neural activity

Medical Astrology

❝   Medical astrology (traditionally known as iatromathematics) is an ancient medical system that associates various parts of the body, diseases, and drugs as under the influence of the sun, moon, and planets, along with the twelve astrological signs. ❞

Medical Astrology has been practiced for centuries over centuries and still remains in practice to this day - although it became much humbler as modern medicine evolved and astrology transformed into something wildly interpreted as “humbug”. Even some of those who study astrology still seem to have a false understanding of what exactly medical astrology is and therefore don’t believe in it themselves.

So to clear up any possible misconceptions before I start: Medical Astrology is NOT the stars telling you that you’re going to have a specific condition because one of your placements suggests it. As with most other things, there’s a lot that comes into play: Other placements, on one hand, but especially, and I really want to stress this, things like how you treat your body, accidents that you may get into, DNA, … you get the drift.

I already mentioned it, but medical astrology only SUGGESTS higher risks for specific ailments. It does NOT predict them. (Transits, however, CAN - but even they don’t promise for you to get the disease or whatever ailment is supposed to happen. This is another topic, though.)

Having said that, I will make another post for very specific conditions, for this one I’ll only talk about some general things like what signs/houses/planets rule what body part and what role everything plays. Also, I do NOT take responsibility for what you do with this information. I’m not trying to scare anyone, I’m just passing on some of my knowledge.


  • Aries/1st House: rules head, face (and everything in it), brain, hair, vision
  • Taurus/2nd House: rules throat, voice/vocal cords/tract, neck, thyroid, weight
  • Gemini/3rd House: rules hands, arms, nerve system, shoulders, lungs, brain
  • Cancer/4th House: rules alimentary canal, breasts/chest, stomach
  • Leo/5th House: rules heart, chest, upper back, spinal column, spine
  • Virgo/6th House: rules intestines, nervous system, digestive system, spleen
  • Libra/7th House: rules skin, lumbar region, kidneys, buttocks, lower back
  • Scorpio/8th House: rules genitalia, bowels, reproductive & excretory system
  • Sagittarius/9th House: rules thighs, hips, sciatic nerve, liver
  • Capricorn/10th House: rules skeletal system, knees, joints
  • Aquarius/11th House: rules calves, ankles, circulatory system
  • Pisces/12th House: rules feet, toes, adipose tissue, lymphatic system


  • Sun: general vitality, spine, heart
  • Moon: digestive & lymphatic system, stomach, female organs
  • Mercury: central nervous system, hands, brain
  • Venus: throat, kidneys, ovaries
  • Mars: muscles, head, adrenal glands
  • Jupiter: growth, pituaitary gland, liver
  • Saturn: skin, hair, bones, teeth, immune system, spleen
  • Uranus: neural activity, aura, parathyroid gland
  • Neptune: pineal gland
  • Pluto: metabolism, pancreas

Now we know what the involved parts represent, but not why and how that is. So to use medical astrology properly we have to make the connections between these aspects (hint: aspects can play a role too, but one usually puts more emphasis on houses/signs + planets) and know about some common themes:

  • SATURN suggests struggles & weakness in the assigned body part(s) of the sign/house he resides in.
    • e.g.: Saturn in Gemini and 5th suggests trouble with breathing properly (in extreme cases ailments like asthma) and back problems
  • URANUS often makes for “abnormalities” or strange/unusual conditions.
    • e.g.: Uranus in Taurus and 3rd can indicate rapidly changing weight and somewhat differently formed fingers (in extreme cases things like swan neck fingers)
  • STELLIA can cause trouble due to the excessive amount of energy bundled in (a) certain body part(s).
    • e.g.: An Aries (head/brain) stellium can make for strong or chronical headaches
  • EXTREME DOMINANCE works like a stellium as long as the dominance is very prominent.
  • CHALLENGING ASPECTS can lead to trouble as well -  one has to look at the planets involved and the houses/signs they’re in for this one to know more.
    • e.g.: A VERY afflicted/”damaged” sun in the 6th might in extreme cases indicate a heightened potential to suffer of a heart attack.

      I of course didn’t cover every theme, every aspect, everything that is important, but with your new-earned knowledge you should have a solid and basic foundation with which you should be able to work. As I already said, I’ll make a separate post with very specific ailments which I will also describe (the why and how) that I will then link in this one.

      As Medical Astrology is its own branch of astrology and therefore gets more and more complex the more you dive into it, my ask box is always open if you should need clarification or help with interpreting something.

      Unrelenting criticism, especially when it is ground in with parental rage and scorn, is so injurious that it changes the structure of the child’s brain.
      Repeated messages disdain are internalized and adopted by the child, who eventually repeats them over and over to himself. Incessant repetitions result in the construction of thick neural pathways of self-hate and self-disgust. Over time a self-hate response attaches to more and more of the child’s thoughts, feelings and behaviours.
      Eventually, any inclination toward authentic of vulnerable self-expression activates internal neural networks of self-loathing. The child is forced to exist in a crippling state of self-attack, which eventually becomes the equivalent of full-fledged self-abandonment. The ability to support himself or take his own side in any way is decimated.
      With ongoing parental reinforcement, these neural pathways expand into a large complex of network that becomes an Inner Critic that dominates mental activity.
      The inner critic’s negative perspective creates many programs of self-rejecting perfectionism. At the same time, it obsesses about danger and catastrophizes incessantly. Until the inner critic is reduced, the survivor typically lives in varying degrees of emotional flashback much of the time.
      —  Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving, Pete Walker, pg 91-92

      anonymous asked:

      Hi. I'm a recently diagnosed 26-year old autistic woman. There seems to be pretty widespread agreement in the autistic community that it's bad to want a cure, but I kinda don't get it? As far as I can tell, autism only contributes negatives to my life. I would love to get rid of the sensory issues, the executive function issues, and the trouble understanding people. I get that it may be impractical to find a cure, but if it weren't, why is it bad to want one?

      trigger warning for ableism, eugenics, genocide

      I understand.

