Neurophilosophy

Archives for May, 2008

SciCurious has written an interesting post about Sigmund Freud’s experiments with cocaine. Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, was also a pioneer of psychopharmacology; as well as being one of the first to scientifically investigate the properties and effects of cocaine, he also played a key role in the growth of the pharmaceuticals industry. In 1884,…

Encephalon 45/46

Encephalon 46 is now online at The Neurocritic’s blog, and contains lots of fantastic neuroscience blogging, including posts on Senator Ted Kennedy’s brain tumour, phantom supernumery limbs, and anti-drug vaccines. The previous edition, at PodBlack Blog, also contains plenty of good reading material; I didn’t link to it at the time as I was still…

Neuroscientists at the University of Pittsburgh report that they have successfully trained monkeys to feed themselves using a robotic arm controlled by a brain-computer interface (BCI).  The study has been covered extensively in the media, and I’ve written quite a lot about these devices in the past, so, rather than elaborate on it here, I’ll…

New research shows that a protein found in green algae can partially restore visual function when delivered into the retina of blind mice, taking us one step further towards genetic therapy for various conditions in which the degeneration of retinal cells leads to imapired vision or complete blindness.

Cocaine toothache drops

From this online gallery of modern and vintage psychiatric drug adverts. COCAINE TOOTHACHE DROPS Instantaneous Cure! Price 15 Cents. Prepared by the Lloyd Manufacturing Co. 219 Hudson Ave., Albany, N.Y. For sale by all Druggists. (Registered March 1885.) Cocaine is the new anaesthetic now used so extensively throughout Europe and this country by Physicians, Surgeons…

10 optical illusions in 2 minutes

This clever 2-minute film was produced by the Korean electronics firm Samsung, as part of their promotion for a new product called the SOUL mobile phone.

The enchanted loom

Here’s a beautiful quote by the great neurophysiologist Sir Charles Sherrington (1857-1952), from his 1941 book Man on His Nature: Swiftly the brain becomes an enchanted loom where millions of flashing shuttles weave a dissolving pattern, always a meaningful pattern though never an abiding one; a shifting harmony of sub-patterns. Sherrington made a significant contribution…

Unusual penetrating brain injuries

Via Street Anatomy comes this recent case report from Acta Neurochirurgica, of a man who had a paintbrush stuck into his brain – bristly end first – during a fight, but didn’t realize until 6 hours later, when he went to hospital complaining of a headache! Even more remarkably, any brain damage that may have…

The WBUR/NPR programme On Point has a very interesting interview with Jill Price (right), a 42-year-old woman from Los Angeles who has a “non-stop, uncontrollable and automatic” episodic memory. Known in the scientific literature as A.J., Price is the first documented case of hyperthymestic syndrome, a condition in which autobiographical memories cannot be forgotten. Consequently,…

Four representations of Phineas Gage, from Macmillan, M. (2006). Restoring Phineas Gage: A 150th Retrospective. J. Hist. Neurosci. 9: 46-66. [Abstract] Here’s some more neurohistory from the Beeb: following on from last week’s episode of In Our Time, which featured a discussion about the history of the brain, is the BBC Radio 4 series Case…