3 min read · Aug 6th · You’re agitated by the sound of a mosquito buzzing around your head. The buzzing stops. You feel the tiny pinprick and locate the target. Whack! It’s ...
For all the advancements the world has seen in every field of science, including neuroscience, the mechanics of perception and thinking still elude complete understanding.
Even the list of basic human senses is still up for debate: beyond the five traditional senses, many argue that balance — the body’s mechanism for orienting itself in space — should have been included long ago.
Somewhat surprisingly, when we close our eyes, performance improves. Blindfolding degrades our representation of the external world, which allows our internal body-centred perception to dominate.
5 min read · Apr 6th · A new wave of research seeks neurological signatures for a type of amnesia
Her key finding is that severe dissociative symptoms likely involve the connections between two specific brain networks that are active at the same time: the so-called default mode network—which kicks in when the mind is at rest and involves remembering the past and envisioning the future—and the frontoparietal control network—which is involved in problem-solving.
MRI studies conducted over the past two decades have found that PTSD patients with dissociative amnesia exhibit reduced activity in the amygdala—a brain region that controls the processing of emotion—and increased activity in the prefrontal cortex, which controls planning, focus and other executive functioning skills. In contrast, PTSD patients who report no lapse in their memories of trauma exhibit increased activity in the amygdala and reduced activity in the prefrontal cortex.
8 min read · Jul 20th · The most vital quandary of mental health disorders and therapies today is not whether they change the brain but how
their GP will usually either offer them an antidepressant drug or put them on a waiting list for psychological therapy. These treatments are somewhat effective: each treats depression successfully in about half of cases. The problem is, there is currently no way to tell whether someone would be more likely to get better after therapy or after drugs (or a combination of the two).
A brain-based approach to mental health disorders might also help us invent new treatments.
A crucial scientific challenge of our era will be measuring the cognitive and biological changes occurring in mental health on an individual level, and mapping out their relationships with treatment outcomes.