Mind Matters News and Analysis on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

CategoryMedicine and Health

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New Mind-Controlled Robot Arm Needs No Brain Implant

The thought-controlled device could help people with movement disorders control devices without the costs and risks of surgery

Beyond that, such research raises a philosophical question: If the mind is an illusion, how can it act directly on external things, by the force of decision-making alone?

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Can AI Combat Misleading Medical Research?

No, because AI doesn’t address the “Texas Sharpshooter Fallacies” that produce the bad data

In this week’s podcast, Pomona College’s Gary Smith, author of The AI Delusion, talks with Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks about why so many bad research papers are accepted in the science establishment and in media.

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Cafeteria tables
Cafeteria tables

How Can AI Help Us With What We Care About?

Instead of making us part of things we don’t care about?

Despite the misguided hype, AI is just another tool. So it is encouraging to read about the ways that Japanese firm Hitachi is using AI as a tool to provide services that would otherwise be difficult or unavailable.

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Theologian, Battling Depression, Reaffirms the Existence of the Soul

J. P. Moreland reasons his way to the evidence and captures his discoveries in a book

It’s not often that a theologian admits to personal issues like anxiety and depression. But Biola University’s Moreland has written a book about how he coped by learning more about the nature of our immaterial minds.

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Man's Hand Holding Mobile Phone Showing Electric Meter Reading
Close-up Of A Man's Hand Holding Mobile Phone Showing Electric Meter Reading And Holding Flashlight

Scientific American: No Consensus on Smartphones’ Effect on Teen Brains

Others continue to wonder why teens seem comparatively fragile
The editor's view is that "change is unceasing, and different does not necessarily mean worse – despite the fears of the “cluck-cluckers." We recommend several other sources for alternative context and background. Read More ›
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Can AI Make Unique Trail-Blazing Science Discoveries?

It would save us a lot of time but, as Eric Holloway warns, some things can’t be automated, by their very nature
"What is needed is the happy medium of a model that is complex enough to learn, but simple enough to not memorize. There is no way to automate finding the happy medium. It requires human intelligence." Read More ›
Girl hiding on the sea shore

Betraying Dietrich Bonhoeffer by Espousing Abortion

Bonhoeffer opposed abortion but the president of the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Institute argues for it
I treat very premature babies—they can feel excruciating pain, and colleagues who do fetal surgery always ensure that the fetus, as well as the mother, has sufficient anesthesia during the operation. Read More ›
Young black man with back pain at home

Can health tracking apps make us sicker?

Yes, if information overload leads to more anxiety
In the Information Age, we face a problem our ancestors did not face: far too much information. Our challenge is learning how to know when we have all the information we need to calmly make decisions we can live with. Read More ›
Headache Pain

Non-Invasive Healing for the Wounded Brain

One method does not involve invasive surgery but rather stimulating the tongue

Jonathan Sackier emphasizes that, when dealing with sufferers from severe or chronic brain injury, medicine must not raise false hopes: “So we have a profound obligation to be honest, open, transparent, and to do darn good science!” But he is optimistic.

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MRI Image Brain On Black Background

How the Injured Brain Heals Itself: Our Amazing Neuroplasticity

Jonathan Sackier is a pioneer in non-invasive techniques for speeding the healing of traumatic brain injuries

People who have come back from catastrophic injuries like Bill Zoller's intrigue neuroscientists because they offer a glimpse into the neuroplasticity that enables the brain to restore lost functions, which we can learn to augment.

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Man's back with doctor

Why AI Won’t Replace Your Doctor

Most analysts think that AI can improve medical care but cannot replace human judgement in painful situations

It’s not so much that electronic systems make errors as that they make errors that health care staff can’t anticipate and correct for—errors that occur in complex machinery, not errors made by experienced professionals.

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A hand stretched out in front

Does “Alien Hand Syndrome” Show That We Don’t Really Have Free Will?

One woman’s left hand seemed to have a mind of its own. Did it?

Alien hand syndrome doesn’t mean that free will is not real. In fact, it clarifies exactly what free will is and what it isn’t.

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Asian smart doctor holding smartphone computer with hand. Surgeon has stethoscopes. concept of medical live in social online.
Asian smart doctor holding smartphone computer with hand. Surgeon has stethoscopes. concept of medical live in social online.

Tech Fail: Man Told He’s Dying via Video Link

The family, who thought that the robotic video cart was just “making a routine visit,” was outraged

The response statement from Kaiser Permanente, acknowledging failure, recognizes the problem, but only in part

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Human Fetus Week Nine

The Junk Science of the Abortion Lobby

Fetuses not only experience pain but experience it more intensely than do adults
Much of pro-abortion advocacy is science denial—the deliberate misrepresentation of science to advance an ideological agenda. Mary Ziegler, a law professor at Florida State University, wrote a misleading essay on that theme in the New York Times, “Science won’t end this debate” (January 22, 2019). Read More ›
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AI: Think About Ethics Before Trouble Arises

A machine learning specialist reflects on Micah 6:8 as a guide to developing ethics for the rapidly growing profession
To love mercy sometimes means to give up efficiency. It could mean losing a few points of model accuracy by refusing to take into account features that invade privacy or are proxies for race, leading to discriminatory model behavior. But that’s OK. The merciful are willing to give up some of their rights and advantages so they can help others.   Read More ›
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Yes, the Placebo Effect Is Real, Not a Trick

But the fact that the mind acts on the body troubles materialists. Such facts, they say, require revision
The fact that you may start to get better if you believe you are receiving treatment is one of the best-attested facts in medicine. Despite that, far from being accepted, this "placebo effect" is seen in many quarters as, at best, a “pesky thing” and at worst, a “trick,” if not a “fraud.” Perhaps that is due to a drive to reduce medical science to the purely physical. Read More ›
Brain Disease Therapy

Researchers find loneliness is hard on the brain

What we think about our lives really does affect our health.
What’s less often recognized is that loneliness could cause be a cause of brain damage as well, at least if we go by rodent studies. Read More ›
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The $60 Billion-Dollar Medical Data Market is Coming Under Scrutiny

As a patient, you do not own the data and are not as anonymous as you think
Data management companies can come to know a great deal about you; they just don’t know your name—unless, of course, there is a breach of some kind. Time Magazine reported in 2017 that “Researchers have already re-identified people from anonymized profiles from hospital exit records, lists of Netflix customers, AOL online searchers, even GPS data of New York City taxi rides.” One would expect detailed medical data to be even more revelatory. Read More ›
MRI brain : Brain tumor at right parietal lobe

Boy loses large hunk of brain

And is “doing just fine”
When pundits talk glibly of creating artificial minds or claim that consciousness is an illusion, it might help to remember that few predicted cases like this could exist and few thought that high tech diagnostics would lead to their discovery. Read More ›