New stuff in neuroscience

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Sciborg_S_Patel

#21
Kastrup on What Neuroimaging of the Psychedelic State Tells Us about the Mind-Body Problem

The results of both studies thus indicate that the psychedelic state is consistently associated with reductions of brain activity, despite the significant increases in the richness of experience reported by subjects. From the point of view of the metaphysics of physicalism, which entails that experience is constituted by brain activity alone, such results are at least counterintuitive. Indeed, neuroscientist Christof Koch commented that, ‘to the great surprise of many, psilocybin, a potent psychedelic, reduces brain activity’ (Koch 2012, my italics). But does this observation strictly contradict physicalism? Does physicalism imply that an increase in the richness of experience must be accompanied by an increase in brain activity?

In this brief analysis, the implications of physicalism regarding the relationship between subjective experience and brain activity will be rigorously examined from an informational perspective. The goal is to establish whether the results reported in the neuroimaging studies cited above can be reconciled with physicalism and, if so, under what circumstances. Indeed, as neuroimaging advances and its applications begin to touch on difficult and nuanced problems in neuroscience and philosophy of mind, it becomes crucially important that the related implications of physicalism be unambiguously understood. This is what is attempted here. As such, although this brief analysis focuses only on the psychedelic studies cited, its relevance potentially extends to many more areas of neuroscientific investigation.
For some caution on the use of psychedelics see here.

For potential issues with fMRI data and replication failure in neuroscience, see post above this one.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#23
Updated map of the human brain hailed as a scientific tour de force

When the German neurologist Korbinian Brodmann first sliced and mapped the human brain more than a century ago he identified 50 distinct regions in the crinkly surface called the cerebral cortex that governs much of what makes us human.

Now researchers have updated the 100-year-old map in a scientific tour de force which reveals that the human brain has at least 180 different regions that are important for language, perception, consciousness, thought, attention and sensation.

The landmark achievement hands neuroscientists their most comprehensive map of the cortex so far, one that is expected to supersede Brodmann’s as the standard researchers use to talk about the various areas of the brain.

Scientists at Washington University in St Louis created the map by combining highly-detailed MRI scans from 210 healthy young adults who had agreed to take part in the Human Connectome Project, a massive effort that aims to understand how neurons in the brain are connected.
 
#24
A new study looks for the cortical conscious network

New research published in the New Journal of Physics tries to decompose the structural layers of the cortical network to different hierarchies enabling to identify the network's nucleus, from which our consciousness could emerge.


The brain is a very complex network, with approximately 100 billion neurons and 100 trillion synapses between the neurons. In order to cope with its enormous complexity and to understand how brain function eventually creates the conscious mind, science uses advanced mathematical tools. Ultimately, scientists want to understand how a global phenomenon such as consciousness can emerge from our neuronal network.

A team of physicists from Bar Ilan University in Israel led by Professor Shlomo Havlin and Professor Reuven Cohen used network theory in order to deal with this complexity and to determine how the structure of the human cortical network can support complex data integration and conscious activity. The gray area of the human cortex, the neuron cell bodies, were scanned with MRI imaging and used to form 1000 nodes in the cortical network. The white matter of the human cortex, the neuron bundles, were scanned with DTI imaging, forming 15,000 links or edges that connected the network's nodes. In the end of this process, their network was an approximation of the structure of the human cortex.

Previous studies have shown that the human cortex is a network with small world properties, which means that it has many local structures and some shortcuts from global structures that connect faraway areas (similar to the difference between local buses and cross-country trains). The cortex also has many hubs, which are nodes that have a high number of links (like central stations), that are also strongly interconnected between themselves, making it easy to travel between the brain's information highways.

Video


Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-08-cortical-conscious-network.html#jCp

Network theory sheds new light on origins of consciousness

Where in your brain do you exist? Is your awareness of the world around you and of yourself as an individual the result of specific, focused changes in your brain, or does that awareness come from a broad network of neural activity? How does your brain produce awareness?


Vanderbilt University researchers took a significant step toward answering these longstanding questions with a recent brain imaging study, in which they discovered global changes in how brain areas communicate with one another during awareness. Their findings, which were published March 9 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, challenge previous theories that hypothesized much more restricted changes were responsible for producing awareness.

"Identifying the fingerprints of consciousness in humans would be a significant advancement for basic and medical research, let alone its philosophical implications on the underpinnings of the human experience," said René Marois, professor and chair of psychology at Vanderbilt University and senior author of the study. "Many of the cognitive deficits observed in various neurological diseases may ultimately stem from changes in how information is communicated throughout the brain."

