With the Olympics just past and the Paralympics in full swing, it’s difficult not to marvel at every athlete’s mastery of their discipline. Was Andy Murray born to play tennis, or are complex motor patterns something which we all may be capable of achieving? Here, we explore the neuroscience behind motor learning: the process that helps you tie your shoelaces, and allows Andy Murray to hit backhand winners in his sleep.
No area of medicine in recent years has produced as much hype and hopeful thinking than that of stem cells. So much so that two US presidents have issued executive orders to control their use in research (EO:13435, EO:13505). Many countries continue to heavily regulate or even ban their use outright.
In this article, I will attempt to cut past the ethical dilemma surrounding stem cell use and focus on the hard science.
Is Hypnotherapy Effective and Why Charcot Was Wrong About Hysteria?
It was a remarkable symposium of neurological masterminds of the time: Jean-Martin Charcot, accompanied by Joseph Babinski, Pierre Marie, Georges Gilles de la Tourette, and other discoverers of famous neurological disorders were observing a truly bizarre spectacle.
‘Gentlemen,’ began the Napoléon of neuroses, ‘You may know that I initially believed hysteria to be a neurological disorder, which can be an inherited flaw of the nervous systems.’
Secretary General [SG]: MY LORD, the Convocation House of the Society assembled on the 18th day of August 2016 at Oxford to elect the new President. I am pleased to inform the House that Mr Max Brzezicki, FNS has been duly elected to serve as the new President for the period of five years.
The House recognises Mr Max Brzezicki [MB], FNS.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) was first identified by James Parkinson in 1817. A chronic disorder of the central nervous system (CNS), it affects the basal ganglia and motor systems of the brain. It is characterised by the loss of A9 dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc) area of the midbrain. Loss of these neurons leads to a decrease in the dopamine supply to their projection zones.
The underlying process for the observed cell death in this area is not yet known. It has, however, been shown that a build-up of Lewy Bodies could be, in part, responsible. Lewy Bodies are an aggregation of proteins that cause the normal cellular functions to be impaired or even stop completely. Symptoms of PD appear slowly over time, with the first symptom usually being a gait disturbance or a difficulty in writing.
It was Friday, the 16th day of April 1943.
In the middle of WWII, dr Hofmann, a German chemist, was experimenting with a synthesis of a new substance. It was dark outside, as another busy day of work passed by in his laboratory.
Flasks, dishes and tubes were neatly organised on the bench, with a bright light of the lamp illuminating the journal.
It was another shivering-cold, windy day of autumn 1971.
The hospital room, mystically disguised in cigarette smoke, was full of busy consultants, chest x-rays and illegible scribbles of patients notes from yesterday’s ward rounds, pinned together in clumsy folders. Lively discussion sharply ceased when dr Archie Cochrane entered the room, carrying, to the dismay of his colleagues, another file of tables and figures. His randomised controlled trial of patients treated at Coronary Cardiac Units vs patients released home showed a slight numerical advantage for those who had been discharged.
Mr Schpackenbaum, first of all, let me thank you for agreeing to this interview, especially given your tight schedule. You are a very experienced member of the Society, and you have seen it evolving across many years. What was the most prominent change?
Christopher Schpackenbaum, FNS (CS): If I were to compare the Society now, in 2016, to what it was in 1956, it is actually not that different at all! The world has changed immensely, but because the society was always designed to keep up with the change, challenge the status quo and be very sceptical to the current state of mind, it managed to secure its freshness of mind and scientific reasoning. I appreciate the average age of our distinguished House has quite deteriorated since Coronation, but just as Her Majesty, we are doing very well indeed!
With the advent of the ICT, social media and computerised health service, we faced major challenges. Not all of us could easily modernise to the paperless communication, publishing on the websites or setting up Twitter accounts. I guess we still need some major improvement in these areas. I cannot emphasise it enough, however, that the world outside the Net does exist! And it is much more interesting and vivid, if you ask me.
In the matter of The Current Addiction Model being invalid, we, the Convocation House of the Oxford Neurological Society, hereby announce that the motion is carried.
Thus, the verdict shall be entered in the favour of the Prosecution.
Presiding adjudicator: Christopher Schpackenbaum, FNS
Read the Prosecution’s argument [WON]
Read the Defence argument [DEFEATED]
My learned colleagues, fellow members of the Convocation House – I believe that the Prosecution have proved, beyond reasonable doubt, that the current addition model is indeed invalid.
MY LORD –
On 18th June 1971, Richard Nixon, the president of the United States declared the War on Drugs. Today, the US alone spends $51bilion every year on that endeavour, with over a quarter of a million dollars already spent since I started my summation. In summer 2016, we will be reaching almost 50 years of that war, and there is still no victory on the horizon.