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Oliver Sacks has left the building

Neurologist and author Oliver Sacks has died at the age of 82. It’s hard to fully comprehend the enormous impact of Oliver Sacks on the public’s understanding of the brain, its disorders and our diversity as humans. Sacks’s wrote what he called ‘romantic science’. Not romance in the sense of romantic love, but romantic in […]

Mapping The Brain – Just How Hard Is It?

Some say it’s the most complex object in the universe, but just how difficult is it going to be to finally understand how the human brain works? If we take a purely anatomical view, the numbers become a little daunting. The brain is made up of maybe a hundred billion neurons, 100 trillion connections (synapses), […]

Spike activity 28-08-2015

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: Vice has an excellent documentary about how skater Paul Alexander was affected by mental illness as he was turning pro. The US Navy is working on AI that can predict a pirate attacks reports Science News. Apparently it uses Arrrrgh-tificial intelligence. I’m here all […]

French Court Awards Disability for Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity

A French court recently awarded a disability allowance ($912 per month for three years) to Marine Richard based upon her claim that she has EHS (electromagnetic hypersensitivity). This is a concerning development because EHS is likely not a real disease. The situation, however, is a bit more nuanced than it may at first appear. EHS [...]

Don’t call it a comeback

The Reproducibility Project, the giant study to re-run experiments reported in three top psychology journals, has just published its results and its either a disaster, a triumph or both for psychology. You can’t do better than the coverage in The Atlantic, not least as it’s written by Ed Yong, the science journalist who has been […]

The reproducibility of psychological science

The Reproducibility Project results have just been published in Science, a massive, collaborative, ‘Open Science’ attempt to replicate 100 psychology experiments published in leading psychology journals. The results are sure to be widely debated – the biggest result being that many published results were not replicated. There’s an article in the New York Times about […]

The Man Who Saw His Double In The Mirror

A creepy case report in the journal Neurocase describes a man who came to believe that his reflection was another person who lived behind the mirror. The patient, Mr. B., a 78-year-old French man, was admitted to the neurology department in Tours: During the previous 10 days, Mr. Show More Summary

What’s In a Name? The Big Prion Debate

A review published last week in Science has once again sparked one of the great debates in neuroscience – namely, are all neurodegenerative diseases prions? Prions have always been shrouded in controversy. Stanley Prusiner, who won the 1997 Nobel prize in Physiology and Medicine for his discovery of the infectious proteins, fought through years of […]

FTC Responds to FDA on Homeopathy

The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) recently asked for public comment on its regulatory policies regarding homeopathy. They probably didn’t figure that a fellow federal agency, the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) would respond. The FTC also recently asked for public comment on how it can better regulate homeopathic product advertising. While the FDA regulates food [...]

Non-Visual Processing in the Visual Cortex

Are there areas of the cerebral cortex purely devoted to vision? Or can the "visual" cortex, under some conditions, respond to sounds? Two papers published recently address this question. First off, Micah Murray and colleagues of Switzerland...Show More Summary

A Million Core Silicon Brain

For those of you who like to get your geek on (and rumour has it, they can be found reading this blog) the Computerphile channel just had a video interview with Steve Furber of the Human Brain Project who talks about the custom hardware that’s going to run their neural net simulations. Furber is better […]

World Alzheimer Report 2015

Earlier today, the Alzheimer's Disease International group released its "World Alzheimer Report 2015" document. It can be found at: Report.

The Holocaust intrudes into conversations about psychiatric diagnosis: Godwin’s rule confirmed

The President-elect of the British Psychological Association drops the N word and invokes the Holocaust in denouncing mental health professionals who embrace the biomedical model. The conversation concerning Understanding Psychosis and Schizophrenia  (hereafter UPS) took another wrong turn with extended … Continue reading »

Repressed Memories – Fact or Fiction?

Repressed memories are one of those things that we don’t have solid proof of existing, yet typically believe to be real without question. There was hardly a media outcry at the presentation of repressed memories in movies like Shutter Island or The Hulk, yet lawsuits involving repressed memories are a minefield, and reportedly, regularly dismissed. […]

Anti-GMO in the NEJM

A recent commentary published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) by Philip J. Landrigan and Charles Benbrook has sparked some controversy. Landrigan and Benbrook are publishing in a medical journal because they claim the issue of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is a public health issue. They use extremely strained logic and misrepresentation to [...]

Am I A Peer Review Hypocrite?

Am I a hypocrite about peer review? I was thinking about this today. Here's why I might be one. On the one hand, I regularly criticize peer-reviewed research papers for being unsound. I've also expressed doubts about the reliability of the peer review process itself. Show More Summary

Antivaxxers Still Flogging Thimerosal

I gave a talk on the vaccine controversy over the weekend. I was not surprised that a couple of audience members had a lot of questions taken directly from anti-vaccine propaganda sites. What was interesting was that they were still pushing the idea that thimerosal, a mercury-based vaccine preservative, is linked to autism. The reason [...]

The "Fuck Katrina" Mixtape - Katrina+10, K10

My Katrina blog entry from 03 September 2005: Shame on US The "Fuck Katrina" Mixtape:

Hope on the Horizon For Alzheimer’s Disease Pathogenesis

Right now, there is only symptomatic treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, which does not stall the progress of the disease. Nor does this approach provide insights on the causes. But if findings from recent research studies are to be weighed upon, this is about to change. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a curse, both for the person […]

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