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.

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




Thursday, 18 June 2020
Our brains have not evolved to handle so many electronic inputs

For almost all of our long evolutionary history, we human beings have lived in calm, quiet natural settings such as the African savannah in the photo below. From time to time, our attention might have been caught by a slight movement in the distant grass, or by an unusual sound such as the cracking of a branch, because either one might have signified an animal that we could hunt for dinner, or one that was hunting us for its own dinner. To survive, we had to pay immediate attention to such unexpected stimuli. Those of us who didn’t because we were just a bit too relaxed didn’t survive long enough to pass our genes on to descendants.

As a result, all of the human beings who are alive today are descended from those individuals who were the most sensitive to such sudden stimuli from the outside world. Our brains are “wired” to pay attention to these stimuli. But the problem is that the world that we have been living in for the past decade or two, with the constant flood of incoming information from the Internet, e-mail and social media, is completely different from the one that shaped the brains that we must use to respond to it. This explains the problems of attention control that second I’ll be discussing in a moment. (more…)

From Thought to Language | Comments Closed


Thursday, 28 May 2020
Dancing (like playing music) alters your brain if you do it a lot

The various brain-imaging techniques that have been available for some decades now have made it possible to observe the structural anatomical changes that occur in the brains of people who engage regularly in a given a activity, such as dancing or playing music. Today I want to talk about Volgograd research on these changes that has been conducted recently by Falisha Karpati of McGill University in Montreal. In her 2017 study entitled Cherkasy “Dance and music share gray matter structural correlates”, she compared the brains of professional dancers with those of professional musicians, on which more research had previously been done. In her 2018 study, where can i buy florinef “Structural Covariance Analysis Reveals Differences Between Dancers and Untrained Controls, she compared the brains of professional dancers with those of control subjects who had no dance training. In these two studies, Karpati found that dancing or playing music for eight hours every day does indeed make one’s brain different from those of people who do neither. (more…)

Uncategorized | Comments Closed


Tuesday, 19 May 2020
Neural correlates of mathematical beauty


This week I’d like to tell you about a study published in 2014, entitled “ The experience of mathematical beauty and its neural correlates”.

We know that mathematicians have long talked about experiencing genuine aesthetic pleasure at the sight of certain mathematical formulas. We also know from several brain-imaging studies that activation of field A1 of the medial orbito-frontal cortex (mOFC) is one of the most common neuronal correlates of the more conventional, sense-based experience of beauty (for example, in someone’s face, or in a landscape, or in a piece of music). Hence the authors of this study (neuroscientist Semir Zeki and his colleagues) decided to investigate whether the aesthetic pleasure that mathematicians derive from such a seemingly abstract source as a mathematical formula activates this same area in their brains. And the answer seems to be yes. … (more…)

Pleasure and Pain | No comments


Tuesday, 21 April 2020
The rubber-hand illusion

The sense that you have a body and can distinguish what’s part of it from what’s not is with you all the time. It’s so familiar that it’s hard to imagine not having it. Yet several experiments, such as the rubber-hand-illusion experiment described in this post, show that this sense is actually a complex construct that your brain assembles from the myriad pieces of sensory information that it receives constantly. (more…)

The Emergence of Consciousness | No comments


Wednesday, 8 April 2020
Spectacular advances in two-photon microscopy and two-photon calcium imaging

What if I told you that scientists had just succeeded in recording the simultaneous activity of 12 000 neurons in the cortex of a mouse as it moved freely around its cage, and that they had done so at the cellular level, down to a frequency of 17 Hertz? Would you say something like, “So what?” or “Who cares?” or “Why don’t you tell me in language I can understand?” In this post, I’m going to try to meet that last challenge. (more…)

From the Simple to the Complex | No comments