Monday, December 31, 2012

Asymmetry of brain sides: size, structure, neurochemistry

The Master and his Emissary

In chapter 2, "What do the two hemispheres 'do'?", McGilchrist writes about physical differences between the two hemispheres.


  • The right hemisphere is "longer, wider, and generally larger, as well as heavier, than the left", something true, apparently, "of social mammals in general." 
  • The right hemisphere is wider everywhere, but for one place; the left is wider in the posterior parieto-occipital region.
  • This right-side-bigger-than-left asymmetry is consistent from childhood to adulthood.

"As well as differing in the size and shape of a number of defined brain areas (Galaburda 1995), the hemispheres differ in the number of neurons (Galaburda, Aboitiz, Rosen 1986), neuronal size (the size of individual nerve cells) (Hayes & Lewis 1993), and the extent of dendritic branching (the number of connective processes put out by each nerve cell) within areas asymmetrically (Scheibel, Paul, Fried et al 1985). There is greater dendritic overlap in cortical columns in the right hemisphere, which has been posited as a mechanism for greater interconnectivity compared with the left (Seldon 1982). The ratio of grey to white matter also differs (Allen, Damasio, Grabowski et al 2003; Gur, Turetsky, Matsui et al 1999; Gur, Packer, Hungerbühler et al. 1980; Galaburda 1995). The finding that there is more white matter in the right hemisphere, facilitating transfer across regions, also reflects its attention to the global picture, where the left hemisphere prioritizes local communication, transfer of information between regions."- p. 33


  • Right hemisphere is more sensitive to testosterone (Lewis & Diamond 1995)
  • Right hemisphere is more sensitive to pharmacological agents (Glick, Carlson, Drew et al 1987)
  • Left hemisphere relies mainly on dopamine; right hemisphere relies mainly on noradrenaline  (Glick, Ross & Hough 1982; Tucker & Williamson 1984; Wagner, Burns, Dannals et al. 1983; Fride and Weinstock 1988)

No wonder this book is taking me so long to read/digest. Every page is crammed with fascinating side tracks. The most pertinent one on this page, in my opinion, for PT and other movement therapies, is the difference in neurochemistry in Tucker and Williamson 1984 (abstract): 
Reviews the literature on the neurotransmitter substrates controlling motor readiness, showing that these substrates produce qualitative changes in the flow of information in the brain: Dopaminergic activation increases informational redundancy, whereas noradrenergic arousal facilitates orienting to novelty. Evidence that these neurotransmitter pathways are lateralized in the human brain is consistent with the left hemisphere's specialization for complex motor operations and the right hemisphere's integration of bilateral perceptual input. Principles of attentional control are suggested by the operational characteristics of neural control systems. The affective features of the activation and arousal systems are integral to their adaptive roles and may suggest how specific emotional processes dynamically regulate cognitive function. 
(See #12 below.)

1. Galaburda 1995

2. Galaburda, A. M.; Aboitiz, F.; Rosen, G. D.; Sherman, G. F.; Histological asymmetry in the primary visual cortex of the rat: Implications for mechanisms of cerebral asymmetry. Cortex: A Journal Devoted to the Study of the Nervous System and Behavior, Vol 22(1), Mar 1986, 151-160.

3. Tamara L. Hayes, MS; David A. Lewis, MD; Hemispheric Differences in Layer III Pyramidal Neurons of the Anterior Language Area. Arch Neurol. 1993; 50(5):501-505

4. Scheibel AB, Paul LA, Fried I, Forsythe AB, Tomiyasu U, Wechsler A, Kao A, Slotnick J;
Dendritic organization of the anterior speech area. Experimental Neurology. Volume 87, Issue 1, January 1985, Pages 109–117

5. Seldon HL; Structure of human auditory cortex. III. Statistical analysis of dendritic trees. Brain Research Volume 249, Issue 2, 14 October 1982, Pages 211–221
6. Allen JS, Damasio H, Grabowski TJ, Bruss J, Zhang W;  Sexual dimorphism and asymmetries in the gray–white composition of the human cerebrum. NeuroImage Volume 18, Issue 4, April 2003, 880–894

7. Gur RC, Turetsky BI, Matsui M, Yan M, Bilker W, Hughett P, Gur RE;
Sex Differences in Brain Gray and White Matter in Healthy Young Adults: Correlations with Cognitive Performance. The Journal of Neuroscience, 15 May 1999, 19(10): 4065-4072

8. RC Gur, IK Packer, JP Hungerbuhler, M. Reivich, WD Obrist, WS Amernek, HA Sackeim; Differences in the distribution of gray and white matter in human cerebral hemispheres. Science, 207 (1980), pp. 1226–1228.

