Monday, September 29, 2008

Encephalon #55

The 55th edition of Encephalon (the 'emerald aniversary' edition) is now up at Neuroscientifically Challenged. My three picks as usual:

- Five points on why, even though absolutely important and fascinating, neuroplasticity has been overstated (or mis-stated at least), from Neuroanthropology. I particularly agree with point four, which states that "...much of the story of neuroplasticity is in developmental settings, in the normal interactions and activities that occur during childhood..." - an aspect very much understated, though I'd say implicitly assumed.

- From the ever thorough Mo at Neurophilosophy comes a review of Developmental topographagnosia - a disorder that essentially leads to a difficulty in producing cognitive maps, as Mo says: "It therefore seems plausible that a reluctance to form cognitive maps, starting from an early age and continuing throughout life, could result in a reduced capacity for the hippocampus to perform this particular function." For me, this seems to lead on nicely from the neuroplasticity post - development of the individual as being of central importance.

- Finally, from Neuronism comes a nice little article on computational neuroscience - building general models and theories in order to make predictions.

The next edition of Encephalon will be held here at Combining Cognits on October the 13th, so get your posts written and readied, and send them to encephalon {dot} host {at} gmail {dot} com as usual. Until then!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Special Issue on Arousal, Alertness and Attention

I recently came across a special issue of the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences on Molecular and Biophysical Mechanisms of Arousal, Alertness, and Attention. It is May's issue, but for some reason, my alerting mechanism only told me about it on Monday. It's split into four main sections: (1) Elementary Central Nervous System Arousal; (2) The Emotion-Cognition Interface (which I think look particularly interesting); (3) Alertness and Attention; and (4) Circadian Rhythms in the Activation of Behavior (with a main emphasis on sleep). Anyways, some details in case of interest:

Issue 1129 - Table of Contents
Molecular and Biophysical Mechanisms of Arousal, Alertness, and Attention
DOI: 10.1196/annals.1417.034

Excerpt from preface:
"The volume starts with the most primitive function, generalized arousal, and then considers disorders of this function that cause comatose or vegetative states. After a series of chapters on emotion, alertness and attention, we finish with chapters on one of the most dynamic areas in neuroscience: sleep and circadian rhythms. "

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Encephalon #54

I'm a day late, but the 54th installation of Encephalon yesterday returned home to Neurophilosophy. A few of my picks from this edition:

- Also the 'editor's pick' (something we'll no doubt see in future edition), from neurobiotaxis comes a nicely written post on the development of modularity in the brain, covering developmental processes and evolution.

- From Neuronism comes a piece on the Blue Brain project, specifically the recently observed persistent oscillatory activity in the gamma range in the simulated cortical columns.

- Dan Peterson reviews a paper on embodied cognition: particularly the link between motor skills and the language comprehension of those skills.

- Finally, from Neurophilosophy is a review of a paper on the reactivation of hippocampal cells during recall tasks.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Encephalon #53

Encephalon comes from Africa in the latest (53rd) edition. Excellent as usual or course! Just a few quick picks from me this time - I'm at TAROS (and it's just about to start)...

- The first of a three parter on Grid Cells at Neuronism.

- An explanation of Orthogonal Coding (basically, an extension of ensemble coding) over at Pure Pedantry.

- A few links to various articles, interviews, etc, on brains and plasticity at SharpBrains.