A Manhattan Project to Map the Brain?

When anyone wants to support science, I’m in. These are trying times, when the scientific enterprise is facing severe cuts as budget sequestration looms, creating even more uncertainty and angst among research institutions – not to mention young scientists who might be questioning whether they want to enter a career with such a high level of risk. Continue reading

Posted in About Neuroscience, Addiction, by Dwayne Godwin, Cancer, Childhood Disorders, Degenerative Disorders, Diseases & Disorders, Educators, Epilepsy, Policymakers, Press, Technologies
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Human brain anatomy

Can brain functions be computed?

People are getting excited this month on the more-than-century-old debate about whether or not the brain is computable – whether we could make a computer or machine that simulates it. The recent debates were partly caused by the book published by Ray Kurzweil, How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed. Oppositions to the claims and contents of the book have been published by major scientists. One text by Christof Koch in Science1 covers very well the naive and misinformed aspects of this book concerning its statements on biology and intelligence and I will not go further into pinpointing the issues. Christof Koch also provides an accurate view of how complex the question is and how far we are from understanding any brain – let alone the human brain – to program it into a computer. Continue reading

Posted in Authors, Brain Basics, by Jean-Francois Gariepy, Cell Communication, Evolution, In Society, Language, Learning and Memory, Movement, Neural Network Function, Neuroanatomy, Neuroethics, Sensing, Thinking & Behaving
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Learning of structure in a sequence of events.

How our brain makes up stories.

Think about the last time you reported a sequence of events to someone. It probably was in the form of a story with some events, your reactions, and some outcomes. It remains to be determined how events within a story are represented by the brain. We know from empirical research that people are able to report things as a stream in time – event A led to event B, which led to event C. We tend to focus on rare events – the most surprising and informative ones. Continue reading

Posted in Authors, Brain Basics, by Jean-Francois Gariepy, Learning and Memory, Neural Network Function, Sensing, Thinking & Behaving
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The Pregnant Homunculus

One of the hazards associated with being a neuroscientist is that propecia you see the world through neural-colored glasses: everything relates back to brain functioning in some way or another. I suppose this can probably be said about clomid online any number of professions, and I may be biased, but I think neuro-geeks (myself included) have a particularly interesting view of the world. Let me give you an example. Continue reading

Posted in by Leanne Boucher, Neuroanatomy, Pregnancy and Parenting, Senses and Perception, Sensing, Thinking & Behaving
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Eurasian Jay from England

Jays adjust the food they share to partner’s preferences.

Cooperation between individuals is a rather common observation in the animal kingdom. Cooperation is likely favored by evolutionary pressures that provide an advantage to the cooperating partners. Love birds, for instance, regurgitate food to feed their partner. Bats have a similar behavior. One of the questions that psychologists and ethologists have been wondering about is whether the brain represents the preferences of others when performing these behaviors. The question has been framed as whether or not non-human animals have a theory of mind – whether they have neural circuits that represent the preferences, motivations, or goals of the other individual. Continue reading

Posted in Authors, Awareness and Attention, Brain Basics, by Jean-Francois Gariepy, Evolution, Learning and Memory, Sensing, Thinking & Behaving
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Ctenophore

Did the nervous system evolve twice?

There is a news article in Science about a talk made at the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology by Leonid Moroz in which he reports results concerning the genome of a Ctenophore, commonly called comb jelly1. Here is one of those beasts. Continue reading

Posted in Authors, Brain Basics, by Jean-Francois Gariepy, Evolution, Genetics, Neuroanatomy
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