Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Michelangelo - Anatomist and Painter

R. Douglas Fields, PhD, is Chief of the Nervous System Development and Plasticity Section at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. He is also Editor-in-Chief of the journal Neuron Glia Biology and author of "The Other Brain," about glial cells in the brain that do not communicate using electricity but that support neurons. In the Scientific American (May 27, 2010) an article by Fields is entitled, "Michelangelo's secret message in the Sistine Chapel: A juxtaposition of God and the human brain." You may enjoy reading about Michelangelo and "his hidden anatomical illustrations" that have been found—painted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel (notably, sketches of brain anatomy.)


Images from "Concealed Neuroanatomy in Michelangelo’s Separation of Light From Darkness in the Sistine Chapel," by Ian Suk and Rafael J. Tamargo in Neurosurgery, Vol. 66, No. 5, pp. 851-861.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Plasticity of Human Brain

Research University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) of commercial brain fitness program from Posit Science Corporation: practising simple visual tasks can improve the accuracy of short-term, or “working” visual memory. Folowing 10 hours of training, participants improved their perceptual abilities significantly (e.g., increased the accuracy of visual working memory by about 10 %) bringing them up to the level of younger adults. psychiatry at UCSF. Findings help to confirm that perceptual improvements with simple discrimination training can transfer to improved working memory in older adults, and that this increase in memory accuracy is linked to changes at the neural level. That is very good news!


Sunday, August 1, 2010

Your Brain and Neuromarketing

Neuromarketing is a new field of marketing that uses neuroscience, psychology, and other cognitive science techniques to study consumer responses to marketing stimuli. Some of the responses measured include eye tracking, heart rate, electroencephalography (e.g., EEG, functional magnetic resonance imaging – fMRI, galvonic skin responses). Will you purchase more Campbell's Soup because of this? The company hopes so! An artible by Ilian Brat entitled "The Emotional Quotient of Soup Shopping" outlines some of the neuromarketing techniques that the Campbell Soup Company has employed to warm up customer responses to shelf displays. And here I thought my "thoughts" of Campbell's soup were pretty much based on childhood memories! (smile)