Olympic Gold for Brainwave Performance

Whether or not a competitor stands on the podium wearing an Olympic metal can depend on a thousandth of a second difference in finishing time.  Greater physical performance may not be what separate winners from losers when the margin is that close.  Instead, it can be something beyond the competitor’s will–brainwaves.

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Posted in by Douglas Fields, Movement, Neural Network Function, Press, Sensing, Thinking & Behaving
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Tracking Dinosaur Intelligence: What Fossil Footprints Reveal about the Dinosaur’s Brain

             Displaying the sleuthing skills of Sherlock Holmes, Jerry Harris carefully tracks the footprints to a point where they disintegrate into a muddle of scratches.  He vividly deduces what transpired here. “Came up out of Lake Dixie,” Harris says, pointing to prints leading up the slope.   “Sat down on the side of the berm . . . sat down in such a way that it rested both its hands and feet.” Continue reading

Posted in Animal Research, by Douglas Fields, Evolution, Movement, Sensing, Thinking & Behaving
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Humpback whale

Big Brains/Little Brain: Whale Brains Provide Clues to Cognition

A fascinating report on NPR by science correspondent Jonathan Hamilton yesterday (March 16, 2015) tells the story of Jonathan Keleher, a rare individual born with a major portion of his brain missing:  the cerebellum.  The name in Latin means “little brain,” because the cerebellum sits separately from the rest of the brain looking something like a woman’s hair bun. Neuroscientists have long understood that the cerebellum is important for controlling bodily movements, by making them more fluid and coordinated, but researchers have also long appreciated that cerebellum does much more.  Exactly what these other functions are, have always been a bit mysterious.

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Posted in Animal Research, by Douglas Fields, Evolution, Learning and Memory, Mood, Movement, Movement Disorders, Neuroanatomy, Senses and Perception
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The gauntlet has been thrown

On the second day of classes, I polled my students to find out how many had taken the #ALSIceBucketChallenge. About half of them raised their hands; the other half looking on either smugly (they hadn’t done it…yet) or embarrassed (they had done it, but they didn’t want to admit it).

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Posted in Aging, by Leanne Boucher, Caregivers, Cell Communication, Degenerative Disorders, Movement, Movement Disorders, Neural Network Function, Neuroanatomy
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The rhythm of lobster season

Today is the second and last day of “mini-season” here in South Florida. That is, the last Wednesday and Thursday of July where Florida lobsters are available for the taking by non-commercial lobster hunters. I grew up in New England and I love me some huge (i.e. 2-3 lb) Maine lobsters, but since establishing some roots down here in sunny Florida, I’ve grown to like the smaller, but still sweet tasting cockroaches of the sea. Continue reading

Posted in About Neuroscience, Animal Research, by Leanne Boucher, Cell Communication, Chemicals, Diet and Exercise, Diseases & Disorders, Movement, Neural Network Function, Neuroanatomy, Technologies
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