      Autism is a real disability. Some things truly are harder for us. Some things we can’t do. It’s okay to be frustrated by this. Many autistic people sometimes wish that they were not autistic.

      Let’s talk about how autism works for a minute. Autism is caused by a “supercharged brain,” with more neural connections and activity (at least, if I am interpreting the research correctly). It is hardwired into the structure of your brain.

      You couldn’t remove autism from your brain without ripping it apart. There’s no one “autism part” of your brain. It’s everywhere. It’s deeply ingrained.

      There are 2 types of autism cures that people talk about:

      • Fake “cures” sold by scammers (e.g. Miracle Mineral Solution), which may be useless, harmful, or potentially deadly
      • Eugenic cure (creating a test for autism, testing fetuses for autism, and aborting the fetuses that test positive)

      (The eugenics movement around WWII posed two more solutions: forced sterilization of disabled people, or killing disabled people, which Hitler did. Nowadays we don’t see many people advocating for these.)

      A world without autism would be a world in which you and I are either dead or never given a chance to live.

      Realistically speaking… you were born autistic, and you will die autistic. There is no magic pill to ravage your brain and destroy its structure, as that would tend to kill you.

      Will humans someday learn how to change the intricate structure of the brain without destroying it? Maybe. I’m not a scientist. But I don’t think we should pin our hopes on a possibility that is unlikely to happen in our lifetimes, and could be very dangerous.

      Now let’s talk about attitudes about autism.

      Society tends to see autism in a deeply negative light. This isn’t an accident; society is inherently ableist and we have groups like Autism Speaks working to keep it that way.

      Ever heard of the social model of disability? It’s the idea that disability is caused by society, not by inability. I always like to describe it using my glasses.

      My eyesight is not great. With my eyes, I can’t read clocks, signs, even these words on the screen. My eyes are less capable. There are things my eyes can’t do.

      And you know what? None of that matters! I have these magical things called glasses. They level the playing field. I have exactly the same opportunities as my friends with 20/20 vision.

      Poor vision is a difference in ability that society accommodates.

      Autism is not.

      What if nobody paid attention to your stimming because they considered it normal? What if the world was designed to eliminate painful sensory stimuli, and to provide opportunities for sensory seekers to get their needs met? What if meltdowns and shutdowns were seen as normal, and there were quiet rooms in every building where you could go to calm down? What if honesty about one’s feelings were more common? Autism might not be such a big deal then, huh?

      The problem isn’t that you were born different. The problem is that society does not adequately support your differences. This lack of support is what defines a disability.

      Besides, not all your differences are deficits. Some of these strengths may sound like you:

      • Enhanced pattern recognition
      • Focused special interests
      • Loyalty
      • Better observation skills
      • Helpfulness towards other
      • Superior long-term memory

      …and that’s just the beginning. Check out this article for even more.

      I’d also like you to read the article “How to Accept Your Autism.” Heck, bookmark it. You shouldn’t have to go through life hating the way you are. Autistic people can be wonderful, capable, caring people. Redefine what success means for you, and work towards goals that will improve your happiness.

      (”Being more neurotypical” is a garbage goal. Please take out the trash. You are only going to be sadder if you spend your time comparing yourself to others.)

      Here are some example goals that are really good for you:

      • Spend time with my special interest(s) each day
      • Hang out with people who make me happy
      • Eat more fruits and vegetables
      • Get better at recognizing sensory overload, and taking breaks to keep it from getting worse
      • Buying and using some great stim toys
      • Writing down 3 good things that happened today before going to bed

      You are good enough the way you are. You are not bad for being autistic. Please stop looking down on yourself. You are worth so much more.

      Artificial neural networks decode brain activity during performed and imagined movements

      Filtering information for search engines, acting as an opponent during a board game or recognizing images: Artificial intelligence has far outpaced human intelligence in certain tasks. Several groups from the Freiburg excellence cluster BrainLinks-BrainTools led by neuroscientist private lecturer Dr. Tonio Ball are showing how ideas from computer science could revolutionize brain research. In the scientific journal Human Brain Mapping they illustrate how a self-learning algorithm decodes human brain signals that were measured by an electroencephalogram (EEG).

      It included performed movements, but also hand and foot movements that were merely thought of, or an imaginary rotation of objects. Even though the algorithm was not given any characteristics ahead of time, it works as quickly and precisely as traditional systems that have been created to solve certain tasks based on predetermined brain signal characteristics, which are therefore not appropriate for every situation.

      Keep reading

      Seizure Writing Guide!

