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Neuroskeptic
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  • January 6, 2014
  • 04:08 PM
  • 741 views

The Teacher Who Forgot How To Read

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

The journal Neurology features an interesting – and rather heartwarming – case report: “Teacher interrupted” Authors Jason Cuomo et al, of Loyola University Chicago, write: Reading to children was a source of fulfillment in the life of M.P., a 40-year-old aunt, kindergarten teacher, and reading specialist … But all of that changed when, on a […]The post The Teacher Who Forgot How To Read appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • January 4, 2014
  • 02:07 PM
  • 821 views

Science Is Interpretation

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

You don’t need new data to produce new science. A re-analysis or re-interpretation can be just as important and original as a new set of results. I say this because there’s an interesting discussion going on over at PubPeer. In brief, British physicists Julian Stirling and colleagues have released a draft paper using reanalysis to […]The post Science Is Interpretation appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

Julian Stirling, Ioannis Lekkas, Adam Sweetman, Predrag Djuranovic, Quanmin Guo, Josef Granwehr, Raphaël Lévy, & Philip Moriarty. (2013) Critical assessment of the evidence for striped nanoparticles. arXiv. arXiv: 1312.6812v1

  • December 27, 2013
  • 09:27 AM
  • 991 views

The Inaccuracy of National Character Stereotypes

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Are Germans dour, Brits reserved, and Americans brash? Popular wisdom says yes – and, even if most people would take these stereotypes with a pinch of salt, few of us could claim to be immune to them. But what does the evidence say? An international team of psychologists led by Robert McCrae says that it’s […]The post The Inaccuracy of National Character Stereotypes appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

McCrae RR, & et al. (2013) The Inaccuracy of National Character Stereotypes. Journal of Research in Personality, 47(6). PMID: 24187394  

  • December 22, 2013
  • 07:04 AM
  • 1,256 views

Quantum Theory Won’t Save The Soul

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Could quantum mechanics save the soul? In the light of 20th century physics, is free will plausible? Such as been the hope of some philosophers, scientists (and pretenders to those titles) – but neuroscientist Peter Clarke argues that it’s just not happening, in an interesting new paper: Neuroscience, quantum indeterminism and the Cartesian soul Clarke […]The post Quantum Theory Won’t Save The Soul appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • December 17, 2013
  • 04:38 PM
  • 1,009 views

Why Waiting Lists Could Be Bad For Your Health

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

No-one likes waiting their turn, but according to a new study, just knowing that you’re ‘on a waiting list’ could change your behaviour: Exploratory randomized controlled trial evaluating the impact of a waiting list control design The research was conducted by an Canadian team led by John A. Cunningham, and it made use of a […]The post Why Waiting Lists Could Be Bad For Your Health appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • December 13, 2013
  • 11:04 AM
  • 628 views

Legal Threats Backfire

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Last week, a young radiation biologist by the name of Benjamin J Hayempour was featured on the blog Retraction Watch. Hayempour had just had a paper retracted for its ‘unexplained close similarity’ to another paper – a phrase that many people would consider a euphemism for ‘plagiarism’. Plagiarism is so common that it’s a bit […]The post Legal Threats Backfire appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • December 8, 2013
  • 04:53 AM
  • 865 views

Does Nasal Oxytocin Enter The Brain?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Oxytocin is hot. There are now hundreds of studies looking at the effect of this hormone on the human brain. A dose of oxytocin, delivered in the form of a nasal spray, can make people nicer towards the ostracised, reduce marijuana cravings, and ‘enhance brain function’ in autistic children – and much more, if you believe […]The post Does Nasal Oxytocin Enter The Brain? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • December 7, 2013
  • 04:14 AM
  • 789 views

Augmenting Memory With A Neuroprosthesis

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

A new paper in the Journal of Neural Engineering describes Facilitation of memory encoding in primate hippocampus by a neuroprosthesis that promotes task-specific neural firing The research – from Sam Deadwyler’s team at Wake Forest University (and funded by DARPA) really is pretty amazing – if it pans out. Four Rhesus macaques were trained to […]The post Augmenting Memory With A Neuroprosthesis appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • December 3, 2013
  • 02:34 PM
  • 1,018 views

Men, Women, and Big PNAS Papers

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

This morning, the world woke up to the news that Scientists discover the difference between male and female brains Britain’s Independent today actually made that their front page. They went on to discuss “the hardwired difference that could explain why men are ‘better at map reading’”. The rest of the world’s media were no less […]The post Men, Women, and Big PNAS Papers appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • November 26, 2013
  • 04:53 PM
  • 638 views

Head Movement Is Bad News For Neuroscience (Again)

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Claims that children with autism have abnormal brain white matter connections may just reflect the fact that they move about more during their MRI scans. So say a team of Harvard and MIT neuroscientists, including Nancy “Voodoo Correlations” Kanwisher, in a new paper: Spurious group differences due to head motion in a diffusion MRI study. […]The post Head Movement Is Bad News For Neuroscience (Again) appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • November 18, 2013
  • 04:28 PM
  • 1,162 views

Are One In Ten Men Sexually Attracted To Children?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

So say Colorado-based researchers Sandy K. Wurtele and collegues in a new paper in the journal Sexual Abuse: Nearly 10% of males and 4% of females reported some likelihood of having sex with children or viewing child pornography. The study is an interesting attempt to probe the darkest depths of human nature, and raises questions […]The post Are One In Ten Men Sexually Attracted To Children? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • November 15, 2013
  • 09:45 AM
  • 996 views

