I can still vividly recall the head of my Perception professor in college blowing up right in front of the class. Don’t worry – this wasn’t a literal blowing up, but rather a perceptual blowing up and it opened my eyes up to the Scientific Study of Perceptual Illusions. Continue reading
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a devastating neurological disease where the protective layer around nerves begins to die off, attacked by the body’s own immune system. Without this insulation, the nervous system begins to shut down. Eventually, many people with MS lose the ability to move, speak and control basic bodily functions. Patients usually get their diagnosis in the prime of life and there is nothing to be done besides taking drugs that will postpone the progression of symptoms. These treatments are associated with side effects that can be as debilitating as the disease itself and they are hugely expensive. So, in 2006 when an Italian physician, Dr Paolo Zamboni, announced a simple method for treating MS, it received international attention. Continue reading
Beyond the Brain, David Brooks’ op ed in today’s NY Times (June 18), argues that Neuroscience will never explain everything. According to Brooks
The brain is not the mind. It is probably impossible to look at a map of brain activity and predict or even understand the emotions, reactions, hopes and desires of the mind.
While his conclusion may, or may not, be correct, his argument is flawed from top to bottom.
Sunday’s NY Times has a fascinating article by Jeré Longman
The point of the article was that golfers, unlike other athletes, appear to have remarkable memories for athletic experiences. To quote from the article:
Like elephants, they seem to forget nothing. Their minds appear stocked like their bags — tee shots and 3-irons and wedges and putts stored from tournaments played weeks or years ago, able to be summoned for better or for worse. Continue reading
Pain and the avoidance behaviors it induces are important survival tools for animals, keeping them away from situations that threaten their safety. When we hurt ourselves and feel pain, it is due to nociceptors, which are nerves located throughout our body, for instance in our skin or the surface of our eyes. Nociceptors can be activated mechanically (for instance when a part of skin is cut) and by hot or cold temperatures. They can also be activated by some chemicals, and you might have already experienced it if you ate a meal with chili peppers. Continue reading
The financial and political torrent now undermining the foundation of scientific research creates a unique calamity for scientists in training, which will have profound and long-lasting consequences for society. See Huffington Post Science: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-douglas-fields/the-collapse-of-science-n_b_3416953.html