- The adult human brain is not plastic
- The adult human brain cannot regenerate
- Neurons are the functional elements of the nervous system
- Neurotransmitters are released from the nerve terminal
- Neurons are binary switches
- Neurons communicate with each other by propagating action potentials
Lots of people have been saying how impressed they were by neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor’s TED Talk at this year’s conference. None, however, have summed it up better than Vaughan:
It’s a bit poetic in places. You can almost hear the sound of a thousand cognitive scientists gritting their teeth as she describes the supposed functions of each cerebral hemisphere and probably the sound of some of them fainting when she describes the “deep inner peace circuitry” of the right hemisphere.
Neuroanatomists may notice that this is almost exactly the same sound that occurs when psychologists describe something as a ‘frontal’ function.
The talk is gripping, however, and the highlight is her description of the day she had her stroke which is both insightful and very funny.
Wired Science have got a great short film that follows two people who have deep brain stimulation devices implanted in their brains to treat tremors.While most people assume brain surgery is all pre-planned beforehand, for many treatments for cognitive or behavioural functions, the surgeons need to wake up the patient after they’ve open their skull to make sure they’re targeting the right place (and avoiding damaging essential functions).
In this case, they wake the patients up during neurosurgery so they can test out their movements while stimulating different areas of the brain, in a trial and error style.