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, 16 July 2012
Links About Brain Function


This week, as in an earlier post, I’m providing you with links to and brief descriptions of all the interesting articles that I’ve come across recently on one of the subtopics that I discuss on this site. This time the subtopic is “Function by Level of Organization” (under the main topic “From the Simple to the Complex”).

Cellular Level

a_lien Neuroscience: Making connections

This article describes a spectacular visualization method that make each individual neuron a different colour so that its connections with the other neurons around it can be better discerned. This technique represents a considerable step toward developing a “ connectome”—a complete map of the wiring of the mammalian brain.

Neurological Level

a_lien Scientists Map the Brain, Gene by Gene

This article discusses yet another tremendously ambitious brain-mapping project, but this time, the goal is to map all of the genes expressed in every neuron of the human brain! The Allen Brain Atlas project, funded by Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, is intended to provide a global database that might be used, for example, to quickly identify the brain structures where the genes are expressed that are associated with specific mental disorders, such as schizophrenia and autism.

i_lien Industrialized Science

The effects that the kind of advanced automation methods used in the Allen Brain Atlas laboratory might eventually have on scientific thought in general.

Social Level

a_lien Why are we so nice? …because generosity wins.

Mathematical models predict it, and numerous experiments confirm it: what we call generosity is a key component of the strategies for winning certain games that explore human interactions.

i_lien Lessons from Hell

In advanced capitalist societies, when catastrophes of natural and human origin occur, they give rise to behaviours of collaboration and co-operation not seen in the same communities under normal conditions.

i_lien Nature’s lessons for a more kind society.

Excerpt from a review of a book by primatologist Franz de Waal on the evolutionary bases of empathy, a phenomenon widely observed in the animal kingdom, and the critique of capitalism that is its inevitable corollary.
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