David Kirkpatrick

February 26, 2011

Something to ponder …

Filed under: Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:31 pm

… while spending half the day on the cell.

It’s doing something.

From the link:

Radiation from a mobile phone call can make brain regions near the device burn more energy, according to a new study.

Cellphones emit ultra-high-frequency radio waves during calls and data transfers, and some researchers have suspected this radiation — albeit inconclusively — of being linked to long-term health risks like brain cancer. The new brain-scan-based work, to be published Feb. 23 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, shows radiation emitted from a cellphone’s antenna during a call makes nearby brain tissue use 7 percent more energy.


Image: “A bottom-of-the-brain view showing average use of radioactive glucose in the brains of 47 subjects exposed to a 50-minute phone call on the right side of their head,” – Nora Volkow, JAMA

(Hat tip: the Daily Dish)

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August 11, 2010

Advancing substrate-independent minds

Filed under: et.al., Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 10:24 am

Via KurzweilAI.net — if you are into futurism at all this blog post at KurzweilAI is worth the time for a full read.

Here’s a taste from the link:

What might brains and minds look like in the future? It can be difficult to manage and organize ideas from many highly specialized fields of expertise that must necessarily converge to answer this intriguing question. Not only must one consider the areas of brain imaging, neuroscience, and cognitive psychology, but also artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, biotechnology, computational hardware architectures, and philosophy.

In the past, the transferal of minds into computer-based systems has been rather vaguely referred to as “uploading.” However, those hoping to advance this multidisciplinary field of research prefer to use the  term Advancing Substrate Independent Minds (ASIM), to emphasize a more scientific, and less science-fiction approach to creating emulations of human brains in non-biological substrates. The term ASIM captures the fact that there are several ways in which hardware and software may be used to run algorithms that mimic the human brain, and that there are many different approaches that can be used to realize this end goal.

May 20, 2010

Ray Kurzweil at H+ Summit

Via KurzweilAI.net — Sounds like an interesting talk.

Kurzweil to discuss the brain at H+ Summit
KurzweilAI.net, May 20, 2010

Ray Kurzweil will keynote the H+ Summit, to be held June 12-13 at Harvard University, with a talk on “The Democratization of Disruptive Change.”

The talk will focus on understanding the brain: Where are we on the roadmap to this goal? What are the effective routes to progress — detailed modeling, theoretical effort, improvement of imaging and computational technologies? What predictions can we make? What are the consequences of materialization of such predictions – – social, ethical?

“According to my models, we are only two decades from fully modeling and simulating the human brain,” said Kurzweil. “By the time we finish this reverse-engineering project, we will have computers that are thousands of times more powerful than the human brain. These computers will be further amplified by being networked into a vast worldwide cloud of computing. The algorithms of intelligence will begin to self-iterate towards ever smarter algorithms.

“This is how we will address the grand challenges of humanity, such as maintaining a healthy environment, providing for the resources for a growing population including energy, food, and water, overcoming disease, vastly extending human longevity, and overcomingpoverty. It is only by extending our intelligence with our intelligent technology that we can handle the scale of complexity to address these challenges.”

Kurzweil will also discuss his upcoming book, How the MindWorks and How to Build One, and examine some of the most common criticisms of the exponential growth of information technology.

The H+ Summit is a two day event that explores how humanity will be radically changed by technology in the near futureVisionary speakers will explore the potential of technology to modify your body, mindlife, and world.

November 12, 2009

News for heavy cell phone users

Filed under: Business, Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 11:41 am

Via KurzweilAI.net — And not that great of news ….

Wireless Phones Can Affect The Brain, Swedish Study Suggests
Science Daily, Nov. 11, 2009

A study at Orebro University in Sweden indicates that mobile phones and other cordless telephones have at two biological effects on the brain: increased content of the protein transthyretin in the blood-cerebrospinal-fluid barrier (part of the brain‘s protection against outside influences), and various health symptoms reported by children and adolescents, with the connection strongest regarding headaches, asthmatic complaints, and impaired concentration.

