Concussions, Head Impacts Accelerate Brain Aging
Concussions and even lesser head impacts may speed up the brain’s natural aging process by causing signaling pathways in the brain to break down more quickly than they would in someone who has never suffered a brain injury or concussion.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2012/08/concussions-head-impacts-accelerate-brain-aging
Virginia Woolf, John Keats, Emily Dickinson, Edgar Allen Poe—teetering on the thin line between madness and genius, they contributed to the world some of the greatest works of literature at the cost of their own mental vitality. Even they suspected a link between the moments of crystal clear lucidity amongst their disordered emotions. Is science finally gaining ground on this dark connection?
Check it out: The first neurobiological model for third-party punishment
Here’s a a very recent update to my last post on the Neurobiology of Punishment by Joshua W Buckholtz and René Marois, breaking down the events that take place in the brain when asked to make decisions regarding punishment. Of the five processes you have the frontal cortex (higher mental functions) the amygdala (emotional responses) and the intraparietal sulcus and temporal-parietal junction (interpreting the intent of others, thoery of mind).
In the modern criminal justice system, judges and jury members – impartial third-party decision-makers – are tasked to evaluate the severity of a criminal act, the mental state of the accused and the amount of harm done, and then integrate these evaluations with the applicable legal codes and select the most appropriate punishment from available options. (…)
One of the key take aways is that:
..it’s assumed legal decision-making is purely based on rational thinking, research suggests that much of the motivation for punishing is driven by negative emotional responses to the harm. This signal appears to be generated in the amygdala, causing people to factor in their emotional state when making decisions instead of making solely factual judgments.
Getting ahead of ourselves: glossy brain porn v. emotion
What happens if the jury is presented with neuroscientific evidence suggesting what may have caused the accused to offend, e.g., a brain scan showing a tumor? This may challenge the negative emotional response since it’s been reported that this type of evidence is so seductive to juries. >law & order, donk donk<
[Img: Parts of the brain involved in third party punishment. (Rene Marois, Deborah Brewington/Vanderbilt University)]
This is so fascinating. It will be amazing to this this progression from a neurological AND legal standpoint.
Neil Burgess: How your brain tells you where you are
How do you remember where you parked your car? How do you know if you’re moving in the right direction? Neuroscientist Neil Burgess studies the neural mechanisms that map the space around us, and how they link to memory and imagination.
It is not uncommon for stroke patients to suffer brain damage, but the case of one patient was peculiar. This patient was, by his own account, completely blind. Two consecutive strokes had destroyed the visual cortex of his brain, and consequently, his ability to see. His first stroke had injured only one hemisphere of his visual cortex. About five weeks later, a second stroke damaged the other hemisphere. An assessment of his brain function revealed that after two strokes, the patient, who was in his 50s, was clinically blind.
Known as selective bilateral occipital damage, this patients’s unusual injury made him the subject of much interest while recovering at a hospital in Geneva. Researchers began examining him and discovered that despite his blindness, he had maintained the ability to detect emotion on a person’s face. He responded appropriately— with emotions such as joy, fear, and anger— to a variety of facial expressions. Observed activity in his amygdala— the part of the brain responsible for processing emotions— confirmed the curious results.
His rare condition is known as blindsight. Because his stroke damaged only his visual cortex, his eyes remain functional and as a result can still gather information from his environment. He simply lacks the visual cortex to process and interpret it. Sight has changed from a conscious to a largely subconscious experience. He no longer has a definitive picture of his surroundings, but he has retained an innate awareness of his position in the world. He is, to some degree, able to see without being aware that he is seeing.