Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis


model of the human brain, the concept of medical health, intellectual capabilities, the study of the activity of the cerebral cortex, psyche and consciousness

Researchers Locate 440 Genes That Develop Each Brain Differently

Large-scale MRI and genetic datasets are helping us understand the common variants of the genes that help build the human cerebral cortex

To map regions of the brain to specific genes, researchers at the University of California – San Diego did genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of the regional cortical surface area and thickness of 39,898 adults and 9,136 children. That is, they scanned complete sets of DNA (genomes), looking for genetic variations. They were especially interested in variations that might be associated with a problem like autism, epilepsy, or dementia. By and large, construction of the human brain is determined by heredity, though factors like environmental exposures also play a role, particularly during sensitive periods of neurodevelopment during childhood. Large-scale MRI and genetic datasets have increasingly illuminated the common genetic variants that help build the human cerebral cortex — the outer, layered…

Dying woman with nurse

Do People Suddenly Gain Clarity About Life Just Before Dying?

A small number of cognitively challenged or dementia patients become lucid — for the first time in years — just before dying

The percentage of people who suddenly become lucid on the point of death may be small but their stories are remarkable. The best known case was that of Anna Katharina Ehmer (1895–1922) who, due to mental disabilities, lived in a psychiatric institution called Hephata in Germany for most of her life (from 1896 to 1922). She … allegedly never spoken a single word during her life. Yet, she was reported to have sung dying songs for a half hour before she died. The case was reported by the head of this institution and by its chief physician. We consider it difficult to evaluate the authenticity of the case definitively in retrospect. Nevertheless, there are similar cases and a variety of…