Using graph theory, a branch of mathematics concerned with explaining the interactive links between members of a complex network, such as social networks or flight routes, the researchers aimed to characterize how connections between the various parts of the brain were related to awareness.
http://medicalxpress.com/news/2015-03-network-theory-consciousness.html
 
#25
Long-term memories are maintained by prion-like proteins
Memories are stored for the long-term with the help of prion-like proteins called CPEB. CPEB prions aggregate and maintain synapses that recorded the memory ["spines" in the bottom image]. When CPEB prions are not present or are inactivated, the synapses collapse and the memory fades [see upper image]. Credit: Lab of David Sulzer, Ph.D., Columbia University Medical C

Video link

Research from Eric Kandel's lab at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) has uncovered further evidence of a system in the brain that persistently maintains memories for long periods of time. And paradoxically, it works in the same way as mechanisms that cause mad cow disease, kuru, and other degenerative brain diseases.


In four papers published in Neuron and Cell Reports, Dr. Kandel's laboratory show how prion-like proteins - similar to the prions behind mad cow disease in cattle and Creutzfeld-Jakob disease in humans - are critical for maintaining long-term memories in mice, and probably in other mammals. The lead authors of the four papers are Luana Fioriti, Joseph Stephan, Luca Colnaghi and Bettina Drisaldi.

When long-term memories are created in the brain, new connections are made between neurons to store the memory. But those physical connections must be maintained for a memory to persist, or else they will disintegrate and the memory will disappear within days. Many researchers have searched for molecules that maintain long-term memory, but their identity has remained elusive.

These memory molecules are a normal version of prion proteins, according to research led by Nobel laureate Eric Kandel, MD, who is University Professor & Kavli Professor of Brain Science, co-director of Columbia's Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute, director of the Kavli Institute for Brain Science, and senior investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, at CUMC. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2015-07-long-term-memories-prion-like-proteins.html
 
#26
Long-term memories are maintained by prion-like proteins
Memories are stored for the long-term with the help of prion-like proteins called CPEB. CPEB prions aggregate and maintain synapses that recorded the memory ["spines" in the bottom image]. When CPEB prions are not present or are inactivated, the synapses collapse and the memory fades [see upper image]. Credit: Lab of David Sulzer, Ph.D., Columbia University Medical C

Video link

Research from Eric Kandel's lab at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) has uncovered further evidence of a system in the brain that persistently maintains memories for long periods of time. And paradoxically, it works in the same way as mechanisms that cause mad cow disease, kuru, and other degenerative brain diseases.


In four papers published in Neuron and Cell Reports, Dr. Kandel's laboratory show how prion-like proteins - similar to the prions behind mad cow disease in cattle and Creutzfeld-Jakob disease in humans - are critical for maintaining long-term memories in mice, and probably in other mammals. The lead authors of the four papers are Luana Fioriti, Joseph Stephan, Luca Colnaghi and Bettina Drisaldi.

When long-term memories are created in the brain, new connections are made between neurons to store the memory. But those physical connections must be maintained for a memory to persist, or else they will disintegrate and the memory will disappear within days. Many researchers have searched for molecules that maintain long-term memory, but their identity has remained elusive.

These memory molecules are a normal version of prion proteins, according to research led by Nobel laureate Eric Kandel, MD, who is University Professor & Kavli Professor of Brain Science, co-director of Columbia's Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute, director of the Kavli Institute for Brain Science, and senior investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, at CUMC. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2015-07-long-term-memories-prion-like-proteins.html
So does this strongly support the idea that memory relies on the brain then?
 
#27
So does this strongly support the idea that memory relies on the brain then?
Memory - as a physical process - has no consensus model for basic operations. Kandel has published a significant find, based on research on sea slugs and mice.
A similar protein exists in humans, suggesting that the same mechanism is at work in the human brain, but more research is needed. "It's possible that it has the same role in memory, but until this has been examined, we won't know," said Dr. Kandel.

"There are probably other regulatory components involved," he added. "Long-term memory is a complicated process, so I doubt this is the only important factor.
(bolding mine)

While wildly applauding Dr Kandel, et all, - for this significant step in how short-term markers for memory are converted to markers for long-term memory experiences - it says nothing about how mind and brain work together.
 
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#28
Memory - as a physical process - has no consensus model for basic operations. Kandel has published a significant find, based on research on sea slugs and mice.
(bolding mine)

While wildly applauding Dr Kandel, et all, - for this significant step in how short-term markers for memory are converted to markers for long-term memory experiences - it says nothing about how mind and brain work together.
That is the goal of this research. Don't make the assumption the mind and brain are separate.
 
#30
Don't make the assumption the mind and brain are separate.
Don't make the assumption that they are identical. Mentation is information processing. Methodologically - communication and information processing variables are measured with different units of measure than electrochemical processes.

