Mind Matters News and Analysis on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

CategoryMedicine and Health

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.

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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 ›
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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 ›
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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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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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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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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