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Sleep is essential and yet many people get insufficient sleep or have poor sleep quality. A recent review gives the following stats: Population studies show that sleep deprivation and disorders affect many more people worldwide than had been previously thought. A recent study found 20% of 25–45 year-olds slept “90 minutes less than they needed […]

Thoughts on Essays

I've recently been doing some of every academic's favorite activity - marking student essays (papers). Here's a few observations on essays and on marking them. 1. Marking Essays is Subjective This is a bit of a truism: it's fairly obvious that not everyone will agree on how to grade an essay down to the exact mark. Show More Summary

Stephen Hawking on Space Travel

At the recent Starmus Festival, Stephen Hawking expressed some interesting ideas worth exploring. They are nothing new, especially for Hawking, but he seems to be speaking with more urgency on this issue. Essentially Hawking thinks that the human species needs to spread out off the Earth if we are going to survive long term. Here are […]

NASA Slams Goop

Recently I have been vacillating between two different views of humanity. On the one hand, we all share a core neuropsychology. We are all struggling to get through life with our humble meat machines, complete with cognitive biases, flawed perception and memory, and irrational tendencies. On the other hand, it often seems like there are […]

Brain stimulators are a hot item in sports training…do they help?

The San Francisco Giants just happen to be the baseball team that I usually root for.  Unfortunately, they’re having a terrible year, and after a 7-game losing streak (and counting) are currently deep in the cellar in the National League... Show More Summary

"Preventing Cognitive Decline and Dementia: A Way Forward"

From The National Academies Of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Health and Medicine Division Board on Health Sciences Policy Committee on Preventing Dementia and Cognitive Impairment Preventing Cognitive Decline and Dementia: A Way Forward Released: June 22, 2017 Available here

Terrible Decision from the Court of Justice of the European Union

Perhaps the EU is trying to make the UK feel a little better about their Brexit vote. The highest court of the EU, the Court of Justice (is there another kind?) released a decision regarding a recent case in which a man blames his multiple sclerosis (MS) of the Hepatitis B vaccine. The pronouncement was […]

Is Science Broken, Or Is It Self-Correcting?

Media coverage of scientific retractions risks feeding a narrative that academic science is broken - a narrative which plays into the hands of those who want to cut science funding and ignore scientific advice. So say Joseph HilgardShow More Summary

Acupuncture in the ED

Acupuncture still doesn’t work. We have thousands of studies collectively showing that it does not matter where you stick the needles or even if you stick the needles. Acupuncture is an elaborate placebo, and nothing else. It is not based on any sound scientific principles or knowledge about anatomy or neurophysiology. It is as much […]

The Big Bad Brain

I’m high, staring at the ceiling Sending my love, what a wonderful feeling What comes next, I see a light I’m along for the ride as I’m taking flight -Sir Sly, High Plus a cool brain tattoo to boot. AND the song is an earworm (at least it is for me). Show More Summary

Biodynamic Farming and Other Nonsense

It seems that for every major practice in the world there is someone who will add an unnecessary layer of woo or pseudoscience. This is generally done for marketing, appealing to the emotions, which I guess is the underlying problem – that there is a market for feel-good pseudoscience. Sometimes the practice is philosophy-based, but […]

Open Access Predatory Journals

For about five years Jeffrey Beall, an academic librarian, maintained a list of predatory journals. Earlier this year he removed the list and all associated websites from the internet. Recently he explained exactly why he did this, and it’s a chilling tail. Predatory Journals A predatory journal is generally one in which authors pay a fee […]

Aphasia Awareness Month: Dr. Katharine McBride

As June is Aphasia Awareness Month, I note I recently submitted a chapter about aphasia to be published next year. Aphasia is the loss of acquired language abilities due to brain damage, such as stroke. Neuropsychologists are often called upon to determine the nature and severity of these changes to language functioning. Show More Summary

What Speech is Legally Protected?

Ken White, a first amendment attorney and proponent, has an excellent op-ed in the LA-Times about the law and free speech. It’s a necessary read for anyone interested in the ongoing debate about the role and limits of free speech in America. The article is framed around pointing out common free-speech tropes, which is a […]

Calling out pseudoscience, radically changing the conversation about Amy Cuddy’s power posing paper

Part 1: Reviewed as the clinical trial that it is, the power posing paper should never have been published. Has too much already been written about Amy Cuddy’s power pose paper? The conversation should not

Noninvasive Deep Brain Stimulation - Has Neuroscience's Holy Grail Been Found?

A high-profile paper in Cell reports on a new brain stimulation method that's got many neuroscientists excited. The new technique, called temporal interference (TI) stimulation, is said to be able to reach structures deep inside theShow More Summary

The CRISPR Controversy

I suspect that CRISPR is rapidly following the path of DNA in that many people know the abbreviation and what it refers to but not what the letters stand for. Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) is a recently developed technology for making precise gene edits. Such technology carries a great deal of promise for […]

Best and Worst of Neuroscience and Neurology – May 2017

What is genetic basis of our intelligence? How to stimulate deep areas of the brain? How to prevent Alzheimer’s disease?  How to slash the cost of treatment of multiple sclerosis? These are some of the questions highlighted in this monthly review of research literature. As usual, while we answer some questions, research studies also dispel […]

MOOCs: New Neurobiology Course From Dr. Peggy Mason

Dr. Peggy Mason reported on her blog and on twitter that she will debut a new version of her MOOC course later this year: Blog post The new course will follow closely the contents of the new edition of her textbook.

Earliest Modern Human

Last month I wrote about Graecopithecus, a possible human ancestor from just after the split with chimpanzees about 7 million years ago. Also last month it was reported that an analysis of new Homo naledi specimens dates the fossils from as recently as 236 thousand years ago. H. naledi share some primitive features that paleontologists thought […]

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