Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

Tagneuroplasticity

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Woman scientist holding lab rat, medicine development, tests on animals

An Old Rat With No Brain Raises Some Very Interesting Questions

The researchers had no idea how strange their lab rat was until, in a routine procedure, they scanned its head

Yes, R222 was only a rat. A rat that turned out to have no brain. But here’s the thing: R222 had lived a normal life as a lab rat for two whole years. According to rat specialists, that’s like 70 human years. Researchers were, to say the least, puzzled. The story begins with a scientist scanning the brains of “very old” lab rats as part of a study on aging. Except that subject R222, otherwise a conventional rat, didn’t seem to have a brain. The brain cavity had collapsed and filled with fluid (hydrocephalus). We can see from the photo that where the control rat has brain, R222 has fluid: On further investigation, researchers found that all brain functions had…

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Male Corpus Callosum Brain Anatomy - blue concept

How Can People Lead Normal Lives Without a Connected Brain?

Roughly 25% of people who lack the brain’s transfer station between the hemispheres live normal lives

Roughly one in 4,000 people lacks a corpus callosum, the structure of neural fibers that transfers information between the brain’s two hemispheres. Surprisingly, the 25% who have nothing but cerebrospinal fluid do not show signs of abnormality. About half have some brain-related problems and the remaining 25% have serious problems. Researchers wanted to know, how does anyone manage to live normally without a corpus callosum to connect the two hemispheres of the brain? It turns out that the human brain goes into high gear, organizing a fix: In a study published in the journal Cerebral Cortex, neuroscientists from the University of Geneva (UNIGE) discovered that when the neuronal fibres that act as a bridge between the hemispheres are missing, the…

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artificial intelligence brain

A Neuroscientist on Why We Can Build Human-like Brains

Manuel Brenner, a particle physicist as well as a neuroscientist, thinks pattern recognition is the answer

Manuel Brenner, a particle physicist who became a theoretical neuroscientist, made the argument last year that human intelligence is less complex than we make it out to be. Thus, building an artificial intelligence might be easier than we suppose. He offers some intriguing arguments and here are some responses: ➤ Is the information we need for building human-like AI in our genes? He doesn’t think so because a tomato has 7000 more genes than a human being. Further, our human genome offers only 25 million bytes of information for our brain’s design but there are 1015 connections in the adult neocortex. His conclusion? “there needs to be a much simpler, more efficient way of defining the blueprint for our brain…

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Brain doodle illustration with textures

Your Mind vs. Your Brain: Ten Things To Know

Although we are only beginning to understand the workings of the brain, it clearly isn't the same thing as the mind

Here are some reasons why they aren’t really the same: 1.Is the human brain unique in some way? Yes, but not so much in its structure as in the things we do with it. For example, the human, mouse, and fly brains all use the same basic mechanisms, which is a bit of a puzzle, considering the different things we do with our brains. The human brain is bigger than most. But then lemurs performed as well as chimps on the primate cognitive test battery (a primate intelligence test) and lemurs only have brains that are 1/200th the size of chimps’ brains. So, what we humans are doing differently from lemurs and chimps doesn’t depend wholly on brain size either.…

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Crossroad seen from Burj Kalifa

Bingecast: Yuri Danilov on the Complexity of our Brains

Recent discoveries about the brain have uncovered more of its complexity and changed what we thought we knew about it. Will more discoveries in the future change our views again? Robert J. Marks discusses neuroplasticity, restoring brain function through brain stimulation, and other fascinating discoveries about the human brain with Yuri Danilov. Show Notes 0:01:13 | Introducing Yuri Danilov, Senior…

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Bingecast: Jonathan Sackier on Healing the Brain

The brain can also both adapt and heal itself. How can we facilitate this healing in patients with brain challenges? Can this healing be accelerated without brain surgery? Using stimulation to the tongue can result in incredible changes to brain functions. Robert J. Marks and Dr. Jonathan Sackier discuss brain trauma, healing and stimulation. Show Notes 01:11 | Introducing Dr.…

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Michael Egnor: Free Will or Free Won’t?

There have been ongoing philosophical and theological arguments about free will vs. predestination. How do experiments on the human brain inform us on this question? Robert J. Marks discusses free will, free won’t, predestination, and the brain with Dr. Michael Egnor. Show Notes 00:40 | Introducing Dr. Michael Egnor, Professor of Neurosurgery and Pediatrics at State University of New York,…

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Neuroplasticity: How Your Brain Never Stops Changing

Your brain is always changing, from death till the moment you die.  Neuroscience calls this change in your brain neuroplasticity. Today Robert J. Marks discusses the brain’s ability to adapt and change throughout our lives with Yuri Danilov. Show Notes 01:00 | Introducing Yuri Danilov, Senior Scientist, Biomedical Engineering Department at the University of Wisconsin–Madison 03:00 | Unmasking and opening…

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Cutting New Grooves Over Bad Vibes on our Plastic Brain

JP Moreland shares with Mike Keas how twice he was incapacitated for months by panic attacks and anxiety. His new book, Finding Quiet, seeks to make the most of his suffering, condensing the crucial lessons learned from his research. In this episode, JP outlines some practices that can heal and retrain the brain. Show Notes 01:00 | “Cutting new grooves”…

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 or magnetic resonance image of head and brain scan. Close up view

How the Injured Brain Heals Itself

Our Amazing Neuroplasticity

You get a paper cut and over time your body heals it. The brain can also both adapt and heal itself. How can we facilitate this healing in patients with brain challenges? We address that question today on Mind Matters. Show Notes 01:15 | Introduction 02:25 | Brain Healing and Repair 04:50 | Neuroplasticity 06:00 | Nature of Addiction 07:45…

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No Thanks, Google, I’ve Got This!

Hey Google, can you say a prayer for me? Hey Google, can you go to work for me today? I’m not in the mood. Hey Google, tuck my kids into bed. What if in the near future we are encouraged to leave these sorts of tasks to a Big Tech company? Far-fetched? Maybe right now. But what about ten years from now? Read More ›