Living brain image wins photography prize

June 27, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Research, Spinewave Bulletin 

This image of a living human brain, taken during surgery, won the 2012 Wellcome Trust Award for biomedical photography. Robert Ludlow, UCL Institute of Neurology, London; Wellcome Trust.

“Through the skill of the photographer, we have the privilege of seeing something which is normally hidden away inside our skulls,” Roberts said in a statement. “The arteries are bright scarlet with oxygenated blood, the veins deep purple, and the ‘grey matter’ of the brain a flushed, delicate pink. It is quite extraordinary.”

Medical photographer Robert Ludlow captured the image of the living brain while observing brain surgery on a patient with epilepsy. Neurosurgeons implanted electrodes in the brain to detect areas where typical electrical communications in the brain had gone haywire, triggering seizures. In subsequent surgery, these areas were removed, and the patient made a full recovery.

Brain fog of menopause confirmed

June 22, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Research, Spinewave Bulletin 

By Tom Rickey.

The difficulties that many women describe as memory problems when menopause approaches are real, according to a study published today in the journal Menopause, the journal of the North American Menopause Society.

The findings won’t come as a surprise to the millions of women who have had bouts of forgetfulness or who describe struggles with “brain fog” in their late 40s and 50s. But the results of the study, by scientists at the University of Rochester Medical Center and the University of Illinois at Chicago who gave women a rigorous battery of cognitive tests, validate their experiences and provide some clues to what is happening in the brain as women hit menopause.

“The most important thing to realize is that there really are some cognitive changes that occur during this phase in a woman’s life,” said Miriam Weber, Ph.D., the neuropsychologist at the University of Rochester Medical Center who led the study. “If a woman approaching menopause feels she is having memory problems, no one should brush it off or attribute it to a jam-packed schedule. She can find comfort in knowing that there are new research findings that support her experience. She can view her experience as normal.” Read more

The Divided Brain

June 21, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Research, Spinewave Bulletin 

Hemisphericity is a functional problem created through exhausting the brain’s energy resources in an unbalanced way. It creates one-sided problems or neurological manifestations, like OCD or speech deficits, that tend to have laterality in either the left or right hemisphere. Yet it’s a complex system not fully understood. The Divided Brain video below paints a wonderful description of how the left and right brain function in unison.

We have a whiteboard at Spinewave, and I often attempt to create a learning opportunity on the board for clients to participate in. This week I asked what attributes or functions the left and right hemispheres might have. Very few people knew anything beyond the left brain being more “logical” and the right brain being more “creative”. It is far more than that. But also, interestingly, people are still under the impression that an individual might be a very “left-brained” or “right-brained” person. This is not true. They work together. For imagination you need both hemispheres; for reason you need both hemispheres. For example an excellent accountant cannot be so without also being very creative (in a legal sense).

“The world of the left hemisphere, dependant on denotative language and abstraction, yields clarity and power to manipulate things that are known, fixed, static, isolated, decontextualised, explicit, general in nature but ultimately lifeless. The right hemisphere by contrast yields a world of individual, changing, evolving, interconnected, implicit, incarnate living beings within the context of the lived world – but in the nature of things never fully graspable; never perfectly known.”

The brain is ultimately holographic, where information is distributed throughout, and normal function can resume even if it’s sliced, diced and swapped around. Success ultimately relies on its ability to reorganise itself. And this is what we aim to do.

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant.”

Albert Einstein

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