Welcome to NeuroScene, where we explore the future of neuroscience… I’ve always had a fascination with all things related to the brain and the mind. Perhaps this was a holdover from my days as a psychology major at the University of Illinois. But whatever the … Continue readingNeuroScene: Exploring the Future of Neuroscience
May 31, 2009 When he published The Myth of Mental Illness in 1961, Thomas Szasz launched the first salvo in what would become a lifelong criticism of psychiatry and what he has referred to as the “therapeutic state.” And with the recent publication of his new book, Psychiatry: The … Continue readingThomas Szasz: Psychiatry and the Therapeutic State
September 29, 2009 For many years, drug addictions were deemed to be largely behavioral disorders once the abuser went through a period of detoxification. But advanced imaging technologies have now indicated that addiction is a physical process that occurs in addition to physical dependency. Indeed, … Continue readingNora Volkow: The Neuroscience of Addiction
January 18, 2008 As communications technologies such as Second Life become more and more sensory and interactive, human beings are increasingly being forced to navigate environments that consistently blur the lines between fantasy and reality. And while most industry analysts praise this next big wave … Continue readingSusan Greenfield: Virtual Worlds & False Identities – Social Media or Social Pathology?
January 17, 2011 Psilocybin, the active compound in a variety of hallucinogenic mushrooms, is a naturally occurring substance with a history of human use that goes back thousands of years. It was rediscovered by the western world in the 1950’s through the independent research of … Continue readingRoland Griffiths: Psilocybin as a Therapeutic Agent
February 11, 2009 Confidence scams have been around since time immemorial. And while we like to think of ourselves as intelligent and “street smart,” we’re still quite willing to place our complete trust in total strangers with regards to such cherished items as our time … Continue readingPaul Zak: The Psychology of the Con
March 29, 2009 Perception is indeed reality when it comes to what we see. And nowhere is this more apparent than during a magical act. But beneath all the showmanship and flair, these artists are actually triggering complex neuroscientific processes which help create the seemingly … Continue readingSusana Martinez-Conde: The Neuroscience of Magic and Illusion
July 9, 2010 For many years, the medical and scientific communities have largely accepted as factual the widely-held theory that clinical depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain – especially with regards to the neurotransmitter serotonin. However, repeated meta-analyses of the FDA-submitted … Continue readingIrving Kirsch: Antidepressants and the Placebo Effect
May 5, 2010 For many years, social scientists have attempted to explain human cultural differences by studying behavioral or attitudinal traits. But recent advances in neuroimaging techniques are now allowing researchers to look directly into the brain and to identify these differences at a cellular … Continue readingNalini Ambady: The Neuroscience of Culture
May 20, 2008 To many in the neuroscience community, mirror neurons represent the biggest discovery of the past twenty years. These “smart cells,” which activate when we perform actions and when we see other people performing the same or complementary actions, seem to provide us … Continue readingMarco Iacoboni: Mirror Neurons – How Do We Connect with Others Through These “Smart Cells?”
June 13, 2011 There are few experiences more terrifying than a panic attack. These extreme and sudden episodes of intense fear are often accompanied by physical symptoms such as chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, or abdominal distress. And unless treated, recurring panic … Continue readingFrederico Graeff: The Neurobiology of Panic
June 14, 2007 On September 24, 2002, Pro Football Hall of Fame center Michael Lewis Webster died in Allegheny General Hospital’s coronary care unit at age 50. Known as “Iron Mike” during his playing years, Webster’s discipline and overachieving nature helped propel the Pittsburgh Steelers … Continue readingBennet Omalu: “Dementia of Football” – The Next Major Public Health Issue?
November 30, 2008 One of the most exciting areas of neuroscience involves the exploration of the biological and physiological underpinnings of human social interaction. And as researchers discover more and more about the critical role that mirror neurons appear to play in our lives, the … Continue readingCarl Marci: Social Neuroscience – Measuring and Quantifying Human Empathy
August 29, 2008 It seems as if everywhere you look there’s a new book being published or a new “expert” on the talk show circuit telling us how to find happiness in our lives. Indeed, the “feel good” industry is flourishing and sales of self-help … Continue readingRobert Biswas-Diener: Happiness and Psychological Wealth
April 1, 2007 Ketamine has a long history of clinical usage and is known for its effective anesthetic properties. However, ketamine has gained a fair amount of notoriety in recent years as a recreational “club drug” due to its dissociative side effects. But in the … Continue readingJohn Krystal: Ketamine – The Next Major Breakthrough for Treating Depression?
