Category Archives: Inside the Brain

A devil of a headache

A man suffering from headache in the form of devils. A coloured etching by noted Victorian cartoonist George Cruikshank, 1835. An image from the Wellcome Collection catalogue. via @ChirurgeonsAppr

The relative consuming disease

The Global Mail has an amazing story about how the last treks to find cases of kuru – a cannabalism-related brain disease – have been completed. Kuru was passed on by eating the brains of dead relatives – a long finished tradition of the Fore people in Papua New Guinea – and it infected new […]

The brain in numbers, colours and wow

An amazing picture by Dwayne Godwin and Jorge Cham from PhD Comics. Click for the full size image just published at the Scientific American site. Definitely worth seeing in its hi-res glory.   Link to full size image (via @CeliaHodent)

A brief reheating of the refrigerator mother

The Telegraph has a well-intentioned but confused article about how child neglect affects the brain and what can be done about it. What’s the difference between these two brains? asks The Telegraph. “The primary cause of the extraordinary difference between the brains of these two three-year-old children,” says the journalist, “is the way they were […]

The neuroscience of sexual attractions

A recent edition of radio programme KERA Think has a fantastic discussion on development and the neuroscience of sexual attraction in its many forms. The programme is a discussion with Simon LeVay, a neuroscientist who raised a lot of eyebrows by finding differences in the brain structure of gay and straight men in a 1991 […]

A history of ideas about the brain

Being Human has an excellent article on how ideas about the function of the brain have evolved over the centuries. The piece is by respected science writer Carl Zimmer who wrote a fantastic book on the dawn of modern neuroscience called Soul Made Flesh. This new article is a whistle stop tour of how our […]

Hallucinations on the radio

BBC Radio 4 has just broadcast a documentary entitled ‘Hallucination – Through the Doors of Perception’ that charts the various ways in which we can experience freewheeling and autonomous perceptions. You can hear it streamed online here or you can download it as a podcast but only for 7 more days, as like French cheese, […]

The great rock n’ roll brain scramble

It’s not often you see someone licking a brain in a rock n’ roll video and get to think to yourself “well, there’s a funny story behind that”, but this is one of those occasions. The video for singer Candice Gordon’s new single Cannibal Love starts out as a TV cooking programme and ends in […]

The Lancet, [temporarily] seized by irony

The Lancet has just a launched a special collection on how epilepsy is a global health problem particularly in lower-income countries. According to several of the articles, one of the key problems that drives the medical neglect of people with epilepsy is a lack of accurate information about the condition for health professionals and the […]

Schizophrenia beyond the brain

The Wilson Quarterly has an excellent article about the rebirth of interest in how social experiences affect the development of schizophrenia. It’s written by the brilliant anthropologist Tanya Marie Luhrmann, who tracks how the enthusiasm for a completely neurobiological explanation for the disorder has now begun to wane. It’s worth saying that this extreme neurobiological […]

Fake pot industry generating novel, untested drugs

There’s an excellent article on the highs and increasing lows of the synthetic marijuana ‘legal high’ industry in the Broward Palm Beach New Times. The piece is an in-depth account of how a legal high company called Mr. Nice Guy became the biggest fake pot manufacturer in the US. It describes in detail how the […]

An in-brain stimulation grid

Implanted electrode grids are used to record brain activity in people who need neurosurgery – a technique known as electrocorticography. But rather than just ‘reading’ from the brain, neuroscientists are starting to use them to ‘write’ to the brain, to the point of being able to temporarily simulate specific brain disorders for experimental studies. This […]

The neurology of Psalm 137

I’ve just found a short but interesting study on Psalm 137 and how it likely has one of the first descriptions of brain damage after stroke. The Psalm is still widely sung but it has some particular lines which made the researchers take notice. Here they are in modern English from the New International Version […]

A guided tour of bad neuroscience

Oxford neuropsychologist Dorothy Bishop has given a fantastic video lecture about how neuroscience can be misinterpreted and how it can be misleading. If you check out nothing else, do read the summary on the Neurobonkers blog, which highlights Bishop’s four main criticisms of how neuroscience is misused. But if you have the time, sit back […]

Animals conscious say leading neuroscientists

A group of leading neuroscientists has used a conference at Cambridge University to make an official declaration recognising consciousness in animals. The declaration was made at the Francis Crick Memorial Conference and signed by some of the leading lights in consciousness research, including Christof Koch and David Edelman. You can read the full text as […]

Hacking the brain for fun and profit

A study presented at the recent Usenix conference demonstrated how it is possible to get private information from the brains of people who use commercial brain-computer interfaces – like NeuroSky and Emotiv. These headsets are designed for gamers and are cheaper, less accurate versions of EEG devices – used by scientists to read the electrical […]

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