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  • April 5, 2012
  • 02:14 AM

Topography conquers all

by Patrick Mineault in xcorr

The eye faithfully maps visual space to different positions on the retina. This retinotopy is preserved as the signal is forwarded from retinal ganglion cells to the LGN, then to V1, and onwards. Cells which are physically adjacent on a retinotopic map have receptive fields corresponding to similar positions in space. More generally, properties like [...]... Read more »

  • April 4, 2012
  • 11:20 AM

The Daily Mail incorrectly correct article describing cannabis-schizophrenia research

by Neurobonkers in Neurobonkers

The Daily Mail have issued a "correction" repeating their belief that just one cannabis joint can cause schizophrenia.... Read more »

Kucewicz MT, Tricklebank MD, Bogacz R, & Jones MW. (2011) Dysfunctional prefrontal cortical network activity and interactions following cannabinoid receptor activation. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 31(43), 15560-8. PMID: 22031901  

  • April 4, 2012
  • 08:35 AM

Paper trail day trip: Genomic systems neuroscience

by Michael Patterson in ...And You Will Know Me By The Trail of Papers

Theoretically, each animal's taste repertoire is determined by the food it eats. For herbivores, the important tastes are sweet and bitter, which lets animals distinguish between calories and poison. For carnivores, they are umami and sour, which help identify whether meat is fresh. Flies, for whatever reason, detect carbonation in water. As omnivores, humans combine the taste repertoires of ... Read more »

Jiang P, Josue J, Li X, Glaser D, Li W, Brand JG, Margolskee RF, Reed DR, & Beauchamp GK. (2012) Major taste loss in carnivorous mammals. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 109(13), 4956-61. PMID: 22411809  

  • April 4, 2012
  • 07:02 AM

Have you been keeping up with the ‘sexsomniac’ defense?

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

It’s been used successfully several times since we first wrote about it back in December of 2009. In 2009, we told you about a landscaper named Jan Luedecke who got drunk at a party in 2003 and fell asleep. He woke up and then went to a woman asleep on another couch, put on a [...]
No related posts.... Read more »

Zaharna, M., Budur, K., & Noffsinger, S. (2007) ‘Sexsomnia’ disrupts sleep, threatens relationships, and has forensic implications. . Current Psychiatry. info:/

  • April 4, 2012
  • 12:20 AM

Are melatonin-laced drinks just taking the piss?

by Andrew Watt in A Hippo on Campus

At the end of a long day at work there's nothing quite like the salve of a glass of red to ease the troubles from your mind. Or perhaps a scotch is more your thing (neat or on the rocks I'm not here to judge). Then again maybe yours is a gin and tonic, an old fashioned or even just a cup of chamomile. The point is whatever your poison there are few among us who don't turn to a little liquid helper as the day draws to a close. Whether to dull those frayed nerves, to placate our wor........ Read more »

Editorial. (2012) Sip carefully. Nature neuroscience, 15(4), 497. PMID: 22449954  

  • April 3, 2012
  • 10:22 PM

Brain Glue: Synapses on and around Glia

by TheCellularScale in The Cellular Scale

Astrocytes, a form of glial cell (source)Glial cells are non-neurons that populate the nervous system.  The name 'glia' comes from the Greek word for glue, and these cells were originally thought to be 'filler' cells or brain glue (not this kind). In a sense these cells are 'filler'.  When the brain is damaged, it is glia not new neurons which grow into the void.  (This can sometimes turn cancerous and lead to glioma)A recent review paper poetically summarizes the traditional........ Read more »

  • April 3, 2012
  • 02:16 PM

The Genetics of Anorexia Nervosa

by Tetyana in Science of Eating Disorders

Is it the culture of thinness, obsession with dieting or just bad mothering? When it comes to determining the causes of anorexia nervosa, the answer appears to be none of the above. Increasingly, the evidence is pointing to genetics playing an important role in predisposing individuals to anorexia nervosa. Among clinicians and researchers, the notion that genetic factors are important in the development of anorexia nervosa seems uncontested. In this short review, Dr. Cynthia Bulik and colleagues........ Read more »

Bulik, C., Slof-Op't Landt, M., van Furth, E., & Sullivan, P. (2007) The Genetics of Anorexia Nervosa. Annual Review of Nutrition, 27(1), 263-275. DOI: 10.1146/annurev.nutr.27.061406.093713  

