background preloader

Hallucinations with Oliver Sacks

Hallucinations with Oliver Sacks
Renowned neurologist Oliver Sacks answers your questions about the secret world of hallucinations. These queries came to us via Twitter, Facebook and e-mail. Q. Are the visual or auditory hallucinations in blind or deaf people analogous to sensations in a phantom limb? A. Q. A. Q. A. Q. A. Related:  Brain

Is Free Will an Illusion? Sam Harris on His New Book Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is the stud you love to hate—at least onscreen. As Jaime Lannister, the rakish, incestuous “Kingslayer” on Game of Thrones, he’s an object of attraction (devilishly handsome) and derision (he loves his sister). On Sunday night’s episode, the pendulum swung towards the latter when he sexually assaulted his sister, Cersei, beside the altar of their dead love child, Joffrey. He’s not much better in The Other Woman. In Nick Cassavetes’s comedy, the Danish actor plays Alex King, a suave, Maserati-driving, bespoke suit-wearing angel investor who cheats on his adoring wife, Kate (Leslie Mann), with two other beauties—a career-minded lawyer, Carly (Cameron Diaz), and a young hottie, Amber (Kate Upton). In an interview with The Daily Beast, Coster-Waldau discussed his comedy chops, Jaime Lannister’s dark turn, and much more. Note: Portions of this interview were included in a separate piece on THAT scene. Is that the craziest thing you’ve ever done in a film or TV show? Yeah.

On out-of-body experiences | Andrew Brown I was standing at the urinal in the brightly lit downstairs cloakroom at Lambeth Palace when I realised that to talk about the spiritual dimension of life is perfectly ridiculous – because the spiritual, disembodied dimension is where we live all the time. We can only get out of it with a deliberate effort. The physical dimension comes to us at second hand. This is hardly original – perhaps it's one of those insights which recurs in different forms throughout your life. But what about other people's out-of-body lives? An interesting sidelight here is that consciousness seems to be something we associate with purpose and desire: an angry ghost is believable in a way that a computer's ghost is not. Of course, the fact that it is easy and natural to imagine ghosts, or disembodied consciousnesses, does not mean they exist. But suppose there were evidence of disembodied consciousness in scientifically monitored situations?

In Legal Showdown Over Marijuana, Oakland Dispensary Takes Leading Role | PBS NewsHour | Dec. 24, 2012 JEFFREY BROWN: The battle between federal and state authorities legal marijuana is coming to a head in a high-profile case in California. A dispensary there is capturing national attention, even more so now that Colorado and Washington state have approved the legal use of recreational pot. Our report comes from special correspondent Jake Schoneker. Production help came from the Media Enterprise Alliance, a PBS “NewsHour” student reporting lab based in Oakland. RICHARD SCOTT SILVA, (Suffers from back pain): Good afternoon. MAN: How can I help you today? RICHARD SCOTT SILVA: Well, I’m interested in probably two-eights of medicine. JAKE SCHONEKER: Richard Scott Silva has suffered from lower back pain since he was in a motorcycle accident six years ago. For the most part, Silva grows his own cannabis at his home in California’s Central Valley. RICHARD SCOTT SILVA: What’s the best (inaudible) you have on the top shelf there as far as eighths? MAN: … at the Harborside Medical Center.

Brain Waves During Meditation Brain Activity During Meditation The brain is an electrochemical organ (machine) using electromagnetic energy to function. Electrical activity emanating from the brain is displayed in the form of brainwaves. They range from the high amplitude, low frequency delta to the low amplitude, high frequency beta. During meditation brain waves alter. The four categories of these brainwaves: Beta Waves or beta rhythm, is the term used to designate the frequency range of human brain activity between 12 and 30 Hz (12 to 30 transitions or cycles per second). Alpha Waves are electromagnetic oscillations in the frequency range of 8Ð12 Hz arising from synchronous and coherent (in phase / constructive) electrical activity of thalamic pacemaker cells in humans. Theta Waves is an oscillatory pattern in EEG signals recorded either from inside the brain or from electrodes glued to the scalp. Delta Waves are high amplitude brain waves with a frequency of oscillation between 0Ð4 hertz. Theta State ShareThis

Doctors consider using street drugs to ease suffering of dying patients Recent studies at Harvard, U.C.L.A. and my alma mater John Hopkins have now made it plain that doctors should—as soon as proper safeguards can be put in place—be free to offer illicit drugs to patients who are terminally ill, in order to ease their emotional suffering and potentially offer them new perspectives—fueled by drug-induced insights—into issues like their own mortality. At Harvard, Dr. John Halpern (as reported in the New York Times) tested MDMA (the street drug Ecstasy) to determine if it would ease the anxieties in two patients with terminal cancer. The results are reportedly consistently good. The truth is that the likelihood of creating an MDMA or psilocybin addict out of a terminal cancer patient is exactly zero. Not long ago, I debated with former talk show host and motivational speaker Montel Williams. Terminal conditions and final days are, in fact, but one of the settings in which chemicals considered “street” drugs may be Godsends. Dr. Dr.

