Monthly Archives: October 2007

Eight circuits

The G-Spot podcast has a special where they bring Timothy Leary’s Eight Circuit Model of Consciousness to life as a KLF-style ambient soundscape. Needless to say, Leary’s model has yet to make any significant impact on the scientific world, but it’s a psychedelic classic nonetheless. Link to The Eight Circuits audio (via BoingBoing).

Sleep attacks may be caused by immune problems

Narcolepsy is a disorder where the affected person can just drop off to sleep during the day. It’s known to be a problem with the brain’s arousal system and an interesting article in Discover magazine discusses recent findings that suggest a immune system impairment may be at the root of the problem. As well as […]

Tuning the ageing brain

Wired News has a brief article on how ageing affects the brain and what are the current best-supported practices to keep our mental edge as we progress into our senior years. The article discusses ways in which the brain overcomes the natural decline in function and how this process can be supported. Despite the current […]

Call for brain power

Do not call for black power or green power. Call for brain power. A quote from pioneering American politician Barbara Jordan. Perhaps it is no coincidence that Jordan’s long-term partner was an educational psychologist.

The immortal brain

New Scientist has an article and video interviews with several transhumanists who are attempting to make the human brain immortal by reversing neural ageing, implanting stem cells and uploading the mind to a computer. Transhumanism is a movement that aims to enhance the limits of human capabilities through techology. The ideas stretche from the reasonable […]

Walking the line

Last weekend, a group of mental health professionals took part in a study as part of the art science collaboration Walking Here and There. It’s a joint effort between myself and artist Simon Pope, and like earlier stages of the project, it questions how we use art and science to construct meaning out of memory, […]

Hard cash medicine

The Bonkers Institute for Nearly Genuine Research has just published an important paper on how hard cash has had miraculous effects in two of particularly tough cases of depression and anxiety. Elation and euphoria are the most common side effects associated with cash. The favorable side effect profile and high response rate compared to placebo […]

Possible blood test for Alzheimer’s disease

The New York Times reports on a study shortly to be published in Nature Medicine that has developed a blood test that can predict the development of Alzheimer’s disease with 90% accuracy. One of the difficulties with Alzheimer’s disease, and indeed most forms of dementia, is that by the time the characteristic mental difficulties are […]

The roots of language may lie in our hands

Science News reviews two books that propose a thought-provoking hypothesis about the evolution of language: that our ability to communicate verbally evolved from hand gestures. The first book, Talking Hands is a study on a sign language developed by a Bedouin community only a short time ago that is used widely by both deaf and […]

Plain talking

An excerpt from Prof Nick Craddock’s no-nonsense review of the book ‘The Overlap of Affective and Schizophrenic Spectra’ in this month’s British Journal of Psychiatry: If this book is not of interest, the reader has no business being a psychiatrist. I think he likes it. With Michael Owen and Michael O’Donovan, Craddock has been instrumental […]

Art in the asylum

ABC Radio National’s All in the Mind has just broadcast the first of a two-part series on two of the most important collections of art by psychiatric patients. The programme considers the ethical and artistic issues raised by displaying the creative work of people who may be experiencing profound alteration in their thinking. The first […]

Second Life with a brain-computer interface

Neurophilosophy has found some fantastic footage of someone controlling their Second Life avatar using a brain-computer interface developed by the Biomedical Engineering Lab from Keio University in Japan. From watching the video, navigation is certainly quite possible, if not a little awkward. One of the striking things is that the person cannot seem to be […]

Ear boxing apparently a cure for mental illness

Mental health professionals, user support groups, friends and family. Good news has arrived. Someone has found a cure for all mental illnesses and all that is needed is that you hit them on the ears until they lose consciousness. This ‘cure’, apparently christened the Kadir-Buxton Method, is detailed on a website so weird that I’m […]

2007-10-12 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: Alternatives to the ‘war on drugs‘ are discussed by Foreign Policy magazine. Language Log picks up on a startling new discovery from Dr Alfred Crokus’s lab: the corpus callosum is the ‘caring membrane‘ in the brain. Will wonders never cease? The Neurocritic has a […]

WTF? Pinker on swearing

The New Republic has an article by Steven Pinker that investigates the psychology, neuroscience and cultural significance of swearing. Swearing isn’t just of interest to cognitive scientists for its day-to-day uses. We’ve known for many years that swearing holds a special place in the brain because of how neurological damage affects language abilities. For most […]

Dr Saksida’s neuropsychology fitness video

Spiked has a video of cognitive neuroscientist Dr Lisa Saksida doing yoga in front of the fire while explaining why there is no such thing as mind brain duality. Spiked asked several scientists what they would say if they could teach the world just one thing about science. Saksida gives a wonderfully straightforward explanation of […]


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