Tag Archives: Neuroscience

Posts related to the structure and function of the brain.

Wednesday Links

Wednesday Links

Sorry for the paucity of links this week, but I have been spending a significant portion of my days either sleeping or wandering about wishing I were asleep. This should keep you busy for a little while, though.

Carl Zimmer explains what’s up with the wrinkly brains.

Theory of Mind describes our ability to understand the emotions and thoughts of others by relating them to our own. Rebecca Saxe is using fMRI to study how it develops.

The Human Brain Map Project proposed by President Obama sounds really cool, but some scientists have what sound like legitimate gripes about it.

Jon Stewart interviewed Steven Brill about his Time Magazine Article, Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us, and didn’t ask him too many tough questions about his information. However, Matthew Iglesias did in Slate, and David Dobbs agreed and added a story of his own as illustration on Wired. (H/T to Miss Cellania)

Gorillas playing in leaves!!

Antidepressants – A Primer

Antidepressants – A Primer

Antidepressants have come a long way. Our understanding of the biological and neurological bases for depression has expanded vastly, and the number of treatment options have increased and improved so that they can be better targeted towards individual symptoms. Public knowledge has not kept pace; thanks to poor science education and journalism and the dissemination of false information by special interests, people understand much less about depression and its treatment than they should.

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The Actual Science of Neuroplasticity!

The Actual Science of Neuroplasticity!

leftbrainrightbrain

So I’m watching something on TV, I don’t remember what, because I don’t do a lot of it, and pretty much every commercial break there’s an ad for Lumosity – “using the science of neuroplasticity!” This drives me nuts, because not only does it not work (more on that later) but it promulgates a failed understanding of what neuroplasticity is and what are its potentials and limitations.

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Brain Function, Brain Anatomy Linky Goodness!

Brain Function, Brain Anatomy Linky Goodness!

Do you want to understand the structure and function of your brain? Are you curious about how brain anatomy affects behavior and thinking? I have some good sites for you!

brain diagram

If you have to start somewhere, this site, The Brain from Top to Bottom is a great place. Not only is it indexed based on brain function, but you can select from three levels of understanding, based on your current knowledge of brain anatomy and functions.

UNDERSTANDING HOW THE BRAIN WORKS Written by Glen Johnson, a Clinical Neuropsychologist, this is a pretty understandable general overview.

MyBrainNotes™.com was written by Sarah-Neena Koch as a way to understand the structures of the brain and brain functions for a novel she was writing. The end result is pretty impressive – it’s pretty comprehensive while also being comprehensible. You should be able to understand it, and there are lots of embedded links.

Chapter Two of “Psychology, an Introduction” by Russ Dewey: The Human Nervous System has some description of brain anatomy and functions, and also covers certain deficiencies that result from brain injuries or hereditary differences. Again, more basic, because it’s not written for neurologists.

Patrick McCaffrey has an online syllabus and course supplements for a class on Neuroanatomy of Speech, Swallowing and Language and an equally informative set of pages on Neuropathologies of Language and Cognition


Anatomy of the Brain
from The Mayfield Clinic is designed for patient education, and has illustrations to make the information more understandable.

Keith A. Johnson, M.D. and J. Alex Becker, Ph.D. from Harvard compiled The Whole Brain Atlas which takes a more neuroanatomical view with a focus on specific injuries and diseases.

The Allen Brain Atlas is “A growing collection of online public resources integrating extensive gene expression and neuroanatomical data, complete with a novel suite of search and viewing tools.”

“Welcome to Neuroscience Online, the Open-Access Neuroscience Electronic Textbook! This online, interactive courseware for the study of neuroscience is provided by the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston.”

Amino Acid Supplements – Do They Work?

Amino Acid Supplements – Do They Work?

Supplements
Well, if you’re taking them for a deficiency in your diet, then yeah. But if you’re taking them for your brain, then no. Really, no. Despite what claims are made by sites that tell you the benefit of “natural amino acid supplements” or “organic amino acid supplements,” you need to keep in mind that these sites are also selling amino acid supplements. They are not selling them to you for dietary deficiencies, they are selling them as “natural supplements for depression.”

Amino acid supplements do not work the way their purveyors say they do. Oh, yeah, they’ll cite scientific studies, sometimes even link to those studies, but they’re counting on a few things. . .First, you probably won’t check the actual studies to see what they say. Second, you probably don’t have access to the full text of the study, and the abstract is more like a press release than an accurate summation of results. Third, even if you can get more information about the study, you probably won’t understand the methodology – and that’s crucial to understanding whether the results have any relevance whatsoever to what the supplement pusher is telling you.

Let me explain. . .
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My Brain, Part 5 – Post Surgery, November

My Brain, Part 5 – Post Surgery, November

I noticed some dramatic changes in November, but nothing miraculous. I was beginning to realize that one of the reasons I hadn’t been able to find medications that worked for my symptoms was that my symptoms were not being caused by my ADHD or Depression. In fact, the tumor had actually been suppressing some of the symptoms, and bit by bit they were coming back with a vengeance.

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My Brain, Part 4 – The Ugly Pictures.

My Brain, Part 4 – The Ugly Pictures.

For reasons I don’t think I have to mention, the pictures below the fold are not for the squeamish. I asked the doctor to take pictures in the operating room, because I wanted to see the scope of this thing. It was pretty darned impressive. What is now there in place of the bone is a molded surgical plastic. There was some invasion of the dura, but because of the compression, there were too many veins and arteries on the surface to take the chance of removing it. Since this cancer is benign and slow-growing, the surgeon opted to leave it, and we’ll just follow it with regular MRIs. At some point I may need further surgery or radiation treatments, but there’s also a good chance I won’t have to do anything.

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My Brain, Part 2

My Brain, Part 2

This is a continuation of my progress from diagnosis to the day before surgery, and this one contains dates. There is also a link at the beginning to a zipfile of my MRIs, so if you’re interested in seeing what they look like and trying to figure out the connection between the areas of compression and the symptoms I listed, go ahead and download.
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