February 9, 2016 By danablog505 in Behavior, Dana publications, Emotions, From the Archives, Journals - Cerebrum Tags: brains do it: lust attraction and attachment, Brenda Patoine, emotions, Feeling our way: the challenge of studying emotion and the brain, From the Archives, Helen Fisher, Kathlyn Stone, Kayt Sukel, love, Neurobiology Affects Love and Attraction, neuroscience, The Brian Signature of Love, The Chemistry of Love, Valentine’s Day
Economist Ivar Hagendoorn’s fascination with dance led to a decade of neuroscience research, described in his 2003 essay in our Cerebrum journal. In “The Dancing Brain” he argues that while it is the limbs that move, it is the brain that is dancing:
Reading and thinking for several years about what we ﬁnd interesting when we watch someone dance brought me no closer to understanding what I saw on stage. At some point it struck me that this was the wrong track. Everything we see, hear, feel and do is mediated by the brain. To understand what fascinated and literally moved me in watching dance, we have to look to the brain.
Nearly four years ago, we ran a news story that asked, “Is the neuroscientific study of pain lagging?” From the 2011 story, by Kayt Sukel:
Earlier this year, scientists, politicians and other healthcare advocates came together to share their hopes for the next decade of neuroscience research at the One Mind for Research (OMR) Summit in Boston. At a session highlighting the neurobiological consequences of war, Clifford J. Woolf, a pain researcher at Harvard Medical School and Children’s Hospital Boston, stated, “We have made enormous progress in promoting survival…but, in fact, an area that has really lagged behind relates to the pain associated with combat injury.”
The word that many locked on to in that statement was lagged. In a variety of publications and meetings in the past few years, the idea that the study and treatment of pain, particularly chronic or neuropathic pain, is somehow behind where it should be keeps coming to the surface—and that is whether it’s pain associated with combat, cancer, or some other disease state. But with more than a dozen research journals dedicated solely to the topic of pain and thousands of new pain-related papers being published each year, does a word like lagged accurately reflect the state of its study?
When researchers Arvid Carlsson, Paul Greengard, and Eric Kandel shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2000, we commissioned memory researcher John H. Byrne to write an essay on what their achievements meant to the field. In his 2001 essay, “How Neuroscience Captured the Twenty-First Century’s First Nobel Prize,” Byrne starts with a good chunk of Kandel’s acceptance speech; gives a cogent review of each scientist’s separate path and how their discoveries eventually entwined; describes how this changed the field; and considers what it might mean for the future. As you might suspect, it’s a long essay, but full of gems.
Whether overdue or just in the nick of time (as the Decade of the Brain closes), this Nobel Prize celebrates an achievement different in kind from previous observation, speculation, and investigation of the brain. For the ﬁrst time, an unambiguously mental phenomenon—memory—has been explained in wholly material, mechanical terms. The hypothesis of a separate, nonmaterial, otherworldly realm has become superﬂuous. A banquet is not the place to spin out these disturbing implications, but Kandel does acknowledge them, for those who will hear, by returning to where his story began—“Know thyself.”