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




Monday, 4 June 2012
Stress, Prefrontal Cortex Inhibition, and Depression

stressExposure to chronic stress has many harmful effects, including effects on our cognition and mental health. The June 2009 edition of Nature Reviews Neuroscience presents several articles summarizing the most recent research findings on this subject.

One of these articles, by Amy F. T. Arnsten, shows how stress inhibits thinking, planning, and control activity in the prefrontal cortex, while strengthening the activity of the rapid reflex pathways connected to the amygdala and the subcortical structures associated with it. (more…)

Mental Disorders | No comments


Monday, 28 May 2012
Playing Chess at School Improves Learning

chessAccording to America’s Foundation for Chess, an organization that promotes the use of chess in the schools, this age-old game is an ideal learning tool. When children are around age 8 or 9, the brain’s analytical abilities are developing rapidly, and playing chess seems to stimulate this development. In any case, studies show that children who play chess do better in most of their school subjects. (more…)

Memory and the Brain | No comments


Monday, 21 May 2012
The Neurobiology of Charity

mendiant As the holiday season approaches, a traditional time for charitable giving, what do we know about this behaviour from a neuroscientific standpoint? Well, first of all, we know that it activates the brain’s dopaminergic reward circuits. We also now know that the old saying “It’s better to give than to receive” has a neurobiological basis: these reward circuits are typically activated more when you give money, for example, than when you receive it. (more…)

Pleasure and Pain | 1 comment


Monday, 14 May 2012
Links About Brain Anatomy

theme_01 While I’m doing research on the various subjects that I write about in The Brain from Top to Bottom, I often come across interesting articles on other subjects that I’ve already dealt with elsewhere on the site. Whenever that happens, I save a link to the article, planning to embed it as a Link module on the appropriate page of the site.

The problem is that I accumulate links faster than I can put them where they belong, so I end up with a file full of interesting links that none of my readers can access. To solve this problem, I’ve decided that from time to time, I’ll make a blog post containing all the links that I’ve accumulated about one of the topics on the site. (more…)

From the Simple to the Complex | 6 comments »


Monday, 7 May 2012
Insomnia as a Treatment for Depression

insomnie-depressionLack of sleep has a beneficial effect on depression. However counterintuitive this finding may seem, it has been well documented in more than 75 studies published over the past 40 years. One of the reasons that sleep deprivation is not used more extensively in the treatment of depression is that prolonged insomnia can also have significant negative effects on cognitive functioning. Another reason is that insomnia-induced improvements in mood dissipate rapidly when the individuals eventually and inevitably catch up on their sleep. (more…)

Mental Disorders | No comments