Friday, November 27, 2009

Psychosurgery, Redux

Surgery for Mental Ills Offers Hope and Risk
The New York Times
Published: November 27, 2009

"Hundreds have undergone brain surgery for problems like depression, anxiety, even obesity."

Read the article

Monday, November 23, 2009

fMRI Neuroimaging of Neural Control Over Speech

Inside the mind of an actor (literally)
How does an actor engage with the part they are playing? Fiona Shaw undergoes a brain scan while reciting TS Eliot to help shed some light on the mystery
Stuart Jeffries
The Guardian
Tuesday 24 November 2009


The experiment is the latest in which Scott has explored the different ways our brains control our voices. "In the past, I've worked with impressionists to see what happens in their brains when they impersonate people's voices. The literature in psychology on faces is huge, but there's a lot less work on voices – partly because when we talk about speech, we go straight to focusing on language itself.

"Fiona is going to perform some lines from a text she's familiar with [Shaw performed Eliot's epic poem 13 years ago in a production directed by Deborah Warner, and will reprise that performance at Wilton's music hall in London next month]. She's conveying different people by the way they speak, and we're interested in finding out which parts of her brain are involved here."

The results will be displayed in new exhibition on identity at the Wellcome Trust. "Voices simultaneously convey a lot of different things about us," says Scott. "If you speak to someone on the phone you can tell if they're a man or a woman, roughly how old they are, roughly where they come from in the country, if they're ill, if they're in a bad mood – that's all there. But also voices change a great deal so I sound different speaking to you than if I'd just been arrested.


Read the full article

Friday, November 13, 2009

BBC The Forum: Antony Gormley, Viktor Mayer-Schoenberger, & Beau Lotto

Broadcast on The BBC World Service. Available on podcast here.

Body, memory, perception. Gormley, Mayer-Schoenberger, Lotto 14 Nov 09
Thu, 12 Nov 09
Duration: 49 mins

"We like nothing better than talking about ourselves so this week’s Forum with Bridget Kendall casts a spotlight on the human brain and human form. One of Britain’s best known sculptors Antony Gormley looks at why we need to peel back our skin in order to understand our own humanity. He also conducts an experiment inviting all BBC listeners to close their eyes and connect with deep space beyond. Information technology professor Viktor Mayer-Schoenberger offers a vista of a future nightmare world where humans may be in danger of losing the capacity to forget as digital memories become so efficient at keeping our data for ever. And we peer inside our brains with neuroscientist Beau Lotto who reveals the illusion of perception and shows - with a little help from bees - why we see the way we do."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Piggy Smarts!

New in the world of pig cognition research, interesting results:

Pigs Prove to Be Smart, if Not Vain
The New York Times
Published: November 10, 2009

"Recent discoveries from the nascent study of pig cognition offered evidence that pigs were quick learners, slow to forget and similar to humans in many ways."

Read the article

Autism, Asperger's, and the DSM by Simon Baron-Cohen

The Short Life of a Diagnosis
By SIMON BARON-COHEN, Op-Ed Contributor
The New Yotk Times
Published: November 10, 2009

"Asperger syndrome and autism should be thoroughly tested before being lumped together in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders."

Read the Op-Ed piece

Monday, November 09, 2009

Sleep, Dreams, and Cognitive Function

A Dream Interpretation: Tuneups for the Brain
The New York Times
Published: November 10, 2009

"A new theory suggests that dreams are a warm-up for the day ahead."

Read the article

Business World: Pfizer/Wyeth Research Consolidation

An Associated Press report this evening outlines changes at a number of Wyeth and Pfizer research facilities:

Read article

Media: Michael Rutter Interview on BBC Radio 4

Listen to an interview with Dr. Michael Rutter on BBC Radio 4's All In The Mind programme:

Click here for a link to the podcast.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Narrative: Brain Abscess

My brain abscess and me
I had no idea I had a potentially fatal infection. Now, after my life-saving surgery, I will never take my health for granted again
Tim Lusher
The Guardian
Tuesday 3 November 2009

Read Tim's narrative report here.


"Finally, on Tuesday morning, someone realises something is horribly wrong. My GP sees immediately that my gait is clumsy, my focus wild, my speech slurring. She sends me straight to A&E at the Royal London hospital and phones ahead to order a brain scan. There, I collapse gratefully into the care of doctors and nurses."


Gordon Bell's Digital Memory

Brain food: the problem with digital memory
Digital memory means we can store more than ever before. But isn't it important, sometimes, to forget?
Aditya Chakrabortty
The Guardian
Tuesday 3 November 2009

Read the article

Monday, November 02, 2009

Upcoming Event: Mobile Healthcare Conference (London, 01-02 Dec 2009)

The Mobile Healthcare Industry Summit takes place this 1st and 2nd of December at the Thistle Marble Arch Hotel in London, England.

According to the conference website, topics include:

- Using Mobile Healthcare Partnership to Transform a Health System From Responsive Into Preventative
- Using Mobile Healthcare to Improve Precision in the Diagnosis and Cure of Patient Illness
- Freeing the Patient and the System with Intelligent Biometric Diagnostics
- Defining the Data Management of Digital Healthcare
- What Are The Technical Platforms For Mobile Healthcare Success? - SMS, Devices, Intelligent M2M
- Globalising Mobile Healthcare: Regional Case Studies and Uniting the Service – South Korea, North America, Japan

Visit the conference website for detailed information.

Alzheimer's Disease Awareness

November Is National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month.