Author Topic: UCLA Doctor on How the Brain Works  (Read 3961 times)

Offline NepalianBuddhist

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UCLA Doctor on How the Brain Works
« on: October 17, 2013, 05:31:58 pm »
Hello, I think these 4 part video series show a study on how the brain works which can be useful in the study of Mind & Consciousness.

How the Brain Works Part 1 (UCLA)

How the Brain Works Part 2 (UCLA)

How the Brain Works Part 3 (UCLA)

How the Brain Works Part 4 (UCLA)

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: UCLA Doctor on How the Brain Works
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2013, 05:33:49 am »
Hi, Wesley.  Thanks for the posts.

While it is useful to understand the biological origins of mind, unless you are a brain (neuro) surgeon, a psychologist, or psychiatrist, understanding the physiology of the human brain is of little value in our personal pursuits to observe, understand and come to peace with the nature of our own minds.  If, however, there are familial problems (pathologies) with which we must deal, such as brain tumors, neuro-psychiatric problems, genetic disorders leading to various inherited pathologies, then such knowledge and awareness may be helpful should we begin to experience mental symptoms arising, visible to us as unusual effects and affects of mind, such as hallucinatory episodes, depression, wide variations in mood, etc., which may arise due to these pathological conditions and underlying causes.  Is this case we need to know how and when to ask for and rely upon the help of those who love and care for us, and have ready access to qualified health-care professionals.  Otherwise, no  academic, nor direct organic knowledge of how our neurological systems function is of any value to our unbinding and release, or attainment of nibbana.

For this reason, Buddha advised us to keep our eyes on the prize as described in The Four Noble Truths.
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline NepalianBuddhist

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Re: UCLA Doctor on How the Brain Works
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2013, 11:54:50 am »
Just a novice with a remastered basic understanding of the brain. Nibbana or not 

Offline 7th_Samurai

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Re: UCLA Doctor on How the Brain Works
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2014, 06:44:39 pm »
I would be curious to know how the professors at UCLA would classify the brains of Dr. John Lorber's hydrocephalus patients in England, particularly the case of the boy with no brain.  Aside from a "reptilian brain stem" and a very thin membrane of brain tissue, this young man's skull was largely empty (or at least devoid of what we would traditionally consider a brain).  Oh yes, and this individual was an honors student in math at Sheffield University.  Mind vs brain.......interesting to consider that these are two very different things, although this notion may not be so popular in the medical and psychiatric communities.

Offline Dharmakara

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Re: UCLA Doctor on How the Brain Works
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2014, 06:23:14 am »
Found the following on Wikipedia:

In 1980, Roger Lewin published an article in Science, "Is Your Brain Really Necessary?", about Lorber studies on cerebral cortex losses. He reports the case of a Sheffield University student who had a measured IQ of 126 and passed a Mathematics Degree but who had hardly any discernible brain matter at all since his cortex was extremely reduced by hydrocephalus. The article led to the broadcast of a Yorkshire Television documentary of the same title, though it was about a different patient who had normal brain mass distributed strangely in a very large skull.

Some skeptics believe that mathematics student having "hardly any discernible brain matter at all" was due to an error that Lorber made when he interpreted the brain scan. David Bowsher, professor of neurophysiology at Liverpool said "Lorber's work doesn't demonstrate that we don't need a brain", and neurosurgeon Kenneth Till said that Lorber is "overdramatic when he says that someone has 'virtually no brain.'" During a TV program about the student, Lorber later stated that he "was only half serious", but "I can't say whether the mathematics student has a brain weighing 50 grams or 150 grams, but it is clear that it is nowhere near the normal 1.5 kilograms." Part of the reason for the slow response by the academic community was due to Lorber not publishing his work in any peer reviewed journal.


Here's a link to a PDF copy of the original article from SCIENCE Magazine:

http://www.rifters.com/real/articles/Science_No-Brain.pdf


Offline Dharmakara

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Re: UCLA Doctor on How the Brain Works
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2014, 07:18:59 pm »
Okay, time for an update on the claims made by John Lorber... there are several problems, beginning with the fact that no one has ever seen the CAT scans of the student nor was Lorber willing to present them, in fact the only way to show that he hadn't misread them to begin with. The student in question has never shown up in any studies, including follow-up research, other than Lorber's own mentioning of it, which was presented as anecdotal evidence:

Quote
an·ec·do·tal
adjective
(of an account) not necessarily true or reliable, because based on personal accounts rather than facts or research


Lorber's comment that the student had no brain seems cheeky at best, especially since it also reflects the name of a series of lectures he gave with a similar theme, namely that we don't need our brains to exist.