      ****This is the seizure anon. I apologize for the wait, I was really excited to share what I knew with you, but then I realized that not only did I write way more than I expected, but I also added comments based on that story you wrote that are denoted with an asterisk at the beginning and end of each comment. I figured you could probably take them out before you actually post it because the notes are explicitly to you. If there’s any way to keep my screen name from posting with the submission that would be awesome because I’m not ready to be “outed” in the community just yet, but if it’s too difficult that’s okay (I’m only 16 and a senior in high school).

      So the entire reason why I know anything about what a seizure feels like is because I have grand mal and juvenile absence epilepsy. I had my first grand mal seizure when I was 11, although my neurologist suspected that I had been having absence seizures since age 8. As I went along with my treatment, things started going awry and I developed narcolepsy with cataplexy and a slew of other problems.

      Even though I’ll eventually grow out of the epilepsy, I will struggle with severe narcolepsy for the rest of my life. It has robbed me of all control over my sleep wake cycle and made my life touch and go ever since. Lately, I’ve been experiencing a flare-up, something that makes my condition much worse. They occur when I’m stressed or sick, mainly because my narcolepsy is auto immune (which is why, in my opinion, it would make good fic material, but that doesn’t concern this rn). I’ve been battling fatigue all week, and I’m sorry submitting it just slipped my mind. If you want to know more about it, talking about it helps and I can take questions. (After all, you know who I am now.)

      So, once again, sorry for the wait. Guide begins below the hash mark, don’t forget to take out the asterisk paragraphs before you post. ****

      This is a guide to writing seizures! If you have any knowledge/experience to add, or perhaps if I misrepresented something feel free to add your thoughts as this is for the community as a whole to use!


      General Information


      A seizure is an excess firing of the neurons in the brain. This misfiring can be generalized (affecting both sides of the brain) or focal (affects one side of the brain, a specific area of the brain, etc). Of the focal onset seizures, there are two sub categories, simple partial (person is fully/mostly aware) and complex partial (some changes in levels of consciousness).

      Generalized onset seizures normally produce the more obvious/well known symptoms of a seizure, whereas focal onset seizures can have some pretty weird symptoms.

      The categories and seizure types that fit into them are as follows:

      - Convulsive (myoclonic, clonic, tonic, tonic-clonic, atonic)
      - Non-convulsive (absence-typical/atypical)
      - Unclassified

      Simple Partial (4 categories)
      - w/motor symptoms
      * convulsive/jerking motions, unusual head or eye movements, numbness, tingling, a crawling feeling on your skin, etc.

      - w/sensory symptoms
      * feeling weird pressure or warmth, seeing/hearing/smelling/tasting weird things

      - w/autonomic symptoms (autonomic = things that the body regulates automatically, like temperature)
      * usually things like sweating, stomach churning, nausea, unexplained sense of fear, etc.

      - w/psychic symptoms
      * warped time perception, dysmnesic (deja-vu sense), strong feelings of fear, illusion, hallucinations, difficulty or discomfort swallowing

      Complex Partial-
      - simple partial onset then impaired consciousness
      - impaired consciousness at onset
      simple partial evolving into second generalized


      Types of Seizures


      Grand Mal (Tonic-Clonic) Seizures

      This is the main type, normally consisting of 4 stages; aura, tonic, clonic, and aftermath. Common triggers include the presence of epilepsy, flashing lights, fever, and head trauma. The victim needs to be monitored during each of the four stages to ensure safety. It is also important to note that any grand mal seizure lasting more than 5 minutes can result in permanent brain damage.

      From the victim’s perspective, they may/may not know what is going on depending on whether or not they’ve had a seizure before. Many epileptics are able to tell when they are about to have a seizure based on how their aura phase presents itself. The most common forms are seeing/hearing/smelling/tasting/feeling things that aren’t there. For example, smelling something burning, a metallic taste in the mouth, or possibly even strong feelings of deja vu/turning of he stomach. For non-epileptics and people having their first seizure, it may present as just a feeling of uneasiness and slight drowsiness. It depends on what area(s) of the brain is/are affected.

      After the aura, the tonic phase hits and the victim loses consciousness as the body stiffens, lasting 10-25 seconds for the average person. Then the clonic phase hits and the body convulses for an average of 30-50 seconds. The clonic phase is probably the most dangerous part of the seizure because of the possibility of injury. The most important thing to remember is that you have to get the person in a position where they cannot his their head on anything, and you should NEVER try to restrain them while they’re convulsing. It can cause a lot more damage if you try and restrain them than if you just let it take its course.

      The aftermath can consist of anything from nausea to a fog-like confusion, and the victim should never be left alone until the stage is completed and the person has regained consciousness and functions normally. It is not uncommon for the victim to forget their name, nor is it for the victim to forget where they are.

      Morning of my first seizure I felt abnormally drowsy and I had a mild headache, but I waved it off as the result of staying up late too many nights in a row. So I went to school anyway and made it two hours into my day when suddenly I began to feel extremely heavy, like a lead blanket had been placed over me. I put my head down on my desk, but I kind of knew that I wasn’t falling asleep; it was a different feel. I woke up in the hospital, thoroughly confused, disoriented, and slightly weak. I had woken up in the ambulance, but apparently I couldn’t remember my own name. It took me about 2 days to really recover, but only about a half an hour to an hour to become mostly aware.


      Petit Mal (Absence) Seizures

      This is about as close to unconsciousness without actually being unconscious. Can be caused by flashing lights and hyperventilation, but they are normally unprovoked.