  • April 3, 2012
  • 07:17 AM

Parkinson’s Law of Triviality: Why Britain Has Spent The Past Week Talking About Pasties & An Ingenious New Method for Sifting Through Neuroscience Research

by Neurobonkers in Neurobonkers

A look at Parkinson’s law of Triviality and a new web-app that links papers semantically.... Read more »

Voytek, B. Voytek, J. (2012) Semi-automated Hypothesis Generation (Preprint). Behavioral/Systems/Cognitive. info:/

  • April 3, 2012
  • 12:16 AM

Next Generation Artificial Intelligence

by Jason Carr in Wired Cosmos

As computer scientists this year celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of the mathematical genius Alan Turing, who set out the basis for digital computing in the 1930s to anticipate the electronic age, they still quest after a machine as adaptable and intelligent as the human brain. Now, computer scientist Hava Siegelmann of the [...]... Read more »

  • April 2, 2012
  • 11:01 AM

Neuroscience Behind Cocktail Parties

by Vivek Misra in Uberbrain Research Frontier

photo source: Parties, the status symbol of the modern society. Whether it is formal conference or a social get-together, cocktail parties always hold an alluring place in any event. Men holding finest liquor, standing in circles, participating in short talks, cheering-up, sharing experiences. Well, the topic of the conversation varies from philosophical opinions to variety of necktie available in a well-known store. Last weekend, I attended one such cocktail party at ........ Read more »

  • April 2, 2012
  • 08:00 AM

Brainbrawl! The Connectome review

by Zen Faulkes in NeuroDojo

Recently, I wrote a post discussing connectomes. (Recap: Connectomes are descriptions of every synaptic connection between neurons in a brain.) In it, I referred to a paper by Cornelia Bargmann and argued that the amount of enlightenment we will gain about ourselves through connectomes is being oversold. I used several quotes from Sebastian Seung as examples, and mentioned his book on the subject.

Sebastian Seung noted that I had not read his book. Fair enough. I was not trying to single out Se........ Read more »

Seung S. (2012) Connectome: How the Brain's Wiring Makes Us Who We Are. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1-384. info:other/978-0-547-50818-4

  • April 2, 2012
  • 01:54 AM

Feeling of agency

by Janet Kwasniak in Thoughts on thoughts

Why is it so difficult for neuroscience to identify where our self-experience comes from? It seems to involve a number of processes: memory, emotion, perception, action. Knoblich and Sebanz review some work on self. (see citation)
Action has recently become a central topic in research addressing the sense of self because there is converging evidence that [...]... Read more »

  • April 1, 2012
  • 03:38 PM

Coffee: a caffeinated chronicle

by Jordan Gaines in Gaines, on Brains

Because I like to understand what I'm putting in my body, I decided to explore coffee: its history, its neurological mechanism, and—what I'm sure everyone's dying to know—why it is so easy to become addicted and dependent on it.
... Read more »

Cocker PJ, Hosking JG, Benoit J, & Winstanley CA. (2012) Sensitivity to Cognitive Effort Mediates Psychostimulant Effects on a Novel Rodent Cost/Benefit Decision-Making Task. Neuropsychopharmacology : official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. PMID: 22453140  

  • April 1, 2012
  • 03:12 PM

The generation of a memory trace?

by Johannes Felsenberg in neuro JC

Have you seen the movie Inception? If not you should. It is all about a group of people high jacking the dreams of company bosses to steal useful information from their memory to sell them to their rivals. Anyway the Holy Grail of these “being in other peoples head and manipulating things” – trips is [...]... Read more »

Garner AR, Rowland DC, Hwang SY, Baumgaertel K, Roth BL, Kentros C, & Mayford M. (2012) Generation of a synthetic memory trace. Science (New York, N.Y.), 335(6075), 1513-6. PMID: 22442487  

  • April 1, 2012
  • 09:59 AM

Critical Theory in Neurocinematics: Gaspar Noe's 'Irreversible' as Neural Network Reconfiguration