‘Free Will,’ by Sam Harris But the last half-century has seen this ancient subject pulled down from its academic perch and into courtrooms, laboratories, real-world questions about moral responsibility, and even popular culture. (It forms the plot of such contemporary movies as “Minority Report” and “The Adjustment Bureau.”) Over the last few decades, procedures for measuring, imaging and analyzing mental processes have grown in number and subtlety. During this same period, books for the general reader about the brain and its functions, consciousness and will, thought and reasoning have proliferated. We have Daniel Dennett, Steven Pinker, Richard Dawkins, Cordelia Fine, Oliver Sacks, Michael Gazzaniga, Daniel Kahneman and scores of others explaining, and extrapolating from, new findings in neuroscience and almost always addressing the matter of free will. His absolutist position, I should add, because, as he puts it near the beginning of the book: “Free will is an illusion. Of course, questions persist.

Overcoming Information Overload As a writer for the web, I’m well acquainted with information overload. One bit of information leads to five facts, which leads to three articles, which leads to an interesting interview you must listen to right now, which leads to 10 pages in your browser. I’ve always loved the scavenger hunt research requires. Every clue leads to another. Every clue uncovered is a prize in itself: learning something new and interesting and getting one step closer to the carrot (such as the answer to your original question). But there’s always one more thing to look up, learn and digest. Whether your livelihood lives online — like mine — or not, you probably use the Web quite a bit. Information is merely a click — or, more accurately, a Google search — away. This is a good thing, but it also can overburden our brains. Alvin Toffler actually coined the term in 1970 in his book Future Shock. According to neuroscientists, the more accurate term is “cognitive overload,” she said. 1. 2. 3.

Binge Drinking Among Women Is Both Dangerous And Overlooked : Shots - Health News hide captionA picture from the photo story "Keg Stand Queens," which explores the gender dynamics of undergraduate binge drinking. Amanda Berg/The Alexia Foundation for NPR A picture from the photo story "Keg Stand Queens," which explores the gender dynamics of undergraduate binge drinking. Binge drinking is something many people want to shrug off. But officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say it's a public health problem that deserves more attention. You might be tempted to think binge drinking is mainly an issue for men, but that's not the case. About 13 percent of U.S. women go on drinking binges each month, says the CDC, citing survey data collected in 2011. Consuming four or more drinks in a single session is considered a binge for women, in case you were wondering. All told, the CDC figures 14 million women in the U.S. binge drink. Binge drinking is more common among non-Hispanic whites (a prevalence of 13 percent). Dr. The U.S.

Does Psychiatry Need Science? The Strange Case of Melancholia and the D.S.M. In 1886, Pliny Earle, then the superintendent of the state hospital for the insane in Northampton, Massachusetts, complained to his fellow psychiatrists that “in the present state of our knowledge, no classification of insanity can be erected upon a pathological basis.” Doctors in other specialties were using microscopes and chemical assays to discern the material causes of illness and to classify diseases accordingly. But psychiatrists, confronted with the impenetrable complexities of the brain, were “forced to fall back upon the symptomatology of the disease—the apparent mental condition, as judged from the outward manifestations.” The rest of medicine may have been galloping into modernity on the back of science, but Earle and his colleagues were being left in the dust. Thirty years later, they had not caught up. But psychiatrists still cannot meet this demand. The proposal was not so much an innovation as a retrieval of an old idea.

Alcohol 'more harmful than heroin' says Prof David Nutt 1 November 2010Last updated at 14:11 Professor David Nutt: "In terms of the cost to society, alcohol causes the biggest harm" Alcohol is more harmful than heroin or crack when the overall dangers to the individual and society are considered, according to a study in the Lancet. The report is co-authored by Professor David Nutt, the former government chief drugs adviser who was sacked in 2009. It ranked 20 drugs on 16 measures of harm to users and to wider society. Heroin, crack and crystal meth were deemed worst for individuals, with alcohol, heroin and crack cocaine worst for society, and alcohol worst overall. Harm score Professor Nutt refused to leave the drugs debate when he was sacked from his official post by the former Labour Home Secretary, Alan Johnson. He went on to form the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs, which says it aims to investigate the drug issue without any political interference. 'Valid and necessary' 'Extraordinary lengths' "We are talking about a minority.

Kurt Vonnegut term paper assignment from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop Buck Squibb. Suzanne McConnell, one of Kurt Vonnegut’s students in his “Form of Fiction” course at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, saved this assignment, explaining that Vonnegut “wrote his course assignments in the form of letters, as a way of speaking personally to each member of the class.” The result is part assignment, part letter, part guide to writing and life. This assignment is reprinted from Kurt Vonnegut: Letters, edited by Dan Wakefield, out now from Delacorte Press. This course began as Form and Theory of Fiction, became Form of Fiction, then Form and Texture of Fiction, then Surface Criticism, or How to Talk out of the Corner of Your Mouth Like a Real Tough Pro. As for your term papers, I should like them to be both cynical and religious. I invite you to read the fifteen tales in Masters of the Modern Short Story (W. Proceed next to the hallucination that you are a minor but useful editor on a good literary magazine not connected with a university.