We’re Good At Recognizing Distorted Faces

By Neuroskeptic | April 22, 2018 10:06 am

A new paper from MIT neuroscientists Sharon Gilad-Gutnick and colleagues reveals that we are remarkably good at recognizing faces even if they are highly distorted. Not only is this scientifically interesting, the deformed images used in this study are rather hilarious.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: funny, papers, select, Top Posts

Hans Asperger and the Nazis

By Neuroskeptic | April 20, 2018 9:04 am

Big news this week as Hans Asperger, autism pioneer and namesake of Asperger’s syndrome, is accused of having collaborated in the murder of children during the Nazi rule in Austria. The accusations come in the form of a long paper by historian Herwig Czech in the journal Molecular Autism.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: autism, ethics, history, papers, select, Top Posts

100 Years Later: The Lessons of Encephalitis Lethargica

By Neuroskeptic | April 15, 2018 11:50 am

In 1917, at the height of the Great War, a new and mysterious disease emerged into the world, before vanishing a few years later. Although it was to prove less destructive than the 1918 influenza pandemic which occured at around the same time, the new outbreak had a persistent legacy: some of the victims of the disease remained disabled decades later.

The new syndrome was first reported by Constantin von Economo, a neurologist in Vienna. He dubbed the disease ‘encephalitis lethargica’, after its most dramatic acute symptom – lethargy, or sleepiness.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: history, papers, select, Top Posts

Bad Science of the Havana Embassy “Sonic Attack”

By Neuroskeptic | April 7, 2018 7:12 am

In late 2016, staff at the US embassy in Havana, Cuba, began to report hearing unusual sounds. Over the coming months, some staff were struck down by hearing loss and concussion-like symptoms. The strange sounds were interpreted as the cause, perhaps even reflecting a sonic weapon of an unknown nature.

sonic_weapon

The story of the ‘Havana embassy attack‘ has been told in detail but, until recently, there were no scientific studies of the event or its aftermath.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: papers, politics, select, selfreport, Top Posts

What Does It All Ketamine?

By Neuroskeptic | April 3, 2018 2:41 pm

Regular readers will know of my interest in the theory that ketamine is a rapid-acting antidepressant. I’ve blogged about developments in ketamine-depression research for several years now, my interest being spurred partly by my own struggles with depression.

ketemoji

As I’ve said previously, the research on ketamine as an antidepressant is promising, but I do not think it is possible to say yet how ketamine works in depression. I think it is possible that ketamine’s apparently powerful effects are a kind of psychological response, related to (but not limited to) the placebo effect, and driven by the striking subjective ‘dissociative’ effects of the drug.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: drugs, ketamine, papers, placebo, select, Top Posts

What Happens When a Blind Person Takes LSD?

By Neuroskeptic | March 30, 2018 1:10 pm

How do blind people experience psychedelic drugs? This is the topic of an interesting, but unusual, paper just out in Consciousness and Cognition. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: drugs, papers, select, selfreport, Top Posts

Mobile MEG: Will New Technology Change Neuroscience?

By Neuroskeptic | March 26, 2018 3:11 pm

An improved method for recording brain activity could prove a major asset to neuroscience, according to a Nature paper just out: Moving magnetoencephalography towards real-world applications with a wearable system

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: EEG, methods, papers, select, Top Posts

Solar Silliness: The Heart-Sun Connection

By Neuroskeptic | March 22, 2018 3:11 pm

heart_sunOn Twitter, I learned about a curious new paper in Scientific Reports: Long-Term Study of Heart Rate Variability Responses to Changes in the Solar and Geomagnetic Environment by Abdullah Alabdulgader and colleagues.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: papers, select, statistics, Top Posts, woo

The Selective Skepticism of Lynne McTaggart

By Neuroskeptic | March 17, 2018 1:23 pm

Lynne McTaggart is an author and leading alternative health proponent who was the foil for my first ever Neuroskeptic post, nearly 10 years ago. Ever since then I have occasionally been following McTaggart’s output.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: media, science, select, Top Posts, woo

Is Human Adult Neurogenesis Dead? And Does It Matter?

By Neuroskeptic | March 14, 2018 3:14 pm

Does the human brain continue creating new neurons throughout adult life? The idea that neurogenesis exists in the adult human hippocampus has generated a huge amount of excitement and stimulated much research. It’s been proposed that disruptions to neurogenesis could help to explain stress, depression, and other disorders.

But a new study, published in Nature, has just poured cold water on the whole idea. Researchers Shawn F. Sorrells and colleagues report that neurogenesis ends in humans some time in childhood.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: neurogenesis, papers, select, Top Posts
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