Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

CategoryMedicine and Health

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embryo silhouette in woman hand

Political Website’s Christmas Gift to Readers: Promoting Abortion

FiveThirtyEight asked readers to share their abortion stories and got something it hadn’t bargained on: Many were glad it didn’t happen
If you want to understand the mindset of the abortion lobby, note that this plea for accounts of killing of children in the womb appeared on Twitter on Christmas Day. Read More ›
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Brain mind way soul and hope concept art, illustration, surreal mystery artwork, imagination painting, conceptual idea of success

Materialist Neuroscientists Don’t Usually See Real Patients

Neurosurgeon Michael Egnor and neuropsychologist Mark Solms find common ground: The mind can be “merely what the brain does” in an academic paper. But not in life

Recently, distinguished South African neuropsychologist Mark Solms discussed the real state of brain research with Stonybrook neurosurgeon Michael Egnor at Theology Unleashed (October 22, 2021) In the first portion, Solms, author of The Hidden Spring (2021), began by asserting in his opening statement that “the source of consciousness in the brain is in fact in the brain stem,” not the cerebral cortex, as is almost universally assumed. Dr. Egnor then responded that his clinical experience supports the view that brain is not mind. But Solms pointed to the reality that asserting the fact that the brain is not the mind can be a career-limiting move in neuroscience — even though clinical experience supports the view. In this portion, Egnor and…

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Crowd of people walking street wearing masks

Critical Lessons From the COVID Crisis — From a Leading Historian

Niall Ferguson sees the economic impact of the COVID shutdown as comparable to fighting World War II — or World War III

Earlier this month, historian Niall Ferguson spoke to COSM 2021 about the real lessons from the strange year and a half of the COVID-19 pandemic. A reader might be forgiven for wondering whether, in the cacophony of conflicting claims, opinions, and prophecies of doom, there are any useful lessons to be learned (other than: Turn off the TV). Ferguson thinks there are indeed lessons — if we compare the recent pandemic and how it was handled with pandemics of the past. In his recent book, Doom: The politics of catastrophe (2021), he argues that “All disasters are in some sense man-made” and that — despite advances in science — we are getting worse, not better, at handling them: Yet in…

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Medical technology concept

The (Virtual) Doctor Will See You Now — Sci-fi Saturday

A lonely middle-aged man experiences a future where medicine works correctly but the human dimension has ceased to exist

“Instant Doctor” (2020) by Diogo Gameiro (uploaded at DUST , 6:25 min) Did you ever wonder what will the future of health-care hold? How will advances in medical A.I. change our lives? Will algorithms eclipse doctors entirely? We hope not. Instant Doctor is a short film to show appreciation for doctors and health-care human workers everywhere. Review: In a futuristic subway station surrounded by the latest tech, gadgets, and gizmos, a middle-aged man (Fernando Alves Pinto) is all alone, suffering a troublesome respiratory problem. The last train is leaving in eight minutes but he decides to goes into a digital instant AI doctor cubicle — surreally represented. In an interesting detail, he pays digitally in bitcoins. Not to spoil too…

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Robots dancing in the park. Artificial intelligence industry in China.

COSM 2021: Kai-Fu Lee Tries His Hand at Future Casting

The former president of Google China thinks that China is well equipped to lead the world in AI

At COSM 2021, Kai-Fu Lee — computer scientist, writer, venture capitalist and former head of Google China — provided a future cast of the five ways artificial intelligence will change the world. Lee’s predictions are compelling because he takes a tempered view of the capabilities of AI. Lee says some people misunderstand AI. It can’t replicate the human brain because it works differently from the brain. AI is good at using large amounts of data for numerical optimization and individualization, but very poor at extraction analysis, common sense, insight, and creativity. Lee told the gathering: … of course [AI] has no self-awareness, consciousness, or emotions or love. So, it is actually quite a good complement for human beings because we’re…

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Matt Scholz at COSM 2021 on Innovations in Biotech

Manipulating Molecules: Combining Info + Nano for Better Medicine

At COSM 2021, scientists like Jim Tour and entrepreneurs like Matt Scholz offer a window into how we are learning to manipulate the building blocks of life

