Archive for November, 2014

Neural antecedents of action

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Neural antecedents of self-initiated actions in secondary motor cortex Murikami, M. Vicente, Gil Costa & Z. Mainen Nature Neuroscience, vol. 17, No. 11, pp. 1574-82, November 2014 www.nature.com/neuro Summary and review of the above paper INTRODUCTION: In a very guarded fashion, the authors of this paper cast doubt on the Libet-based orthodoxy where pre-conscious activity in the brain precludes the possibility of conscious will. Their research suggests that a simple threshold Read more […]

Psilocybin alters the brain network

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Magic mushrooms create a hyperconnected brain Tia Ghose, based on Paul Expert, King’s College London www.livescience.com rsif.royalsocietypublishing.org royalsocietypublishing.org/journals Summary and review of the above article A study at King’s College London, published in the Journal of the Royal Society on October 28 2014, has shown that psilocybin, the active ingredient in so-called magic mushrooms, disrupts normal connections within the brain, while allowing connection Read more […]

Neurons specialised for individual taste qualia

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Brain’s taste secrets uncovered Based on BBC Health and Nature www.nature.com/ Summary and review of the above article A study at Columbia University has demonstrated the specialised nature of neurons related to taste. The tongue has about 8,000 taste buds. Each bud is able to respond to the full range of salty, bitter, sour, sweet and umami. However, these versatile taste buds in fact contain specialised cells which respond to only one of these tastes. It was found that stimuli acting Read more […]

Organic molecules in interstellar dust clouds

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Molecule discovery suggests life could have started in space Focus: Science and Technology, Issue 275, December 2014 sciencefocus.com/ Summary and review of the above article An isopropyl cyanide molecule, the largest and most complex molecule to date found in interstellar space, has been discovered by the Atacama array in Chile. The discovery was located in a star-forming gas cloud. Dust in the cloud becomes heated, and chemical reactions on dust particles can give rise to complex molecules. Read more […]

Lucid dreaming and gamma synchrony

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The (gamma) power to control our dreams Jessica D Payne, University of Notre Dame Nature Neuroscience, vol. 17, No. 6, June 2014 www.nature.com/neuro Summary and review of the above paper Voss et al (2014) demonstrate that lucid dreaming can be initiated by stimulating the brain at the gamma frequency, which is associated with conscious processing. Lucid dreams are thought to occur only during rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep, in contrast to ordinary dreams, which occur mostly, but not Read more […]