Monthly Archives: October 2006

Fading faces

Wired Magazine has an article on a curious condition known as prosopagnosia where affected individuals cannot recognise people by their faces, despite being able to recognise and distinguish everyday objects with little trouble. Until recently, it was thought that the condition only arose after brain injury – usually because of damage to an area of […]

How to be funny

There’s an interesting (and actually quite funny) article from The Telegraph on the psychology of humour, written by the comedians Jimmy Carr and Lucy Greeves. Rather than examining the research on the psychology of humour, it looks at how comedians view jokes and joke telling, relating it both to professional comedy and informal social jokes […]

Synapse 10 arrives

Issue 10 of psychology and neuroscience writing carnival The Synapse has just arrived on Neurocritic. This edition has a distinct Halloween theme with an article on the neuroscience of fear and disgust, and instructions on how to make a realistic edible brain (pictured on the right). Apart from the spookier articles, there’s also a collection […]

Why so many US psychiatric casualties in Iraq?

Two studies published this year have highlighted a stark difference in the level of psychiatric casualties between British and American troops involved in the Iraq war. A study in the Lancet reported that only four percent of British troops in Iraq reach criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – a trauma related mental illness. In […]

‘Dying to be thin’ special report on eating disorders

The cover story on yesterday’s The Independent on Sunday had a special report on eating disorders. The report is in several sections and covers the rising prevalence of eating disorders and the experience of people who have anorexia or bulimia. Two main reports describe the characteristics of common eating disorders and discuss the possible contributory […]

Mechanical brain sculptures

Neurofuture is back with a bang after a late-summer sabbatical and has alerted me to some wonderful mechanical brain sculptures by artist Lewis Tardy. Tardy has created a range of mechanical people and beasts all rendered as if they were powered by complex clockwork and hydraulics. Some of these include cut-away heads, such as the […]

Battle of ideas

Are we paralysed by risk aversion? Is TV good for children? What do we want from science? These questions and many others will be debated at the second day of the Battle of Ideas Festival tomorrow (Sunday, 29th Oct) at the Royal College of Art, London, held in association with the Institute of Ideas. A […]

Military applications of neuroscience

This week’s Nature has a fascinating and freely-accessible review (pdf) of Jonathan Moreno’s new book Mind Wars (ISBN 1932594167) that tackles both the deployment of military neuroscience research on the battlefield and the ethical issues raised by these new technologies. Welcome to the world of Mind Wars and the military application of neuroscience, which is […]

The madness of King Eadbald

“A Saxon king of the early seventh century, Eadbald, was described in the language of the early eighth century as troubled by frequent fits of insanity and ‘by the attack of a foul spirit’ after marrying his late father’s second wife. But he had also rejected Christianity which his father Ethelbert had taken up, and […]

Huh?

Depending on what you believe, Mind Hacks is either a top 10 or top 20 UK blog. I suspect this fact would probably kill as many conversations as telling people that you’re ranked 4th in the Scandinavian hula dancing stakes.

Nature Neuroscience launches monthly podcast

I just discovered from The Neurophilosopher’s blog that Nature Neuroscience have launched a (presumably monthly) podcast where the latest in neuroscience research is discussed. It seems that it will only discuss research published in Nature journals, however. This may seem surprising to those unaware how science and scientific publishing works, but it makes good business […]

2006-10-27 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: New Scientist reports that a new surveillance system can distinguish between violent and non-violent behaviour (with video). Cognitive Daily asks ‘do deadlines help procrastinators?’ Review of ’23 Problems in Systems Neuroscience’ from American Scientist. What is systems neuroscience? Damage to the brain could unleash […]

Anti-sleep drugs for UK troops

Surely this isn’t news? BBC News is reporting that ‘stay-up-forever’ drug modafinil has been tested on UK troops. The drug, which prevents sleep and increases cognitive performance but does not cause the same ‘wired’ effect as amphetamines, has been used by the US military for several years. One of the problems with amphetamines, the previous […]

Brain warehouse

The UK government have launched a campaign to warn 11-15 year-olds about the dangers of cannabis, using an ironic and lighthearted website and advert. They’re both based around the concept of a high-street retailer for new brains. Teenagers who have trouble with their brains due to cannabis use can trade theirs in for new models. […]

Painting through Alzheimer’s

There’s a short but fascinating piece in the New York Times on how the work of artist William Utermohlen was affected by the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Utermohlen produced some striking pieces during his career and continued to paint after being diagnosed with the degenerative brain disorder. The impact of the disorder on his creativity […]

Travelling with…

“In the Revised Confessions de Quincey tell us how much he suffered from ‘the pressure on my heart from the incommunicable.’ This pressure, no doubt, is known to us all; but it may approach the most agonising level in patients whose sufferings are not only intense, but so strange as to seem, at first, beyond […]

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