      Characterized by a blank stare, they are well described by the phrase “time traveling” because you have no clue what goes on during them. It’s like one minute you’re there and then a second passes and you realize a minute passed and you can’t remember what you were doing before. It’s not painful, just really annoying and confusing. They last 30 seconds on average, but can last longer.

      Given the elusive nature of absence seizures, it’s pretty unlikely that a quick trip to Web MD would be able to diagnose this. Petit mal seizures are extremely hard to diagnose, especially without an EEG (stands for electroencephalogram, which is a machine that measures brain waves through electrodes applied to the patient’s head). They usually cannot occur in rapid succession, but having multiple absence seizures in a day is possible.

      ****That is precisely why I liked your story so much! Yes, the “cloud” would be more of an aura phase because you usually can’t tell when they’re going to happen, but as the seizure are a result of possible brain damage it totally works. It was an inventive way to approach it, and I liked the idea. It just makes sense for him because he can’t control how often/intense the ‘glitching’ is.****


      Other, More Obscure Types of Seizures


      Tonic Seizures

      Seizure where the body goes rigid. Usually happens during sleep, but can occur when awake. Generally lasts for 20 seconds or less, minimal changes in consciousness. Can happen to any age group.


      Clonic Seizures

      Seizure where the body convulses in specific areas or full body. Usually only found in newborns/infants.


      Atonic Seizures

      Nicknamed “drop seizures”, it’s a sudden loss of muscle tone either in certain areas of the body or throughout the whole body. Normally lasts less than 15 seconds and person is conscious.

      To the person experiencing the episode, it’s terrifying when to have the first one because there you are, going about your daily life and then BOOM you’re on the floor and can’t move. You want to move, but even if you will yourself to move with every fiber of your being, you can’t. Then, when you can move, you may realize you broke something on the way down, or maybe you lost consciousness because you hit the corner of a table on the way down. They are very dangerous, and many people (especially children) who experience uncontrolled atonic seizures are recommended to wear helmets to reduce the risk of injury during a sudden attack.

      ****I haven’t had an atonic seizure before, but I have had something very, very similar called a cataplexy attack. They SUCK. I developed severe narcolepsy w/cataplexy as a result of having abnormal neural activity (epilepsy), and my first cataplexy attack was TERRIFYING. I was standing up and laughing at something, next thing I know I’m on the ground in excruciating pain because I lost control of my muscles, landed wrong, and broke my tailbone. I was conscious the whole time but I couldn’t move for a good 20 seconds, was in extreme pain, and actually thought I broke my spine (I was 13). I wouldn’t be surprised is something like this happened during an atomic seizure. The important thing to note is that cataplexy attacks are triggered by emotions, whereas atonic seizures cannot be triggered by anything.****


      Myoclonic Seizures

      These are seizures that are shown through rapid jerking of the extremities. It’s like severe flinching, or like when a chill runs down your back, and it’s completely involuntary. They can occur at any stage in life.

      ****I can see the most potential in this for writing purposes because when I had them, I would think ‘ey I’m glitching’ and I can see Jeremy and Michael freaking out over something like this. For me it usually didn’t feel like anything, but when it happened with my eyelids it was really weird (my eyelids would twitch and it Mede it hard to pay attention and sometimes got uncomfortable). It’s like muscle spasms, but without pain.****


      Febrile Seizures

      Not going to lie, almost forgot to add this to the list. Wasn’t sure where to put it, so naturally I just tacked it on to the end. So, febrile seizures are seizure that are triggered by fever. It mainly happens with newborns/small children, and it’s pretty much just convulsions.


      Hope you enjoyed, feel free to add things!

      Have you heard that (partly thanks to smartphones) humans have a shorter average attention span than goldfish?

      Goldfish: nine seconds.
      Humans: eight!

      This sounds a little unsettling considering that, as humans, our futures largely depend on having to pay attention in class for hours on end. However, we have something the goldfish don’t: a prefrontal cortex, a.k.a. the part of our brain that allows for planning and willpower. As the saying goes, “with great power comes great responsibility.” So given all of our abilities, it is our duty to bring our own vitality to the classroom—every day, in every subject.

      For the good of our edification, our future, and our sanity, let’s look at some strategies for staying engaged—for longer than eight seconds. Let’s show those goldfish what we’re capable of.

      1. First, get your mind right.

      Much of how we perform any task starts with how we set up our mentality. Before your next class, instead of thinking, “I’m tired” or “This class is going to be so boring,” try thinking “How interesting, I get to learn something today that I’ve never heard of!” or “Today I’m going to stay alert by pretending I’m taking notes for someone who’s absent.” Come up with whatever thought helps you establish a mindset that works for you and not against you.

      2. Minimize distractions.

      Choosing to sit in the front of the class will help in a few ways. First, it will prevent you from looking at all the people and eye-catching things going on between you and the front of the classroom. Second, sitting right in front of the teacher will remind you to keep your phone out of sight. Phones apparently want all the attention; don’t give in! Instead, get distracted by everything the teacher is saying. Also, being in front is just more engaging. People pay big money for front row seats at concerts, sporting events, and plays. Front row seats in class are free!

