Neurophilosophy

Archives for July, 2008

Ben Goldacre at ESOF2008

If you’re at all familiar with Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science blog and Guardian column, you’ll have some idea of what his talk was about – debunking nutritionists, the multi-billion dollar industry nutritional supplement industry they have built, and the overblown claims about the benefits of various food products. Title: Food, Fads & Fantasies Abstract: We…

Casa Batllo

Antoni Gaudi’s masterpiece of modern architecture is like something from a fairytale.

The keynote Speaker for the Human Mind and Behaviour theme is Pierre Magistretti of the Brain-Mind Institute at Ecole Polytechnique Federal de Lausanne in Switzerland. Title: Looking Inside Your Brain Abstract: Prof. Magistretti will outline current brain-imaging technology and explore the ethical and societal implications of how, in addition to conventional medical diagnostic applications, it…

Hola from Barcelona

I landed in Barcelona at around 10am local time, and, after checking in to my hotel, made my way towards Placa d’Espanya to find the conference hall. This magnificent building – an art gallery I think – is right next to the venue at which ESOF2008 is being held. I’m sitting in one of the…

Plastinated haemorrhaged brain

This image comes from Marc Steinmetz’s photoessay about plastination, the tissue preservation technique invented by the controversial German anatomist Gunther von Hagens. Plastination involves replacing the water and fats in the tissues with silicon or some other polymer. The specimen is first fixed in alcohol, then dehydrated, impregnated with the polymer and finally allowed to…

In the January 4th, 1961 episode of One Step Beyond, director and presenter John Newland ingests psilocybin under laboratory conditions, to investigate whether or not the hallucinogenic mushroom can enhance his abilities of extra-sensory perception. The programme was apparently inspired by a 1959 book called The Sacred Mushroom, by parapsychologist Andrija Puharich, who is known…

Sleep loss & false memories

It is well established that certain types of memory are consolidated during sleep. Now Nature News reports on findings presented at the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies Forum in Geneva last weekend, which suggest that sleep loss can lead to the formation of false memories: Susanne Diekelmann in Jan Born‘s lab at the University of…

This three-dimensional reconstruction of an amyloid fibril (found at Discover) was created by Nikolaus Grigorieff and his colleagues at Brandeis University, by computer processing of a transmission electron cryomicroscopy image. It is the most detailed image yet of the abnormally folded protein which accumulates to form the senile plaques that are a pathological hallmark of…

ESOF2008, Barcelona, July 18-22

This coming Friday is my 34th birthday, and the lovely people from ScienceBlogs/ Seed Media Group have given me a fantastic present: they’re sending me on an all expenses paid long weekend to Barcelona to cover ESOF2008. The mission of the Euroscience Open Forum (ESOF) is to provide both the European and the international science…

Return of the infrared Alzheimer’s helmet

Back in January, the Daily Mail reported on “the helmet that could turn back the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.” The device is pictured above, held by its inventor, a British GP called Gordon Dougal. It consists of 700 light-emitting diodes which transmit near-infrared light into the brain and can, according to Dougal, stimulate hippocampal neurogenesis, and…