Neuroscience over the next 50 years is going to introduce things that are mind-blowing.David Eagleman
- 14th October
- 30th June
Thinking is computation, I claim, but that does not mean that the computer is a good metaphor for the mind. The mind is a set of modules, but the modules are not encapsulated boxes or circumscribed swatches on the surface of the brain. The organization of our mental modules comes from our genetic program, but that does not mean that there is a gene for every trait or that learning is less important than we used to think. The mind is an adaptation designed by natural selection, but that does not mean that everything we think, feel, and do is biologically adaptive. We evolved from apes, but that does not mean we have the same minds as apes. And the ultimate goal of natural selection is to propagate genes, but that does not mean that the ultimate goal of people is to propagate genes.Steve Pinker, How the Mind Works
- 28th June
The current issue of Science features an interesting perspective article titled Garbage Truck of the Brain that talks about mechanisms underlying the clearance of cellular debris.
The author makes an excellent point:
Essentially all neurodegenerative diseases are associated with misaccumulation of cellular waste products.Of these, misfolded or hyperphosphorylated proteins are among the most difficult for the brain to dispose. For example, tau and β-amyloid can accumulate as stable aggregates that are neurotoxic in conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease…
To discover underlying mechanisms of waste clearance in the brain, researchers have implanted a window into the skull of mice and used two-photon imaging techniques that allow them to directly observe the movemement of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) through the living brain!
The researchers found that the brain itself is surrounded by a membrane called the arachnoid and bathed in cerebral spinal fluid (CSF). CSF flows into the interior of the brain through the same pathways as the arteries that carry blood and is drawn into brain tissue via a system of conduits that are controlled by astrocytes ( a type of glia). The CSF is flushed through the brain tissue at high speeds, which sweeps away excess “garbage” that might be located in the brain. The fluid and waste are exchanged with a similar system that parallels veins which carries the waste out of the brain and down the spine where it is eventually transferred to the lymphatic system and from there to the liver, where it is ultimately broken down.The scientists decided to coin this newly discovered system the “glymphatic system.”
Convective glymphatic fluxes of CSF and ISF propel the waste products of neuron metabolism into the paravenous space, from which they are directed into lymphatic vessels and ultimately return to the general circulation for clearance by the kidney and liver.
CREDIT: K. SUTLIFF/SCIENCE
- 13th October
- 31st August
The neural processes underlying that which we call creativity have nothing to do with rationality. That is to say, if we look at how the brain generates creativity, we will see that it is not a rational process at all; creativity is not born out of reasoning.
Rodolfo R. Llinás, I of the Vortex: From Neurons to Self
(Also a professor at NYU Med!)
- 26th July