The Heart of the Brain video blog links

Featuring – Carl Schoonover: How to look inside the brain ; Jill Bolte Taylor: My stroke of insight ; Ed Boyden: A new way to study the brain’s invisible secrets ; Nancy Kanwisher: A neural portrait of the human mind ; and Oliver Sacks: What hallucination reveals about our minds.

Carl Schoonover: How to look inside the brain

There have been remarkable advances in understanding the brain, but how do you actually study the neurons inside it?

Using gorgeous imagery, neuroscientist and TED Fellow Carl Schoonover shows the tools that let us see inside our brains.

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Jill Bolte Taylor: My stroke of insight

Neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor had an opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: One morning, she realized she was having a massive stroke. As it happened – as she felt her brain functions slip away one by one, speech, movement, understanding – she studied and remembered every moment.

This is a powerful story about how our brains define us and connect us to the world and to one another.

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Ed Boyden: A new way to study the brain’s invisible secrets

Neuroengineer Ed Boyden wants to know how the tiny biomolecules in our brains generate emotions, thoughts and feelings — and he wants to find the molecular changes that lead to disorders like epilepsy and Alzheimer’s. Rather than magnify these invisible structures with a microscope, he wondered: What if we physically enlarge them and make them easier to see?

Learn how the same polymers used to make baby diapers swell could be a key to better understanding our brains.

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Nancy Kanwisher: A neural portrait of the human mind

Brain imaging pioneer Nancy Kanwisher, who uses fMRI scans to see activity in brain regions (often her own), shares what she and her colleagues have learned: The brain is made up of both highly specialized components and general-purpose “machinery.”

Another surprise: There’s so much left to learn.

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Oliver Sacks: What hallucination reveals about our minds

Neurologist and author Oliver Sacks brings our attention to Charles Bonnett syndrome – when visually impaired people experience lucid hallucinations.

He describes the experiences of his patients in heartwarming detail and walks us through the biology of this under-reported phenomenon.

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