Eve Marder's Life in Neuroscience (BS147)

Eve Marder's Life in Neuroscience (BS147)

BS 147 is a discussion of Lessons from the Lobster: Eve Marder's Work in Neuroscience by Charlotte Nassim. I explain why I think Dr. Eve Marder deserves a Noble Prize for her life time of contributions to neuroscience. Please note that Marder’s original interview (BSP 56) is also now available for FREE download.

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Biological Mind with Alan Jasanoff (BS 146)

Biological Mind with Alan Jasanoff (BS 146)

BS 146 is an interview with Dr. Alan Jasanoff, author of The Biological Mind: How Brain, Body, and Environment Collaborate to Make Us Who We Are. We talk about how what he calls “the cerebral mystique” causes people to forget that the brain is not autonomous, but relies on its interaction with the body and its environment to create the Mind.

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Language in the Brain (BS 144) with Angela Friederici

Language in the Brain  (BS 144) with Angela Friederici

BS 144 is an interview with Dr. Angela Friederici, author of Language in Our Brain: The Origins of a Uniquely Human Capacity. This is an extensive review of several decades of research, but this interview makes the field accessible to listeners of all backgrounds.

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Michael Graziano explains Peripersonal Neurons (BS 142)

Michael Graziano explains Peripersonal Neurons (BS 142)

BS 142 features the return of Dr. Michael Graziano, who first appeared on Brain Science in BSP 108. In this episode we talk about his new book, The Spaces Between Us: A Story of Neuroscience, Evolution, and Human Nature. This is an exploration of peripersonal neurons. We explore not just how they were discovered, but why they are so important in our daily lives, affecting everything from tool use to getting along with others.

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John Medina on Aging Well (BS 138)

JMedina.jpg

Dr. John Medina has spent his career in bio-engineering, but he also has a deep interest in how the brain works. In his latest book Brain Rules for Aging Well: 10 Principles for Staying Vital, Happy, and Sharp, he presents our knowledge brain aging in an engaging manner that can be enjoyed by readers of all backgrounds.

In this month's episode of Brain Science (BS 138) we discuss some of the most important principles for nourishing brains as we age. He describes what he calls the "dopamine lollipop," which is the surge of dopamine created by activities such as teaching and physical activities like dancing. Some of his ideas reinforce what we have discussed in previous episodes, but there are new ideas that are relevant to listeners of all ages.

How to get this episode:

References

Announcements

Lisa Barrett on How Emotions are Made (BS 135)

Lisa Barrett on How Emotions are Made (BS 135)

BS 135 is an interview with Lisa Feldman Barrett, author of How Emotions Are Made. We explore the evidence AGAINST the classical assumption that emotions are universal and hard-wired, but we also discuss a fascinating new Theory of Constructed Emotion, which is very consistent with current neuroscience.

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Counting Neurons with Dr. Suzana Herculano-Houzel (BS 133)

Counting Neurons with Dr. Suzana Herculano-Houzel (BS 133)

This is an interview with Dr. Suzana Herculano-Houzel, the scientist who discovered that the human brain has an average of 86 billion neurons, which is significantly less than the 100 billion that was long assumed. She has also written a wonderful book called The Human Advantage: How Our Brains Became Remarkable.

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What is Mind? (BS 131)

In part 2 or our 10 Anniversary Retrospective we consider the question What is Mind? I reflect back on books and guests who have appeared in the last 5 years, and consider how my take on this question has evolved over the 10 years I have been creating  Brain Science (formerly called the Brain Science Podcast.) Listener feedback is also included.

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What Do Mirror Neurons Really Do? (BSP 112)

 Greg Hickok, PhD (Click on photo to hear his interview)

Greg Hickok, PhD (Click on photo to hear his interview)

Ever since their chance discovery back in 1992 mirror neurons have captured the imagination of both scientists and nonscientists, but their actual role remains mostly speculative. In The Myth of Mirror Neurons: The Real Neuroscience of Communication and Cognition Dr. Gregory Hickok (UC-Irvine) explains why the most popular theory is probably wrong. He also provides a fascinating account of how science is really done and the sobering lesson that scientists can fall prey to the same cognitive biases (and tendencies toward laziness) that plague all humans.

