何毓琦的个人博客分享 http://blog.sciencenet.cn/u/何毓琦 哈佛(1961-2001) 清华(2001-date)

博文

The Unknown Brain 精选

已有 5885 次阅读 2016-3-29 23:19 |系统分类:海外观察

Fornew readers and those who request to be “好友 good friends”,  please read my 公告first.


Most people at least in the US are familiar with TED (Technology,  Entertainment,   and Design) talks which are 10-15minutes videos by good speakers on all kinds  of subjects under the rubric ofTED. Because of its success, NPR (National Public Radio) started a program in3/2013 called TED Radio Hour which are hour long radio programs in a similar vein but treating one subject for a longer duration.

A fewdays ago I happened to listen to one of these TED Radio Hour entitled  “The unknown brainhttp://www.npr.org/programs/ted-radio-hour/?showDate=2016-03-25, which among other things taught me new facts. For example, when growing up  I was taught that our brain contains about 10billion neurons and unlike other cells we do not grow new neurons as we live.Both facts are wrong. We have about 86 billion neurons and we can in fact grow new ones. Brains are malleable and not “too old to learn” .

The program above besides telling the audience new facts and frontier  research about our brain, it also emphasizes how little we know about our brain’s function. To quote the program “ . .  we know as little about our brain as  we know about the mystery of our universe ..”

This brings me to my two recent articles on memory and brain functions:

1.Transient Global Amnesia - my own medical experience  http://blog.sciencenet.cn/home.php?mod=space&uid=1565&do=blog&id=963462 This is basically a term that lumps everything neurologists don’t understand about our memory. Thus, their prescription to me is “do  nothing but watch carefully if recurrence happens”

2. Police knows well the unreliability of eyewitness accounts under which people sometimes get wrongfully convicted. This is particularly true about distant events that  occurred long ago. “Hearsay” .i.e., what someone else told us,  is not even admissible in a court of law. This is perfectly illustrated in my otherarticle 無巧不成書 Miracles do happen!

http://blog.sciencenet.cn/home.php?mod=space&uid=1565&do=blog&id=964501 . The miracle that happened to my Mother and I in 1979 is true. And my account of it in 2016 is 99% correct. But because of faulty human memory in recalling distant event (which occurred 30+ years ago) particularly hearsay (what my Mother told me at that time) I made an inconsequential but logical error in retelling the story. The error is this: In 1979 I was 45 years old and my Mother in her early70s. Logically, her classmate should be about the same age in which case the classmate cannot possibly have a teenage daughter. My mistake is simply getting the grandmother and mother of the teenager mixed up. My mother’s classmate is the grandmother NOT the mother of the teenager. In recalling what my Mother said so long ago (i.e., hearsay), I made a mistake in memory. In fact, I had a nagging feeling about the article after I posted it but cannot pinpoint theproblem (The error puts me in the same generation as the son whom I later knew quite well as the story unfolded. And I know I was much older than the son).  Then the whole thing  suddenly became clear to me upon listening to the TED radio program.

No wonder scientists consider understanding thebrain as the last frontier!




http://blog.sciencenet.cn/blog-1565-965878.html

上一篇:Chinese Students in American High Schools
下一篇:An Inspiring hour of Science and Wonder
收藏 分享 举报

15 许培扬 苏德辰 沈律 刘全慧 史晓雷 鲍海飞 张士伟 谢平 邵鹏 赵凤光 wangqinling qzw wqhwqh333 icgwang cccy

该博文允许注册用户评论 请点击登录 评论 (7 个评论)

数据加载中...

Archiver|手机版|科学网 ( 京ICP备14006957 )

GMT+8, 2017-9-27 00:21

Powered by ScienceNet.cn

Copyright © 2007-2017 中国科学报社

返回顶部