      3. Optimize your note-taking skills.

      Rather than trying to write everything down, listen as if the teacher is speaking just to you and jot down the key concepts. To make note-taking even more effective, experiment with formats, abbreviations, and pen colors. Mark any parts you don’t understand so you can ask questions. Involving yourself in this active note-taking process will keep your brain on task. Moreover, according to psychologist Stanislas Dehaene, “When we write, a unique neural circuit is automatically activated” and “learning is made easier.” And the more you learn in class, the less you will have to study before an exam.

      4. Be active.

      Other than taking notes, find ways to be active. The most beneficial way is probably to use your voice. Asking questions, answering questions, and contributing to class discussions not only helps you better understand the material, but also helps you stay alert and feel part of the class. Even just good posture, making eye contact, and nodding to affirm you’re listening can help make class lectures feel less like a monologue and more like a dialogue between you and your teacher.

      5. Talk to your teachers.

      Be open to developing a relationship with even your most intimidating teachers. By interacting with them before, during, or after class, you’ll start to know them a little better. Once you feel more connected to them, you’ll likely feel more personally invested in their purpose and thus the class. This will further reduce your chances of being bored and increase your chances of getting good grades. As a bonus, if you ever need a letter of recommendation or some help, there’s a better chance your teacher will go the extra mile for you.

      6. Be prepared.

      When you are not understanding what has happened in class so far, it’s like coming into a conversation late: you’re confused, bored, and can’t contribute much. Consequently, staying engaged becomes a struggle and learning becomes nearly impossible. To avert such a dreadful situation, before going to class, look over the main points covered last time and ask classmates or teachers any questions you have. You’ll then be able to take interest and participate in class. Plus, less stress about being lost or falling behind will also contribute to a more fun experience. And you’ll always perform better, no matter what you’re doing, when you’re having fun.

      Kiley A. teaches SAT/ACT Writing and leads College Application Workshops at Elite Prep Rowland Heights. As the Elite Community Scholars Coordinator, he also works to spread this college preparation guidance to low-income, first-generation students who may not otherwise have access to such support. Above all, he wants his students to know the far-reaching power of their own self-assurance.

      Reyes Vidal Week, Day 2: SAM in love

      Today, I didn’t reaaaally follow the prompt. But Reyes is chilling on the Tempest - does that count?

      In this one-shot, Reyes and SAM have a heart-to-heart. This is the first thing I’ve written from first-person perspective. Please let me know what you think!! <3

      It starts with vasodilation.

      Increased blood flow to Ryder’s lips and cheeks turns them pink. The tissues of her genitals swell and become moist. Her pupils dilate. Oxytocin and dopamine flood her brain when he kisses her. She gasps when he bites her shoulder, but her nervous system floods with endorphins and dopamine; she finds his bites pleasurable, not painful. Her nipples harden and her breasts swell at the touch of his hands and tongue. When intercourse commences, dopamine activity increases further, and there is heightened neural activity in her basal ganglia. Her respiratory rate and heart rate increase. He quickens the rhythm of his copulatory movements, and her genital muscles begin to contract and spasm as she cries out. A burst of neurotransmitters and hormones, muscle contractions, and widespread neural activity overtake her body. Her physiological signs are very clear: she is euphoric, all bodily signals indicating pleasure and reward.

      Through Ryder, I observe, and I learn, and I feel what it is to be euphoric.


      Ryder’s reactions to Mr. Vidal have always been different than her reactions to the rest of the crew. When we first met Mr. Vidal, I initially analyzed him as a threat. The Pathfinder had experienced a spike in adrenaline and cortisol, and her pupils had dilated, so it was my impression that she was experiencing a fight-or-flight response. However, there was a surge of dopamine in her brain at the moment that he spoke, indicative of reward. These signals were contradictory, so I did not act. Further information was required.

      Keep reading
      Watch a Resting Brain Light Up With Activity
      The blood rushing around in your brain is actually a good indicator of what your neurons are doing.

      fMRI has been a staple of cognitive neuroscience for years, but it rests on the assumption that blood flow to different areas of the brain correlates with neural activity in those areas. Until recently, we didn’t have great ways to test that assumption.

      But now we have a direct way of looking at neural activity– we can use genetic engineering to put a protein that glows when neurons fire into the mouse brain. So, scientists used this direct reporter and looked at blood flow in the mouse brain at the same time, and it turns out that they correlate pretty well! fMRI remains a powerful method for cognitive neuroscience, with just a little more data to back it up.

      Plus, cool pictures!

      Scientists discover new mechanism of how brain networks form

      Scientists have discovered that networks of inhibitory brain cells or neurons develop through a mechanism opposite to the one followed by excitatory networks. Excitatory neurons sculpt and refine maps of the external world throughout development and experience, while inhibitory neurons form maps that become broader with maturation. This discovery adds a new piece to the puzzle of how the brain organizes and processes information. Knowing how the normal brain works is an important step toward understanding the nature of neurological conditions and opens the possibility of finding treatments in the future. The results appear in Nature Neuroscience.

      “The brain represents the external world as specific maps of activity created by networks of neurons,” said senior author Dr. Benjamin Arenkiel, associate professor of molecular and human genetics and of neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine, who studies neural maps in the olfactory system of the laboratory mouse. “Most of these maps have been studied in the excitatory circuits of the brain because excitatory neurons in the cortex outnumber inhibitory neurons.”

