In this episode, we talk about neural simulation, the relation between the mind and the brain, ion channels that make neurons excitable and neuroscience research in fly larvae. Participants are Erin McKiernan, Jean-François Gariépy, John Kubie, Leanne Boucher and Steven Miller. Continue reading
Are political preferences the product of our biology, our brain, or simply of the environment in which we are educated? In this series of articles cross-posted in French in the Québec version of the Huffington Post, I have a look at the studies that have explored these questions in recent years. Continue reading
On this episode we have Leanne Boucher from Nova Southeastern University and Nick Spitzer from UCSD. We discuss with Nick about his new discoveries recently published in Science. His article shows how certain neurons switch their neurotransmitters based on exposition of an animal to different schedules of light/dark cycles. You can view the full discussion here, it was fascinating! Continue reading
Non-linear dynamics are fascinating, if for no other reason than so many statistical models are linear, so testing for non-linearity often requires a more strong hypothetical foundation for understanding.
I’ll discuss these topics in rough order of my personal favorites.
Newborn infants can do lots of things. They can breathe, swallow, see, hear, startle, grasp, withdraw from noxious stimuli, taste, smell, cry and more. An experienced physician can elicit a broad range of behaviors. Perhaps surprisingly, the basic spinal circuitry for walking is present. If you take a neonate, support its weight, and put the feet on the ground, the infant will begin “stepping”; that is, take alternating steps, left-right-left, on the ground. How is this done? Does this suggest that an infant, with the right training, could walk?
Memory is our most prized human treasure. It defines our sense of self, and our ability to navigate the world. It defines our relationships with others – for good or ill – and is so important to survival that our gilled ancestors bear the secret of memory etched in their DNA. If you asked someone over 50 to name the things they most fear about getting older, losing one’s memory would be near the top of that list. There is so much worry over Alzheimer’s disease, the memory thief, that it is easy to forget that our modern understanding of memory is still quite young, less than one, very special lifespan.
Meet the Patient Zero of memory disorders, H.M.
You know what’s nuts? That we still don’t know the basics. Forget patch clamping thousands of neurons in vivo during awake behaviour. Simultaneously. In humans. In outer space. I just want to know exactly which other neurons my neuron is talking to. Not even. Which neurons is my neuron touching, intimately, in a putative synaptic contact sort of way? WHICH NEURONS MY NEURON DONE BEEN TOUCHING, YA DIG?? Continue reading