Cerebral Hemispheres 2


Encephalon Celebrates its Emerald Anniversary

Welcome to a landmark edition of Encephalon, the cream of the crop of brain science blog carnivals. This is the 55th edition of Encephalon, an anniversary achieved by less than 5% of married couples. Thus, this edition is a testament to the dedication of neuroscience bloggers: they don’t even take vows, yet they still stay committed to providing their readers with scintillating perspectives on developments in brain science. While more than 95% of married couples give up before their emerald anniversary, brain bloggers keep typing away, upholding their pledge to inform. (We will conveniently disregard the fact that Encephalon occurs biweekly, not annually, which, if considered, would make the analogy to marriage somewhat ridiculous.) Anyway, on to a selection of the best and brightest neuroscience blogs from the last couple of weeks.

Jeremy, a contributor to SharpBrains, provides a superbly written piece about assessing the affects of video games on adolescents. The rational perspective is greatly appreciated.

Greg from Neuroanthropology discusses neuroplasticity, and why the process has been oversimplified, the term overused, and the hype a little unjustified (hmmmm...this reminds me of mirror neurons).

The Neurocritic applies his caustic wit to the sensationalism that surrounds studies of the underlying personality traits of liberals and conservatives.

Cognitive Daily looks at a study of teenagers' sexual behavior. Listen up, abstinence-only advocates...

Dr. Shock MD reviews targets in the brain for deep brain stimulation, an intriguing treatment for highly resistant depression.

Mo at Neurophilosophy has an excellent and thorough discussion of a fascinating disorder: developmental topographagnosia.

Brain Blogger contributes its usual group of insightful posts. One discusses the potential antipsychotics may have in reducing the risk of suicide in depressed patients, something that current antidepressants fail at doing (they sometimes actually increase it). Another examines a little-known treatment for diabetes: the ketogenic diet.

Neuronism continues to impress with well-written contributions to Encephalon. This one is an overview of computational neuroscience, a little-understood but increasingly important field.

Dan at Sports are 80 Percent Mental is exceptional at getting us to consider the neuroscience of sports. This time he describes the success of different cognitive strategies in golf.

The Mouse Trap has two interesting postings about 8 common adaptive problems that drive evolution across species, they are here and here. Another post discusses a suggested expansion of the big five personality traits.

That's it for the emerald edition of Encephalon. Thanks for all your submissions! The next edition will be hosted by Combining Cognits on October 13th. Send your submissions to encephalon host gmail com.


Sleep. Memory. Pleasure. Fear. Language. We experience these things every day, but how do our brains create them? Your Brain, Explained is a personal tour around your gray matter. Building on neuroscientist Marc Dingman’s popular YouTube series, 2-Minute Neuroscience, this is a friendly, engaging introduction to the human brain and its quirks using real-life examples and Dingman’s own, hand-drawn illustrations.

  • Dingman weaves classic studies with modern research into easily digestible sections, to provide an excellent primer on the rapidly advancing field of neuroscience. - Moheb Costandi, author, Neuroplasticity and 50 Human Brain Ideas You Really Need to Know

  • ...a highly readable and accessible introduction to the operation of the brain and current issues in neuroscience... a wonderful introduction to the field. - Frank Amthor, PhD, Professor of Psychology, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, author, Neuroscience for Dummies

  • An informative, accessible and engaging book for anyone who has even the slightest interest in how the brain works, but doesn’t know where to begin. - Dean Burnett, PhD, author, Happy Brain and Idiot Brain

  • Reading like a collection of detective stories, Your Brain, Explained combines classic cases in the history of neurology with findings stemming from the latest techniques used to probe the brain’s secrets. - Stanley Finger, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Psychological & Brain Sciences, Washington University (St. Louis), author, Origins of Neuroscience


This book shows a whole other side of how brains work by examining the most unusual behavior to emerge from the human brain. In it, you'll meet a woman who is afraid to take a shower because she fears her body will slip down the drain, a man who is convinced he is a cat, a woman who compulsively snacks on cigarette ashes, and many other unusual cases. As uncommon as they are, each of these cases has something important to teach us about everyday brain function.

  • A unique combination of storytelling and scientific explanation that appeals to the brain novice, the trained neuroscientist, and everyone in between. Dingman explores some of the most fascinating and mysterious expressions of human behavior in a style that is case study, dramatic novel, and introductory textbook all rolled into one. - Alison Kreisler, PhD, Neuroscience Instructor, California State University, San Marcos

  • Dingman brings the history of neuroscience back to life and weaves in contemporary ideas seamlessly. Readers will come along for the ride of a really interesting read and accidentally learn some neuroscience along the way. - Erin Kirschmann, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychology & Counseling, Immaculata University

  • Bizarre is a collection of stories of how the brain can create zombies, cult members, extra limbs, instant musicians, and overnight accents, to name a few of the mind-scratching cases. After reading this book, you will walk away with a greater appreciation for this bizarre organ. If you are a fan of Oliver Sacks' books, you're certain to be a fan of Dingman's Bizarre. - Allison M. Wilck, PhD, Researcher and Assistant Professor of Psychology, Eastern Mennonite University

  • Through case studies of both exceptional people as well as those with disorders, Bizarre takes us on a fascinating journey in which we learn more about what is going on in our skull. - William J. Ray, PhD, Emeritus Professor of Psychology, The Pennsylvania State University, author, Abnormal Psychology