With different systems for the units of measure used in observing variables relating to information science and for physics - and different outcomes from the processes of physical interactions and informational interactions - where is the support for mind/brain identity other than metaphysical belief? The current methods are practiced on separate levels of interacting abstractions. Do you send a programmer to fix an electrical short? Do you send an electrician to fix a coding issue?

Science is clearer everyday. Information, representation and communication are real. Measurable formal information structuring precedes any physical manifestation. ("It from Bit" - J. Wheeler)
 
#31
Don't make the assumption that they are identical. Mentation is information processing. Methodologically - communication and information processing variables are measured with different units of measure than electrochemical processes.
How can you be so certain? Without those electrochemical processes going any particular brain would not be accomplishing any mentation.

With different systems for the units of measure used in observing variables relating to information science and for physics - and different outcomes from the processes of physical interactions and informational interactions - where is the support for mind/brain identity other than metaphysical belief? The current methods are practiced on separate levels of interacting abstractions. Do you send a programmer to fix an electrical short? Do you send an electrician to fix a coding issue?
No, you would send neither of those to fix the problems, but brains are biological machines, requiring surgeons. They are not nuts and bolt type of devices.

Science is clearer everyday. Information, representation and communication are real. Measurable formal information structuring precedes any physical manifestation. ("It from Bit" - J. Wheeler)
I did not state they are identical. I said they are not separate.

P.S. The italicized. You often sound like an expert using language only an expert understands.
 
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#32
Don't make the assumption that they are identical. Mentation is information processing. Methodologically - communication and information processing variables are measured with different units of measure than electrochemical processes.

With different systems for the units of measure used in observing variables relating to information science and for physics - and different outcomes from the processes of physical interactions and informational interactions - where is the support for mind/brain identity other than metaphysical belief? The current methods are practiced on separate levels of interacting abstractions. Do you send a programmer to fix an electrical short? Do you send an electrician to fix a coding issue?

Science is clearer everyday. Information, representation and communication are real. Measurable formal information structuring precedes any physical manifestation. ("It from Bit" - J. Wheeler)
Stephen, you've made this kind of point before, and I keep asking: isn't this entirely consistent with mind=brain, if that very real information processing is being done by the brain/body system?

I'm still not clear on what you think the significance is of using different units of measure? There are a bunch of processes that go on in the brain, that can be described in different ways. The description is an abstraction, sure - it's a way of talking about something, but is not the thing itself. The fact that we can talk about some processes going on in the brain in physical unit terms, and others in informational unit terms doesn't mean that we're talking about fundamentally different things, does it?
 
#33
I don't have much time (I'm having dinner with some people), but there are a few issues that I can posit just from the top of my head.

First, unless these memories are redundantly "stored" in a widespread number of synapses throughout the brain, then reconclining it with what we know of "brain poking" -the stimulation of a specific area that thriggers a memory which persists even after the removal of the stimulatated tissue- is still troublesome.

Second, we know (and I have cited a relevant paper titled The Evolutionary Biology of Self-Deception, Laughter, Dreaming and Depression: Some Clues from Anosognosia several times) that long term memories can be indirectly accessed even when it appears that short term ones are not being "formed". Explaining memory as simply a transition of information from short term to long term that is perpetuated in such a way is not that simple.

I have always been concerned that with mice and such, we usually only focus on their procedural memory, instead of the more compelling declarative memory (for obvious reasons). There are several cases where both could be "lost" (I use this figuratively), usually to severe trauma, but in cases where the damage is not that severe it is common to see access to one being "lost" while the other remained.

That is, of course, without even entering into the psi-related issues that steve et al. find icky.
 
#34
I don't have much time (I'm having dinner with some people), but there are a few issues that I can posit just from the top of my head.

First, unless these memories are redundantly "stored" in a widespread number of synapses throughout the brain, then reconclining it with what we know of "brain poking" -the stimulation of a specific area that thriggers a memory which persists even after the removal of the stimulatated tissue- is still troublesome.

Second, we know (and I have cited a relevant paper titled The Evolutionary Biology of Self-Deception, Laughter, Dreaming and Depression: Some Clues from Anosognosia several times) that long term memories can be indirectly accessed even when it appears that short term ones are not being "formed". Explaining memory as simply a transition of information from short term to long term that is perpetuated in such a way is not that simple.

I have always been concerned that with mice and such, we usually only focus on their procedural memory, instead of the more compelling declarative memory (for obvious reasons). There are several cases where both could be "lost" (I use this figuratively), usually to severe trauma, but in cases where the damage is not that severe it is common to see access to one being "lost" while the other remained.

That is, of course, without even entering into the psi-related issues that steve et al. find icky.
I can't speak for the et al., but what is icky about psi explanations is they offer absolutely no details how they work. I specifically refer to two ideas and they are the brain behaves like a radio receiver and consciousness occurs everywhere except the brain.
Have you done reading of how short term memories become long term?
Perhaps it is that simple. But you will you admit this is a step towards understanding how the brain functions to create memories.
 
