Wednesday, February 28, 2007

TANGO: Assistive Communication Technology

Thanks to Positive Technology Journal for the FYI post and link to an interesting article about "TANGO: The Next Generation of Assistive Communication Devices"

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Encephalon Brain Carnival # 17

Father writes on son's sensory processing disorder treatment experience

FYI. An interesting personal story by a father of a child with sensory processing disorder and their experiences and thoughts with programs intended to rewire the brain in Wired.

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Friday, February 23, 2007

Random tidbits from the mind blogsphere - 2-23-07

  • Thanks to Boing Boing for the "small world in your head" neuroscience related post
  • Brain Injury has an interesting post about a partnership between the Brain Injury Association and Bob Woodruff (notable reporter who sustained brain injury in Iraq)
  • Very interesting visual-graphic of the "whimsical image of the blogosphere from the edge to the core" over at the Data Mining blog.
  • The always rich Developing Intelligence blog continues its series of excellent posts re: the development of prospective memory (remembering to remember)
  • Thought provoking post (based on recent research article, as per usual) over at the Eide Neurolearning blog on the positive impact on cognitive due to heavily visual-based (Gv) video games...with the question asked--"what about auditory" (Ga)
  • More on the whole brain fitness revolution...this time Consumer Reports making suggestions. Thanks to Happy Neuron for the tip
  • Thanks to Mind Hacks for the tip re: some cutting edge Parkinson's disease research. This should be of interest to regular readers of the IQ Brain Clock blog, as Parkinson's has been linked to the brain structures closely linked to mental/interval time-keeping.
  • Positive Technology Journal has an interesting neurotechnology post re: a recent study (n=5 clinical cases) of the use of some virtual reality neurotechnology in stroke rehab.
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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Mental time keeping scholar - Dr. Buonomano

In a prior post I announced the IQ Brain Clock blog "Mental Timing Scholars" link section (see side panel of this blog). Today I added a fifth researcher to this scholar honor role. This post is to highlight Dr. Dean Buonomano's research.

Below is a brief listing of his mental timing/temporal processing research interests (lifted from his lab web page). Although difficult for me to read (I'm still reading and rereading it), I've found his recent article with Dr. Karmarkar (Timing in the Absence of Clocks: Encoding Time in Neural Network States) particularly interesting since it suggests an alternative to the dominant internal mental clock theoretical/conceptual explanation for mental timing (a link to the article is provided in "key research articles" section of this blog).

  • Sensory stimuli, such as speech, are rich in temporal information on the time scale of tens to hundreds of milliseconds. The primary goal of my laboratory is to understand the neural basis of temporal information processing. Specifically, how do neurons develop selective responses to temporal characteristics such as the order, duration and intervals of different stimulus features' To answer this question the main approaches in my laboratory involve: (1) studying how cortical neural networks respond to temporal stimuli; (2) the characterization of time-dependent neuronal properties, and (3) studying short- and long-term synaptic plasticity. In parallel with these studies my laboratory also relies on computer simulations of artificial neural networks, and behavioral experiments aimed at characterizing temporal processing. Together these different approaches will be used to attempt to generate a theory of how the nervous system recognizes and categorizes complex sensory stimuli.
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Brain Fitness Carnival # 2

Mental time keeping scholar - Dr. Rammsayer

In a prior post I announced the IQ Brain Clock blog "Mental Timing Scholars" link section (see side panel of this blog). Today I added a fourth researcher to this scholar honor role. This post is to highlight Dr. Thomas Rammsayer's research.

Below is a brief listing of his mental timing/temporal processing research interests (lifted from his faculty web page). I have found his Intelligence article on "temporal g" particularly exciting (link to article is provided in "key research articles" section of this blog). In fact, a post re: this article was the first official post to the IQ Brain Clock blog.
  • Temporal information processing in humans:
    • Neurobiological approaches to timing systems in humans
    • Perceptual and cognitive mechanisms in human timing and time perception
    • Time psychophysics

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Mental timing and rhythm perception bibliography posted

As promised, I just posted the "working" mental/interval timing and rhythm perception reference list (click here) I've been pulling together the past week or so. It currently includes 340+ references. I've NOT read all of them, so I can't vouch that every reference is relevant to the focus of this blog. I hope to read some of the more important/seminal pieces as make blog posts as time permits.

If anyone finds this resource of value, let me know via a comment. Also, if you are aware of important references that are missing, drop me a comment or email note (

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

IQ brain clock suggested readings (3 books)

Sorry for the paucity of recent posts to this blog. I'm one not to make excuses, but (this time I is my blog and I'm the blog dictator) since my auto accident in December, I've been having a hard time gaining traction on both my personal and professional life due to a combo of pleasant (I got engaged to the most wonderful lady in the lady Di), unpleasant (a severe case of the winter crud...cold, hacking cough, etc.; need for PT from accident) and regular (work projects) events.

I've also been buried in efforts to put together a large/comprehensive reference list of contemporary scholarly publications dealing with mental/interval time-keeping and rhythm perception. It now stands at 300+ references. When it is done, I will post it to this blog.

