Medicine & Health

Neurophilosophy

Category archives for Medicine & Health

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…

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…

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…

Brain and nerve food

Dave Bonta has found this advertisement, which appeared on the back cover of an anthology of English poetry published in 1884 by Funk & Wagnalls: BRAIN AND NERVE FOOD VITALIZED PHOS-PHITES COMPOSED OF THE Nerve-Giving Principles of the Ox-Brain and Wheat-Germ. It restores the energy lost by Nervousness or Indigestion; relieves Lassitude and Neuralgia; refreshes…

A new study, published today in the open access journal PLoS One, provides evidence that remaining mentally active throughout life reduces the rate of age-related neurodegeneration and may therefore stave off Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia.

C19th Japanese anatomical scrolls

The Kaibo Zonshinzu is a beautiful collection of 83 anatomical illustrations on two scrolls, by a doctor named Yasukazu Minagaki from the Kyoto area. Painted in 1819, they are based on the observations he made during his dissections of more than 40 executed criminals. Minagaki adopted the style of illustrators such as Johann Adam Kulmus.…

Not-so-foreign accent syndrome

Foreign accent syndrome (FAS) is a neurological condition that is acquired following a stroke or some other form of brain injury. It occurs as a result of damage to the brain’s speech motor centres, so that syllables are mispronounced, making one sound as if they are speaking their native language in a foreign accent. FAS…

During a cerebrovascular accident (or stroke), the blood supply to part of the brain is interrupted. This is often caused by a blood clot which blocks an artery that carries blood to the brain. Consequently, neurons in the affected region of the brain die because they are deprived of oxygen. Stroke has several characteristic symptoms:…

Submit your questions for Heather Perry

I was recently contacted by Heather Perry, one of the few people in the world who has performed self-trepanation. Ms. Perry has kindly agreed to let me interview her, so I’ll be traveling to Gloucestershire later this month to meet her, ask her some questions about the experience, and perhaps take a few photographs. If…

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.…