Random Brain Waves Save Free Will?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

A new paper adds to the perennial free will debate, by casting doubt on the famous Libet experiment. Back in 1983, neuroscientists led by Benjamin Libet found that, about two seconds before someone presses a button ‘of their own free will’, a negative electrical potential – dubbed the Readiness Potential (RP) – began to build […]The post Random Brain Waves Save Free Will? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • November 14, 2013
  • 04:57 AM
  • 645 views

Dopamine Equals ‘Don’t Be Mean’?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Men whose brains generate and store more dopamine are less prone to aggression, according to a group of German researchers: The Impact of Dopamine on Aggression: An [18F]-FDOPA PET Study To quantify how aggressive the participants were, the researchers got them to play a game, for cash, in which a selfish ‘opponent’ sometimes stole their […]The post Dopamine Equals ‘Don’t Be Mean’? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • November 11, 2013
  • 03:34 PM
  • 710 views

Why Are (Some) Tweets Getting Shorter?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

I like Twitter and I like scientific papers. So I like this new paper by University of the Philippines researchers Christian M. Alis and May T. Lim: Spatiotemporal variation of conversational utterances on Twitter Using Twitter’s API, they downloaded 229 million ‘conversational’ tweets from 2009-2012. They defined as ‘conversational’ any tweet starting with the character […]The post Why Are (Some) Tweets Getting Shorter? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • November 6, 2013
  • 06:10 PM
  • 791 views

fMRI: Adrift on Ten-Second Waves?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

For the first time, neuroscientists have directly observed a slow, steady fluctuation – a ‘wave’ – in the blood flow to the brain. The oscillation, which has a frequency of 0.1 Hz, or one cycle every 10 seconds, is mysterious, and could have big implications for neuroscience. The researchers, led by Aleksandr Rayshubskiy of Columbia […]The post fMRI: Adrift on Ten-Second Waves? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

Rayshubskiy A, Wojtasiewicz TJ, Mikell CB, Bouchard MB, Timerman D, Youngerman BE, McGovern RA, Otten ML, Canoll PD, McKhann GM 2nd.... (2013) Direct, intraoperative observation of ~0.1 Hz hemodynamic oscillations in awake human cortex: Implications for fMRI. NeuroImage. PMID: 24185013  

  • November 3, 2013
  • 10:21 AM
  • 628 views

Tales of Neuro-Terror

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

At this time of year, people are fond of telling scary tales – generally involving ghosts, ghouls, and other frightening creatures. Neuroscientists have their own horror stories, however – more niche, perhaps, but no less terrifying. Picture the scene: a group of PhD students are gathered around a flickering MRI console. The elder of the […]The post Tales of Neuro-Terror appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

Gallichan D, Scholz J, Bartsch A, Behrens TE, Robson MD, & Miller KL. (2010) Addressing a systematic vibration artifact in diffusion-weighted MRI. Human brain mapping, 31(2), 193-202. PMID: 19603408  

  • October 31, 2013
  • 05:35 PM
  • 648 views

How Flexible Is Brain Organization?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

A new Journal of Neuroscience paper makes a bold claim: Functional reorganization of cortical activity can occur within minutes of neural disruption to maintain cognitive abilities. The authors, San Francisco’s Zanto et al, temporarily disrupted a certain brain region, the right inferior frontal junction (IFJ), using magnetic stimulation (TMS). As the IFJ is involved in […]The post How Flexible Is Brain Organization? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

Zanto TP, Chadick JZ, Satris G, & Gazzaley A. (2013) Rapid functional reorganization in human cortex following neural perturbation. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 33(41), 16268-74. PMID: 24107958  

  • October 20, 2013
  • 06:18 AM
  • 1,283 views

The Colorful Case of the Philosophical Zombie?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

The philosophical zombie, or p-zombie, is a hypothetical creature which is indistinguishable from a normal human, except that it has no conscious experience. Whether a p-zombie could exist, and whether it even makes sense to ask that question, are popular dinner-table topics of conversation amongst philosophers of mind. A new case report from Swiss neurologists […]The post The Colorful Case of the Philosophical Zombie? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • October 12, 2013
  • 11:01 AM
  • 805 views

Is America Less Mentally Healthy Than A Chilean Jail?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

The average prison inmate in Chile has better mental health than the average American citizen, according to an eyebrow raising report just published. Researchers Adrian Mundt and colleagues ran a random survey of 1000 participants from among Chile’s 47,000 prisoners. Fieldworkers went into the prisons and aimed to determine rates of DSM-IV diagnoses. They found [...]The post Is America Less Mentally Healthy Than A Chilean Jail? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

Mundt AP, Alvarado R, Fritsch R, Poblete C, Villagra C, Kastner S, & Priebe S. (2013) Prevalence rates of mental disorders in chilean prisons. PLoS ONE, 8(7). PMID: 23894415  

  • October 9, 2013
  • 03:58 PM
  • 676 views

Firecrackers and Mouths Don’t Mix

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

This is a neuroscience blog. But occasionally, in my search for neuroscience, I come across an unrelated paper so astonishing that I just have to write about it. This is one of them: An Explosion in the Oral Cavity by a Firecracker, published last month. A 16 year old South Korean boy suffered severe facial [...]The post Firecrackers and Mouths Don’t Mix appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

Seung Min Nam, MD. (2013) An Explosion in the Oral Cavity by a Firecracker. The Journal of Craniofacial Surgery, 24(5). DOI: 10.1097/SCS.0b013e31829aca1f  

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