Report #50

This week Dr. Dave talks about his show #426 – Exploring The Deep Psyche Through Music with Iain Woods aka “Psychologist”.
Here is an introduction to that interview…


Iain Woods is an artist based in London, England. He studied Fine Art at Warwickshire School of Fine Art and then Brighton School of Art from 2004-2008. Specialising in the study of conceptual art from the 1960’s onwards, his practise involved performance, video, sound-installation and works on paper, but it was always a preoccupation with consciousness, and ideas of the soul that were the mainstay thematically throughout his work. It was during this time that he started to toy with the idea of ‘Pop-Project as Fine-Art’.

Fascinated with the idea of ‘invisible sculpture’, Woods released his first EP (entitled ‘Stanislavsky’) as his final degree show-piece, claiming that he wanted to ‘fill the gallery whilst not presenting any physical object’. A pair of speakers were mounted and played throughout the space as though a radio had been left on. The pop ditties that were heard during that show went on to win Woods the ‘Channel 4 new music award’, and, when asked if he had a live band with which to play a gig in support of that award, Woods lied and said ‘yes’ – thus ‘psychologist’ was born.

Since then he has released the critically acclaimed ‘Waves of OK’ and ‘Propeller’ EPs in 2011, and for the last three years has been working on his debut full-length album, ‘Autophobe LP’, which he describes as ‘A trash-pop romp through an existential crisis’.

You can find the full podcast at


Mathematical model shows how the brain remains stable during learning

Complex biochemical signals that coordinate fast and slow changes in neuronal networks keep the brain in balance during learning, according to an international team of scientists from the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan, UC San Francisco (UCSF), and Columbia University in New York.

The work, reported on October 22 in the journal Neuron, culminates a six-year quest by a collaborative team from the three institutions to solve a decades-old question and opens the door to a more general understanding of how the brain learns and consolidates new experiences on dramatically different timescales.

Neuronal networks form a learning machine that allows the brain to extract and store new information from its surroundings via the senses. Researchers have long puzzled over how the brain achieves sensitivity and stability to unexpected new experiences during learning—two seemingly contradictory requirements.

A new model devised by this team of mathematicians and brain scientists shows how the brain’s network can learn new information while maintaining stability.

“Modeling the Dynamic Interaction of Hebbian and Homeostatic Plasticity” by Taro Toyoizumi, Megumi Kaneko, Michael P. Stryker, and Kenneth D. Miller in Neuron. Published online October 22 2014 doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2014.09.036 Abstract




Mindfulness associated with better cardiac health

A new study that measured “dispositional mindfulness” along with seven indicators of cardiovascular health found that persons reporting higher degrees of awareness of their present feelings and experiences had better health. The research suggests that interventions to improve mindfulness could benefit cardiovascular health, an idea researchers can test.

Pay attention to the implication of these new research results: People who pay more attention to their feelings and experiences tend to have better cardiovascular health.

As noted more precisely in a new study in the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, researchers at Brown University found a significant association between self-reported “dispositional mindfulness” and better scores on four of seven cardiovascular health indicators, as well as a composite overall health score. Dispositional mindfulness is defined as someone’s awareness and attention to what they are thinking and feeling in the moment.

The study is the first to quantify such an association between mindfulness and better cardiovascular health, said study lead author Eric Loucks, assistant professor of epidemiology in the School of Public Health. It’s an encouraging link for health promotion, because mindfulness can be enhanced with training.

More from Brown University

Immune proteins moonlight to regulate brain-cell connections

When it comes to the brain, “more is better” seems like an obvious assumption. But in the case of synapses, which are the connections between brain cells, too many or too few can both disrupt brain function.

Researchers from Princeton University and the University of California-San Diego (UCSD) recently found that an immune-system protein called MHCI, or major histocompatibility complex class I, moonlights in the nervous system to help regulate the number of synapses, which transmit chemical and electrical signals between neurons. The researchers report in the Journal of Neuroscience that in the brain MHCI could play an unexpected role in conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, type II diabetes and autism.

Read more at Princeton University…


Human skin cells reprogrammed directly into brain cells

Scientists have described a way to convert human skin cells directly into a specific type of brain cell affected by Huntington’s disease, an ultimately fatal neurodegenerative disorder. Unlike other techniques that turn one cell type into another, this new process does not pass through a stem cell phase, avoiding the production of multiple cell types, the study’s authors report.

The researchers, at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, demonstrated that these converted cells survived at least six months after injection into the brains of mice and behaved similarly to native cells in the brain.

“Not only did these transplanted cells survive in the mouse brain, they showed functional properties similar to those of native cells,” said senior author Andrew S. Yoo, PhD, assistant professor of developmental biology. “These cells are known to extend projections into certain brain regions. And we found the human transplanted cells also connected to these distant targets in the mouse brain. That’s a landmark point about this paper.”

The work appears Oct. 22 in the journal Neuron: Victor MB, Richner M, Hermanstyne TO, Ransdell JL, Sobieski C, Deng PY, Klyachko VA, Nerbonne JM, Yoo AS. Generation of human striatal neurons by microRNA-dependent direct conversion of fibroblasts. Neuron. Oct. 22, 2014.

Read more from Washington University in StLuis

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