12 JAN 2018 by ideonexus

 Neurons Use Viruses to Share Information and Learn

When genes are activated, the instructions encoded within their DNA are first transcribed into a related molecule called RNA. Shepherd’s colleague Elissa Pastuzyn showed that the Arc shells can enclose RNA and move it from one neuron to another. And that’s basically what retroviruses do—they use protein shells to protect their own RNA as it moves between cells in a host. So our neurons use a repurposed viral gene to transmit genetic information between each other in an oddly virus-like...
Folksonomies: dna neurons virus microbiology
Folksonomies: dna neurons virus microbiology
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30 MAY 2016 by ideonexus

 What Is Learning?

Learning is very difficult to define. It is the matter of our minds, and includes thinking, becoming aware, imagining, seeing, hearing, hoping, remembering, abstracting, planning, and problem solving (Malone, 1991). Learning is deep in our species, emerging from our desire to take in new information by actively exploring new territory. Learning is a physical phenomenon, occurring in the sensory systems, as energy from light waves and vibrations in the air is converted into electrical impulses...
Folksonomies: education learning
Folksonomies: education learning
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07 APR 2015 by ideonexus

 Sugar Impacts Learning

The DHA-deprived rats also developed signs of resistance to insulin, a hormone that controls blood sugar and regulates synaptic function in the brain. A closer look at the rats' brain tissue suggested that insulin had lost much of its power to influence the brain cells. "Because insulin can penetrate the blood–brain barrier, the hormone may signal neurons to trigger reactions that disrupt learning and cause memory loss," Gomez-Pinilla said. He suspects that fructose is the culprit behi...
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06 FEB 2015 by ideonexus

 A Worm's Mind in a Lego Robot Body

The nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) is tiny and only has 302 neurons. These have been completely mapped and the OpenWorm project is working to build a complete simulation of the worm in software. One of the founders of the OpenWorm project, Timothy Busbice, has taken the connectome and implemented an object oriented neuron program. The model is accurate in its connections and makes use of UDP packets to fire neurons. If two neurons have three synaptic connections then when ...
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15 NOV 2013 by ideonexus

 The Internet as a Brain

The brain is one of the most complex networks in the world, with more neurons than there are stars in the galaxy. Its hardware is a complex network of neurons; its software a complex network of memories. And so too is the Internet a network. Its hardware is a complex network of computers; its software a complex network of websites. There is a lot we can learn from the brain and it can tell us where the Internet is headed next. [...] In practice, the Internet is clunkier, slower, and smaller...
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The question for me is: How do you detect the intelligence? If we are only interacting with neurons, how to we see the big picture?

17 SEP 2013 by ideonexus

 Neurons are Domesticated Cells

You really don't have to worry about one part of your laptop going rogue and trying out something on its own that the rest of the system doesn't want to do. No, they're all slaves. If they're agents, they're slaves. They are prisoners. They have very clear job descriptions. They get fed every day. They don't have to worry about where the energy's coming from, and they're not ambitious. They just do what they're asked to do and do it brilliantly with only the slightest tint of comprehension. Y...
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But they are also slightly feral. Neurons compete with one another, the brain works by neural pruning, natural selection. Cells that don't get used are allowed to die. Thus, neurons are motivated to survive, to have some independence.

21 JUN 2013 by mxplx

 I am my connectome

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11346470-connectome
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We know that each of us is unique, but science has struggled to pinpoint where, precisely, our uniqueness resides. Is it in our genes? The structure of our brains? Our genome may determine our eye color and even aspects of our personality. But our friendships, failures, and passions also shape who we are. The question is: how? Sebastian Seung, a dynamic professor at MIT, is on a quest to discover the biological basis of identity. He believes it lies in the pattern of connections between the brain’s neurons, which change slowly over time as we learn and grow. The connectome, as it’s called, is where our genetic inheritance intersects with our life experience. It’s where nature meets nurture. Seung introduces us to the dedicated researchers who are mapping the brain’s connections, neuron by neuron, synapse by synapse. It is a monumental undertaking—the scientific equivalent of climbing Mount Everest—but if they succeed, it could reveal the basis of personality, intelligence, memory, and perhaps even mental disorders. Many scientists speculate that people with anorexia, autism, and schizophrenia are "wired differently," but nobody knows for sure. The brain’s wiring has never been clearly seen. In sparklingly clear prose, Seung reveals the amazing technological advances that will soon help us map connectomes. He also examines the evidence that these maps will someday allow humans to "upload" their minds into computers, achieving a kind of immortality. Connectome is a mind-bending adventure story, told with great passion and authority. It presents a daring scientific and technological vision for at last understanding what makes us who we are. Welcome to the future of neuroscience

20 JUN 2013 by ideonexus

 Relative Sizes of Structures in the Brain

Linear measure- ments and dimensions generally are given in microns or micrometers (µm) (1 µm equals one- millionth of a meter) or nanometers (nm) (1 nm or millimicron equals one-billionth of a meter). About 240,000 µm equal one inch. As a reference, the following are the dimen- sions of some non-neural structures: human ovum, 100 µm; cross-section of a skeletal muscle fiber, 10-100 µm; erythrocytes, 8–10 µm; bacteria, 0.1–8 µm; and viruses, 0.15–0.5 µm. Cell bodies of neurons...
Folksonomies: size neurology microscopy
Folksonomies: size neurology microscopy
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Interesting to see how they compare to the sizes of other small objects.

27 APR 2013 by ideonexus

 Sensations are Related in the Brain

Production of speech is seen as a pure motor act, involving muscles and the neurons controlling them, while perception of speech is seen as purely sensory, involving the ear and the auditory pathway. This parcellation of the systems appear intuitive and clear, but recent studies [beginning with Taine 1870!] ... suggest that such divisions may be fundamentally wrong. Rather than separate processes for motor outputs and individual sensory modalities, adaptive action seems to use all the availab...
Folksonomies: neurology sensation
Folksonomies: neurology sensation
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Speaking involves not just motor functions in the brain, but auditory, suggesting sensory inputs for the brain are not segregated.

08 APR 2013 by ideonexus

 Wizardry Violates the Conservation of Energy

“You turned into a cat! A small cat! You violated Conservation of Energy! That’s not just an arbitrary rule, it’s implied by the form of the quantum Hamiltonian! Rejecting it destroys unitarity and then you get ftl signaling! And cats are complicated! A human mind can’t just visualize a whole cat’s anatomy and, and all the cat biochemistry, and what about the neurology? How can you go on thinking using a catsized brain?” McGonagall’s lips were twitching harder now. “Magic.”...
Folksonomies: physics magic
Folksonomies: physics magic
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When rational Harry Potter sees a woman turn into a cat, he cannot believe the violation of the laws of physics.