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, 11 July 2016
A Vessel Connecting the Immune System to the Brain

In brain science, as in any other branch of science, you should always be skeptical when you read that a “missing link” has been found and that this discovery will force the textbooks to be rewritten. Such skepticism is all the more appropriate when the discovery is described as something that was there all along and that scientists had simply failed to see. After all, for all intents and purposes, the human body has been regarded as almost completely mapped for some 50 years now.

But in the case of a recent discovery by Antoine Louveau, a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, the extravagant claims seem to be true: he has discovered a lymphatic vessel that irrigates the brain, even though any current book on the anatomy of the brain will tell you that it is the only major organ in the body that has no connections to the lymphatic system. (more…)

From the Simple to the Complex | No comments


Monday, 13 June 2016
Conscious Awareness and Integration of Brain Activity: They Go Together

Sometimes the complementarity between certain scientific experiments may not actually prove anything but still points in a fairly obvious direction. And that is the case with a study that was brought to my attention by a reader of this blog (thanks, Pascal R.!) after I published two posts recently on studies of the type of neuronal activity associated with conscious awareness. Before I summarize the study that Pascal told me about, let me remind you about the findings of the two other studies. (more…)

The Emergence of Consciousness | No comments


Tuesday, 10 May 2016
Dynamics of complex networks sheds light on loss of consciousness associated with sleep

When I read the abstract of the article “Hierarchical clustering of brain activity during human nonrapid eye movement sleep” published by Dr Habib Benali and his team in the April 2012 issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), I quickly realized that the phenomenon that these authors had observed was pretty much the opposite of the one observed in a study by Douglass Godwin and his team: the temporary breakdown of the brain’s functional networks when an individual becomes aware of a stimulus. (more…)

Sleep and Dreams | No comments


Thursday, 7 April 2016
Your Personal Identity: An Illusion That Hides A Work in Progress?

Fascinated by a web page of photos taken with the same family members in the same poses at the same location two or three decades apart (see first link below), I recently suggested to my family that we try the same thing. We took photos of ourselves in the same postures and in the same kitchen as in some old photos that I had from quite a while back. We didn’t go so far as to try to wear clothing similar to what we were wearing in the older photos, but seeing ourselves in such similar situations several decades apart still raised some disturbing questions about the very notion of a personal identity. (more…)

The Emergence of Consciousness | No comments


Monday, 21 March 2016
Awareness as a Temporary Breakdown of the Brain’s Functional Networks

When you become consciously aware of something, what exactly is happening in your brain? Or stated differently, is there a geography of neuronal connections that is specific to becoming aware of a stimulus (for instance, a stimulus that is presented very briefly, so that you may or may not become aware of it)?

This is not a new question. It amounts to asking whether there are particular brain networks that are essential to awareness, or whether awareness instead emerges from the connectivity of large areas of our sensory and associative cortexes. This latter, global approach received support from a study published in March 2015 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, entitled “Breakdown of the brain’s functional network modularity with awareness”, by Douglass Godwin and two collaborators. (more…)

The Emergence of Consciousness | No comments