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

Cinematic enfant terrible Gaspar Noé has been shocking audiences with his artistic films of graphic violence for over 20 years. In IMDb he is quoted as saying:"There is no line between art and pornography. You can make art of anything. You can make an experimental movie with that candle or with this tape recorder. You can make a piece of art with a cat drinking milk. You can make a piece of art with people having sex. There is no line. Anything that is shot or reproduced in an unusual way i........ Read more »

Hermans, E., van Marle, H., Ossewaarde, L., Henckens, M., Qin, S., van Kesteren, M., Schoots, V., Cousijn, H., Rijpkema, M., Oostenveld, R.... (2011) Stress-Related Noradrenergic Activity Prompts Large-Scale Neural Network Reconfiguration. Science, 334(6059), 1151-1153. DOI: 10.1126/science.1209603  

  • April 1, 2012
  • 03:30 AM

Did language emerge from the neural systems supporting aimed throwing?

by Andrew Wilson in Notes from Two Scientific Psychologists

Aimed throwing is surprisingly uncommon in the animal kingdom. Humans do it par excellence, and otherwise it only shows up occasionally, even in our closest relatives. Chimpanzees will throw things (often faeces) but unlike humans don't throw things when hunting or trying to get food; when non-human animals throw things, it's usually part of a social encounter.Throwing is a fascinating task for many reasons; I hope to blog some about the perception-action aspects of this task in the future as I ........ Read more »

  • March 31, 2012
  • 11:51 PM

Big ideas: Focus on computation

by Patrick Mineault in xcorr

Matteo Carandini has an editorial in the latest issue of Nature Neuroscience arguing that we should focus energy on studying neural computation. In this context, neural computation is understood as an intermediate level of complexity between low-level neural circuits and high-level behavior. He argues that trying to go from physical descriptions of circuits to large-scale [...]... Read more »

  • March 31, 2012
  • 01:10 PM

Automated Science, Deep Data, and the Paradox of Information

by Bradley Voytek in Oscillatory Thoughts

Note: this is was originally published by me over on the O'Reilly Radar.A lot of great pieces have been written about the (relatively) recent surge in interest in “big data” and "data science", but in this piece I want to address the importance of deep data analysis: what we can learn from the statistical outliers by drilling down and asking, “What’s different here? What’s special about these outliers and what do they tell us about our models and assumptions?”The reason that big data........ Read more »

Yarkoni, T., Poldrack, R., Nichols, T., Van Essen, D., & Wager, T. (2011) Large-scale automated synthesis of human functional neuroimaging data. Nature Methods, 8(8), 665-670. DOI: 10.1038/nmeth.1635  

Ahn, Y., Ahnert, S., Bagrow, J., & Barabási, A. (2011) Flavor network and the principles of food pairing. Scientific Reports. DOI: 10.1038/srep00196  

Michel, J., Shen, Y., Aiden, A., Veres, A., Gray, M., , ., Pickett, J., Hoiberg, D., Clancy, D., Norvig, P.... (2010) Quantitative Analysis of Culture Using Millions of Digitized Books. Science, 331(6014), 176-182. DOI: 10.1126/science.1199644  

  • March 31, 2012
  • 11:57 AM

DSM-V: A Little Mix Up

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

Proposals in the upcoming DSM-V psychiatric manual for diagnosing "mixed" mood states may be muddled, according to a new paper.The mixed state - the name alluding to a mix between depression and mania - has traditionally been viewed (more or less) as combining the dysphoria of depression with the energy of mania. Anger, agitation, restlessness and so forth. I've been depressed and I know only too well the difference between that "active" depression and the "inactive" kind; if I had to choose, I'........ Read more »

  • March 30, 2012
  • 01:56 PM

The Plus Side of Eating Placenta

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

He's not suggesting new parents pause in the delivery room to whip up a placenta sandwich. But neuroscientist Mark Kristal says human mothers might be missing out on the benefits other mammals receive from gobbling up their afterbirth. With luck, there might be a way for us to take advantage of placenta power that's not totally disgusting.

Mark Kristal is a professor at the University of Buffalo who's been studying the practice of placenta eating--or placentophagia, if you want to bring it ........ Read more »

Mark B. Kristal, Jean M. DiPirro, & Alexis C. Thompson. (2012) Placentophagia in Humans and Nonhuman Mammals: Causes and Consequences. Ecology of Food and Nutrition. info:/

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