No Fear

In an interesting article in the magazine Nautilus, J.B. MacKinnon, reports that a brain scan (fMRI) of free solo climber, Alex Honnold’s brain explains why he is so willing to risk his life to climb rocks without a rope.  The fear circuitry in his brain is dysfunctional.

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Posted in Awareness and Attention, by Douglas Fields, Neural Network Function, Neuroanatomy, Neuroethics, Psychiatric Disorders, Senses and Perception, Stress and Anxiety
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Listening with Light:  Deaf Can Hear Using Lasers

Cochlear implants have restored hearing to thousands of deaf people, but what about when deafness is caused by a damaged cochlea or nonfunctional auditory nerve?  A possible solution is to bypass the cochlea and stimulate the brain directly.  Scientists are developing a new technology that uses laser light instead of electricity to stimulate brain cells to restore hearing.

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Posted in Animal Research, by Douglas Fields, Neural Network Function, Senses and Perception, Uncategorized
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The Taste of Thanksgiving

I took a sip of sugary Coke and was struck by a hideous intense blast of aluminum.  I rushed to the sink and spit out the tainted drink.  Poison!  What’s wrong with this Coke!  I took another tentative sip.  I was slammed again by the overwhelming metallic taste.  I spat out the poison by rapid reflex.  This can of Coke must have been contaminated during manufacturing!  Or, had the likes of the Tylenol Killer switched to soft drinks?  Then I remembered. . .  the taste of Thanksgiving and mountain climbing!

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Posted in Aging, Brain Development, by Douglas Fields, Chemicals, Diet and Exercise, Diseases & Disorders, Mood, Neuroanatomy, Senses and Perception, Sensing, Thinking & Behaving
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“You Don’t Have Time to Think.” Heroic Veteran Capt. Florent Groberg’s Selfless Action

 

Today it was announced that Army Capt. Florent Groberg will receive the Medal of Honor for instantly tackling a suicide bomber in a split-second reaction of self-sacrifice to save the lives of his comrades.  “You don’t have time to think.  You react,” he explains.  But how is that possible?

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Posted in Awareness and Attention, by Douglas Fields, In Society, Neural Network Function, Neuroanatomy, Senses and Perception, Sensing, Thinking & Behaving, Stress and Anxiety, Uncategorized
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Why No One Helped

On Saturday, July 4, 2015, a horrifying bloodbath erupted before the eyes of passengers on the Red Line Metro subway train heading to Fourth of July festivities in Washington, DC. Wide-spread criticism in the press and social media erupted over the “apathetic” response of onlookers who reportedly said or did nothing to help the victim. But from the perspective of brain science, this scornful criticism is misguided.

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Posted in Awareness and Attention, by Douglas Fields, Evolution, Mood, Neural Network Function, Neuroanatomy, Psychiatric Disorders, Senses and Perception, Stress and Anxiety
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