I first discussed the discovery of mirror neurons back in BSP 35 when I featured  Mirrors in the brain: How our minds share actions, emotions, and experience (2008) by Giacomo Rizzolatti and Corrado Sinigaglia. At that time what I found most fascinating was that since mirror neurons fire both when a subject (usually a monkey) performs an action and when a similar action is observed, this proves that single neurons are not necessarily purely motor or purely sensory. This surprising discovery seems to have been overshadowed in the rush to use mirror neurons to explain everything from autism to language evolution.

The latest Brain Science Podcast  (BSP 112) features an interview with Dr. Gregory Hickok. BSP 35 is also available for FREE via the Brain Science Podcast Mobile APP.

 

How to get this episode:

  • FREE: audio mp3 (click to stream, right click to download)
  • Buy Episode Transcript for $1.
  • Premium Subscribers now have unlimited access to all old episodes and transcripts.
  • New episodes of the Brain Science Podcast are always FREE.  All episodes posted after January 1, 2013, are free.  See the individual show notes for links the audio files.

References and Links

Related Episodes:

  • BSP 35: introduction to Mirror Neurons (free as an episode extra if you use the BSP mobile app)
  • BSP 39: Dr. Michael Arbib on the possible role of mirror neurons in language evolution (note this interview doesn't represent his current views)

Announcements:

  • Next month's episode will provide exclusive coverage of "Neuroplasticity and Healing" an event being hosted by the Dalai Lama at the UAB School of Medicine.

  • The most recent 25 episodes of the Brain Science Podcast are always FREE. Older episodes and episode transcripts are available for $1 each. Premium subscribers have unlimited access to all 100+ episodes and transcripts.

  • Reminder: The Brain Science Podcast mobile app is now FREE for iOS, Android and Windows Mobile.  Check newer episodes for extra free content!

  • Don't forget to check out my other podcast Books and Ideas.

  • Please share your feedback about this episode by sending email to brainsciencepodcast@gmail.com or going to the Brain Science Podcast Discussion Forum at http://brainscienceforum.com. You can also post to our fan pages on Facebook or Google+.

Sleep Science with Penny Lewis (BSP 107)

 Penny Lewis (click image to play interview)

Penny Lewis (click image to play interview)

In The Secret World of Sleep: The Surprising Science of the Mind at Rest Dr. Penelope A. Lewis provides a highly readable account of the fascinating world of sleep research. Fascinating research is being carried out with animals as varied as fruit flies and rats, as well as with humans. I was surprised to learn that most people actually find it fairly easy to fall asleep in an fMRI scanner.

I have just posted an interview with Dr. Lewis (BSP 107) that includes a discussion of the role of sleep in memory as well as interesting findings about how synapses in the brain actually change during sleep. We still don't know exactly what sleep (and dreaming) are essential, but research in this field is growing. Dr. Lewis is excited about emerging research that suggests improving slow wave sleep may significantly improve learning and memory.

How to get this episode:

  • FREE: audio mp3 (click to stream, right click to download)
  • Buy Episode Transcript for $1.
  • Premium Subscribers now have unlimited access to all old episodes and transcripts.
  • New episodes of the Brain Science Podcast are always FREE.  All episodes posted after January 1, 2013, are free.  See the individual show notes for links the audio files.

References:

Announcements:

Brain Plasticity with Michael Merzenich (BSP 105)

                               Michael Merzenich

                              Michael Merzenich

If you have read anything about brain plasticity you have seen the name Michael Merzenich. Dr. Merzenich is one of the pioneers in this field, having spent over 30 years documenting that the human brain (and that of other mammals) continues to change throughout life. I interviewed Dr. Merzenich several years ago (BSP 54), but the publication of his first book Soft-Wired: How the New Science of Brain Plasticity Can Change Your Life gave us another opportunity to talk about how we can apply these discoveries in our daily lives.

