Travel to interesting places online!

Today’s post is about some of the interesting links you can find online.  Mostly links to do with brains, psychology and pain – but not all!

Genes to Cognition Online – featuring the 3-D brain, lovely interactive graphical interface to burrow down into really interesting topics like cognitive processes, disorders, research approaches and neuroimaging research, you can lose yourself for hours.

Deric Bownds’ MindBlog is full of brain and music information.  It’s in-depth material that can challenge and intrigue – some great podcasts available, and loads of links.

If you’re ever in need of some stimulating discourse on neuroplasticity and things to do with the nervous system, head to Neurotonics: a PT team blog.  The above two links are courtesy of the contributor’s fascination with brain stuff – and as ever, thought-provoking discussion about the meaning of new discoveries about the brain.

For a huge collection of brain information, BrainMeta is a place to browse. You can link to BrainMaps which is an interactive brain atlas – they have human brains, cat brains, rat brains and others – great for comparative analysis, with some excellent downloadable desktop tools to use to view the images.

Challenging our minds is for kids – a cognitive training programme online that adults can also have fun with.  If you don’t mind the rather computerised voice of ‘Al’, the exercises are good for anyone.  Free registration, and it can be used for months so you can see results before any financial investment is needed.

PsyBlog has been around a while, but never fails to surprise with posts about understanding your mind.  The post on why thought suppression doesn’t work starts like this: It sometimes feels like our minds are not on the same team as us. I want to go to sleep, but it wants to keep me awake rerunning events from my childhood. I want to forget the lyrics from that stupid 80s pop song but it wants to repeat them over and over again ad nauseam.’ – hmm, feel familiar?  A great post on what not to do to forget.

Finally today, a collection of podcasts on ‘ideas worth spreading’ from TED.  I’m only hoping the place where I work will let me open them up (YouTube is not allowed) – so many excellent clips from great speakers including Dan Gilbert discussing Happiness.

Have a great day!

fMRI explained…

Hah! now I’ve never really understood fMRI except as a vague generalisation that it ‘shows blood flow which correlates to neuronal activity’.

This post found on MindHacks (see my ‘blogroll’ for the link!) leads to several helpful readings about what fMRI actually measures, how it does so, and more importantly, says ‘our understanding of what brain scanning data tells us evolves over time. A study conducted ten years ago might mean something different now.’

People who are sceptical of science will possibly sieze on this as confirmation that ‘you can’t trust science, it could be wrong’ – but for me, it shows how open science is to revision in the light of new information.

Anyway, that was an aside: head on over to the post, and check out some of the supporting readings, I think it’s helpful, albeit needing a little time to digest!

Brain Maps!

Do you know your neuro-anatomy?


This site shows me just how lucky we are with the internet as a resource for seeing things that we couldn’t have dreamed about just five or so years ago. Head to Brain Maps for a look at detailed cross-sections and other images of the brains of homo-sapiens, rattus norvegicus, felis catus and more!!

And just when you thought that was enough, this site has even more resources for you to polish up your neurological knowledge.

Why would you want to learn all this? Well in the field of pain, we are essentially dealing with neuroanatomy in some form or another – and heaven knows I am no reductionist, but there is so much that our nervous system does that we don’t yet know about that I think if we’re working with people experiencing pain, then we really have to continually update our knowledge in order to integrate the findings from both gross anatomy and physiology and neuroanatomy and physiology. Oh, and don’t forget about psychology – and if you’ve a moment, and want to see what you can remember about methods? Go here and take this brief test. If you’re going to work in health, you’d better know about scientific method!