Café Crem

Art, Music and Words around The Coffee Table

Brain within the brain

For copyright reasons I can’t reproduce the whole article written by Douglas Fox that was published in the November the 5th issue of New Scientist.  I’d advise looking it up and reading the whole thing as this is just a soundbite really. Chew well and swallow and digest!

 “People have long envisaged the brain as being like a computer on standby, lying dormant until called upon to do a task, such as solving a Sudoku, reading a newspaper, or looking for a face in a crowd. Sokoloff’s experiment provided the first glimpse of a different truth: that the brain enjoys a rich private life. This amazing organ, which accounts for only 2 per cent of our body mass but devours 20 per cent of the calories we eat, fritters away much of that energy doing, as far as we can tell, absolutely nothing.

“There is a huge amount of activity in the [resting] brain that has been largely unaccounted for,” says Marcus Raichle, a neuroscientist at Washington University in St Louis. “The brain is a very expensive organ, but nobody had asked deeply what this cost is all about.”

Raichle and a handful of others are finally tackling this fundamental question – what exactly is the idling brain up to, anyway? Their work has led to the discovery of a major system within the brain, an organ within an organ, that hid for decades right before our eyes. Some call it the neural dynamo of daydreaming. Others assign it a more mysterious role, possibly selecting memories and knitting them seamlessly into a personal narrative. Whatever it does, it fires up whenever the brain is otherwise unoccupied and burns white hot, guzzling more oxygen, gram for gram, than your beating heart.”

So, within our own brain is another system that is still a mystery but it may go some way to starting to get to grips in part with the creative process that goes on, almost outside our daytime consciousness and brings up ideas as if from nowhere. It might also be a good way of burning calories without getting sweaty!

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January 13, 2009 - Posted by | life, technology | , ,

4 Comments »

  1. This is really neat! Thanks for sharing, Viv 🙂

    Comment by shelleymhouse | January 14, 2009

  2. Thank you Shelley!!

    Comment by viv66 | January 14, 2009

  3. I love all that stuff, brain research and theories…
    I have no doubt that the brain is much more than something like a computer, at least a computer as we know them nowadays. I said it before, I believe in the pattern of nature, and everywhere in nature where enough stuff interacts, some kind of life for its own emerges. Considering the quantity of active connections in the brain, plus their geometric proximity, the brain seems to me THE place where such an organ should develop…
    Nowadays I unfortunately have no time to keep informed about the news discoveries in all the fields I love (science, brain, psychology, sociology), so really, I am deeply thankful to you for this post.

    Comment by Miki | January 14, 2009

  4. I recently read a novel called The Rose Labyrinth, which I was quite amibivalent about in many ways but generally enjoyed and it cited some research about cellular memory, especially that of the heart, in response to quite frequent occurrances of heart transplant patients unknowingly taking on the memories and tastes of the person whose heart they had received. It utterly baffles the scientists when this happens; plenty of cases have occurred and this has made them look at the very special connection between heart and brain and how perhaps cells other than neurons can actually hold and play back memories. When I worked in massage(feet) I was very aware of how long held and repressed memories often used to surface when the body had been massaged deeply and even working just on feet, it was as much about the soul as the sole…

    Comment by viv66 | January 14, 2009


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