Yesterday COSM 2021, philosopher of science Stephen Meyer, synthetic organic chemist James Tour, and biotech entrepreneur Matthew Scholz looked at how nanotechnology (working directly with very small things, like molecules) will advance biology and medicine. “Oscar Wilde said nature imitates art,” Meyer opened by saying. And today we’re going to see that “technology is now able to imitate and even in some ways, improve upon nature.” He noted that since the 1960s we’ve been learning that living cells function because of the actions performed by molecular machines—those molecular machines are built using information. For example, consider the cell’s power source: A rotary engine called ATP synthase in the mitochondria of cells produces the energy. As a camshaft with lobes spins…

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illustration of balloon flying at the end of the sky, surreal minimal concept

3.Neuroscientist: Mind Is Not Just Brain? That’s Career Limiting!

Neuropsychologist Mark Solms and neurosurgeon Michael Egnor agreed that clinical experience supports a non-materialist view but that the establishment doesn’t

Recently, distinguished South African neuropsychologist Mark Solms discussed the real state of brain research with Stonybrook neurosurgeon Michael Egnor at Theology Unleashed (October 22, 2021) In the first portion, Solms, author of The Hidden Spring (2021), began by asserting in his opening statement that “the source of consciousness in the brain is in fact in the brain stem,” not the cerebral cortex, as is almost universally assumed. Dr. Egnor then responded that his clinical experience supports the view that the mind is not merely the brain. Now, Solms talks about the reality that discussing the fact that the mind is not merely the brain can be a career-limiting move. A partial transcript, notes, and links to date follow: Next, I…

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Cyborg hand holding a  Medical icon and connection 3d rendering

How Does AI Change My Healthcare?

And what if my most important problem is NOT medical?

What is AI doing to me? That is a good question to contemplate. I want to focus on healthcare: How is my healthcare impacted by AI? In ways that are both obvious and obtuse, AI is changing healthcare. As it changes healthcare, AI is changing us! All of our lives are increasingly quantified. We have devices to count our steps, monitor our pulse and even track how much water we drink. During my last visit, my dentist recommended that I get an Oral-B iO Electric Toothbrush. He was pretty enthusiastic about it and so I got one. This toothbrush not only has a Bluetooth connection to an app you can download onto your phone, but it uses artificial intelligence! Wow!…

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Creative background, the human brain on a blue background, the hemisphere is responsible for logic, and responsible for creativity. of different hemispheres of the brain, 3D illustration, 3D render

2. Neurosurgeon and Neuropsychologist Agree: Brain Is Not Mind

Michael Egnor tells Mark Solms: Neuroscience didn’t help him understand people; quite the reverse, he had to understand people, and minds, to make sense of neuroscience

Recently, distinguished South African neuropsychologist Mark Solms discussed the real state of brain research with Stony brook neurosurgeon Michael Egnor at Theology Unleashed (October 22, 2021). In the first portion, Solms, author of The Hidden Spring (2021), proposed in his opening statement that “the source of consciousness in the brain is in fact in the brain stem,” not the cerebral cortex, as is almost universally assumed. Dr. Egnor now responds that his clinical experience supports that view — and also the view that the mind is not simply “what the brain does” as some popular neuroscientists claim: A partial transcript, notes, and links to date follow: Arjuna [host]: And now, Michael, could you give a brief explanation of your views?…

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3d illustration human body brain

Consciousness: Is It in the Cerebral Cortex — or the Brain Stem?

In a recent discussion/debate with neurosurgeon Michael Egnor, neuropsychologist Mark Solms offers an unconventional but evidence-based view, favoring the brain stem

In September, neurosurgeon Michael Egnor debated atheist broadcaster Matt Dillahunty at Theology Unleashed, on the existence of God. This time out (October 22, 2021), he is teamed with distinguished South African neuropsychologist Mark Solms, author of The Hidden Spring (2021) — who begins by declaring, in his opening statement, “the source of consciousness in the brain is in fact in the brain stem,” not the cerebral cortex, as almost universally assumed. He explains his reasoning with evidence. Egnor doesn’t dispute that statement; in fact, in his own opening statement later, he reinforces it with observations from his own practice. To learn more, read on. A partial transcript, notes, and links to date follow the video link: Arjuna [host]: Hello, and…

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Seattle Skyline at Sunset with Space needle

