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Mind Uploading: Brain Facts

Mind Uploading: Brain Facts
What's the scale of things here? The following lengths (from Posner p. 305) give approximate sizes for structures in the nervous system: 0.001 mm: synapses (tip of a connection between neurons) 0.1 mm: neurons (brain cell) 1 mm: local circuits (small networks of cells) 10 mm: maps (spatially organized topographic maps) 100 mm: systems (e.g., the visual system) 1000 mm: the central nervous system (including spinal cord) How many things are we talking about? Short answer: a LOT. Long answer: Per cubic millimeter (mm^3), there are about 10^5 neurons and 10^9 synapses. How fast does the brain work? Not very fast by computer standards. How are memories stored in the brain? This is one of the great questions of neuroscience, and research has nearly converged on an answer. OK, so neurons and connections, is that it? Well, there's more in the brain than that. More Brain Facts and Figures are available from the University of Washington.

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Love Deactivates Brain Areas For Fear, Planning, Critical Social Assessment Love Deactivates Brain Areas For Fear, Planning, Critical Social Assessment Andreas Bartels and Semir Zeki of the Wellcome Department of Imaging Neuroscience, University College London have found using Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) that love turns down activity in some areas of the brain in part so that we will not see flaws in the object of our affections. However the key result was that it's not just that certain shared areas of the brain are reliably activated in both romantic and maternal love, but also particular locations are deactivated and it's the deactivation which is perhaps most revealing about love. Among other areas, parts of the pre-frontal cortex – a bit of the brain towards the front and implicated in social judgment – seems to get switched off when we are in love and when we love our children, as do areas linked with the experience of negative emotions such as aggression and fear as well as planning.

What does the spike in the Schumann resonance mean? – Dr. Joe Dispenza’s Blog In 1952, German physicist and professor W.O. Schumann hypothesized there were measurable electromagnetic waves in the atmosphere that existed in the cavity (or space) between the surface of the earth and the ionosphere. According to NASA, the ionosphere is an abundant layer of electrons, ionized atoms, and molecules that stretches from approximately 30 miles above the surface of the earth to the edge of space, at about 600 miles. DARPA Aims to Improve Memory Skills Synopsis A new DARPA research program called Restoring Active Memory Replay (RAM Replay) aims to investigate the role of neural “replay” in the formation and recall of memory. Summary Studies have suggested that memory representations in the brain are are not fixed; they are repeatedly “reactivated” (often unconsciously) following initial encoding, during both wakefulness and sleep.Memory reactivation has been linked to the process of neural replay, during which patterns of neural activity reflect the patterns of activity that had occurred during initial encoding of the memory.Some human studies have investigated ways to improve memory recall by presenting sensory cues or transcranial stimulation during specific phases of sleep.

Notes from the Undergrad By Andrew Newburg | Yawn. Go ahead: Laugh if you want (though you’ll benefit your brain more if you smile), but in my professional opinion, yawning is one of the best-kept secrets in neuroscience. Even my colleagues who are researching meditation, relaxation, and stress reduction at other universities have overlooked this powerful neural-enhancing tool. However, yawning has been used for many decades in voice therapy as an effective means for reducing performance anxiety and hypertension in the throat. Several recent brain-scan studies have shown that yawning evokes a unique neural activity in the areas of the brain that are directly involved in generating social awareness and creating feelings of empathy. How Long To Nap For The Biggest Brain Benefits Source: | Original Post Date: January 15, 2014 – Taking a nap, we’ve seen time and again, is like rebooting your brain. Everyone likes to get a quick nap in every now and then, but napping may be as much of an art as it is a science.

A new era of cognitive computing IBM says it is possible to build a new computing architecture that is more human-like and biologically inspired than traditional systems. After a year of “medical school”, IBM’s intelligent supercomputer, Watson, has produced its first commercially available applications for doctors and health insurance companies. Now that Watson is proving itself in the medical field, the door is being flung open for other industries and a new era of cognitive computing. According to IBM, Watson’s performance has improved by 240% since it rose to prominence by beating the reigning human champions at the popular US quiz show, Jeopardy, two years ago. The supercomputer is named after IBM co-founder Thomas Watson, and is a project of IBM’s research labs. Speaking at an open lecture at Wits University recently, IBM’s senior VP and director of IBM Research, Dr John Kelly, said the original intention with Watson was to create a system that would be “as good as humans” at answering any question in any domain.

Brain Atlas - Introduction The central nervous system (CNS) consists of the brain and the spinal cord, immersed in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Weighing about 3 pounds (1.4 kilograms), the brain consists of three main structures: the cerebrum, the cerebellum and the brainstem. Cerebrum - divided into two hemispheres (left and right), each consists of four lobes (frontal, parietal, occipital and temporal). The outer layer of the brain is known as the cerebral cortex or the ‘grey matter’.

New Study Shows Lack Of Sleep May Shrink Your Brain Source: | Original Post Date: September 26, 2014 – A new study suggests that lack of night sleep might affect how fast the brain’s gray matter shrinks, particularly in people older than 60. It is worth noting that the results of the study showed the link between brain shrinkage and poor quality of sleep, which does not necessarily mean less hours of sleep. Researchers at the University of Oslo, Norway, led by Dr. Neuromodulation 2.0: New Developments in Brain Implants, Super Soldiers and the Treatment of Chronic Disease Neuromodulation 2.0: New Developments in Brain Implants, Super Soldiers and the Treatment of Chronic Disease Brain implants here we come. DARPA just announced the ElectRX program, a $78.9 million attempt to develop miniscule electronic devices that interface directly with the nervous system in the hopes of curing a bunch of chronic conditions, ranging from the psychological (depression, PTSD) to the physical (Crohn’s, arthritis). Of course, the big goal here is to usher in a revolution in neuromodulation—that is, the science of modulating the nervous system to fix an underlying problem. We have known for a while that neuromodulation is effective. Cochlear implants, for example, use electricity to modulate the auditory nerve (really the whole auditory system), while deep brain stimulation has proven itself effective at regulating erroneous neuralelectrical activity and mitigating everything from the tremors of Parkinson’s to the terrors of chronic pain.

Neurological Control - Neurotransmitters Neurotransmitter Molecules Neurotransmitters can be broadly split into two groups – the ‘classical’, small molecule neurotransmitters and the relatively larger neuropeptide neurotransmitters. Within the category of small molecule neurotransmitters, the biogenic amines (dopamine, noradrenaline, serotonin and histamine) are often referred to as a discrete group because of their similarity in terms of their chemical properties. Depression Damages Parts Of The Brain, Research Concludes Source: | Original Post Date: June 30, 2015 – Brain damage is caused by persistent depression rather than being a predisposing factor for it, researchers have finally concluded after decades of unconfirmed hypothesizing. A study published in Molecular Psychiatry today has proved once and for all that recurrent depression shrinks the hippocampus – an area of the brain responsible for forming new memories – leading to a loss of emotional and behavioural function. Hippocampal shrinkage has long been linked to depression but previous studies haven’t been conclusive. Small sample sizes, varying types of depression and treatment levels, as well as variance in methods for collecting and interpreting results, have together led to inconsistent and often conflicting findings.