Brains

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Category archives for Brains

Where Is Your I?

Back in the 1600s, when neurology was born, it wasn’t scientists who were looking at brains. The word scientist didn’t exist. Instead, those visionary folks would have called themselves natural philosophers. As I researched this chapter of scientific history for my book Soul Made Flesh, I was struck by the way philosophers–and philosophical questions–are now…

Attention Nutmeggers

If you live in the New Haven area, I hope you’ll consider joining me tomorrow at 5 pm for a talk at the Yale Medical School about my book Soul Made Flesh. The talk will be at 5 pm, Thursday October 6, in the Beaumont Room at the Sterling Hall of Medicine, 333 Cedar Street.…

An iPod in Your Head

I’ve got an article in today’s New York Times about one of my perennial fascinations—musical hallucinations. One of the reasons that I find this condition so interesting is that it gives us a look under the neurological hood. Our brains do not simply take in objective impressions of the world. They are continually coming up…

Return of Mad Cow Memories

How long can an idea stay tantalizing? Back in 2003, I blogged about an experiment that suggested, incredibly enough, that our long-term memories are encoded by prions— the misfolded proteins that are generally accepted to be the cause of mad cow disease. The evidence came from studies of a protein (known as CPEB) that plays…

Brain Revolutions, Old and New

Blogging will be light for a few days because my hard drive devoured itself last night. I just wanted to mention a couple brain-related items. First off, I’ve got a profile in today’s New York Times of Michael Gazzaniga, one of the most fascinating people involved in science today. His research on the split minds…

Cheating on the Brain

Evolutionary psychologists argue that we can understand the workings of the human mind by investigating how it evolved. Much of their research focuses on the past two million years of hominid evolution, during which our ancestors lived in small bands, eating meat they either scavenged or hunted as well as tubers and other plants they…

Zap

I’ve got an article in tomorrow’s New York Times about a startling new way to control the nervous system of animals. Scientists at Yale have genetically engineered flies with neurons that grow light-sensitive triggers. Shine a UV laser at the flies, and the neurons switch on. In one experiment, the scientists were able to make…

Scientists studying people in minimally conscious states have published the results of brain scans showing that these people can retain a surprising amount of brain activity. The New York Times and MSNBC, among others, have written up accounts. I profiled these scientists for a 2003 article in the New York Times Magazine, when they were…

Best of 2004

Soul Made Flesh made Amazon.com’s Editor’s Pick list of the ten best science books of 2004. It’s an honor, although it seems a little premature to call 2004 over!

The Long Road from Genes to God

I am sure that in 50 years, we are going to know a lot more about how the mind works. The fusion of psychology and genetics will tell us about how our personality is influenced by our genes, and they’ll also show exactly how the environment plays a hand as well. The preliminary evidence is…