Unfortunately all of this information rarely sees the light of day when it comes to those who cite it, where any reference typically is a result of confirmation bias --- in other words, how else could anyone ignore this and still claim to have an open mind? Simply they can't --- for example, not only is Ajahn Brahmavamso's mention of this case self-serving[1], where he criticizes the standing of the scientific community, yet in the same breath accepts Lorber's claim with no evidence to support it, but we also have Bill Whitehouse citing it in his attacks against Sam Harris[2], with the noted exception that this man also confuses the matter more because while he claims to use proper scholarship, it didn't stop him from stating that there was a peer review when it clear there never was, not to mention that he also identifies the University of Cambridge, when it was Sheffield University.

Personally, I would have to say that the best examination of the Lorber claim would be from John Hawks, an anthropologist, in his article entitled "Ninety percent of your brain is (not) useless":

http://johnhawks.net/weblog/reviews/brain/development/ten_percent_brain_myth_2007.html


Notes:

[1] Buddhism and Science
http://www.dhammaloka.org.au/articles/item/1182-buddhism-and-science.html

[2] Epistle to A Sam Harris Nation: Debunking the Moral Landscape
http://books.google.com/books?id=yVJVLWYi-V8C





Offline 7th_Samurai

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Re: UCLA Doctor on How the Brain Works
« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2014, 08:19:14 am »
Dharmakara,

Thanks for sharing some of the issues with Dr. John Lorber's research.  Based on what you've highlighted, I can certainly understand why his findings are not openly received by the scientific community (although you may have been a bit hard on Ajahn Brahm.... :wink1:).

The John Hawks article was very interesting.  As part of his conclusion, he notes,  " All this is to say that human brains are coadapted with behavioral patterns that channel development. "  I found this statement left me thinking about some of the basic functioning and social challenges people who have suffered cranial/ brain injuries face on a daily basis.  I once had a French professor who sustained a head injury due to a car accident and, as a result, had to re-learn certain basic functions (i.e. speech) by using a different part of her brain.  She noted that it became a very different experience for her to talk and process other's speech.  Debbie Hampton also sustained an acquired brain injury (ABI) and has a blog dedicated to the brain where she describes some of the tools and re-learning exercises she usds to move beyond her injury.  She also explores the relationship between mind and brain.

This is a subject I find rather interesting: the concept of mind vs brain.........and continues to be somewhat of a mystery, particularly in the fields of neuroscience and psychology.  Lots of articles on the subject, some rather obscure - such as the one recently posted by Christina Sarich on consciousness.  Interesting all the same.  Still lots to learn.

Oh, and sorry NepalianBuddhist for having hijacked your original thread.   :smack:
« Last Edit: July 14, 2014, 08:35:05 am by 7th_Samurai »

Offline NepalianBuddhist

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Re: UCLA Doctor on How the Brain Works
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2014, 09:16:46 am »
I would be curious to know how the professors at UCLA would classify the brains of Dr. John Lorber's hydrocephalus patients in England, particularly the case of the boy with no brain.  Aside from a "reptilian brain stem" and a very thin membrane of brain tissue, this young man's skull was largely empty (or at least devoid of what we would traditionally consider a brain).  Oh yes, and this individual was an honors student in math at Sheffield University.  Mind vs brain.......interesting to consider that these are two very different things, although this notion may not be so popular in the medical and psychiatric communities.

I would think that the Mind proceeds from different parts of the brain working together, otherwise we don't really know.

Offline 7th_Samurai

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Re: UCLA Doctor on How the Brain Works
« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2014, 12:57:07 pm »
I certainly don't know, although if we embrace the concept that mind is unborn and unceasing and that mind transcends death then we may be treading on something completely different than biological or physical matter.  For me, this is where the Heart Sutra helps to bring things into focus, particularly in respect to emptiness or shunyata.  As with Nagarjuna's expression of the Two Truths of relative (conventional) and ultimate realities, if we are eventually able to see that all phenomena are empty and therefore lack an inherent nature then perhaps it doesn't matter.

Offline 7th_Samurai

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Offline stillpointdancer

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