Archives for June, 2008

MRI: What is it good for?

We are being constantly bombarded with news stories containing pretty pictures of the brain, with headings such as “Brain’s adventure centre located“. Journalists now seem to refer routinely to functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) as “mind reading”, and exaggerated claims about its powers abound, as do misleading, irresponsible and downright ridiculous stories about the technology.…

Nintendo Wii as it might look in 2010

Technology pundits speculate that mind control is the future of gaming. They envision that the movements of computer game characters will be controlled not with joysticks but with non-invasive brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) which monitor the brain’s electrical activity and transmit the signals to the games console. Although scientists are concerned about the non-therapeutic use of…


Nature News has an interesting article by Philip Ball about a dancing cockatoo named Snowball: Aniruddh Patel of the Neurosciences Institute in La Jolla, California, and his colleagues say that Snowball’s ability to shake his stuff is much more than a cute curiosity. It could shed light on the biological bases of rhythm perception, and…


Researchers from the Computational Neuroimaging Laboratory at New York University recently carried out a study of the effects of films on viewers’ brains. Hasson et al scanned the brains of 45 participants whilst they watched scenes from a number of films and television programmes. Not surprisingly, they found that all the scenes activated numerous and…

The neuroscience of itching

The forthcoming issue of The New Yorker contains a fantastic article by surgeon and writer Atul Gawande about the neurobiology of itching. The article begins with the extraordinary case of a patient known as M., whose itch, which occurred following an episode of shingles, became so unbearable that one morning she awoke to find that…

The X-ray photographer

Common cockles, by Nick Veasey, who “uses x-ray technology to create mesmerizing and intriguing art”.

General anaesthetics activate a heat-sensitive protein found in pain pathways and may exacerbate post-operative pain, according to a new study published online yesterday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

El increible caso de Phineas Gage

The incredible case of Phineas Gage has now been translated into Spanish.

New neuro blogs

Here are some more new members of the ever-growing online neuroscience community: The Brain and the Sky Illusion Sciences N-Cog-Neato! Neurophilia Neurotonics

5 amazing feats of animal intelligence

In recent years, researchers have found that a wide variety of animal species, many of the cognitive skills that were once thought to be unique to humans. These findings show that we have grossly underestimated the intelligence of other animals, and that we are not as different from them as we like to think we…