The Nature of Consciousness: How the Internet Could Learn to Feel “The average human brain has a hundred billion neurons and synapses on the order of a hundred trillion or so. But it’s not just sheer...
First Contact: Early Intervention Key in Diagnosis and Treatment of Serious ...MarketWatch (press release)But experts warn that waiting until someone is so ill that the psychological sickness is unmistakable can be detrimental and can lead to...
The recurrence of the word neurophilosophy in articles and appearing in my inbox made me think we should all know more about this fascinating field of study that allows us to peek inside the brain and answer some of history’s greatest theoretical...
TED Talks Empathy, cooperation, fairness and reciprocity -- caring about the well-being of others seems like a very human trait.
Frans de Waal describes some clever experiments that showcase examples of morality in the animal kingdom. The most interesting- or the most easy to parallel to human sense of morality- is exhibited toward the end of the video and involves a pair of Capuchin monkeys. I won't ruin the surprise- as hilarious as it is to watch- but feel free to comment about the struggle of the 99%
Using a new Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) technique, researchers build on evidence that dementias are spread throughout the brain along targeted neuronal pathways in a manner similar to prion diseases. The study was published in the March 22 edition of Neuron by SFVAMC scientists in collaboration with Dr. Bruce Miller. Prion-like progression is characterized by misfolded proteins in one neuron affecting or infecting neighboring brain cells, causing proteins in that cell to misfold in turn. In Alzheimer’s disease (AD) amyloid protein, for instance, is localized within memory networks and is suggested to propogate in a prion-like manner. The study attempted to predict the course of AD and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) using images of 14 healthy individual brains. The MRI imaging technique mapped neural pathways that connect different areas of the brain. The spread of disease along those networks, as predicted by the models, closely matched the actual MRI images of 18 Alzheimer’s and 18 FTD patients.
Awakening from anesthesia is often associated with an initial phase of delirious struggle before the full restoration of awareness and orientation to one’s su...
The question whether we can ever really get a clear picture of the constituents of consciousness is one still raised by critics, and by even the proponents of scientific enquiry, myself included. This study published in the April 2012 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience sheds some light on one of the methods into cracking open the shroud of mystery.
The anesthetized brain provides new vews into the story of the emergence of consciousness. The study finds that arousal from a spoken command was first associated with a core network of subcortical and libic regions that couple with higher cortices upon awakening from dexme-detomidine-induced unconsciousness.
Read further for more detail on the experimental design.
Neuroethics is concerned with the social, legal, and ethical dilemmas that the brain sciences can cause. For example, is it fair to others when some students or workers take brain-enhancing drugs to improve test scores or job performance?
The field of Neuroethics is what promises to mediate the laws of the land in a future not too dissimilar from the setting of the film Minority Report. The question is no longer whether a brain scan can be used to determine criminal guilt, but what happens when that becomes reality?
MONDAY, April 2 (HealthDay News) -- An experimental drug might lower a marker of Alzheimer's disease seen in the spinal fluid of patients with mild to moderate disease, a small new study finds.
Is this Science, bunk, or even worse, politics? Why is there a press release without helpful findings from this study. And why am I even sharing it? To illustrate part of the problem with translational research, hell, with much of academic science today. So much is hyped without proper merit in the game of grant sequestration.
Can animals' survival instincts shed additional light on what we know about human emotion? New York University neuroscientist Joseph LeDoux poses this question in outlining a pioneering theory, drawn from two decades of research, that could lead to a more comprehensive understanding of emotions in both humans and animals. In his essay, which appears in the journal Neuron, LeDoux proposes shifting scientific focus "from questions about whether emotions that humans consciously feel are also present in other animals and towards questions about the extent to which circuits and corresponding functions that are present in other animals are also present in humans."
Researchers working at MIT have successfully manipulated the content of a rat's dream by replaying an audio cue that was associated with the previous day's events, namely running through a maze (what else).
Think of a situation where you had bulletproof facts, reason, and logic on your side, and believed there was absolutely no way the other person could say no to your perfectly constructed argument and proposal. To do so would be impossible, you figured, because there was no other logical solution or answer.
