Mind Matters News and Analysis on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

CategoryMedicine and Health

Near death experience Andrew Charney Unsplash 4gP2EKPlU1Q-unsplash

Near-Death Experiences Are More Real Than Some of the Research

At Scientific American, we learn of an analysis that tries to link them to recreational drug highs, based only on language use

The scientific “method” of inferring a common biological cause of the experiences by analyzing the language used to describe them is junk science. One may as well infer that lung cancer and tuberculosis have a common cause because sufferers from both diseases report cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, and weight loss.

Read More ›
Buddhist monks are walking on temple in mist sunset,Thailand

Tibetan Monks Can Change Their Metabolism

Far from disproving it, science has documented it

For decades, a default assumption was that claims that meditating monks in the Buddhist tradition could greatly raise their temperature or slow their metabolism were assumed to be exaggerations that would yield to a scientific explanation. The scientific explanation turned out to be that they can do exactly that.

Read More ›
Composite image of interface

Google Glass Inventor to Speak at COSM, October 25

Babak Parviz, now an Amazon vice-president, is keenly interested in services for the swelling aged population worldwide
Joining Parviz on the panel will be Matt Scholz, CEO of Oisin Technologies (researching treatments for age-related diseases), George Gilder, philosopher of technology, and Lindy Fishburne, executive director of Breakout Labs, which funds innovative science ventures. Read More ›
Sport and travel memory photos on a table

Do We Actually Remember Everything?

Neuroscience evidence suggests that our real problem isn’t with remembering things but finding our memories when we need them

One of a pioneer neurosurgeon’s cases featured a patient who could, unaccountably, speak ancient Greek. The explanation was not occult but it was surely remarkable for what it shows about memory.

Read More ›
Hype time concept

The Top Ten AI Hype Stories of 2018, Updated

You can segue to each in the podcast and read the accompanying Mind Matters News story, as well as key updates
2019 has seen some remarkable revelations about Google, DeepMind, Watson, Sophia, and other AI faves. Check them out here! Read More ›
Brain icon hologram with office interior on background. Double exposure. Concept of education

How Far Has AI Mindreading Come?

Further than we may think. And some trends are troubling
It’s becoming easier all the time to read signals from the human brain. But there are few or no safeguards, even in the free world, on who has a right to use the information and how. Read More ›
Medical and healthcare,Male doctor or medical students or surgeon,anesthesiologists using digital tablet during the conference,Health Check with digital system support for patient,background banner

Why Was IBM Watson a Flop in Medicine?

Robert J. Marks and Gary S. Smith discuss how the AI couldn’t identify which information in the tsunami of medical literature actually MATTERED

Last year, the IBM Health Initiative laid off a number of people, seemingly due to market disillusionment with the product.

Read More ›
taras-chernus-rWkpNxqE_rM-unsplash
Person's face with eyes obstructed by hands

High Tech Can Help the Blind See and Amputees Feel

It’s not a miracle; the human nervous system can work with electronic information

The electronic devices communicate directly with sensory areas of the brain, bypassing damaged or destroyed eyes and limbs. 

Read More ›
Antidepressants-aroborpulchra-Adobe-Stock-131715697

If Thinking Can Heal, Why Do We Need Antidepressants?

J.P. Moreland, who struggles with anxiety disorders, likens medications to engine oil for the brain

“If you’re driving your car and you’re low or don’t have any oil, parts of the engine are going to rub against one another and it’s going to cause a lot of friction and dysfunction.”

Read More ›
human brain on a running machine

Up! Up! Up! Keep Those Hippocampi Up!

The lighter side of neurobabble about our brains and ourselves

Neurobabble is a full-employment campaign for neuroscientists. Recast obvious social or psychological facts as brain events and you’ll never be out of work.

Read More ›
This job is really stressing me out!

Can fitter brains help us fight depression?

Philosopher J. P. Moreland continues his account of working his way through a devastating anxiety disorder

"Anxiety and depression are largely—not entirely but largely—habit. And those habits are ingrained in the different members of our body," Moreland explains.

Read More ›
nik-shuliahin-251237-unsplash

J. P. Moreland’s Model of the Human Self Survived the Ultimate Field Test

Could the Christian philosopher rely on his model to help himself heal from psychiatric disorder?
To win the struggle with mental states that he knew to be aberrant, he had to clarify his view of the mind and the soul. But this time it was from the first-person perspective: it is not just my theory; this is happening to me. Read More ›
Man silhouette on rural landscape background. Psychiatry and psychology concept.

Four Researchers Whose Work Sheds Light on the Reality of the Mind

The brain can be cut in half, but the intellect and will cannot, says Michael Egnor. The intellect and will are metaphysically simple

Neurosurgeon Michael Egnor was featured in a short film as a supplement to the Science Uprising series. There, he mentions four researchers who have shed light on the non-material mind nature of our minds: Wilder Penfield (1891–1976): Some of the earliest evidence came from neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield, who was the pioneer in epilepsy surgery in the mid 20th century. Penfield operated on over a thousand epilepsy patients while they were awake (under local anesthesia), and he stimulated their brains with electrodes in order to identify epileptic regions for surgical resection. He carefully recorded their responses to stimulation. In his book Mystery of the Mind, (1975) Penfield noted: “When I have caused a conscious patient to move his hand by applying Read More ›

Langzeit EEG

Do “forced thinking” seizures show that abstract thought is a material thing?

Epilepsy suppresses abstract thought, it does not evoke it
It’s worth noting that Wilder Penfield, (with Herbert Jasper, his neurologist colleague), was one of the first doctors to characterize forced thinking seizures and he asserted that there are no intellectual seizures. He understood that forced thinking seizures are not seizures of the intellect. Read More ›
Migräneanfall - Kopfschmerz

Do Epileptic Seizures Cause Abstract Thoughts?

A psychiatrist argues that “intellectual seizures” can occur

Seizures never evoke abstract thought. That is, if a seizure causes you to think about a triangle, it always causes you to imagine a particular triangle, not to define triangles abstractly.

Read More ›
Head erased with pencil

Atheist Psychiatrist Misunderstands Evidence for an Immaterial Mind

Patients with massive brain damage were shown to have a mental life

Here is one way of seeing it: If someone took a sledgehammer to your computer and pulverized it, yet it still worked fairly well, you would conclude that there was something rather strange about the computer that you had not previously considered.

Read More ›
Uneasy senior woman praying for sick man

New Evidence That Some Comatose People Really Do Understand

Researchers found mental activity in response to verbal commands even in some “completely unresponsive” patients

There is growing evidence that many comatose patients are quite aware of what is going on around them. For example, nurses are often very careful not to say upsetting things that the patient can hear because blood pressure often rises dramatically, even in deeply “unaware” comatose patients.

Read More ›
Robotic hand Frank V at Unsplash 740555

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?

Read More ›
Target wall Photo by Jimmy Ofisia on Unsplash 765161

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.

Read More ›