Tag Archives: brain


“Postoperative delirium (POD) is frequently under diagnosed and more often than not, under treated. It is the final common manifestation of multiple neurotransmitter abnormalities; with features of impaired cognition, fluctuating consciousness and a disturbed sleep-awake cycle. At least 15% of elderly patients undergoing major procedures have POD, with an associated increase in mortality. Various risk factors and batteries of clinical examination have been devised to diagnose delirium, followed by a multifaceted approach to treatment, using biopsychological along with pharmacological intervention.”

–A Rudra, S Chatterjee, J Kirtania, S Sengupta, G Moitra, S Sirohia, R Wankhade, S Banerjee. “Postoperative Delirium.” Indian Journal of Critical Care Medicine 10.4 (2006): 235-240. Web.


“A growing body of child cognition research at UC Berkeley suggests that parents and educators put aside the flash cards, electronic learning games and rote-memory tasks and set kids free to discover and investigate.

‘Spontaneous and “pretend play” is just as important as reading and writing drills,’ Gopnik said.”

–Yasmin Anwar. “Scientists Tap the Genius of Babies and Youngsters to Make Computers Smarter.” UC Berkeley News Center. March 12, 2012. Web.


“Jaroslav Flegr is no kook. And yet, for years, he suspected his mind had been taken over by parasites that had invaded his brain. So the prolific biologist took his science-fiction hunch into the lab. What he’s now discovering will startle you. Could tiny organisms carried by house cats be creeping into our brains, causing everything from car wrecks to schizophrenia? A biologist’s science- fiction hunch is gaining credence and shaping the emerging science of mind- controlling parasites.”

–Kathleen Mcauliffe. “How Your Cat Is Making You Crazy.” The Atlantic March 2012. Web.


“The Brain Bank is the world’s largest collection of athlete brains. Since its inception in 2008, the bank has documented over 50 cases of CTE [chronic traumatic encephalopathy]. Much of that work is in the hands Dr. Ann McKee, the bank’s co-director and neuropathologist. She actually dissects the brain to track the trauma in the brain, and what she’s finding in the brains of some players in their 40s and 50s is astonishing.

‘You expect a pristine brain. I saw a brain that was riddled with tau proteins. I was stunned at how similar that brain was to the boxers who lived into their 70s,’ she said. Tau proteins are the same type of proteins found in brains of Alzheimer’s patients.

But to see the same type of damage in 17-year-old Nathan Stiles’ brain was something that surprised even McKee. It’s the youngest case she’s documented, and for her, a call to action. ‘It tells you that we’ve really got to protect our kids,’ she said. ‘It’s not just car seats and seatbelts, but it’s making sure that when they go out to play sports that we take proper precaution and we give them proper advice.'”

–Nadia Kounang. “Brain Bank Examines Athletes’ Hard Hits.” CNN Jan. 27, 2012. Web.


“Brain scans revealed that people with no symptoms of Alzheimer’s who engaged in cognitively stimulating activities throughout their lives had fewer deposits of beta-amyloid, a destructive protein that is the hallmark of the disease.

While previous research has suggested that engaging in mentally stimulating activities – such as reading, writing and playing games – may help stave off Alzheimer’s later in life, this new study identifies the biological target at play. This discovery could guide future research into effective prevention strategies.”

–Sarah Yang. “Lifelong Brain-stimulating Habits Linked to Lower Alzheimer’s Protein Levels.” UC Berkeley NewsCenter. January 23, 2012. Web.

Zombies on the UCB Brain

One of my students in Introduction to Public Speaking is going to give a speech on zombies, and another student sent me the following link about a UCB scientist giving a talk on the neuroscience of the zombie brain. Zombies: one of the many reasons that I love UC Berkeley!

Nerd Nite SF: “Scanning the Zombie Brain” by Dr. Bradley Voytek, 1/19/11 from nerdniteSF on Vimeo.