According to Dr. Merzenich, "No matter how much you've struggled, no matter where you've been in your life, you're in charge of your life going forward.  And you have the capacity; you have the resources to change things for the better—always have that capacity.  And that's what the book is trying to emphasize. “ (BSP 105)

I found Soft-wired very compelling because it combines a clear explanation of the science with many stories about real people facing a wide variety of cognitive challenges. The overall tone of the book is very optimistic even though it also considers the way bad choices can contribute to cognitive decline. 

How to get this episode:

  • FREE: audio mp3 (click to stream, right click to download)
  • Buy Transcript for $1.
  • Premium Subscribers now have unlimited access to all old episodes and transcripts.
  • New episodes of the Brain Science Podcast are always FREE.  All episodes posted after January 1, 2013, are free.  See the individual show notes for links the audio files.

Related Episodes:

  • BSP 10: Introduction to Brain Plasticity.
  • BSP 17: Discussion of The Wisdom Paradox: How Your Mind Can Grow Stronger As Your Brain Grows Older by Elkhonon Goldberg.
  • BSP 28: Interview with Dr. Norman Doidge, author of The Brain That Changes Itself.
  • BSP 33: Interview with Dr. John Ratey, author of Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain.
  • BSP 54: Interview with Dr. Michael Merzenich, author of Soft-wired.
  • BSP 87: Interview with Dr. Pam Greenwood, co-author of Nurturing the Older Brain and Mind.

Further Reading:

2013 Neuroscience Highlights (BSP 104)

 Ginger Campbell with Rusty and Greta

Ginger Campbell with Rusty and Greta

Its time for the Brain Science Podcast's seventh annual review episode. In 2013 we had the chance to talk with ten scientists, including three returning guests. We also celebrated our 100th episode and passed 5 million downloads.

BSP 104 is a review of some of the key ideas we explored in 2013. I also announced the launch of a new Premium Subscription program. Beginning around December 30 the twenty-five most recent episodes will remain free while the rest of the 100+ podcasts and transcripts will be available either by subscription or for individual purchase. 

Click here to learn more about our new Premium Content.

How to get this episode:

  • FREE: audio mp3 (click to stream, right click to download)
  • Buy Transcript for $1.
  • Premium Subscribers now have unlimited access to all old episodes and transcripts.
  • New episodes of the Brain Science Podcast are always FREE.  All episodes posted after January 1, 2013, are free.  See the individual show notes for links the audio files.

2013 Episodes and Books

Announcements

Send feedback to Dr. Campbell at brainsciencepodcast@gmail.com.

Brain Fitness with Alvaro Fernandez (BSP 100)

 Alvaro Fernandez of  SharpBrains

Alvaro Fernandez of SharpBrains

I have been using the SharpBrains website as a source of information and ideas since the early days of my Brain Science Podcast, so it seemed fitting to invite SharpBrains co-founder Alvaro Fernandez to be my guest for Episode 100.   We talked about the second edition of The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness: How to Optimize Brain Health and Performance at Any Age, which he co-authored with Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg (BSP 18). The goal of this book is to give people from all backgrounds a practical guide for evaluating the current science and establishing their own "brain fitness" regimen, much in the way that each of us must choose a physical fitness that meets our individual needs and lifestyle.

Brain Fitness should not just be a concern for older people, it should become a key component of a healthy lifestyle at any age. The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness is a great first step.

How to get this episode:

 

  • FREE: audio mp3 (click to stream, right click to download)
  • Buy Transcript for $1.
  • Premium Subscribers now have unlimited access to all old episodes and transcripts.
  • New episodes of the Brain Science Podcast are always FREE.  All episodes posted after January 1, 2013, are free.  See the individual show notes for links the audio files.

