in the next decade or so, neuroscientists will likely identify the specific neural networks and activity that generate the vague but vital thing we call consciousness. An interesting read from Slate
posted by cbjg on Jun 14, 2005 - 39 comments

BrainMeta

BrainMeta "is a community site that was established for the purpose of accelerating the development of neuroscience through web-based initiatives, which include the development, implementation and support of a wide range of neuroinformatics tools, services, and databases. BrainMeta also functions as an internet hub for fostering communication between individuals involved with the neurosciences." [Via Mind Hacks.]
posted by homunculus on Jun 9, 2005 - 5 comments

Gender Based Brain Research

A review of the current state of gender based brain research shows that women and men differ both in the way their brains are constructed and in how they function.
..correlation between brain region size in adults and sex steroid action in utero suggests that at least some sex differences in cognitive function do not result from cultural influences or the hormonal changes associated with puberty--they are there from birth.
Treatment for such things as schizophrenia and depression will likely have gender specific variations in the future. Previously, brain research that examined gender differences was considered controversial because it was argued that the results might give rise to more sex discrimination against women. That view may be changing.
posted by peacay on May 3, 2005 - 33 comments

In your face

How well do you read faces? Better than this baby, I hope.
posted by homunculus on Apr 8, 2005 - 13 comments

Science

Recent neuroscience research suggests that Democrats and Republicans are not nearly as far apart as they seem (NYT). Will an awareness that we are conning ourselves to feel alienated from each other help to close the political gap? Or, are we conned by science and the media?
posted by semmi on Jan 18, 2005 - 16 comments

Rats Perception Elvis

If rats can distinguish between Japanese and Dutch, why would Elvis have looked like this at age 70?
posted by mcgraw on Jan 9, 2005 - 21 comments

Meditation and neuroplasticity

Meditation and neuroplasticity. A new study (PDF) describes the changes in the brains of Buddhist monks, using fMRI to scan their brains while they practice compassion meditation. The project was a collaboration between the University of Wisconsin and the Shechen Monastery in Nepal.
posted by homunculus on Nov 16, 2004 - 17 comments

Whoa! I know ferret-fu!

Idle your visual cortexes on this ... There's some interesting science in here about how much of our brains we humans use, but for the rest of today I'll be using my spare brainwidth to picture "The Matrix" with ferrets. (via Dynamist, via PunditDrome!)
posted by allaboutgeorge on Oct 21, 2004 - 7 comments

I can stop if I want to!

National Review, Pro-Drug? I was searching for information of drug use in Vietnam and during wars in general, when I found this gem. Scroll halfway down to a very interesting pro-drug discussion between the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience and Mr. William Buckley. A little dated (1990), but I never thought I'd come out of an article thinking to myself, "Maybe all drugs should be legal."
posted by geoff. on Jun 4, 2004 - 18 comments

Brain tricks

Red and green dots have never been so interesting. At least to a geek like me. I love it when my brain plays tricks on me.
posted by jeremy on May 21, 2004 - 33 comments

By Jove, I think they've got it!

Eureka! Brain scans reveal the neural processes correlated with moments of insight. [Via FuturePundit.]
posted by homunculus on Apr 15, 2004 - 4 comments

FreakyFace

The Thatcher Illusion (using Madonna), the original, Bush
posted by srboisvert on Mar 21, 2004 - 25 comments

Neuroethics

Whose life would you save? Carl Zimmer takes a look at the work of philospher-neuroscientist Joshua Greene in the emerging field of the neuroscience of ethics and morality (Leon Kass, take note.) [Via Dynamist Blog.]
posted by homunculus on Mar 10, 2004 - 6 comments

Big heads wobbling on wee necks?....

Nootropics ("smart" drugs) - all wish to be smarter, correct ? And - while exercise, nutrition, learning, travel, and social interaction (the last 3 via release of neurotrophins) effectively do this, Nootropic drugs have been researched since the 1950's and have been shown to cause at least short term cognitive function enhancement. Piracetam, the first of this drugs, shows promise in the treatment of Alzheimer's and Attention deficit Disorder. Alas, as with poor little Algernon, the effect seems temporary. Nootropics can be a little difficult to acquire in the US. Beer is not a nootropic, but sex on the other hand.....
posted by troutfishing on Mar 5, 2004 - 20 comments

How to build a better meme...

There's a Sucker Born in Every Medial Prefrontal Cortex (NYT link) Neuroscience + Advertising = Neuromarketers. You will consume and enjoy. You will consume and enjoy.
posted by dejah420 on Oct 28, 2003 - 18 comments

Neoroscience and wireless communication

Neoroscience and wireless communication An apparently non-hysterical warning from scientist Leif Salford, who cautions that by using hand-held cellular devices we're conducting "the largest human biological experiment ever."

