Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Encephalon #52

The 52nd issue of Encephalon has now been put up at Ouroboros. With a nice Q&A layout, it covers the usual wide range of subjects, from neurogenesis to grannies, and from perception to culture. A couple of, in my view, the most interesting:

- From Neurophilosophy, a review of a paper on brain plasticity, particularly the visual cortex: visual experience can modulate the production of proteins which can influence plasticity along the visual pathway.

- From Neuroscientifically Challenged comes a look at the reason for sleep, and how the humble fruit fly has helped to shed some light on the problem.

- Finally, from Neuroanthropology is a lengthy review of a paper which lays the foundation of "cultural neuroscience": the influence of cultural and social factors on neural mechanisms, and how this may be taken into account in neuroimaging studies. My first thought though when reading this was that it would then be of more immediate concern to somehow account for individual differences in bodily morphology and individual personal histories - these, I would suggest, would have a more direct influence on development, and hence present neural mechanisms, than cultural influences - even though these are, as evidenced by this paper, obviously present. But then again, I'm not a neuroscientist, and have not studied the paper in great detail yet, so may have missed something.

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