Neurophilosophy

Archives for May, 2008

Rabid brain circuits

The brain is an organ of staggering complexity, consisting of hundreds of billions of cells (and tens of thousands of different cell types) which form millions of specialized circuits that are organized into thousands of discrete areas. Neuroscientists have a number of methods for investigating brain circuitry and the connectivity of neurons within circuits. One…

Four years ago this week, leading neuroscientists and psychologists convened at Columbia University for the Brain and Mind Symposium, “to discuss the accomplishments and limitations of reductionist and holistic approaches to examining the nervous system and mental functions”. Speakers included the Nobel Prize-winning neuroscientist Eric Kandel, developmental neurobiologist Thomas Jessell, who heads Columbia’s new neuroscience…

Prehistoric Inca neurosurgery

The procedure known as trepanation, in which a hole is scraped or drilled in the skull, is an ancient form of neurosurgery that has been performed since the late Stone Age. Exactly why ancient peoples performed trepanation has remained a matter of debate: some researchers argue that it was performed for medical reasons, as it…

Michael L. Anderson emailed to inform me about this forthcoming event: Announcing the 34th annual meeting of the Society for Philosophy and Psychology June 26-29, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA Registration is now open; deadline Thursday, June 5 — 12:00pm EST Note that early registration is suggested, as the reserved hotel block is likely to…

A history of ideas about the brain

In Thursday’s episode of the BBC Radio 4 programme  In Our Time, presenter Melvyn Bragg was joined by Vivian Nutton, Jonathan Sawday and Marina Wallace (professors of the history of medicine, English and art, respectively) for a fascinating discussion about the history of the brain. The 45-minute programme, which can be downloaded as a RealPlayer…

UCL launches neuroscience website

This beautiful two-photon microscopy image, by Alanna Watt and Michael Hausser, shows a network of Purkinje cells in the cerebellar cortex. Named after the Czech anatomist who discovered them, Purkinje cells are the largest cells in the mammalian brain. They have a planar structure with a highly elaborate dendritic tree which forms hundreds of thousands…