In the process of putting together this reference list I've come across three books (see above) that may interest readers. Also, if anyone is looking to send the blogmaster a gift, any one (or all three) of these books would be nice :)

More information regarding these books can be found by clicking here, here, and here. As soon as I can (hopefully within the next 10 minutes) I will also add some kind of "recommended books" section to a side panel of this blog (that will include these books, and others I find as I trundle across the corpus of mental timing literature).

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

New timing blog - circadian emphasis


This afternoon I discovered another blog that covers topics related to the IQ Brain Clock blog (the blog you are reading). The blog is called "A blog around the clock" with a specific focus on human timing at the level of circadian rhythms (see prior post for the placement of circadian rhythms in the hierarchy of scales of human time perception).

As soon as I'm done with this post I'll be adding this blog to the IQ Brain Clock blog roll. Keep on ticking.......

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Can videogames improve your brain fitness?

Thanks to Sharp Brains for the tip regarding a blog post I somehow missed. Scientific had a brief post on research that suggests that video games may facilitate the "rewiring" of the brain. Another positive indicator for the brain fitness movement.

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What makes us tick? Nice research summary

Previously in this blog I've drawn attention to one of the key contemporary articles dealing with the neural mechanisms of mental/interval time keeping (by Buhusi and Meck). A copy of the complete article is listed under the "Key Research articles" portion of this blog ("What Makes Us Tick?).

Today I ran across a nice bulleted Neuroscience ummary of the article. It can be found by clicking here.

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

On the road again

I'm on the road for business starting today (2-7-07)) and will return late Friday. Blog posts may be minimal. I've also been fighting the winter crud (major cough; cold; etc.) the past four days, which has been the reason for my latent status.

I shall return.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

WSJ reviews brain fitness products

Another article in the Wall Street Journal re: a number of the more visible brain-based products in the brain-fitness movement. If I had the time and resources it would be nice to do the following with these products, as well as many others that are available (see Sharp Brains for more)

1. Task analyze the cognitive/neuropsychological abilities that appear to be activated/treated with each product using a standard/accepted taxonomy of human cognitive abilities. In the domain of cognitive abilities I, of course, would analyze the products using the CHC taxonomy of cognitive abilities. Having a handful of independent experts in CHC theory complete this task analysis and then establish an "expert consensus" would be nice. Long story short----lets examine all of these products using the same cognitive taxonomic model and terminology.

2. Conduct a study (or series of studies) where the effectiveness of the programs (at least 3-4) are compared head-to-head with either (a) the same subjects (of course, using a counter-balanced design) and/or (b) randomly assign subjects to different product treatment groups (or use some matched subject groups). The use of a control (non-treatment group) would also be ideal. Have all subjects take a standard battery of pre- and post-test cognitive/neuropsychological measures and statistically compare the relative treatment effects against the control group.

I'm sure there is more, but this would provide some useful information for the consumer in this whole brain fitness movement.

Finally, if any readers of this blog have had experience with any of these products, and/or are aware of published empirical effectiveness studies, please leave a comment.

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Monday, February 05, 2007

More on UCLA mental time keeping theory

More press coverage (Scientific (see post the other day) highlighting the new UCLA research suggesting an alternative to the traditional pacemaker-accumulator model of mental or interval time-keeping in the brain.

According to Warren Meck, one of the prominent mental time researchers previously featured at this blog:
  • "This paper has important implications for our every day perception of the temporal relationships among all of the sights and sounds that we process." He adds that the study complements his research focusing on internal clock mechanisms—which he has localized to the basal ganglia at the brain's center—at durations of seconds to hours involving cognitive and memory processes.

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Friday, February 02, 2007

UCLA alternative brain clock model proposed

Thanks to Omni Brain for the post regarding new research at UCLA that suggests an alternative model to the most popular clock-based model of mental time-keeping. According to a press release:
  • "For decades, scientists have believed that the brain possesses an internal clock that allows it to keep track of time. Now a UCLA study in the Feb. 1 edition of Neuron proposes a new model in which a series of physical changes to the brain’s cells helps the organ to monitor the passage of time.
  • "The value of this research lies in understanding how the brain works," said Dean Buonomano, associate professor of neurobiology and psychiatry at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and a member of the university’s Brain Research Institute. "Many complex human behaviors -- from understanding speech to playing catch to performing music -- rely on the brain’s ability to accurately tell time. Yet no one knows how the brain does it."
  • The most popular theory assumes that a clock-like mechanism – which generates and counts regular fixed movements -- underlies timing in the brain. In contrast, Buonomano suggests a physical model that operates without using a clock. He offers an analogy to explain how it works."

I'm headed off to try secure the original article in Neuron and hope to post more detailed information soon. Stay tunned.

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Common cold causes impaired spatial memory?

Interesting post at the Eide Neurolearning blog regarding a study (with mice) that suggests that the common cold can impair spatial memory (Gv). Maybe that is why I'm not functioning very well today with my mild cold.

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Neuropsychological rehab conference in Oregon

Thanks to the Brain Blog for the FYI re: the tip re: 35th Annual Meeting of the International Neuropsychological Society (INS) meeting next week in Portland, Oregon.

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