December 13, 2010 Mediation and yoga have long been associated with stress reduction and stress management. But even as scientists establish their therapeutic value, less is known about how they actually work and exactly what parts of the brain they affect. In this podcast, we … Continue readingSara Lazar: The Effects of Meditation and Yoga on Brain Structure
February 14, 2007 It’s Valentine’s Day, and we couldn’t imagine a more appropriate show! We are very excited to feature an exclusive interview with Dr. Raj Persaud, a worldwide authority on the topic, and the author of the psychological bestseller Simply Irresistible – The Psychology … Continue readingRaj Persaud: The Psychology of Seduction
June 4, 2010 Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of dementia worldwide, and it affects 1 out of every 4 people over age 75. In the United States alone, the number of people with Alzheimer’s disease is expected to increase from 4.5 million today to … Continue readingHoward Fillit: Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Research
March 1, 2007 Our guest on this segment is Dr. Robert Schwartzman, professor and chair of the Department of Neurology at the Drexel University College of Medicine. Over the past couple of years, Dr. Schwartzman and his colleagues in Germany have used ketamine to successfully … Continue readingRobert Schwartzman: Ketamine and Chronic Pain – Is There Finally a Cure for CRPS?
April 15 2007 Why is it that, despite unprecedented levels of affluence and advancement in both medicine and technology, we still see skyrocketing rates of clinical depression within the developed world? Could it be that we have altered our environment so radically over the past … Continue readingStephen Ilardi: Is the “Stone Age” Lifestyle the Answer to Eliminating Depression?
August 25, 2007 It’s no secret that researchers in both the commercial pharma and academic neuroscience communities are intent on designing new medicines to treat the growing populations of patients afflicted with central nervous system disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, and brain … Continue readingWilliam Pardridge: Blood-Brain Barrier Drug Delivery – Neglecting the Obvious?
May 2, 2009 Advancements in neuroscience have enabled physicians to successfully restore the mental functioning of patients with severe cognitive, mood, and motor disorders. But many of these same therapies can also produce significant mental gains in normal, healthy individuals. This has created a rapidly … Continue readingAnjan Chatterjee: Cosmetic Neurology and the Ethics of Brain Enhancement
September 27, 2011 When we think about our “stream of consciousness,” we don’t really look at it as having any particular order or structure. But according to recent research in this field, we’re constantly making micro-predictions about our immediate environment within this perceptual stream though … Continue readingJeffrey Zacks: Predicative Perception – How Event Segmentation Shapes Memory and Learning
December 10, 2009 We’ve all heard about our “sleep clocks.” But were you aware that we have numerous such clocks all over our bodies – and that disruption of these clocks can have serious health and emotional consequences? In this podcast, we speak with Dr. … Continue readingIlia Karatsoreos: Broken Body Clocks – The Consequences of Disrupting Our Circadian Rhythms
March 15, 2007 Why is it that certain odors or scents can bring up such vivid memories of our past? And why is it that specific smells can significantly alter our moods and perceptions – sometimes without us even being aware that this is taking … Continue readingAlan Hirsch: The Science and Commerce of Smell
September 6, 2007 Whenever the topic of virtual reality comes up, we tend to automatically think of video games or science fiction movies. But separate from all this hype and fantasy are dedicated scientists who are using virtual reality applications to enhance the lives of … Continue readingEmily Keshner: Virtual Reality and Rehabilitation
November 2, 2009 When it comes to individual genetics, certain skills or abilities may actually be hardwired into the brain at birth. And there is compelling evidence to suggest that key hormonal balances during gestation are instrumental in creating specific brain types which strongly influence … Continue readingJudith Lauter: What Brain Type Are You? The Science of Human Neurotypology
August 8, 2007 Is it possible that we humans have a “sixth sense” with regards to sexual attraction and mate selection? This notion may not be as far fetched as it might seem. While it is well known that chemicals known as pheromones influence the … Continue readingR. Douglas Fields: Nerve Zero – The Key to Subliminal Sexual Attraction?
