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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“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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To Flee or Freeze? Neural Circuits of Threat Detection Identified

Suddenly something streaks into your peripheral vision.  Instantly, you jump back and raise your arms defensively.  “What was that!” You exclaim in shock.   Only then do you realize that the blurred streak you just dodged was a wayward basketball zinging like a missile on a collision course for your face.  A rush of adrenaline flushes through your blood setting your heart pounding and muscles twitching, but there is nothing left to do.  Your brain’s rapid response defense system has already detected the threat and avoided it before your conscious mind is even engaged.  How is that possible, scientist, Peng Cao and colleagues of the Chinese Academy of Sciences wondered?

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Posted in Animal Research, Awareness and Attention, by Douglas Fields, Cell Communication, Neuroanatomy, Psychiatric Disorders, Senses and Perception, Stress and Anxiety, Uncategorized
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Snakes on the Brain

After repeated encounters with a friendly rattlesnake last week I have snakes on the brain.  Serpents are a storehouse of fascinating neuroscience.  Infrared vision, venom, fast-twitch muscles to energize its “warning buzzer,” and more… Continue reading

Posted in About Neuroscience, Animal Research, by Douglas Fields, Cell Communication, Evolution, Neuroanatomy, Senses and Perception, Uncategorized
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Left-wing brain, right-wing brain

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

Posted in About Neuroscience, Authors, Brain Basics, by Jean-Francois Gariepy, In Society, Neural Network Function, Neuroanatomy, Neuroeconomics, Technologies
Posted by Jean-François Gariépy        2 Comments