Monthly Archives: July 2006

Treating cluster headaches with LSD and psilocybin

Neurology has an interesting report on the use of low doses of the hallucinogenic drugs LSD and psilocybin to treat cluster headaches. Cluster headaches are incredibly painful and tend to occur frequently, making them particularly distressing for sufferers. There were anecdotal reports that LSD and psilocybin (the main active ingredient in ‘magic mushrooms’) helped relieve […]

Blind boy uses echolocation to ‘see’ world

I’m a bit skeptical about this story, but I’m not sure whether it’s just because it’s on AOL’s news service (not known for their cutting edge journalism) or whether it’s because it has a cutesy video of the boy ‘connecting’ with dolphins. If accurate though, it’s quite an amazing talent. Completely blind since the age […]

Directing dreams with sky orchestras

Artist Luke Jerram is working with sleep scientists to create a device that could direct the content of dreams. Jerram is working with psychologists Drs Chris Alford and Jennie Parker to create and test a machine that uses sound in an effort to shape the individual dreamer’s experience. It was inspired by Sky Orchestra, another […]

Speed, Ecstasy, Ritalin

While wandering through a bookshop the other day I picked up a new book by pharmacologist Professor Leslie Iversen called Speed, Ecstasy, Ritalin: The Science of Amphetamines and have been thoroughly hooked [insert your own joke here] ever since. It covers the history, chemistry, culture, safety and neuropsychology of a huge range of amphetamines and […]

Encephalon #2 arrives

The second issue of neuroscience blog carnival Encephalon has just been published on Pure Pedantry. Head over for long list of new neuroscience writing. My favourite is from the Neurophilosopher’s Blog and is an article on the first example of neurosurgery literature – a papyrus from Ancient Egypt discussing the outcomes of 48 brain surgery […]

Why do we dream?

There’s a short article from this month’s Scientific American available online where sleep specialist Professor Ernest Hartmann attempts to answer the question “Why do we dream?”. Hartmann is a psychiatrist and the director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Newton Wellesley Hospital in Boston, but notes that the exact function of dreaming is still largely […]

Switching, lapsing and gaming

There’s been a series of particularly good articles over at cognitive science blog Developing Intelligence recently – analysing everything from the cognitive neuroscience of task switching to evidence that video games might improve brain function. Another particularly helpful article has been a comprehensive round-up of commentary on Paul Bloom’s article for Seed Magazine that argued […]

Are you a miserable ovoid creature?

Omni Brain has found an hilarious spoof drug advert in the form of a marketing campaign for the fictional medication Proloxil. Spoofing drugs and drug companies has now become a minor pastime on the internet, with a number of cutting satires available online. The Onion has a brilliant news story ‘reporting’ on the launch of […]

How common is autism?

Research has been published in today’s Lancet on the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) in the population of UK children, suggesting that these disorders are more common than previously thought. The paper reported that the prevalence of ASDs in the population is 116¬∑1 per 10,000 of the population – meaning just over 1% of […]

2006-07-14 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: Washington Post discusses the prejudices associated with elderly mental illness. The neuroscience of playing chicken is analysed on Mixing Memory. Time Magazine has an in-depth article on the ‘New Science of Siblings‘ looking at the genetic influences on thought and behaviour. Neurophilosophy blog discusses […]

The dangers of sleep

Sleep, it seems, is a dangerous pastime. The less sleep you get, the greater your chances of becoming obese; the more sleep you get, the greater your chances of developing Parkinson’s disease. Enough to give you sleepless nights, really.

Luria archive sheds light on ‘father of neuropsychology’

The University of California, San Diego have created an extensive online archive of material related to the pioneering Russian neuropsychologist A.R. Luria, who is often considered the ‘father’ of the modern neuropsychology. Like another famous neuroscientist, Eric Kandel, he originally intended to look for a scientific basis for Freudian concepts of the mind. As time […]

What a wiki is good for

Matt and I researched and co-wrote Mind Hacks using a wiki (MoinMoin). The wiki was just right for what we were doing – a brief, intense project with lots of information which needed efficient sharing and storing. Our use of the wiki was as part of the process, rather than aiming to produce a public, […]

Coma – the comedy

Nigel Smith is a respected British comedy writer whose new show Vent has just hit BBC Radio 4. It is based around his experiences of suffering a demyelinating brain stem lesion and falling into a serious coma. Luckily, Smith has recovered, although still has difficulties with many everyday activities, but has managed to write a […]

Brain-Computer Interfaces

In this week’s edition of the journal Nature my colleagues and I at Brown and Cyberkinetics present more results from the first human implanted with a multi-electrode array-based direct-brain-computer interface, and also my colleagues at Stanford present a report on experiments exploring the maximum bit rate possible with such direct interfaces. Nature has provided a […]

A visual history of pharmaceutical drug ads

There’s a wonderful collection of borderline-psychedelic drug adverts taken from the Spanish magazine Cl√≠nica Rural during the 1960s. There’s now quite a collection of drug adverts on the net, giving an interesting historical and cultural insight into how mind altering medication has been pitched to consumers over the years. The Japanese Gallery of Psychiatric Art […]


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