Neuron Culture

Archives for May, 2010

  Phineas Gage enjoys an unfortunate fame in neuroscience circles: After a 5-foot iron tamping rod blew through his head one September afternoon in 1848, the once amiable and capable railroad foreman became a uncouth ne-er-do-well — and Exhibit A in how particular brain areas tended to specialize in particular tasks. (In his case, the…

Ravens via PDPhoto Ravens show that consoling one another is also for the birds, Yet another finding that other species have qualities previously thought uniquely human. Our greatest distinction is that we’re highly social. Yet in that we’ve got a lot of company.   Human brains excel at detecting cheaters. FMRI’s, not so much, says Vaughan Bell…

 A Times story this morning reports that, according to both documents and scientists in the US Minerals Management Service (MMS), the MMS routinely silenced safety and environmental warnings from staff in order to grant permits for even huge, high-risk drilling permits, including the BP rig that blew. It’s a good (and nauseating) story, and…

Traveling. But here’s what I’m reading during train, plane, and bus rides — and over meals:   Gravity-defying ramps take illusion prize. This contest always produces fascinating stuff. This time, the ball rolls up. Video here.  Vaughan Bell ponders cortisol, dopamine, neuroplasticity, and other things that set off his bullshit detector. Riff launched from a…

I’ve been deemed a pusher, and that’s a good thing. The accuser is Colin Schultz, a busy, curious, and inquisitive young journalist who awarded a story of mine his first annual prize for “push” science journalism. First of all let me say I’m pleased, mainly because the story, ” A Depression Switch?”, about neurologist Helen Mayberg’s experiment using deep brain…

Would you believe this brain? Every few months, sometimes more often, someone tries to ramrod fMRI lie detection into the courtrooms. Each time, it gets a little closer. Wired Science carries the latest alarming story: A Brooklyn attorney hopes to break new ground this week when he offers a brain scan as evidence that a…

Newscom/Zuma, via TPM Brains, genes, and taxes won the month. How does Williams syndrome prevent racism? It’s subtle Ed Yong, Mo Costandi, Scientific American, and others have covered nicely a new paper finding that people with WIlliams syndrome (a condition I’ve been interested in since writing a long feature about it for the Times Magazine…