Tag Archives: Brain

Excerpts: Chip Walter On The “Search For The Aging Cure” (“Immortality, Inc.”)

From a LitHub online article by Chip Walter, 69:

Immortality Inc Chip Walter bookAnd what if older neurons were replaced wholesale with new stem cells? They might scramble different sectors of the brain by destroying the new connections between the originals. Fiddle with those, and who knew what mayhem might follow? Memories, learning, and other cerebral functions that the brain had grown accustomed to might simply vanish. On the other hand, in the case of a disease like Alzheimer’s, maybe new memories would be better than no memories at all.

Robert Hariri’s views on human health began to take an unusual turn a little more than 25 years ago, when he was working as a neurosurgeon and trauma doctor at the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center. Day after day, he watched patients come into the emergency room with severe brain injuries, and it was a painful thing to witness.

He never forgot the case of a woman who had arrived after a senseless automobile accident. She was young, and the injury was bad. Every time he spoke with the family, the big questions they asked were: “How will she be? Will she come back? Could she be a mother to her children again?” It broke his heart.

Read more

William J. (Chip) Walter Jr. (born May 23, 1951) is an author, journalist, National Geographic Fellow, educator, filmmaker and former CNN bureau chief. He has written five mainstream science books between 1991 and 2019. Walter was one of the original employees at Cable News Network when it went on the air June 1, 1980 and later became its youngest bureau chief when he created CNN’s first Southeast Bureau in 1981 before heading up the network’s San Francisco Bureau in 1982. He has written and produced several PBS science documentaries, served as an adjunct professor at Carnegie Mellon University in three different departments, worked with UNICEF on the issue of childhood trauma, spoken at Harvard, Xerox PARC, Carnegie Mellon University and the Chautauqua Institution. One of his three original screenplays was produced and released under the title Sunset Grill in 1993 starring Peter Weller, Lori Singer and Stacy Keach. In 2015 his feature story for National Geographic Magazine explored the origins of human art and symbolic thinking.

From Wikipedia

Medical Procedures: How “Gamma Knife” Surgery Treats Brain Tumors

It’s called gamma knife surgery, but there’s no cutting involved. It’s been used at Mayo Clinic for 30 years as an alternative to open brain surgery.

The patient’s head is held still during the procedure with a headframe, which also serves as a map for the radiation. Using 3D imaging — typically an MRI — as a guide, the gamma knife is targeted directly at the tumor. And with no hospital stay and minimal side effects, it’s a procedure that is efficient and can be lifesaving.

Health: Characteristics Of Neurodegenerative Diseases (Mayo Clinic)

Dr. Nilüfer Ertekin-Taner, neurogeneticist and behavioral neurologist, discusses characteristics of neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and movement disorders. She also discusses her research on the complex genetics of Alzheimer’s disease, including identifying therapeutic targets and biomarkers. She highlights Mayo Clinic’s unique approach to patient care.

Health Infographics: How Exercise Creates “New Neurons In Aging Brains”

New Neurons in Aging Brains Scientific American January 2020 Tami Tolpa

Scientific American logo

Researchers have also documented clear links between aerobic exercise and benefits to other parts of the brain, including expansion of the prefrontal cortex, which sits just behind the forehead. Such augmentation of this region has been tied to sharper executive cognitive functions, which involve aspects of planning, decision-making and multitasking—abilities that, like memory, tend to decline with healthy aging and are further degraded in the presence of Alzheimer’s. Scientists suspect that increased connections between existing neurons, rather than the birth of new neurons, are responsible for the beneficial effects of exercise on the prefrontal cortex and other brain regions outside the hippocampus.

Scientific American article

Health: “Digestion And The Brain” (Harvard Podcast)

Most of the time your digestive tract toils silently in the background, routinely taking in nourishment and expelling waste. But here’s a key takeaway: Your brain is a critical part of maintaining this smoothly running system. 

Here to explain is Harvard professor Dr. Lawrence S. Friedman, faculty editor the special health report Sensitive Gut.

Medical Research Video: “Synthesizing Speech From Brain Signals” (JAMA)

Imagine you’re paralyzed and can’t move or speak. How would you communicate with the world? This video describes the principles of early brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) designed to read electrical brain signals, analyze how brain activity patterns contribute to vocal tract movements, and reproduce the sound patterns as speech. The model is a first step toward one day restoring paralyzed individuals’ natural rate of communication and quality of life.

For more information see https://ja.ma/37dfVSx and https://www.nature.com/articles/s4158….

Reading Lists: “The Best Neuroscience Books Of 2019” (TheScientist)

TheScientist Logo

Bury your nose in tales of neurosyphilis, gender identity, the medical mysteries of sleep disorders, and more. JAMES DOLBOW

The Nocturnal Brain by Guy Leschziner

The Nocturnal Brain: Nightmares, Neuroscience and the Secret World of Sleep 

Inspired by the legendary book The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by the late Oliver Sacks, neurologist and sleep scientist Guy Leschziner tells the curious true stories of his patients, their fascinating sleep disorders, and the neuroscience behind each. Also like the works of Sacks, The Nocturnal Brain is written with considerable introspection and wonder about each patient’s case, taking you on a journey from the first patient encounter, to diagnosis, and through treatment. The unusual and often bizarre cases will keep you intrigued and immersed, and make this unique book one you will find yourself looking forward to making time to read.

How The Brain Lost Its Mind Allan H. Ropper MD and Brian David BurrellHow The Brain Lost Its Mind: Sex, Hysteria, and the Riddle of Mental Health

In this mindful reflection on American and European pasts, authors Allan H. Ropper and Brian Burrell, also the writers of Reaching Down the Rabbit Hole, address our modern concept of mental illness by reviewing the interesting true story of the syphilis epidemic of the 19th century. This little known and fascinating history of neurosyphilis—how it was handled by society and medicine and how it shaped today’s understanding of mental illness—helps address not only why many stigmas exist, but why so many have persisted. This book will take you on an incredible journey through the puzzling diagnosis, eclectic treatments, and lasting social effects of the neurosyphilis epidemic of the 1800s, as well as offer important insight into the difference between diseases of the brain and the mind. This book is perfect for any scientist, psychologist, or historian with even the smallest interest in medical history or mental health theory.

Compassionomics The Revolutionary Scientific Evidence That Caring Makes A Difference Stephen Trzeciak and Anthony MazzarelliCompassionomics: The Revolutionary Scientific Evidence that Caring Makes a Difference

It is no secret that today’s medical atmosphere scarsely resembles anything similar to that of 50 years ago. Many have argued that this is in large part due to a lack of compassion in the modern medical system. If this is the case, where have we gone wrong, and is there scientific evidence to support that compassion is even beneficial to healthcare, personal relationships, and professional lives? These questions are raised and explored by authors Stephen Trzeciak and Anthony Mazzarelli through the telling of true stories of medical providers and patients that help demonstrate the incredible effect of the human connection. Coupled perfectly with these gripping stories are easily readable summaries of decades of research studying the effects of compassion as well as its implications in our lives. Addressing topics from healthcare cost to provider burnout, from caring for others to caring for ourselves, this evidence-based analysis of the importance of compassion is a must-read for anyone interested in the social science and psychology of the care we give in all settings of our lives.

To read more: https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/opinion–the-best-neuroscience-books-of-2019-66863