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View Diary: IBM simulates 530 billion neurons with 100 trillion synapses of a human brain on a supercomputer (56 comments)

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  •  Lets start with something easy (9+ / 0-)

    How about showing the brain of a subject with a hammer dropped on their foot.  Understanding pain in the brain might open a lot of new therapies.

    •  I volunteer you! nt (9+ / 0-)

      "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" - Dick Cheney 2/14/10

      by Bob Love on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 06:05:36 PM PST

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    •  Hey, we don't have to drop a hammer on someone's (9+ / 0-)

      foot to get them to experience pain.  Here's an article from a few days ago showing that the brian can react to thinking about a math problem experiencing the same kind of pain.

      Proof math can be a real pain

      Report shows similarities between brain's response to math anxiety and physical pain
      Dawn Turner Trice

      A report that suggests that when a person is anxious about math, his or her brain responds in the same way it would if the person was experiencing pain. (Gregor Schuster, Photographer's Choice)
      Sian Beilock is the author of "Choke: What the Secrets Of the Brain Reveal About Getting It Right When You Have To."

      She recently co-authored a report that suggests that when a person is anxious about math, his or her brain responds in the same way it would if the person was experiencing pain.

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 06:10:43 PM PST

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      •  Functional MRI studies have changed our understand (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HoundDog, Pluto, IreGyre

        On fundamental levels.  Now we're modeling the brain in ways unthought of even 10 years ago.  Now, I'm looking for a practical payoff for me, in learning to understand pain response functionality.

      •  I thought my school records were confidential ; ) (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        "Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room." - President Merkin Muffley

        by Farkletoo on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 06:44:22 PM PST

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        •  Didn't they tell you all your school records were (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Farkletoo, walkshills, Brian B

          part of your "permanent record" that would follow you for life?

          One of the most terrifying moments of my life was when the Principal came into our first grade class and explained in dramatic language that now that we were in first grade, unlike kindergarten all of our infractions would got into the permanent record which could prevent us from going to college or getting good jobs.

          The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

          by HoundDog on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 06:54:26 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Similarities. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        There's a big difference between two experiences being the same and having similar regions of the brain light up for two experiences.  There's an awful lot of brain studies around that just show some patterns that don't necessarily mean anything worthwhile.

        I saw a talk where someone criticized these kind of news stories as basically sounding like something insightful when it's really not.  That's exactly what the math/pain story seems like to me.

    •  cold is registered as pain in the brain (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      subtropolis, IreGyre

      that might be more humane than hammer dropping :-) I think somewhere in Germany last century someone somewhere did ice cold water experiments... then after a while the  US airforce and  US army repeated and extended those experiments  - - to help them understand how long a pilot could survive 'the cold'  in various airplane dysfunction scenarios;

      The world is a college of corporations, the world is a business Mr. Beale - Network ~ Montana initiative 166: corporations are not entitled to constitutional rights because they are not human beings; in MT money is not speech; it's property.

      by anyname on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 07:55:50 PM PST

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    •  I've participated in something like that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Nearly 20 years ago i answered an ad for guinea pigs to take part in pain research. "Cool!" i thought. I had been delving into the the-then little known body piercing/modification thing and had … well, surprised myself in the pain tolerance department on a number of occasions, so this caught my fancy.

      In the interview i learned that researchers from two local universities were collaborating, the group from one being at the school of dentistry. ("ruh-roh!" thought i, gazing uneasily toward the door. "Is it safe?!" Yikes-o-rama.)

      But it wasn't anything so blood-curdling. What they did was have me sit in a chair (yes, a dentist's chair, so … a little nervous, but it was comfy) next to this contraption consisting of a water bath with a temperature control unit. They had a computer program dial up various temperatures more or less randomly. We'd wait until the water was at the correct temp and then i'd dip my (finger? hand? I can't remember) and leave it there for 60 seconds. Then i'd have to say, in a range from 0 to 100, how painful it was.

      This went on for a couple of hours, as it took some time for the temp to stabilise. Naturally, i started chatting with the grad student twisting the knobs. It turned out that his prof knew all about the piercing thing, the Oh-kee-Pah Sun Dance, and had even traveled to Thailand to see those crazy bastards walking around with bicycles hanging from their faces. By the end of it i could tell he was glad i hadn't opted for the stack of magazines they'd made available. I certainly was too.

      I found out later that the program would repeat some of the temperatures. What they were looking for were subjects who could subjectively toss out reasonably similar figures for a given temp. The complete, honest truth is that i was certain, even before learning this info, that my responses would be pathetically all over the place. Later, they told me that i was the best subject! w.t.f?

      Anyway, this was all preliminary. Some weeks later: showtime. I had a date with a PET scan. I showed up bright an early one day, had my head molded for the brace, had a pee, and then climbed onto the thing. Next to it was the water basin contraption. Over the next couple of hours we ran through the same routine, only my brain was being scanned each time.

      I remember one very funny thing early on. I think we hadn't actually begun yet, although my head was already clamped down. The guy who was to be the afternoon guinea pig had been paid to show up at the same time as me, in case i was a no-show because PET time is precious. (I remember feeling a bit chuffed that he was getting $x more than me for agreeing to sit around a few extra hours.) But the researchers made the mistake of allowing him to come into the room while i was being prepped. Perfectly sensible: They wanted him to see what he'd be doing later on.

      Except one of the things that would be happening is that an anesthetist would be digging around in his wrist trying to poke a catheter into his artery. I didn't see him leave the room (I was way too interested in the jabby stuff going on at the time) but one of the researchers came in a bit later -- i'm pretty sure after my head had been secured to the PET -- and said, "Do you have the list of names? X just walked out." I gather he thought the jabby stuff looked a bit gruesome. He should have asked me about it. The local i'd been given was A-1. Although admittedly i could still feel all sorts of (well, gruesome) poking around.

      Some  time after that came a visit to the MRI, so they could get a more refined sense of my personal brain structure. Out came the jewelry -- it's a freaking big magnet -- and on with my custom-molded helmet/clamp thing. And then they gave me a printout! W00t!

      Next time: The time i did vodka shots (beginning at 10am!) while hooked up to an EKG and playing (early 90s) video games. They held onto me until i'd sobered up (breathalyzer) and then i biked home in the afternoon, whereupon my lovely neighbour saw me coming and yelled down, "Hey, up for some screwdrivers?" Hair of the dog.

      (I am not, and have never been, one of those people with more stainless steel on their faces than face, btw.)

      All things in the sky are pure to those who have no telescopes. – Charles Fort

      by subtropolis on Tue Nov 20, 2012 at 12:31:00 AM PST

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    •  Which foot should I drop it on? (0+ / 0-)

      Your left or right?

      What about my Daughter's future?

      by koNko on Tue Nov 20, 2012 at 07:02:01 AM PST

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