Links and References: 

Celebrating BSP 100

To celebrate Episode 100 of the Brain Science Podcast I invited listeners to contribute audio to the show. I couldn't use everything, but I want to thank everyone who submitted content.  The following listeners are featured:  

  •  "I Got a Brain" Written and Performed by Dr. Jay Einhorn
  • Interview with Darryl Ferges
  • "Mindfire" (new theme music) by Tony Cotraccia
  • Audio comments:  Leon Mcgahee, MD., Eric Lindley, Julio Dantos, Hamish Kebb, and Adelia Moore, PhD
  • Email from Jana Johnson

Send Feedback to brainsciencepodcast@gmail.com. 

      "The Autistic Brain" by Temple Grandin (BSP 98)

       The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum  by Temple Grandin (with Richard Panek), is a tremendous gift, not just to patients and their families, but also to teachers, mentors, friends, and everyone who is interested in understanding how our brains make us who we are.

      I think that this is a book everyone should read because as we come to appreciate the fact that the strengths and challenges of autism occur across a broad spectrum, we may also realize that some of these issues actually affect people who aren't considered autistic.  It is not the label that matters.  What does matter is recognizing that each of us has his or her own strengths and weaknesses, but thanks to brain plasticity, we all have the potential to nurture our strengths and, when necessary, accommodate our weaknesses.

       

      How to get this episode:

      • FREE: audio mp3 (click to stream, right click to download)
      • Buy Transcript for $1.
      • Premium Subscribers now have unlimited access to all old episodes and transcripts.
      • New episodes of the Brain Science Podcast are always FREE.  All episodes posted after January 1, 2013, are free.  See the individual show notes for links the audio files.

      References and Related Episodes:

      Announcements: 

      • I am still trying to schedule an interview with Dr. Temple Grandin, but there is a possibility that the next episode of the Brain Science Podcast will not come out until August 2013.
      • The Deadline for listener submissions to Episode 100 is August 1, 2013.
      • Several products are not available directly on this website including the PDF version of Are You Sure? The Unconscious Origins of Certainty by Ginger Campbell, MD and a zip file contain BSP 1-10. Click here to learn more.
      • Be sure to sign up for the Brain Science Podcast Newsletter so that you can receive show notes automatically and NEVER miss a new episode. (But there was a glitch last month, so if you did not get the show notes for BSP 97, please click here.

      Neuroanthropolgy: What Is It and WHY Should You Care? (BSP 97)

      You may be tired of seeing the prefix "neuro" used to describe every new fad, but The Encultured Brain: An Introduction to Neuroanthropology [2012] edited by Daniel H. Lende and Greg Downey makes an impassioned argument for why neuroscience and anthropology should be working together to unravel the ongoing mystery of how our brains make us who we are.  The latest Brain Science Podcast  (BSP 97) is a thought-provoking conversation with Downey and Lende.  After explaining that anthropology can offer neuroscience field data about "brains in the wild," we explore two case studies that demonstrate the promise of this new partnership.

      How to get this episode:

      • FREE: audio mp3 (click to stream, right click to download)
      • Buy Transcript for $1.
      • Premium Subscribers now have unlimited access to all old episodes and transcripts.
      • New episodes of the Brain Science Podcast are always FREE.  All episodes posted after January 1, 2013, are free.  See the individual show notes for links the audio files

      Subscribe to the Brain Science Podcast or listen on the BSP Mobile app.

      References and Links:

      Announcements:

      • he Brain Science Podcast is nearing episode 100! I want to include listener comments. Send your emails and mp3 files to brainsciencepodcast@gmail.com or click here to learn more.
      • The Brain Science Podcast Newsletter has moved to Mailchimp. Click here for the new sign-up form.
      • Please nominate the Brain Science Podcast as one of the best science podcasts on the web at http://www.thesciencestudio.org.
      • Keep an eye out for the latest BSP News!

      Review of "Self Comes to Mind" by Antonio Damasio (BSP 90)

      selfcometomind-thumb.jpg

      Episode 90 of the Brain Science Podcast is a discussion of Self Comes To Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain, by Antonio Damasio. Damasio's book focuses on the answer to two key questions: How does the brain generate the Mind? and, How does the Brain generate Consciousness? His approach is unusual because many scientists and writers treat the Mind and Consciousness as identical. In contrast, Damasio argues that Mind precedes Consciousness. Listen to this podcast to learn how the Mind becomes Conscious.

