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synapsebutton.jpg 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.

On Autism, Dr. Deborah Serani, host of the previous Synapse, highlights a paper on genetic mutation and its link to the risk of Autism.

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.

Transcranial direct current stimuliation (tDCS) is another good touch, albeit less invasive.  The Fibromyalgia Research Blog reviews a paper on tDCS as a treatment for fibromyalgia pain.

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 heck, I’ll be hosting The Motel 6 later this morning (sigh, it’s late) live on CKUW 95.9 FM and starting at 10AM (GMT -0600) on Sunday. Tune in!

Should you listen to the interview with Dr. Harrington, circadian rhythms will likely be on your mind. A Blog Around The Clock points to the refinement of questions in circadian rhythm research.

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 at The next Encephalon will be held at Neurotopia on December 18th.



  1. Great collection of articles all around.
    Enjoyed all of this…

  2. Hi,
    I read the MET research on autism and am not convinced. There are too many outside influences that contribute, such as toxins, microwaves, diet and vaccines.
    I’ve also read breaking research that strongly indicates inability to metabolise fatty acids as being a major factor.

One Trackback/Pingback

  1. […] The 13th edition of The Synapse is hosted by Nick at Neurocontrarian. Due to a dwindling number of submissions to both The Synapse and Encephalon, Jake (who started The Synapse) and I have decided to merge the two carnivals. Jake has therefore suspended The Synapse indefinitely. […]

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