Saturday, November 20, 2004

Wired News: Dems, GOP: Who's Got the Brains?

Wired News: Dems, GOP: Who's Got the Brains?: "Last month, Drs. Joshua Freedman and Marco Iacoboni of the University of California at Los Angeles finished scanning the brains of 10 Republicans and 10 Democrats. Each viewed images of President Bush, John Kerry and Ralph Nader.
When viewing their favorite candidate, all showed increased activity in the region implicated in empathy. And when viewing the opposition, all had increased blood flow in the region where humans consciously assert control over emotions � suggesting the volunteers were actively attempting to dislike the opposition.
Nonetheless, some differences appeared between the brain activity of Democrats and Republicans. Take empathy: One Democrat's brain lit up at an image of Kerry 'with a profound sense of connection, like a beautiful sunset,' Freedman said. Brain activity in a Republican shown an image of Bush was 'more interpersonal, such as if you smiled at someone and they smiled back.'"

Wired News: Clear Pictures of How We Think

Wired News: Clear Pictures of How We Think: "functional magnetic-resonance imaging, or fMRI.
This technique allows the measurement of the level of oxygen in the blood, and tells scientists which parts of the brain are most active. It can show, for example, the parts of the brain that operate when we fall in love and when we have food cravings. It has even recently revealed the differences in the brains of Democrats and Republicans.
But the technique also holds out the promise of answering deep questions about our most cherished human characteristics. For example, do we have an inbuilt moral sense, or do we learn what is right and wrong as we grow up? And which is stronger: emotions or logic?
Before fMRI, information about the parts of the brain involved in different tasks could only be gathered by studying people who had suffered brain damage from trauma or stroke, and seeing how their brain function changed. Now, the brains of healthy people can be scanned as they are given different tasks.
'fMRI has provided striking evidence in favor of some theories and against others,' said Joshua Greene, of Princeton University's Department of Psychology. 'But I don't think the real payoff has hit yet. That will come when we have successful computational theories of complex decision-making, ones that describe decision-making at the level of neural circuits.'
Greene, together with Jonathan Cohen, professor of psychology at Princeton, is using fMRI to look at the factors that influence moral judgment. "

Friday, November 19, 2004

The Scientist :: MicroRNA controls insulin

The Scientist :: MicroRNA controls insulin: "The microRNA miR-375 regulates myotrophin, a protein involved in the final stages of insulin secretion from pancreatic islet cells, according to a publication in Nature this week.
The results suggest miR-375 as a possible new avenue for diabetes treatment, according to lead author Markus Stoffel, from Rockefeller University in New York. Of possibly greater immediate significance is a growing belief that microRNAs play other important roles in the pancreas, he said.
'We took an unbiased approach and cloned all of the microRNAs from a pancreatic beta cell line,' Stoffel told The Scientist. His group found more than 60, including novel ones that are highly specific to beta cells, some of which had only previously been described in the central nervous system."

Quantun Brain MOdel v6 Feb 1995

arXiv:quant-ph/9502006 v1 6 Feb 1995: "Finally, according to the original quantum brain model, the recall processis described as the excitation of dwq modes under an external stimulus whichis �essentially a replication signal�[9] of the one responsible for memory print-ing. When dwq are excited the brain �consciously feels�[9] the presence of thecondensate pattern in the corresponding coded vacuum. The replication signalthus acts as a probe by which the brain �reads� the printed information.In this connection we observe that the dwq may acquire an effective nonzeromass due to the effects of the system finite size[12]. Such an effective mass willthen introduce a threshold in the excitation energy of dwq so that, in order totrigger the recall process an energy supply equal or greater than such a thresholdis required. Non sufficient energy supply may be experienced as a �difficultyin recalling�. At the same time, however, the threshold may positively act asa �protection� against unwanted perturbations (including thermalization) andcooperate to the memory state stability. In the opposite case of zero thresholdany replication signal could excite the recalling and the brain would fall in astate of �continuous flow of memories"

Google Groups : Google-Labs-Google-Scholar

Google Groups : Google-Labs-Google-Scholar: "Occasionally Google employees may post to the group. Any Google
employee who participates in the group will always post with the name
'Google Employee'.

The Google Scholar group encourages free and open discussion on all
aspects of Google Scholar. However, posts not on this topic are not
welcome. We reserve the right to delete the posts that we consider

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Pharyngula::Symmetry breaking and genetic assimilation

Pharyngula::Symmetry breaking and genetic assimilation: "Friday, November 05, 2004
Symmetry breaking and genetic assimilation
How do evolutionary novelties arise? The conventional explanation is that the first step is the chance formation of a genetic mutation, which results in a new phenotype, which, if it is favored by selection, may be fixed in a population. No one sensible can seriously argue with this idea�it happens. I�m not going to argue with it at all.
However, there are also additional mechanisms for generating novelties, mechanisms that extend the power of evolutionary biology without contradicting our conventional understanding of it. A paper by A. Richard Palmer in Science describes the evidence for an alternative mode of evolution, genetic assimilation, that can be easily read as a radical, non-Darwinian, and even Lamarckian pattern of evolution (Sennoma at Malice Aforethought has expressed concern about this), but it is nothing of the kind; there is no hocus-pocus, no violation of the Weissmann barrier, no sudden, unexplained leaps of cause-and-effect. Comprehending it only requires a proper appreciation of the importance of environmental influences on development and an understanding that the genome does not constitute a descriptive program of the organism."

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Harvard Medical School Division of Genetics

The definition of statistical approaches for studying genetic variation has evolved at a frightening speed. Such technologies are applied in population studies to investigate divergence and modifications over time.

The proposed research will utilize these techniques on a very refined sample to demonstrate how easily the consciousness of humans can change their own DNA. This direct application will open the door for more direct control and development of specific techniques for creating desired genetic modifications.

Brigham and Women's Division of Genetics - Sunyaev Lab: "Lab: Research Interests
We are a computational biology laboratory. We develop and apply computational methods to pursue various problems in fields of genetics, genomics and proteomics. Our main interest is to analyse the population genetic variation and the genome divergence between species with the major focus on the protein coding regions. The effect of amino acid substitutions on function and structure of proteins can be frequently understood and even predicted via comparative sequence analysis and analysis of the protein structure. We relate the above functional studies to the evolutionary process of natural selection in order to track the evolution of proteins at the molecular level. Large-scale statistical approaches are suitable to study the way new mutations, genetic drift and natural selection shape the population genetic variation and how this variation once becomes a species divergence. The results of structural and evolutionary studies can be further applied to the data on human genetic polymorphisms with the goal to understand the complex mechanisms of inheritance and most importantly the genetic basis of human multifactorial diseases.
Our future effort will be directed towards the development of methods to extract knowledge on functionality and evolution from the novel massive data on closely related genomes and population genetic variants. We are hoping to reveal epistatic interactions between allelic variants and understand their molecular basis, thus getting closer to the understanding of the interplay of genetic variants to give rise to phenotypes. We are planning to utilise the knowledge gained to study the data on genotypes of patients suffering from common complex disorders through the established collaborations with groups involved in large medical genetics research projects. "