Venture Capital Manager at COSM 2021 to Listen and Learn

The Managing Director of Seattle-based Madrona Venture Group will moderate two panels on new technologies that can shake things up

In 2019, Madrona’s Matt McIlwain moderated a panel at the COSM 2019 Technology Summit, “AI’s Role in Unlocking Human Potential.” The panel followed tech pioneer and prophet Ray Kurzweil’s livestreamed address in which he predicted that we will merge with our computers by 2045 — The Singularity: “Our intelligence will then be a combination of our biological and non-biological intelligence,” he explained. We will be apps of our smart computers. Or will we? And if that happened, would it be progress? Already, we freak out when we can’t find our phones, or our computers crash, or the internet is down. Or the power goes off. Yet Isaac Newton changed physics with a pen and paper. So did Albert Einstein. McIlwain…

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Illustration of synapse and neuron on a blue background.

Brain Cells Can Mislead Each Other, Cause Mental Disorders

Neuroscientists: When cells talk to each other, due to faulty signals given to proteins, they don’t always say the right things

Recent research in how brain cells talk to one another may help treat anxiety and addiction disorders, as well as dementias. Brain cells talk to each other through synapses, where molecules whose chemistry is interpreted as information are released and travel to the next cell: When people learn or remember things, this signalling is strengthened. When communication between synapses goes wrong, circuits become broken. As more circuits are lost, this changes how people can think and perform everyday tasks. This is seen in cognitive disorders, such as forms of dementia and some mental health conditions. University of Nottingham, “Scientists gain new understanding of how brain cells talk – which could help in the treatment of mental health conditions and memory…

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Topographic map MRI of the human brain.

What Can Mapping the Whole Brain Tell Us About Ourselves?

Researchers attempting to map the brain must contend with massive complexity at every level, as a report in Nature shows

The worm and fly brains have been mapped. The mouse brain has, in part, been mapped. But the human brain offers the real challenge for the researchers working around the clock. Our brains are not just more complex; they are more complex on a number of dimensions: To truly understand how the brain works, neuroscientists also need to know how each of the roughly 1,000 types of cell thought to exist in the brain speak to each other in their different electrical dialects. With that kind of complete, finely contoured map, they could really begin to explain the networks that drive how we think and behave. Alison Abbott, “How the world’s biggest brain maps could transform neuroscience” at Nature (October…

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time

CEO Seeking Fountain of Youth to Speak at COSM 2021

OISIN Biotechnologies seeks to make the hope of perpetual youth reality through advanced technology and medicine

COSM is described as “an exclusive national summit on the converging technologies remaking the world as we know it.” What fits that description more than a company working to extend human life using advanced technology? This November, Matthew Scholz – CEO and co-founder of OISIN Biotechnologies – will be one of the many accomplished leaders in science, technology, and business to speak at COSM 2021. Based in Seattle, OISIN Biotechnologies is dedicated to “ameliorating age-associated degeneration and disease.” How so? Explains GeekWire: [OISIN is] currently developing preclinical therapies that target and kill damaged cells that have been biologically turned off or are “senescent” and supposed to die. But as people get older, the cells can persist as “zombie cells” that…

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Heap of red hot chili peppers

Nobel Prize Medicine Win Solves a Mystery in Hot, Cold Sensing

Researchers discovered the exact path by which chili peppers feel “hot” and mints feel “cold” when the signals reach our brains.

The 2021 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine was awarded to David Julius of the University of California, San Francisco, and Ardem Patapoutian of Scripps Research in La Jolla, California, for “for their discoveries of receptors for temperature and touch.” It’s been a longstanding mystery why chili peppers feel hot to the taste: In order to truly appreciate Dr. Julius’ discovery, a bit of context may be in order. Unless you build up tolerance, eating spicy foods is painful. Peppers and wasabi give off a strange sensation that your mouth is on fire, and for the longest time researchers simply couldn’t figure out why this was the case. Failing to pinpoint any immediate benefits of this response, they speculated it…

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young man working freelance in laptop at home

The Bionic Man Was Science Fiction; the Bionic Hand Is Not

A recent internet-savvy bionic hand, developed by an American neuroscientist and computer engineer, is the most flexible yet, with sensory feedback