      The studies of excitatory maps have revealed that they begin as a diffuse and overlapping network of cells. “With time,” said Arenkiel, “experience sculpts this diffuse pattern of activity into better defined areas, such that individual mouse whiskers, for instance, are represented by discrete segments of the brain cortex. This progression from a diffuse to a refined pattern occurs in many areas of the brain.”

      In addition to excitatory networks, the brain has inhibitory networks that also respond to external stimuli and regulate the activity of neural networks. How the inhibitory networks develop, however, has remained a mystery.

      In this study, Arenkiel and colleagues studied the development of maps of inhibitory neurons in the olfactory system of the mouse.

      Studying inhibitory brain networks of the mouse sense of smell

      “Unlike sight, hearing or other senses, the sense of smell in the mouse detects discrete scents from a large array of molecules,” said Arenkiel, who is also a McNair Scholar at Baylor.

      Mice can detect a vast number of scents thanks in part to a complex network of inhibitory neurons. Inhibitory neurons are the most abundant type of cells in the mouse brain area dedicated to process scent. To support this network, newly born inhibitory neurons are continually added and integrated into the circuits.

      Arenkiel and colleagues followed the paths of these newly added neurons in time to determine how inhibitory circuits develop. First, they genetically labeled the cells so they would glow when the neurons were active. Then, they offered individual scents to the mice and visually recorded through a microscope the areas or networks of the brain that glowed for each scent the live, anesthetized animal smelled. The scientists repeated the experiment several times to determine how the networks changed as the animal learned to identify each scent.

      Surprising result

      The scientists expected that inhibitory networks would mature in a way similar to that of excitatory networks. That is, the more the animal experienced a scent, the better defined the networks of activity would become. Surprisingly, the scientists discovered that the inhibitory brain circuits of the mouse sense of smell develop in a manner opposite to the excitatory circuits. Instead of becoming narrowly defined areas, the inhibitory circuits become broader. Thanks to this new finding scientists now better understand how the brain organizes and processes information.

      Arenkiel and colleagues think that the inhibitory networks work hand-in-hand with the excitatory networks. They propose that the interaction between excitatory and inhibitory networks could be compared to a network of roads (excitatory networks) whose traffic is regulated by a network of traffic lights (inhibitory networks). The scientists suggest that the formation of useful neural maps depends on inhibitory networks driving the refinement of excitatory networks, and that this new information will be essential towards developing new approaches for repairing brain tissue.

      anonymous asked:

      How's the epilepsy fic going? Does Niall ever have a seizure on screen?

      hiii hi!! I figured it’s about time to give you guys another little bit, so, without further ado:

      Those flashes aren’t good for Niall. There’s so many of them and they seem like they go on for miles. They’re nearly in Niall’s face and they haven’t slowed, not once.

      Flashes are triggers, they set something off in his neural activity. It’s far worse in airports, but usually he has his sunglasses which provide a bit of protection or he’s able to block it out from the barrier of fans.

      Keep reading


      Archetype: The Water Bearer

      Element/Mode/Gender: Air/Fixed/Masculine

      Planetary Relation: Exoteric ruler of Uranus/Saturn; Esoteric ruler of Jupiter; [Modern Astro] Exalted unto Mercury

      House: XI - friends, groups, the collective of humanity

      Attributes: unique, cute, witty, problem-solving, humanitarian, stern, cool, emotionally detached, condescending, sweet, funny

      Anatomy: calves, ankles, circulatory system

      So I honestly can’t tell you how many times I (or any other astroqueens) have heard someone who isn’t too educated on astrology try and TELL me that Aquarius is a water sign because “HELLOOO – AQUA uUHQUAriUS AQUA WATER HELLOO.” Which tells me they haven’t actually looked anything passed the zodiacal name Aquarius because it’s literal archetype is the ‘Water Bearer’. This is the Mother of Humanity giving us the sustenance of life (water) through the air-attributed human form. Air signs (other than Libra, which is the only archetype that is inanimate) are all signs of human form. As mentioned, I view the Piscean spiritual collective contained within the physical atmosphere of a collective human form that is Aquarius. Even in a metaphorical sense, think of our atmosphere around Earth and see how the physical attributes coincide. It’s an actual suspension of very, very, cold air that is a barrier, protecting us from the Sun (ruled by sister sign, Leo) and it’s overwhelming rays of light and heat (also pretty metaphorical lol), which, other than Earth’s orbital placement, is the only reason Earth is capable of withholding life. Lucky us huh (Jupiter)? It is said the Greek God equivalent is Caelus or ‘Father of the Sky’. Just as water is fluid, so is air, which is also a key component to human life. As is the Earth were on, as is the heat and light from the Sun. I believe this speaks to the Fixed modality of Aquarius. This finite atmosphere is here now sustaining us and it was here long before we were, and without it from the beginning, there would be no us to sustain.

