After providing all the funding for The Brain from Top to Bottom for over 10 years, the CIHR Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction informed us that because of budget cuts, they were going to be forced to stop sponsoring us as of March 31st, 2013.

We have approached a number of organizations, all of which have recognized the value of our work. But we have not managed to find the funding we need. We must therefore ask our readers for donations so that we can continue updating and adding new content to The Brain from Top to Bottom web site and blog.

Please, rest assured that we are doing our utmost to continue our mission of providing the general public with the best possible information about the brain and neuroscience in the original spirit of the Internet: the desire to share information free of charge and with no adverstising.

Whether your support is moral, financial, or both, thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Bruno Dubuc, Patrick Robert, Denis Paquet, and Al Daigen




Wednesday, 22 February 2017
To Retain Information Better, Wait a Few Hours, Then Go for a Run!

The study that I want to tell you about today was done by Eelco V. van Dongen and his colleagues and is entitled “Physical Exercise Performed Four Hours after Learning Improves Memory Retention and Increases Hippocampal Pattern Similarity during Retrieval.”

This study’s findings can be summed up as follows: if you have just made a new mental association and want to remember it better, wait a couple of hours, and then go do some exercise! In van Dongen’s study, three groups of subjects performed a memory-encoding task. One group performed exercise immediately after, one did so four hours after, and the third did not perform any exercise at all. When the three groups were tested for their retention of the encoded memory two days afterward, the group that had exercised four hours after the task showed the best retention among the three groups. (more…)

Memory and the Brain | No comments


Friday, 10 February 2017
You Don’t Catch a Ball by Calculating Its Trajectory, You Catch It by Moving

Today I’d like to talk about a problem that is a classic both for baseball players and for cognitive scientists. And the way that baseball players solve it has helped cognitive scientists to better understand the important role that the body plays in cognition.

The problem is as follows: how does a baseball player go about catching a baseball that has been hit high into the air, especially when the player is in centre field and the ball is following a long, parabolic trajectory that would otherwise cause it to land several metres from where the player is standing? How does the player go about calculating this trajectory and moving, in just a few seconds, to the right place to catch the ball? This is what has long been known in English as “the outfielder problem.” (If you’re more of a soccer fan, imagine a backfielder successfully heading a long throw-in by the goalkeeper.) (more…)

Body Movement and the Brain | No comments


Monday, 9 January 2017
A First Brain-Imaging Study on the Effects of LSD

“This is to neuroscience what the Higgs boson was to particle physics.”

This eye-catching remark comes from neuropsychopharmacologist David Nutt, and he is talking about a study on which he was the senior researcher: “Neural correlates of the LSD experience revealed by multimodal neuroimaging”, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in April 2016. And like the results of the research on the Higgs boson, the results of Nutt’s study confirmed the theory—in this case, that the observed changes in brain activity would provide a very good picture of the mental state produced by an “acid trip”. (more…)

The Emergence of Consciousness | No comments