Neurophilosophy

Archives for August, 2008

Top 100 Mental Health & Psychology blogs

This blog is included in a list of Top 100 Mental Health and Psychology Blogs, compiled by a site called Online University Reviews. The list is divided into a number of categories – general, cognitive and forensic psychology, psychiatry, neuroscience, addiction, anxiety, autism, bipolar disorder and depression. Many of the sites listed are already on…

How Elsevier politicized the life sciences

You may have read elsewhere that publishing giant Reed Elsevier has been caught copying Mike Dunford’s content without permission (and copyrighting it as their own!), which is extremely hypocritical from a company that opposes the open access movement and makes huge profits from restricting access to scientific data. I”m not going to discuss the matter…

“I eat you”: A cannibal greeting

Here’s a nice follow-up to my article about prion diseases. It’s an excerpt from Deadly Feasts: The “Prion” Controversy and the Public’s Health, by Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Richard Rhodes. The book documents the work of Daniel Carleton Gajdusek, the American physician who provided the first description of kuru. Gajdusek travelled to Papua New Guinea in…

Researchers from the Cybernetic Intelligence Research Group at the University of Reading have developed a robot whose movements are controlled by neurons growing in a culture dish. The robot’s “brain” consists of several hundred thousand neurons isolated from embryonic rat neocortex. The cortical tissue was first dissected out, then treated with enzymes which caused the…

The baller’s brain (and his pinky)

Participation in most sports requires agility, impeccable timing and the planning and execution of complex movements, so that actions such as catching a ball or throwing it into a hoop can be performed. Performing well at sports also requires anticipating and accurately predicting the movements of others. Athletes and sportspersons undergo years of specialized training…

National Library of Medicine / Hot Medical News This silent film clip shows several victims of a disease called kuru. They are – or rather were – members of the South Fore, a tribe of approximately 8,000 people who inhabit the Okapa subdistrict of the Eastern Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea. In the 1950s…

The eye tells the brain when to plasticize

The classic Nobel Prize-winning studies of David Hubel and Torsten Weisel showed how the proper maturation of the developing visual cortex is critically dependent upon visual information received from the eyes. In what would today be considered highly unethical experiments, Hubel and Weisel sewed shut one eye of newborn kittens. They found that this monocular…

The cognitive neuroscience of magic

In The Conjurer, by Hieronymus Bosch (above), a medieval European magician performs in front of a small crowd. As the spectators marvel at the conjurer’s tricks, their attention is diverted away from the pickpockets who steal their belongings. The painting illustrates well that magicians throughout the ages have had an understanding of attention and awareness,…

The use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs, or roadside bombs) has led to an increase in the numbers of troops sustaining traumatic brain injury during military service in Afghanistan and Iraq. Such injuries are caused by the high pressure shock waves generated by the explosions, which cause rapid head movements, such that the brain is…

Science Blogging conference update

The Science Blogging Conference will be held at the Royal Institution, 21 Albemarle Street, London W1S 4BS, on August 30th, 2008. According to the organizers, the event has now reached its attendance capacity, but if you’d like to be placed on the waiting list, send an email to network[at]nature.com, with the subject line ‘Science blogging…