Sunday, October 30, 2011

Your Divided Brain

Iain McGilchrist has prepared and filmed a piece about the two cerebral hemispheres. Approximately eleven minutes long and released in October, it provides an informative and cleverly interesting presentation. Check it out. You just might enjoy it!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Autistic Brain

Studies at the University of Montreal Centre for Excellence in Pervasive Development Disorders: In the autistic brain, it appears that more brain resources are concentrated in areas associated with visual detection and identification. By comparison, fewer brain resources are concentrated (and regions show less activity) in areas used to plan and control thoughts and actions. Put another way, the autistic brain exhibits more activity in the temporal and occipital regions and less activity in the frontal cortex as compared with non-autistic brains. The stronger engagement of the visual system, whatever the tasks, is believed to be the first physiological confirmation that enhanced perceptual processing is a core feature of neural organization in autistic brains.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Too Busy to Die

People often mention to me that they are afraid of death or are worried about dying. A recent article in the Los Angeles Times by Steve Lopez turned the spotlight on Hedda Bolgar. She recently received an Outstanding Oldest Worker Award at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. In her speech, she talked about how there’s dignity and purpose in work, and grace in aging. At age 102, this Brentwood Therapist is still seeing clients. You may want to check out the article--and her picture. (Oh, yes, greetings from Seoul, S. Korea -- where I am having the great privilage of making several presentations in a variety of venues.),0,5869414.column

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Stress and the Female Brain

Studies by NIMH grantee Rita Valentino PhD: Women are twice as vulnerable as men to many stress-related disorders, such as depression and PTSD. Corticotropin releasing factor (CRF), which acts as both a hormone and a neurotransmitter, appears to be a key player. Researchers used antibodies and an electron microscope to see how the CRF receptor responds in the brains of male versus female rats — both unstressed and after exposure to a stressful swim. In the male brain under stress, many of the hormone's receptors retreated into the cell, making the brain less stress reactive. Even in the absence of any stress, the researchers found the female stress signaling system to be more sensitive from the start.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Magic as Brain Artistry

It was painters, not scientists, who first figured out the rules of visual perspective and occlusion. Knowing these rules permitted painters to make pigments on a flat canvas appear like a beautiful landscape, rich in depth. Magicians are just a different type of artist. Instead of using color and form, they manipulate the brain’s attention and cognition. Try viewing a magic show from this perspective. Obviously there are magic presentations that your brain will prefer, much as it prefers some types of paintings.

(Macknik, Stephen L. PhD and Susana Martinez-Conde PhD. Sleights of Mind. P 4-6. NY:Henry Holt and Company, 2010.)