February 25, 2011 Erythropoetin, or Epo, is naturally produced hormone that controls red blood cell production. It is available as a prescription therapeutic agent to treat anemia resulting from chronic kidney disease and chemotherapy. Epo has also been used off label as a blood doping … Continue readingKamilla Miskowiak: Erythropoietin – A New Compound for Depression?
January 3, 2009 Very few areas of psychology generate such high levels of both excitement and skepticism as the study of anomalous perception, or “psi” phenomena. And given how hype and speculation of psi phenomena have often taken the place of serious scientific examination, the … Continue readingJulia Mossbridge: The Neuroscience of Psi Perception
March 31, 2006 When you listen to one of these shows, you’re really only hearing a very small part of a much greater effort. By the time a show is officially “ready for prime time,” I’ve typically spent several weeks – or even months in … Continue readingAnn Kelley: The Neuroscience of Obesity
December 8, 2009 Recent research seems to indicate that animals raised without fathers exhibit significant reductions in neuronal growth during the immediate post-natal period. And this reduced brain development translates into adverse behavioral issues later on in life – especially among male offspring. Is it … Continue readingAnna Katharina Braun: Why Fathers Matter – How Single-Parenthood Affects Animal Brain Development
September 30, 2010 It has been known for some time that aerobic exercise and physical activity can increase cognitive function and affect the development of the hippocampus – the structure deep in the middle of the temporal lobe that’s involved with spatial memory. In fact, … Continue readingLaura Chaddock and Art Kramer: How Exercise Affects the Shape and Function of Children’s Brains
February 22, 2010 Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, otherwise known in the United States as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a devastating disorder that affects the control of muscle movement by damaging motor neurons. And while scientists have identified a small percentage of cases that are linked to … Continue readingMahmoud Kiaei: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis – An In-Depth Look
May 14, 2007 In the decades following World War II, a “military-academic complex” has emerged and has been quite active in exploring the potential uses of advanced neuroscience applications for our national defense. But the underlying motives have been fairly consistent – namely, how can … Continue readingJonathan Moreno: Neuroscience and National Defense – Science Fiction or Science Fact?
April 9, 2008 Personal credit card debt in the United States has doubled since 2004, and personal bankruptcies are at the highest rates ever. And despite unprecedented levels of economic growth and wealth creation, the median American family has less than $10,000 in assets. This … Continue readingTahira K. Hira: The Psychology of Overspending
October 30, 2007 When two neuroscientists at Newcastle University in Great Britain published the results of their study in the August 21, 2007 edition of the journal Current Biology, they were quite surprised at the strong reaction and scrutiny from the media and the general … Continue readingYazhu Ling: Are Male and Female Color Preferences Hard Wired?
January 10, 2007 The market for video and PC games has accelerated so rapidly within the past few years that this industry has now eclipsed Hollywood in both size and revenue. And with the increasing popularity of Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs) like Second … Continue readingScott Rigby: How Video Games Satisfy Intrinsic Human Needs
October 31, 2010 Studies going back to 1990 have indicated a potential connection between inflammation and clinical depression in humans. But there is still a substantial degree of debate within both the medical and research communities on the overall impact of inflammation as a either … Continue readingKaren Wager-Smith: Stress, Inflammation, and Depression
January 10, 2008 Hydrotherapy, or the medicinal use of water, has long been utilized by both traditional and alternative medicine to treat a variety of physical ailments. However, recent scientific studies have suggested that cold water therapies might be effective in the treatment of mood … Continue readingNikolai Shevchuk: Cold Water and Mood Enhancement
Since you made it this far, here’s a bonus podcast! This has nothing to do with neuroscience – it’s a side project that I did for Open Water Chicago, my other big personal venture. Nevertheless, it’s a fascinating look into what it takes to prepare … Continue readingOpen Water Chicago: Mike Solberg – Swimming the English Channel for a Cause