      How to get this episode:

      References:

      Related Episodes of the Brain Science Podcast: 

      • BSP 21 and BSP 23 How the Brain Creates Maps of the Body
      • BSP 65: Jaak Panksepp talks about the subcortical origins of emotions
      • BSP 89: Evan Thompson talks about his book, Mind in Life

      Announcements:

      • Next month's Brain Science Podcast will be a return interview with Jaak Panksepp to talk about his new book, The Archaeology of Mind: Neuroevolutionary Origins of Human Emotions.
      • Please check out my other podcast, Books and Ideas.
      • The earliest episodes of the Brain Science Podcast are no longer available from iTunes but you can get them here or by buying the Brain Science Podcast  app, which is available for iPhone, iPad, and Android.
      • Get my eBook, Are You Sure? The Unconscious Origins of Certainty, from Amazon.com for only $3.99.
      • Social Websites for the Brain Science Podcast: Discussion Forum on Goodreads, Facebook Fan Page, Google+ page.
      • Don't forget to get some high quality Brain Science Podcast Logo gear from Printfection.
      • Sign up for the Brain Science Podcast  Newsletter so you never miss a new episode.

      Send me feedback at brainsciencepodcast@gmail.com or follow me on Twitter (@docartemis).

      "Mind in Life" with Evan Thompson (BSP 89)

      Evan-crop.jpg

      Evan Thompson, PhD

       

      Embodied Cognition is a movement within cognitive science that argues that the mind is inseparable from the fact that the brain is embedded in a physical body. This means that everything that the brain does, from the simplest perception to complex decision-making, relies on the interaction of the body with its environment.  Evan Thompson's book, Mind in Life: Biology, Phenomenology, and the Sciences of Mind, is an in-depth look at what he calls the "enactive" approach to embodied cognition. The enactive approach was pioneered by Thompson's mentor Francisco Varela, and it emphasizes the importance of the body's active engagement with its environment.

      In a recent interview (BSP 89) I talked with Thompson about some of the key ideas in Mind in Life. Unlike most episodes of the Brain Science Podcast, this is not really a stand-alone episode. It is part of my ongoing exploration of both embodied cognition and the controversial topic of emergence. It is also intended as a follow-up to my recent interview with Terrence Deacon.

      How to get this episode:

       

      References:

      Related Episodes: 

      • BSP 5: A bried introduction to philosphy of mind
      • BSP 25: Embodied Intelligence with Rolf Pfeifer
      • BSP 36: Art Glenberg on Embodied Cognition
      • BSP 53: Discussion of Did My Neurons Make Me Do It? (emergence and free will)
      • BSP 62: Warren Brown, co-author of Did My Neurons Make Me Do It?
      • BSP 73: Lawrence Shapiro, author of Embodied Cognition.
      • Books and Ideas #47: Terrence Deacon, author of Incomplete Nature.

      Announcements:

      • Continuing education credit is now available for selected episodes of the Brain Science Podcast. Click here to learn more.
      • I will be in Philadelphia, PA October 16-21 to attend the annual meeting of the American Academy of Family Physicians. Please contact me if you would like to get together.
      • My eBook Are You Sure? The Unconscious Origins of Certainty is on sale for only $2.99. Please post your review.
      • Next month's Brain Science Podcast will be a discussion of Self Comes to Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain by Antonio Damasio. Self Comes to Mind is also available from our sponsor Audible.com.
      • Please visit the Brain Science Podcast on Facebook or Google+, or join the BSP  Discussion Forum at Goodreads.com.
      • Never miss an episode of the Brain Science Podcast!  Sign up for the Newsletter.
      • Send me (Dr. Campbell) email at brainsciencepodcast@gmail.com or follow me on Twitter (@docartemis).