Category

Aging and the Brain

Creating a representation of the world when you can’t see it

Dan has been making a lot of comments and asking a lot of questions, and I thought I’d take a crack at one of the latter. He specifically asks how a blind individual creates representations of the things of the… Continue Reading →

I think, therefore I am

There are several highly-ordered neurological representations of the surfaces of your body within a cortical region called “S1”, which occupies a narrow band that roughly bisects the cerebral cortex mantle from a location just above and in front of your… Continue Reading →

Red, red wine

Alcohol is our best-studied neurotoxin. You can pickle a brain in booze. At somewhat lower concentrations that are quite easily achieved in drinking humans, ethanol alters synaptic spines and their plasticity, greatly reduces the complexity of neuronal interconnections, ultimately kills… Continue Reading →

What’s in your DNA?

James B. Watson, the genetics pioneer, is the first individual in the history of the universe to have his DNA completely sequenced. In a statement that testifies to his infectious enthusiasm for nerd science (for which, if you’ve had a… Continue Reading →

Pain and Circumstance

My wife Diane and I visited our friend Mary in the hospital on Friday. Mary had just had her “knee replaced” — which is a rather spectacular modern procedure, unimagined not too many years ago. Another modern, commonplace aspect of… Continue Reading →

A brain fitness graduate comes home

A couple of weeks ago, Jerry Emmons shared his story with Posit Science. It seems that the 84-year-old was spending much of each day re-living old, painful World War II memories. He had been the only survivor in his crew… Continue Reading →

EVERYONE doesn’t feel the pain

Neil Pearson wrote an inspirational and informative comment from a soldier on the front lines of pain therapy about my last entry [which described another neurological confirmation of an empathetic response actually engaging the pain centers of the brain, when… Continue Reading →

I feel your pain

In the May issue of the journal Cerebral Cortex, a group from the National Institute for Physiological Sciences in Okazaki, Japan reported interesting results from a study in which “pain centers” in the brain were shown to be activated by… Continue Reading →

West Nile virus is also on the list

In Caldwell, Idaho, on the Snake River in Western Idaho, Dr. Carolyn Rees tells us that she was at ground zero during a West Nile Virus epidemic “leaving many people with post-encephalitic brain damage”. A review of the research literature… Continue Reading →

© 2021 "On the Brain" with Dr. Michael Merzenich