 

Read Original Article>>

October 23, 2009

Comprehending time

Filed under: Science — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:32 pm

Via KurzweilAI.net

Timewarp: How your brain creates the fourth dimension

New Scientist Life, Oct. 21, 2009

By understanding the mechanisms of our brain‘s clock, researchers hope to learn ways of temporarily resetting its tick. This might improve our mental speed and reaction times, and since time is crucial to our perception of causality, a faulty internal clock might also explain the delusions suffered by people with schizophrenia.

Read Original Article>>

September 11, 2009

Cocaine is so 1980s

Filed under: Science — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:31 pm

Snort stem cells instead! Seriously now, this would be quite a therapeutic discovery if it turns into something medically useful.

Via KurzweilAI.net:

Snort stem cells to get them to brain

NewScientist Health, Sept. 10, 2009

Snorting stem cells might be a way of getting large numbers of stem cells or therapeutic proteins such as neural growth factor into the brain without surgery, University Hospital of Tübingen researchers have found in an experiment with mice.

Read Original Article>>

March 20, 2009

The brain exists between order and chaos

This study explains a lot …

The release:

The human brain is on the edge of chaos

Cambridge-based researchers provide new evidence that the human brain lives “on the edge of chaos”, at a critical transition point between randomness and order. The study, published March 20 in the open-access journal PLoS Computational Biology, provides experimental data on an idea previously fraught with theoretical speculation.

Self-organized criticality (where systems spontaneously organize themselves to operate at a critical point between order and randomness), can emerge from complex interactions in many different physical systems, including avalanches, forest fires, earthquakes, and heartbeat rhythms. According to this study, conducted by a team from the University of Cambridge, the Medical Research Council Cognition & Brain Sciences Unit, and the GlaxoSmithKline Clinical Unit Cambridge, the dynamics of human brain networks have something important in common with some superficially very different systems in nature. Computational networks showing these characteristics have also been shown to have optimal memory (data storage) and information-processing capacity. In particular, critical systems are able to respond very rapidly and extensively to minor changes in their inputs.

“Due to these characteristics, self-organized criticality is intuitively attractive as a model for brain functions such as perception and action, because it would allow us to switch quickly between mental states in order to respond to changing environmental conditions,” says co-author Manfred Kitzbichler.

The researchers used state-of-the-art brain imaging techniques to measure dynamic changes in the synchronization of activity between different regions of the functional network in the human brain. Their results suggest that the brain operates in a self-organized critical state. To support this conclusion, they also investigated the synchronization of activity in computational models, and demonstrated that the dynamic profile they had found in the brain was exactly reflected in the models. Collectively, these results amount to strong evidence in favour of the idea that human brain dynamics exist at a critical point on the edge of chaos.

According to Kitzbichler, this new evidence is only a starting point. “A natural next question we plan to address in future research will be: How do measures of critical dynamics relate to cognitive performance or neuropsychiatric disorders and their treatments?”

 

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PLEASE ADD THIS LINK TO THE PUBLISHED ARTICLE IN ONLINE VERSIONS OF YOUR REPORT: http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000314 (link will go live upon embargo lift)

CITATION: Kitzbichler MG, Smith ML, Christensen SR, Bullmore E (2009) Broadband Criticality of Human Brain Network Synchronization. PLoS Comput Biol 5(3): e1000314. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000314

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April 18, 2008

Music lessons strengthen brain

Filed under: Arts, Science — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:51 pm

I knew all that guitar practice would eventually pay off

From the link:

Taking music lessons can strengthen connections between the two hemispheres of the brain in children, but only if they practice diligently, according to a study reported here 14 April at the annual meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society. The findings add to a long-running debate about the effects of musical training on the brain.

(Hat tip: KurzweilAI.net)

 

April 14, 2008

Stem cells, micro-scaffolding and strokes

Filed under: Science — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:36 pm

From KurzweilAI.net:

Can micro-scaffolding help stem cells rebuild the brain after stroke?
KurzweilAI.net, April 13, 2008Neural stem cell-scaffold combinations could be injected into the brain to provide a framework inside the cavities caused by stroke so that the cells are held there until they can work their way to connect with surrounding healthy tissue, University of Nottingham neurobiologists propose.

Strokes cause temporary loss of blood supply to the brain, which results in areas of brain tissue dying, causing loss of bodily functions such as speech and movement.