Many people associate bionics with a 70s sci-fi TV series, The Six Million Dollar Man (“After a severely injured test pilot is rebuilt with nuclear-powered bionic limbs and implants, he serves as an intelligence agent”). It’s not science fiction any more: According to the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Chicago, roughly 100,000 Americans — and 10 million people worldwide — are missing a hand. The award-winning Ability hand shown in the video, made by Psyonic, a Champaign, Illinois-based startup, is a useful illustration of how far prosthetics has come via electronic and internet technology. Representative of a new generation of prostheses, it is both electronics and internet-friendly: It charges in roughly an hour and the…

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Molecules, abstract molecular and research background

Top World Chemist, James Tour, To Speak at COSM 2021

Tour builds molecules for a living, a position that causes him to stand in awe” of God: “Only a rookie who knows nothing about science would say science takes away from faith.”

Rice University chemistry professor James Tour is officially best known for his many research papers (700) and patent families (130). He is popularly known more for his passion for introducing the lay public to the awesome chemistry of life. The ORCID database of science achievements puts it like this: Tour’s scientific research areas include nanoelectronics, graphene electronics, silicon oxide electronics, carbon nanovectors for medical applications, green carbon research for enhanced oil recovery and environmentally friendly oil and gas extraction, graphene photovoltaics, carbon supercapacitors, lithium ion batteries, CO2 capture, water splitting to H2 and O2, water purification, carbon nanotube and graphene synthetic modifications, graphene oxide, carbon composites, hydrogen storage on nanoengineered carbon scaffolds, and synthesis of single-molecule nanomachines which includes molecular…

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Foam cell, a macrophage cell with lipid droplets

Life Is So Wonderfully Finely Tuned That It’s Frightening

A mathematician who uses statistical methods to model the fine tuning of molecular machines and systems in cells reflects…

In Episode 2, “Life is fine-tuned in a fearful and wonderful way” (September 9, 2021), Swedish mathematician Ola Hössjer discusses fine tuning in biology with Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks. It’s a bit scary to think that each of our cells is like a city because it certainly gives us some idea of all the things that can (but, thankfully, usually don’t) go wrong, Note: Episode 1 was “Run the gambit of complexity” (September 20, 2021) discussed here and here. https://episodes.castos.com/mindmatters/Mind-Matters-Episode-151-Hossjer-Diaz.mp3 This portion begins at 01:14 min. A partial transcript, Show Notes, and Additional Resources follow. Robert J. Marks: Today we’re going to talk about fine tuning in biology. How biology is fine tuned to allow us to…

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Vaccine or flu shot in injection needle. Doctor working with patient's arm. Physician or nurse giving vaccination and immunity to virus, influenza or HPV with syringe. Appointment with medical expert.

COVID-19, Bayes’ Rule, and Simpson’s paradox

Israeli data, when studied carefully, confirm the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines

Israel has a very high COVID-19 vaccination rate and yet, on August 15, 2021, 58% of those Israelis hospitalized for COVID-19 were fully vaccinated — suggesting that vaccinations are ineffective or even harmful. This is a great example of two common statistical traps. The first is confusion about inverse probabilities. One hundred doctors were once asked this hypothetical question: In a routine examination, you find a lump in a female patient’s breast. In your experience, only 1 out of 100 such lumps turn out to be malignant, but, to be safe, you order a mammogram X-ray. If the lump is malignant, there is a 0.80 probability that the mammogram will identify it as malignant; if the lump is benign, there is a 0.90 probability that…

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Blume des Lebens mit Sternenkosmos und Lichtstreifen

The Science “Advances” Disproving the Mind Are Ever More Elusive

A friendly interview with an important neuroscientist makes that starkly clear

University of Sussex neuroscientist Anil Seth, author of Being You: A new science of consciousness (October 2021), is quite determined to stamp put consciousness as an immaterial idea. It’s “stubbornly mysterious,” according to Tim Adams for The Guardian. But, we are assured, “Advances in understanding how the brain functions undermine those ideas of dualism, however.” But those advances prove increasingly elusive. From the interview: Anil Seth: It’s the boring answer of continuing to do rigorous science, rather than proposing some eureka solution to “the hard problem” [the question of why and how our brains create subjective, conscious experience]. My approach is that we risk not understanding the central mystery of life by lurching to one or other form of magical…