Tuesday, December 19, 2006

This New Science

Thanks to Lisa Beerntsen (Thanks Lisa!) for the thought that kicks off this blog. Below is a segment from John Beggs' blog, which I'd like to offer as a window into why I am so inspired about the potential of our brains. (You can find more on pulseplanet.com) Following that is a paragraph from Dr. Norman Rosenthal's site (normanrosenthal.com). Dr. Rosenthal has written "Emotional Revolution," a book about new science related to the brain and emotions.

"Hi, my name is John Beggs. I'm Assistant Professor of Biophysics at Indiana University. So, I like to think about what the brain is doing. I want to know how it works. And by that, I mean how does it process information? It does a lot of really interesting things. The brain stores memories. The brain comes up with creative thoughts. The brain processes vision and hearing and sense of touch and smell and taste and it does so many complex things. In some sense, it's the most fundamental question we can ever ask is what is the brain doing because everything that we see, feel, do, think comes through the brain. It is what we are. So, I'd like to get to the root of the whole universe, which is the brain. What we want to do is take little sections of brain, like groups of brain cells, and understand how they store information and how they process information. We think that the brain is too complex a task to tackle all by itself, so it's better to take a little chunk of it and see if we can understand that. It's a simplified system. And that helps us to wrap our mind around it. You know, a lot of people think wow, if you're in the sciences then everything is very well known, and science has proved this or science has proved that. Neuroscience, the study of how the brain works, or how the brain grows and develops, or how the brain heals itself, this field is relatively new, but it's really booming. There are lots of exciting developments in technology so people are really rushing into the area, but it's a relatively immature science. Things are a little bit more up in the air. There is no general theory of how the brain works. It's sort of like the Wild West, it's lawless."

From Dr. Rosenthal:
There is a revolution taking place in the scientific community that has the power to change lives! After decades of being relegated to the fringes of science, our emotions have suddenly become items of intense study and intrigue. Doctors, scientists, and researchers concerned with the workings of the human body are delving into a new "science of feelings" to find the answers to some of their most pressing questions.

Candace Pert's book, "Molecules of Emotion," is another one I highly recommend for the lay person interested in learning more about the new frontiers of neuroscience.

Good thoughts,

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