Archives for December, 2007

Weekend photo

It actually rained very lightly while we were walking along this small beach in Alexandria about three weeks ago. Generally though, the weather in Egypt was warm and sunny – in stark contrast to the wet and windy weather we’re having in London at the moment.

Decoding the Halle Berry cell

About 2 years ago, researchers reported the discovery of the so-called “Halle Berry cell” in the human brain. This, and similar cells which respond selectively to other well-known celebrities, famous landmarks or categories of objects are located on the medial surface of the temporal lobe. The same group of researchers now report that they can…

Neuroplasticity on PBS

Jennifer writes to point out a documentary about neuroplasticity which is being aired on PBS this month. Follow the link for a 3-minute preview, which features Michael Merzenich.

The impressionists’ eye diseases

An article in the NY Times discusses the work of Michael Marmor, a professor of ophthalmology at Stanford School of Medicine who has created a computer simulation of how eye diseases such as macular degeneration and cataracts have affected the painting styles of a number of impressionist artists. Claude Monet, for example, was known to…

Chimp beats humans at photographic memory task

Researchers from Kyoto University’s Primate Research Institute report that a young chimp can out-perform university students on a working memory task. (Cognitive psychologists use the term working memory to refer to the temporary storage and manipulation of information.) The researchers developed a memory test called the limited-hold memory task in order to compare the working…

Encephalon student edition

The 37th edition of Encephalon, hosted by Bora at A Blog Around the Clock, includes posts from students in PZ‘s neurobiology class, as well as the first piece of coursework for my M.Sc., an essay on axon guidance which I posted in four parts while I was away in Egypt.

Do insects feel pain?

Using sophisticated techniques to silence or activate specific neurons, researchers from Stanford University have established that a simple behaviour used by fruit fly larvae to evade attack from parasitic wasps is triggered by a type of sensory neuron that is similar to the neurons which respond to painful stimuli in mammals.