is a neuroscience carnival devoted to all areas of neuroscience, including neurobiology, psychology, psychiatry, and neural systems — healthy brains to perverse minds — neurotransmitters to theories of mind.
To kick off the final installment of The Synapse before the new year, Corpus Callosum gets a little Popperian on the falsification of hypotheses and the connection between antidepressants and suicide. In the same vein, the Neurocritic bites into an antidepressant study and outlines why some of the claims being made are hard to swallow.
Bearing in mind Corpus Callosum’s reiteration that ‘correlation does not imply causation’, we turn to Vaughan’s submission of an fMRI study related to psychopathy at Mind Hacks. Non Causa Pro Causa has interesting implications for the old nature/nurture debate and makes neuroimaging studies all the more nuanced. For more on psychopathy, I’d recommend Inside the Mind of a Psychopath on CBC‘s Quirks & Quarks.
Musings on Neurology and Lenitives In Simplistic Art outlines his top 5 strategic areas for research in neuroscience. Is the NIH accepting grant proposals in blog format? While quite broad in scope, there are some sympathies on this end to neuroinformatics and making conversion between file formats easier or potentially adopting a more standard format (imaging people, I know you sympathize. Oh, to be back in the DICOM days). Hat tip on Neuroethics, look north.
On touching brains in a bad way, the Neurophilosopher elaborates on every neuroscientist’s perennial favourite: Phineas Gage. A lot seems to fall out of rod-shaped objects piercing one’s head, although tamping irons may not be that common these days. What, you ask, might be? Chopsticks of course!
Could a young man like this (and his chopsticks) be a key contributor to stem cell research? Shelley at Retrospectacle says yes!
On touching brains in a good way, Jake at Pure Pedantry looks at brain stimulation and the therapeutic value of brain stimulation for Parkinsonism. For coverage of Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS), including a talk by a Parkinson’s patient, check out the Dana Centre’s webcast on DBS during the 2006 Brain Awareness Week at the Science Museum in London.
For a more magnetic touch, consider the Neurocritic’s post on repetative transcranial magnetic stimulation, or rTMS.
Alvaro at SharpBrains interviews Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg on brain fitness and cognitive training and looks at what successful traders and students have in common. I concur on the point of bloated textbooks here in North America. That said, if you’d really like to know what Penfield or Newton thought, read them! Don’t just read a synopsis in a textbook! It’s unfortunate that there are not more programs like St. John’s Great Books program out there.
Outside of print, I Am A Scientist! caught up with Dr. Mary Harrington from Smith College at the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) conference in Atlanta this past October. Listen to a discussion on the Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience live online, Sunday, December 10th at Noon (GMT -0600) on CKUW 95.9 FM. Unable to listen? The show will be archived on the show website. In the meantime, lend your ears to another discussion at SfN, this time with Dr. Gladys Maestre from the University of Zulia in Maracaibo, Venezuela on neuroscience and developing countries. Part 1 / Part 2 (MP3).
And, speaking of the molecular level, PZ Myers gives a near textbook explanation of the notch receptor.
While Sandy at The Mouse Trap makes his conjectures on the evolutionary trajectory of colour vision, Pete at Brain Hammer brings us back to philosophy and reminds us that a scientific theory, necessarily being falsifiable, is only as good as the predictive power it holds.
And it looks like that’s a wrap folks. Thanks for stopping by, see you in the new year, and in the words of the infamous Ivan Hrvatska, See you at party!
Synapse and Encephalon are consolidating! Regular and potential contributors to The Synapse are encouraged to submit posts here or by emailing encephalon.host at gmail.com. The next Encephalon will be held at Neurotopia on December 18th.