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#36
I can't speak for the et al., but what is icky about psi explanations is they offer absolutely no details how they work. I specifically refer to two ideas and they are the brain behaves like a radio receiver and consciousness occurs everywhere except the brain.
I know that the topic forces you into cognitive dissonance, let's just pretend that serendipity and the word "hallucination" used as a blanket can explain them away and focus on the other arguments.

Have you done reading of how short term memories become long term?
Perhaps it is that simple. But you will you admit this is a step towards understanding how the brain functions to create memories.
No, it is not "that simple". Anterograde amnesia is supposed to prevent the formation of new memories after "X" damage took place, that no short memories were being formed (as made obvious by the patient's assessment) and long term ones were is paradoxical if you assume that they depend on the perpetuation of a state.
 
#37
I know that the topic forces you into cognitive dissonance, let's just pretend that serendipity and the word "hallucination" used as a blanket can explain them away and focus on the other arguments.
Cognitive dissonance really. Nothing you written so far would cause that.


No, it is not "that simple". Anterograde amnesia is supposed to prevent the formation of new memories after "X" damage took place, that no short memories were being formed (as made obvious by the patient's assessment) and long term ones were is paradoxical if you assume that they depend on the perpetuation of a state.
Once again an explanation that lacks detail. Without checking my facts and going from memory I think in the case of antegrade amnesia the hippocampus is damage. This small organ in the brain is where short term memory is created and eventually from that organ transfers to long term memory. It is not paradoxical if my fact is correct that long term memory remains intact prior to the damage but not after the damage is done. In other words no new long term memories are made, but the old ones do remain.
 
#38
The description is an abstraction, sure - it's a way of talking about something, but is not the thing itself. The fact that we can talk about some processes going on in the brain in physical unit terms, and others in informational unit terms doesn't mean that we're talking about fundamentally different things, does it?
I am going to describe a concept that is simple and not technical. Please address it as a skeptic should - trying to grasp it in its own context but expect back-up reasoning. (The back-up IS technical and open to falsification)

When you say "fundamentally different things", the conversation moves to ontology and away from practical science. However, in terms of pragmatic math methods for measurement of natural observations - there are "different levels of abstraction". Simply, this means that you can't count apples and oranges. Apples are an abstraction with a different level of criteria than oranges. The functional goals of bio-information processes are not movement and metabolism. Counting force and mass work for those. When ideas and emotional responses are at hand - looking at logical organization, affordances in the environment and intentional communication are the measurables.

Back-up for LoA definition see:
A vital component in our approach is the Method of Abstraction for analysing the level of abstraction (LoA) at which an agent is considered to act. The LoA is determined by the way in which one chooses to describe, analyse and discuss a system and its context. The Method of Abstraction is explained in terms of an interface or set of features or observables at a given LoA. Agenthood, and in particular moral agenthood, depends on a LoA. Our guidelines for agenthood are: interactivity (response to stimulus by change of state), autonomy (ability to change state without stimulus) and adaptability (ability to change the transition rules by which state is changed) at a given LoA. - Sanders and Floridi
http://philpapers.org/rec/FLOOTM-2 Please note that this paper has been cited 158 times.
 
#39
I did not state they are identical. I said they are not separate.

P.S. The italicized. You often sound like an expert using language only an expert understands.
Scientifically, we measure them separately. I am not an expert. However, I have been studying Informational Realism for approaching 20 years. That the general public is taught how chemical bonds are formed - but have no clue how information is formally measured and how it is organized and structured is not my fault. Because something is not understood (in this case how information becomes structured) is not a rebuttal argument.

Saying an active living thing (with a nervous system) has mind and brain functionality, which grow together and are observed together, doesn't logically support the fact that later-on, they cannot be objects that separate.
 
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#40
Scientifically, we measure them separately. I am not an expert. However, I have been studying Informational Realism for approaching 20 years. That the general public is taught how chemical bonds are formed - but have no clue how information is formally measured and how it is organized and structured is not my fault. Because something is not understood (in this case how information becomes structured) is not a rebuttal argument.
It's not your fault that the majority of humans have little or no interest in Informational Realism , but to be a good communicator you need to speak in ways that are understood.

Saying an active living thing (with a nervous system) has mind and brain functionality, which grow together and are observed together, doesn't logically support the fact that later on they cannot be objects that separate.
Do you mean before death, after death? Then logically support this contention they are separate. Saying it's possible in your estimation is not compelling.
My argument here is directed at those that prefer to think the brain is a radio receiver for consciousness and consciousness resides any place except the brain.
 
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