Bob Muller, close friend and collaborator, died two weeks ago. I met Bob in the early 1980s. I was a post-doc, learning to record from single neurons in Jim Ranck’s lab at Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn. Bob was a young faculty member who worked down the hall. Although Bob was doing esoteric work, studying the physics of single channels in membranes, his early graduate work had been in brain-behavior relations and he wanted to return to the study of behavior. Continue reading
Carl Zimmer has written a brief and engaging essay on The Science of Moby Dick. Zimmer considers Melville a 19th century naturalist. It’s fascinating to read literature from this perspective. In the 19th century there was not a great divide between science and literature; each enriched the other.
Taking cues from Carl, let’s examine the Neuroscience from the great whaling novel, written in 1851, about 50 years age before the dawn of modern Neuroscience. From simple observations of sperm whale anatomy Melville ponders the visual and mental process in men and whales. A long quote from chapter 74, the Sperm Whale’s Head, reveals Melville’s insights and mode of thinking: Continue reading
I’ve been reflecting on issues of Personal Identity; last month I wrote a blog post on this. On Saturday evening I rented Memento (2000) and watched for the second and third times. This remarkable film features adventure, mystery, human drama, and fascinating movie technique. Over-riding all of these is the portrayal of memory and the mind. Although I’ve been studying memory for 30 years, Memento gave fresh perspectives. If the role of art is to present fresh insights by sharing the thoughts of others, Momento is true and impressive art.
There is a fascinating report in the levitra dosage and side effects Journal “Current Biology” that patient’s with “locked in syndrome” online cialis can communicate by pharmacy week controlling the size of their pupils. This raises a number of questions:
- What is “locked in syndrome”? What can these patients do and not do?
- What parts of the brain are necessary for consciousness and how are they affected by the locked in syndrome.
- What are the mechanisms for brain control over the muscles that control pupil size and other muscles?
- Is there conscious control online levitra over the Autonomic Nervous System?
- Is there a relation to “biofeedback”? What is biofeedback?
- What pathway from the cerebral http://viagra-genericon-online.com/ hemispheres to the ANS could be responsible for conscious control of pupillary dilation?
Grid Cells in rat entorhinal cortex were discovered in the Moser lab in Trondheim, Norway. These cells were first described in a paper in Nature 20051; For the past 8 years these neurons have been objects of intense study. As the New York Times reports, a paper published yesterday in Nature Neuroscience2 indicates rats aren’t the only animals with grid cells; people have them, too. What are grid cells and what is the significance of recording them in humans?
The Hollow Face Illusion is spooky. The photo is of a flat sheet of plastic with a facial mask pushed in one side. In this case it’s the face of Albert Einstein*. It’s not surprising that when illuminated, the shadows give a perception of Einstein’s face. The spooky part is that the photo was taken with the face pointing away from the camera — It’s as if we are looking at the face from inside the head. But for most of us, it looks as if the face is pointing towards you; that is, the nose is closer to the camera than the rest of the face. Actually, the nose is is furthest away. Continue reading