      Aquarius is the ruler of Uranus and Saturn exoterically and Jupiter esoterically. We find Aquarian oddity in Uranus. Uranus is where everyone finds a certain uniqueness that differentiates them from others. Rebellious and humanitarian are words heavily used when describing this archetype (its a little tired imo). The stern structure we find in fixed Aquarius is due to their Saturnian influence, which is met with the Uranian eruption of abrupt change. Uranus is also representative of ingenuity and it translates well into Aquarius’ “think smarter not harder” motto. With being the sign of Uranus, Aquarius can even develop a very eclectic way of thought. There may be wonders of imagination that ingeniously give them answers to their realistic, existential questions. They develop a niche of expanding thought that I believe derives from their esoteric ruler Jupiter. Jupiter is forever expanding on journey and learning about new cultures, something both Aquarius and Sagittarius are forever striving for. New experience opens up a part of the mind that makes you think globally and with your higher mind (Jupiter), not just for immediate problem-solving and absorption of information in the lower mind (Mercury).

      Due to Saturn’s apex social status complex, as well as Uranus’ ‘Grand Enlightening’, Aquarius can construct quite a condescending personality. Where Virgo loves saying how right they are, Aquarius loves proving others wrong. Air is also representative of mental stimulation and thought. So when placed in fixed modality it can be very hard to shake the bounds of the Aquarian mentality. 

      The whole argument between Virgo and Aquarius being the sign of exaltation in Mercury is the comfort Mercury finds itself lifted in. I believe there is some here-and-there’s definitely depending on what you are looking to get out of Mercury. I review more about Virgo in the Virgo post as I will review Aquarius in this one.
      I believe that Aquarius can be the exaltation because of Uranus, the higher octave mind, coming together with the lower mind in Mercury. Ingenuity is once again highlighting the Mercurial plane and dexterity has enhanced due to expanded neural activity from Uranus unifying the mental. Remember that Saturn influence does also come into play when dealing with Mercury in Aquarius, giving it a balance of responsibility. 

      Where we find uniformity (Saturn) we will always come across one of the bunch that is not much like the others (Uranus). However by admiring their individuality (Uranus) and understanding their differences (Jupiter), we can learn that they too are one-in-the-same (Saturn).

      LEGION Recap: 1x04

      I have truly and too deeply loved many television shows in my time. I have written tens of thousands of words about some of them, hundreds even! But there have been a few among them that I have loved specially, personally. Shows that make me feel off-kilter in my joy, almost suspicious that someone peered into my soul, and found there a well of spooky sweet stylized absurdism, and they hauled up a bucket of the stuff, and from it made Twin Peaks, and Pushing Daisies, and Legion.

      So that may be partially why these are only getting longer.

      Season 1, ‘Chapter 4’

      First up here I just want to give a quick shout-out to the masterpieces of cagey chiasmus that are FX’s episode descriptions.

      FX’s Legion: THREATS, SEARCHING?? ?

      Anyway full disclosz I first watched ‘Chapter 4’ with my bff Jen, right after consuming a strong cocktail, a cup of Turkish tea, some champagne, and a mug of ice cream in fairly quick succession. I proceeded to lose my mind THOROUGHLY and with GREAT VIM.

      Here is how it started:

      Me, singing at the black screen: “Shooww me Jemaine Clement!”
      First shot:

      Me: [screams]

      “Good evening,” Jemaine Clement addresses us from his Mylar lounge, and like, yes Jemaine, it is, thank you. He proceeds to deliver a short lecture about human nature as the camera slowly pulls back. We are the root of all our problems, he proposes, through our own confusion and anger. “Violence, in other words, is ignorance,” he declares, and he should have stopped there, but then blurts out “Figure your shit out, that’s my…what I’d say.”

      He scoops up his glass to take a drink, but the liquid inside has turned into a solid ice cube. It slowly slides out and falls to the floor, the camera obligingly zooming back in so that he can start over.

      Hi so I love every fucking thing this scene is doing and I’m only halfway through it. Rather like me and this show I guess.

      Keep reading

      • Penny: Friend Weiss, are you feeling well?
      • Weiss: Oh, um... Why do you ask?
      • Penny: My sensors indicate an overall dampening in your neural activity.
      • Weiss: ... What
      • Penny: You look upset.
      • Weiss: oh.
      • Penny: Is something wrong?
      • Weiss: ... *sigh* I've been having a rough time recently.
      • Penny: Would you like to talk about it?
      • Weiss: If... If you don't mind?
      • Penny: Of course! Shall we head to your room?

      humans are glorified neural nets

      we can become so much more than this

      it excites me

      hearing advice like “look at a bunch of examples of a style you like and practice drawing a lot and you’ll eventually it will look less "wrong”, you can do it!“ and other obviously neural net-y activities make me want to stare at the reader like im in a text post

      How to build your imagination

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      A crucial aspect of creative thinking is the capacity to imagine. As author and educational advisor Sir Ken Robinson once said: “Imagination is the source of every form of human achievement.” Or perhaps a more inspirational quote would be this one from Albert Einstein:

      “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”

      Without imagination, our ability to blend ideas, to see things not as they are but as they might be, is greatly hindered. If we cannot imagine new possibilities, our ability to think creatively is limited. How can we think of ways that generate novel and worthwhile ideas if we keep coming back to existing and proven ideas?

      To improve our imagination we must look to the source of our perceptions: our knowledge.

      What fuels imagination is everything we already know.

      Our minds always come back around to what we already know. It’s in our nature to compare new experiences to ones we’ve already had, without that comparison we cannot begin to understand new ideas.

      For example: try imagining a color that doesn’t exist. The harder you try to do so, the more likely you are to keep envisioning colors that readily come to mind: blue, red, yellow, green, white, black, and so on. If you try really hard you might blend colors together, forming off-shades of violet, teal, etc.

