Neurophilosophy

Archives for November, 2007

BibliOdyssey: Must-have blog book

This brain map comes from The Book of Life: The Spiritual and Physical Constitution of Man (1912), by the obscure mystical philosopher Alesha Sivartha, who is sometimes referred to as a “grandfather of the new-age movement”. The map is of particular interest, as it approaches modern neurology but still retains a few elements of phrenology,…

Emotional systems

Emotional Systems is the inaugural exhibition at the Centre for Contemporary Culture Centre La Strozzina at the Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, Italy. It begins tomorrow and runs until 3rd February, 2008. The…installation…[includes] an exhibition, a publication and a programme of lectures designed to investigate the topic of emotions, proposing a reinterpretation of the correlation between…

Reverse-engineering the brain

The image on the right is a supercomputer simulation of the microcircuitry found within a column from the neocortex of the rat brain. The simulation is a tour de force of computational neuroscience: a single column is a highly complex structure, containing approximately 10,000 neurons and 30 million synapses, and the image is based on…

Doctored photos create false memories

It is said that the camera never lies, but according to new research published in the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology, the camera not only lies, but those lies can lead to the creation of false memories. In the study, which was led by Dario Sacchi of the University of Pagua and designed by veteran memory…

Ramachandran at the Royal Society tonight

Neurologist and neuroscientist Vilayanur S. Ramachandran is giving a talk at the Royal Society in London tonight. Entitled Nature and nurture in brain function: clues from synesthesia and phantom limbs, the talk begins at 6.30pm GMT. The lecture is free and does not require a ticket or advance booking, so if you’re in London it’s…

The Brainbow Bioscape

This image of the brainstem of a Brainbow mouse, by Jean Livet of Harvard University, has just been awarded 1st prize in the 2007 Olympus Bioscapes International Digital Imaging Competition.

MDMA for PTSD

A lengthy article in last weekend’s Washington Post Magazine discusses the work of Michael Mithoefer, a psychiatrist at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) who has almost completed the first phase of a clinical study into the use of ecstasy as a therapeutic tool for post-traumatic stress disorder. Ecstasy (MDMA, or 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine) is a…

A peek into my week in Egypt

I’m back in London after a hectic – but fantastic – week in Egypt. Of the hundreds of photographs that I took on the trip, this is one of my favourites. It shows part of old Cairo as seen through a peephole in the minaret of a medieval mosque. I’ll be posting more of my…

Axon guidance: New directions

[Introduction|Part 2|Part 3] The three studies discussed here make important contributions to our understanding of axon guidance. Lopez-Bendito et al describe a novel guidance mechanism involving tangentially migrating GABAergic interneurons. These cells migrate ventrally from the LGE to form a permissive corridor through the MGE, a region that is otherwise non-permissive for TCAs. The corridor…

The turning point

[Introduction|Part 2|Discussion] Tojima et al (2007) find that the growth cone’s response to attractive guidance cues requires asymmetrical vesicle transport and exocytosis. They cultured dorsal root ganglion (DRG) cells from embryonic chicks, and produced localized elevations in calcium ion concentration on one side of the growth cone by photolytic release of the caged calcium ion…