neuroscience blog

Get ready for a neuroBLAST

Seeing how well received @scriptmedic @scriptecology @forenscripts @scriptshrink @scriptlawyer and @scriptphysicist have been, I thought I’d chip in with my own fields!

I’m a graduate student doing a PhD in neuroscience (but I have some solid knowledge on cognitive science as well) and I’m ready to answer your questions on fun stuff like:

  • what’s going on in your brain when you’re on drugs? 
  • what happens when you sleep? 
  • what does brain damage actually do? 
  • why do smells remind us of things so quickly?
  • how do illusions work?
  • is the brain like a computer? 
  • is mind control possible? 
  • how do we know where our body is in space?
  • what does a brain feel like?
  • can we make robots smart enough to take over the world?

and pretty much anything you can think of related to the stuff your brain does. Send me your questions, thoughts, or just come by to chat!

note: this is a sideblog, so I can’t follow you from here!


Sleep: Neurology, Medicine & Society

My snoozing study buddy helps me cram for the neurology of sleep. He’s in NREM now (Non Rapid Eye Movement Sleep) they kind that happens just after a mammal falls asleep. Soon (in about a 3rd-4th of the way through his sleep cycle) he’ll flip into REM (Rapid Eye Movement) where he’ll likely be dreaming.

His sleep will continue this pattern 3-4 (sometimes a softens as 5-6) times before he wakes. Mammalian sleep cycle ;3

Space object differences:

  • Comet: A comet is a relatively small solar system body that orbits the Sun. When close enough to the Sun they display a visible coma (a fuzzy outline or atmosphere due to solar radiation) and sometimes a tail. It is composed of rocky material, ice, and gas. It comes from the Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud. In summary, they are a relatively small, at times active, object whose ices can vaporize in sunlight forming an atmosphere (coma) of dust and gas and, sometimes, a tail of dust and/or gas.
  • Asteroid: Asteroids are small solar system bodies that orbit the Sun. Made of rock and metal, they can also contain organic compounds. Asteroids are similar to comets but do not have a visible coma (fuzzy outline and tail) like comets do. They range in size from a tiny speck to 500 km wide; most asteroids originate in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Asteroids are believed to be debris left over from the formation of the solar system, and some even have their own moons. In summary, they are a relatively small, inactive, rocky body orbiting the Sun.
  • Meteoroid: A meteoroid is a small rock or particle of debris in our solar system. They range in size from dust to around 10 metres in diameter (larger objects are usually referred to as asteroids). Astronomers believe that meteoroids are rocky chunks that have broken off asteroids and planets. In summary, they are a small particle from a comet or asteroid orbiting the Sun.
  • Meteor: A meteoroid that burns up as it passes through the Earth’s atmosphere is known as a meteor. If you’ve ever looked up at the sky at night and seen a streak of light or ‘shooting star’ what you are actually seeing is a meteor. In summary, they are the light phenomenon which results when a meteoroid enters the Earth’s atmosphere and vaporizes; a shooting star.
  • Meteorite: A meteoroid that survives falling through the Earth’s atmosphere and colliding with the Earth’s surface is known as a meteorite. They’re a solid piece of debris that was originally an asteroid or a comet that entered the atmosphere and survived to impact the surface. Prior to impact, they are called meteoroids and become meteors when they fall through the planets atmosphere. In the process, they are heated to incandescence by air friction and form a bright trail, leading to the creation of a fireball or “shooting star”. In summary, they are a meteoroid that survives its passage through the Earth’s atmosphere and lands upon the Earth’s surface.

Misinterpreting and misunderstanding scientific evidence can be extremely problematic - especially in court. One example of this can be with brain scans - which are currently, and maybe surprisingly to some, not used in court as any sort of evidence.

Firstly, this is because each brain is very very different. Our brains are not only complex as a whole, but also individually as well. We simply do not have the knowledge to differentiate between most normal and abnormal brain patterns. Even more, our brains are extremely plastic and are constantly changing depending on our emotions and thoughts. What’s happening in the brain during the scan may not reflect on what was happening during the time of crime. In addition, This plasticity is sensitive to change via many factors such as caffeine, alcohol, menstrual cycles - you name it! 

Of course, neuroscience is an exceptionally promising field and our brain imagining technology is improving with everyday that passes by. But today, we’re simply not capable of reliably studying the nature of a criminal or the intentions behind a crime via scans.