      Where our knowledge fail our imaginations, our perspectives can encourage them.

      We can easily turn our knowledge on its head in order to come up with more imaginative answers to the question at-hand: What if we were to imagine sounds as colors? Not literally, of course, but metaphorically. Who’s to say the ping of a door closing or the hum of a flapping wing cannot be types of colors? Or what about textures, or tastes, or entire experiences? Suddenly unimaginable colors are imaginable…but again: only in the context of what we already know.

      How to increase your imagination.

      To build a bridge between what we know and what’s possible, we must do two things.

      First, we must build knowledge and gain new understandings of the world. If our minds can only imagine possibilities within the context of what we already know, then it’s clear we must increase that knowledge if we want to increase what we can imagine.

      Thankfully, knowledge is easily gained if you dedicate even a small amount of time to it.

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      Reading, not merely books or blogs you are drawn to, but the ones you initially disagree with or find boring as well, is one way to build knowledge. Travel can open your mind to new cultures, often ones that will do things in surprising or backwards ways than you’re used to, as a way of spurring knowledge and ideas. Trying out new things, like a new type of food or a new store in your neighborhood, helps to build knowledge as well. Conversations with acquaintances can be a surprisingly powerful source of new knowledge too.

      The second thing we must do to increase our imaginations, once we have begun to build our knowledge, is to remain powerfully curious about that knowledge, even humorously so.

      We can do this by asking questions constantly, not only about new things we experience, but about everything old and true as well.

      Imagining the improbable.

      Back to the question of imagining new types of colors: of course a sound is not a color, and we are wise to not think of the two as one in the same most of the time, but to use our imaginations is to ask: what if sounds were types of colors? How would that influence our ability to imagine new ones? What if, when someone asked us for our favorite color, we shared a favorite memory instead? How can the concept of “color” become enhanced by merely changing what we mean when we say the word?

      For those who live with synesthesia, this concept of combining typically unrelated themes is more than just a hypothetical situation. The mental phenomenon of synesthesia is a cognitive experience where stimulation in the brain connects to unusual neural networks. That is to say: those who experience synesthesia might taste different colors or see smells, in very real and concrete ways.

      When looking at words on a page, for example, a synesthete (as they’re called) might see each individual letter as having a distinct color. Rather than merely reading paragraphs, the synesthete would be – quite literally – reading a rainbow.

      Researchers Peter Grossenbacheremail of Naropa University and Christopher Lovelace of the Wake Forest University School of Medicine write in their 2001 report titled Mechanisms of synesthesia: cognitive and physiological constraints: “Synesthesia probably obeys the same rule as other conscious experience: conscious experience of concurrent phenomena depends on neural activity in appropriate sensory cortical areas.”

      That is to say: the brain perceives stimulation from the senses and tries to recall information related to that perception, but somewhere along the lines other tidbits of information (say: a color or sound) gets crossed along the way.

      For those of us who don’t experience synesthesia, we must imagine criss-crossing cognitive signals in order to see the world any other way than what it really is.

      To do that: constantly ask questions and play dumb.

      Why is the sun yellow? Why is a rock called a “rock”? What happens when a bucket of water is poured out from 5,000 ft in the air? What would the color of your favorite memory look like?

      These are possibly improbable questions, but if we are not asking them, we are not imagining.

      The importance of cognitive conflict.

      It seems as though our imagination is best drawn-out when we are faced with improbabilities and cognitive conflicts.

      In his book Imagine: How Creativity Works, neuro-researcher and author Jonah Lehrer writes: “The imagination is not meek–it doesn’t wilt in the face of conflict. Instead, it is drawn out, pulled from its usual hiding place.”

      The reason these types of improbable and arguably silly questions provoke imagination goes back to the origin statement of this article: our minds are drawn to what we already know, without doing so the world is a strange and unfathomable place. To ask new questions, to experience new things, our imagination grows because our very nature is to understand that which we do not understand.

      To improve your imagination, build your knowledge and stay remarkably curious. That’s all there is to it.

      Clown photo via Flickr. Travel photo by Shena Tschofen.

      Brain stimulation restores memory during lapses, research shows

      A team of neuroscientists at the University of Pennsylvania has shown for the first time that electrical stimulation delivered when memory is predicted to fail can improve memory function in the human brain. That same stimulation generally becomes disruptive when electrical pulses arrive during periods of effective memory function.

      The research team included Michael Kahana, professor of psychology and principal investigator of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Restoring Active Memory program; Youssef Ezzyat, a senior data scientist in Kahana’s lab; and Daniel Rizzuto, director of cognitive neuromodulation at Penn. They published their findings in the journal Current Biology.

      Keep reading

      Scientists Become Research Subjects in After-Hours Brain-Scanning Project

      A quest to analyze the unique features of individual human brains evolved into the so-called Midnight Scan Club, a group of scientists who had big ideas but almost no funding and little time to research the trillions of neural connections that activate the body’s most powerful organ.

      The research is in Neuron. (full access paywall)

      Fun Fact: Caffeine does not “give you energy” it only blocks the adenosine receptors in your brain which tell you that you are tired. When adenosine binds to its receptors, neural activity slows down, and you feel sleepy. Caffeine reduces this.  Only glucose gives you energy which is why the “kick” of caffeine is greatly increased by adding sugar.