I haven’t read the primary literature that describes this observation, but the finding that gut bacteria, through some mode of chemical signaling can modulate the neurochemistry of the organism has been an increasingly published area of research. This study and others like it lend support to the idea of a microbiome-gut-brain axis. The hypothesis that a dynamic relationship exists between the microbiotic flora of our guts and the nervous system, mediated through the bundle of nerves that line our gut. But bidirectional communication between the brain and the gut isn’t really that novel of an idea, especially when it’s something we’ve probably all experienced by means of the butterflies in the stomach, or perhaps you’ve experienced the need to…evacuate the bowel when presented with an anxiety producing situation, like mounting a fight or flight response. This study investigated a nuanced aspect of the relationship between gut flora and the serotonergic system, using mouse as the animal model.
In a recent study out of the Journal of Communication, researchers showed how media multitasking not only makes for poorer cognitive performance, but perhaps points to why, despite increasing our stress and making us less effective at home and work, we still do it.
A single-letter change in DNA makes a difference, though the effect is small, raising IQ by only 1.
Following a brain study on an unprecedented scale, an international collaboration has now managed to tease out a single gene that does have a measurable effect on intelligence. But the effect – although measurable – is small: the gene alters IQ by just 1.29 points. According to some researchers, that essentially proves that intelligence relies on the action of a multitude of genes after all.
It turns out that there’s a class of mental disability found in children that isn’t attributable to the common genetic abnormalities, and also don’t have an environmental component as with fetal alcohol syndrome for instance. It is the hope of the researchers that by sequencing the exomes (translated gene regions) of these children, and by comparing them with their parents’, the mutations that are most likely responsible for their intellectual disability will pop out. Perhaps they’ll find single gene mutations of interest, but I’m not too optimistic about that.
A study involving the analysis of rhesus monkeys’ brains suggests how we may be physiologically wired to focus on emotional stimulus. Researchers injected a dye into the brains of 10 rhesus monkeys which traced individual neurons along the length of their axons. It’s a technique that can highlight physiology in more detail than is possible with current brain imaging technology. Scientists discovered that axons from the amygdala, the emotional center of the brain, converge on a major site believed to be involved with the capacity for attentional focus, the thalamic reticular nucleus.
Stunning new visuals of the brain reveal a deceptively simple pattern of organization in the wiring of this complex organ.
With the global structure of brain region-t0-region communication mapped out, and revealing a simplistic structure, the potential to understand what goes wrong in brain injury should be aided greatly. These crude maps, for the moment, should at least give us a refreshing view on how the different regions might function together.
I can't wait to see what new angles in research come out of this connectome project.
Neuroscientists from the University of California, Berkeley have successfully decoded brain activity into audible sounds. This is effectively mind reading.
By recording nerve impulses from the auditory cortex, scientists were able to detect which word a subject was thinking about 80-90% of the time. Although a highly invasive procedure, the experiment rested on the assumption that the activation of nerves in the auditory cortex is identical or similar when a word is heard or processed, as when a subject simply thought about it. What will the future utilize such technology for? We can only imagine.
"Your name’s linked to intrapersonal intelligence, an embedded icon within your brain’s symbols that grow meaning with every action you take. Your handle’s a brand of sorts – one that defines you, and the brain associates certain unique traits with your name. Does your name sparkle with colors you’d like others to see associated with you?"
This article elaborates on the positive feedback we experience when we hear our names spoken by others, respectfully. It makes perfect sense to use a person's name when you want to show them that you value them. But what explains the use of your name when your parent or spouse is upset with you ? ? ?
An impressive study to be released in the journal Science on Monday uses new imaging techniques to reveal exercises of free will occurring in the brain.
I'm left uneasy by the methodology as I find it a little imprecise, however, is this only because I have unresolved philosophical issues ? Could it really be so simple ? Why do I need to criticize this, yet feel the urge to smack my forehead with my palm (thinking why couldn't I do that?) at the same time?