Archive for the ‘brain’ Category

After all, if we are merely material beings whose personality can be altered and even controlled by fairly simple technologies, is there really a there there? Is there some immutable kernel of a person that is the self, or an essence that resists change? Can brain interventions can change who we are – make us into a different person or alter personal identity?

Source: Do brain interventions to treat disease change the essence of who we are?


In one aspect of vision, computers catch up to primate brain | MIT News.

Taking advantage of very large amounts of computation processing power and access to large datasets to train – develop the algorithms, scientists have created a computer model that is capable of recognizing objects visually as well as a macaque monkey brain.

“Led by Hong and Majaj, they implanted arrays of electrodes in the IT cortex as well as in area V4, a part of the visual system that feeds into the IT cortex. This allowed them to see the neural representation — the population of neurons that respond — for every object that the animals looked at.
The researchers could then compare this with representations created by the deep neural networks, which consist of a matrix of numbers produced by each computational element in the system. Each image produces a different array of numbers. The accuracy of the model is determined by whether it groups similar objects into similar clusters within the representation.”

Letting go of ideas can be difficult, because of the well-established neural pathways we have constructed with them – they become part of the fabric. Recognizing that they are not fruitful or not supported is crucial to opening to new ideas.


Mindfulness – CBS News.

The fact is we all suffer from cognitive egocentrism. We all seem to intuitively assume that we have won what I call the ‘Magical Belief Lottery.’ We cherry pick confirming evidence and utterly overlook disconfirming evidence. We automatically assume that our sources are more reliable than the sources cited by others. We think we are more intelligent than we in fact are. We rewrite memories to minimize the threat of inconsistencies. We mistake claims repeated three or more times as fact. We continually revise our beliefs to preempt in-group criticism. We regularly confabulate. We congenitally use our conclusions to determine the cogency of our premises. The list goes on and on, believe you me. Add to this the problem of Interpretative Underdetermination, the simple fact that our three pound brains are so dreadfully overmatched by the complexities of the world…

via The Semantic Apocalypse | Speculative Heresy.

lw: Recognition of the Human Condition.

Consciousness, biology and quantum hypotheses. [Phys Life Rev. 2012] – PubMed – NCBI.

Conscious cognition is therefore a distinct kind of brain event. Many of its features are well established, and must be accounted for by any adequate theory. No non-biological examples are known. Penrose and Hameroff have proposed that consciousness may be viewed as a fundamental problem in quantum physics. Specifically, their ‘orchestrated objective reduction’ (Orch-OR) hypothesis posits that conscious states arise from quantum computations in the microtubules of neurons. However, a number of microtubule-associated proteins are found in both plant and animal cells (like neurons) and plants are not generally considered to be conscious. Current quantum-level proposals do not explain the prominent empirical features of consciousness. Notably, they do not distinguish between closely matched conscious and unconscious brain events, as cognitive-biological theories must. About half of the human brain does not support conscious contents directly, yet neurons in these “unconscious” brain regions contain large numbers of microtubules. QM phenomena are famously observer-dependent, but to the best of our knowledge it has not been shown that they require a conscious observer, as opposed to a particle detector. Conscious humans cannot detect quantum events “as such” without the aid of special instrumentation. Instead, we categorize the wavelengths of light into conscious sensory events that neglect their quantum mechanical properties. In science the burden of proof is on the proposer, and this burden has not yet been met by quantum-level proposals. While in the future we may discover quantum effects that bear distinctively on conscious cognition ‘as such,’ we do not have such evidence today.”

“The organization of the brain is affected by experience, and therefore, it has to be exercised, experimented, and because of this nature of our brain, we are constantly rewired and reorganized. It becomes clear that we henceforth cannot think of our relationships with objects, with the other or with ourselves without interrogating this self-transformable basis of our subjectivity.

We cannot understand the becoming empirical of the transcendental without exploring the space opened by neural plasticity. This means that the « outside » of the humanities loses its monstrosity to become the material exteriority without which criticism is reduced to the relativism and polymorphism of cultural studies. Reciprocally, the « inside » of the Humanities may renew their old conception of the plasticity of all frontiers.”

via >>> TRANSEUROPEENNES ::The future of Humanities.

//A move of humanities toward an openness to the humanity of the quest to understand, perhaps.

08 NATF14 Guest Keynote: “Brains, Data, and Machine Intelligence” – Jeff Hawkins

via 08 NATF14 Guest Keynote: “Brains, Data, and Machine Intelligence” – Jeff Hawkins – YouTube.

“Being Bigger on the Inside is not just limited to architecture such as buildings and other physical structures. Within media it can also apply to living creatures with incredibly spacious internal anatomy that characters who enter it eventually discover. Usually if terrestrial in origin, and not otherworldly or supernatural, then Artistic License – Biology has been employed. If extraterrestrial, then its simply a case of Bizarre Alien Biology at work.”

via Main/Bigger on the Inside – Television Tropes & Idioms.

//I’ve been trying to draw a Venn Diagram showing the differences between the representationalist, materialist scientific view of an objective reality independent of our investigations, and the Buddhist perspective.

The Buddhist view has the world of experience containing everything we sense, perceive, think, feel – including the so-called external world, since it is also perceived through our senses and thoughts. If you think of the mind as in, or dependent on, the brain (a limited view, but common), then our world of experience includes everything: there is no outside.

So, seeing the brain, it seems to be true – it is bigger on the inside. :?)



Transcranial amelioration of inflammation and cell death after brain injury

Theodore L. Roth, Debasis Nayak, Tatjana Atanasijevic, Alan P. Koretsky, Lawrence L. Latour & Dorian B. McGavern
Nature (2013) doi:10.1038/nature12808
Published online 08 December 2013

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is increasingly appreciated to be highly prevalent and deleterious to neurological function1, 2. At present, no effective treatment options are available, and little is known about the complex cellular response to TBI during its acute phase. To gain insights into TBI pathogenesis, we developed a novel murine closed-skull brain injury model that mirrors some pathological features associated with mild TBI in humans and used long-term intravital microscopy to study the dynamics of the injury response from its inception. Here we demonstrate that acute brain injury induces vascular damage, meningeal cell death, and the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) that ultimately breach the glial limitans and promote spread of the injury into the parenchyma. In response, the brain elicits a neuroprotective, purinergic-receptor-dependent inflammatory response characterized by meningeal neutrophil swarming and microglial reconstitution of the damaged glial limitans. We also show that the skull bone is permeable to small-molecular-weight compounds, and use this delivery route to modulate inflammation and therapeutically ameliorate brain injury through transcranial administration of the ROS scavenger, glutathione. Our results shed light on the acute cellular response to TBI and provide a means to locally deliver therapeutic compounds to the site of injury.

via Transcranial amelioration of inflammation and cell death after brain injury : Nature : Nature Publishing Group.