According to the Independent (UK) article, it's been proven that microwave radiation opens 'the blood-brain barrier, allowing a protein called albumin to pass into the brain.' Lund's latest work 'goes a step further, showing the process is linked to serious brain damage.'

That in turn causes ... uh, what was I writing about? I forget.

Sorry. Seriously, is there anyone in the room competent to comment on the validity of this warning? (Via Gizmodo)
posted by mojohand on Sep 14, 2003 - 15 comments

Neuroscience and Meditation

Neuroscience and meditation. "Researchers are making the case that Eastern-style meditation is good not just for your emotional well-being but also for your physical state." This is a fascinating article (NYTM, reg. req.) on the convergence of Buddhist meditation and neuroscience (here's a previous post on the subject.) Meanwhile, the Dalai Lama is in Boston, presiding over a conference between biobehavioral scientists and Buddhists.
posted by homunculus on Sep 13, 2003 - 11 comments

I am John's brain.

I am John's brain. Amusingly written, yet astutely raising an important point. What exactly are we to do about consciousness? Although clearly different theories abound, one must still ponder whether or not the problem is even solvable in the first place. Where then can we turn to for our solution? Why, bicamerality, of course.
posted by cohappy on Jun 23, 2003 - 24 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

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

Musicians are really smart. They have larger and more sensitive brains than non-musicians, and their collective IQ is much higher. They have 130% more grey matter in one area of their auditory cortexes. The question of how this explains Ozzy Osbourne nonwithstanding, I'll bet if you're really, really smart, you could be one of the new members of Men Without Hats. Must be very knowledgeable in midi, sequences, and sampling.
posted by iconomy on Jun 25, 2002 - 18 comments

SEX DIFFERENCES IN THE BRAIN: Men and women display patterns of behavioral and cognitive differences that reflect varying hormonal influences on brain development

SEX DIFFERENCES IN THE BRAIN: Men and women display patterns of behavioral and cognitive differences that reflect varying hormonal influences on brain development Sugar and spice versus snips and snails and puppy dog tails. Or was it masculinizing androgens 'organizing' behaviour at critical periods? At least now there is a scientific explanation of why my girlfriend beats me while watching Pat spin the wheel.
posted by srboisvert on May 21, 2002 - 9 comments

Bionic Man? "Australian scientists say they have created a "thinking cap" that will stimulate creative powers. It is based on the idea that we all have the sorts of extraordinary abilities usually associated with savants."

The device is said to improve drawing skills within 15 minutes.
posted by MintSauce on Apr 17, 2002 - 24 comments

Neuroscience Art Gallery

Neuroscience Art Gallery Cats Painted in the Progression of Psychosis of a Schizophrenic Artist .....
posted by bunnyfire on Feb 21, 2002 - 23 comments

The brain is like the Internet....

The brain is like the Internet.... Scary, huh...especially since things can go wrong...
posted by bunnyfire on Feb 10, 2002 - 4 comments

Your Brain on God.

Your Brain on God. "After restoring everything to its proper working position, the techies exit, and I'm left sitting inside the utterly silent, utterly black vault. A few commands are typed into a computer outside the chamber, and selected electromagnetic fields begin gently thrumming my brain's temporal lobes. The fields are no more intense than what you'd get as by-product from an ordinary blow-dryer, but what's coming is anything but ordinary. My lobes are about to be bathed with precise wavelength patterns that are supposed to affect my mind in a stunning way, artificially inducing the sensation that I am seeing God. "
posted by atom128 on Dec 2, 2001 - 23 comments

Cool high-school science experiment: Mapping The Homunculus. The 15 year old in me wonders why nipples and other naughty bits aren't mentioned, though. Bet they'd be really big!!!
posted by luser on Nov 27, 2001 - 8 comments

FRANCISCO VARELA (1946 - 2001)*

FRANCISCO VARELA (1946 - 2001)* One of the more quietly influential thinkers of our times. A neuroscientist turned immunologist whose formulation of the theory of autopoiesis (with Humberto Maturana) has challenged conventional thinking in areas as diverse as Artificial Intelligence, Ecology and AIDS research.
The mathematics of self-reference involves creating formalisms to reflect the strange situation in which something produces A, which produces B, which produces A. That was 1974. Today, many colleagues call such ideas part of complexity theory.
On 28th of May, Varela's own autopoiesis ceased.
*pointer via fmh
posted by lagado on Jun 6, 2001 - 7 comments

Men listen with half-the-brain. Women, the whole.

Men listen with half-the-brain. Women, the whole. Now it's obvious that women are superior and it is inevitable that they will dominate the human race, kill off the male and live like those space Amazonians you saw in Star Trek. Yep.
posted by tiaka on Nov 29, 2000 - 34 comments

Rat-mind-control-robot.

Rat-mind-control-robot. Where'd these rat's sign up? I want my cyborgian arm!
posted by shmuel on May 2, 2000 - 3 comments

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