9. Lewis & Diamond 1995

10. Glick, S. D., Carlson, J. N., Drew, K. L., & Shapiro, R. M. (1987). Functional and neurochemical asymmetry in the corpus striatum. Duality and Unity in the Brain. New York: Macmillan, 3-16.

11. Glick SD, Ross DA, Hough LB; Lateral asymmetry of neurotransmitters in human brain. Brain Research. Volume 234, Issue 1, 18 February 1982, Pages 53–63

12. Tucker DM; Williamson PA; Asymmetric neural control systems in human self-regulation. Psychological Review, Vol 91(2), Apr 1984, 185-215

13. Wagner HN, Burns HD, Dannals RF, Wong DF, Langstrom B, Duelfer T, Frost JJ, Ravert HT, Links JM, Rosenbloom SB, Lukas SE, Kramer AV, Kuhar MJ; Imaging Dopamine Receptors in the Human Brain by Positron Tomography. Science, New Series, Vol. 221, No. 4617 (Sep. 23, 1983), pp. 1264-1266

14. Fride E, Weinstock M; Prenatal stress increase anxiety related behavior and alters cerebral lateralization of dopamine activity. Life Sciences Volume 42, Issue 10, 1988, Pages 1059–1065

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Mind: the brain's experience of itself

The Master and his Emissary

What the book is not about: 

""... the brain is not just a tool for grappling with the world. It's what brings the world about. 
"The mind-brain question is not the subject of this book, and it is not one I have the skill or the space to address at any length. The argument of the book does not depend on holding one view or another. But it is nonetheless legitimate to ask where the author of a book like this stands on it. Hence this very brief diversion.  
"One could call the mind the brain's experience of itself.* " McGilchrist p 19
*"Mind and brain are aspects of the same entity, but completely distinct types of phenomena. The difference is similar to what I take Sartre to mean by his distinction between our inward experience of the body (pour soi) and the fact of the body as a 'thing' (en soi)." (notes p 464)

[Or, perhaps, the distinction between pain and nociception?]
McGilchrist continues:

"Such a formulation is immediately problematic, since the brain is involved in constituting the world in which, alone, there can be such a thing as experience - it helps to ground experience, for which mind is already needed. But let's accept such a phrase at face value. Brain then necessarily gives structure to mind. That would not, however, equate mind and brain. It is sometimes assumed so, because of the tendency when using a phrase such as 'the brain's experience of itself' to focus on the word 'brain', which we think we understand, rather than on the troublesome word 'experience', which we don't.
"All attempts at explanation depend, whether explicitly or implicitly, on drawing parallels between the thing to be explained and some other thing that we believe we already understand better. But the fundamental problem in explaining the experience of consciousness is that there is nothing else remotely like it to compare it with: it is itself the ground of all experience. There is nothing else which has the 'inwardness' that consciousness has. Phenomenologically, and ontologically, it is unique. As I will try to show, the analytic process cannot deal with uniqueness: there is an irresistible temptation for it to move from the uniqueness of something to its assumed non-existence, since the reality of the unique would have to be captured by idioms that apply to nothing else (Scruton 1997 p 367).
"Is consciousness a product of the brain? The only certainty here is that anyone who thinks they can answer this question with certainty has to be wrong. We have only our conceptions of consciousness and of the brain to go on; and the one thing we do know for certain is that everything we know of the brain is a product of consciousness. That is, scientifically speaking, far more certain than that consciousness itself is a product of the brain. It may or may not; but what is an undeniable fact is the idea that there is a universe of things, in which there is one thing called the brain, and another thing called the mind, together with the scientific principles that would allow the one to emerge from the other - these are all ideas, products of consciousness, and therefore only as good as the particular models used by that consciousness to understand the world. We do not know if the mind depends on matter, because everything we know about matter is itself a mental creation. In that sense, Descartes was right: the one undeniable fact is our consciousness. He was wrong, however, most would agree, to think of mind and body as two separate substances (two 'whats')." This was, I believe, a typical product of a certain way of thinking which I suggest is characteristic of the brain's left hemisphere, a concern with the 'whatness' of things. Where it was so obviously a matter of two 'hownesses' in the same thing, two different modes of being (as the right hemisphere would see it), he could formulate this only as two 'whatnesses', two different things. Equally it is a misplaced concern with the whatness of things that leads to the apparently anti-Cartesian, materialist, idea that the mind and body are the same thing. We are not sure, and could never be sure, if mind or even body, is a thing at all. Mind has the characteristics of a process more than of a thing; a becoming, a way of being, more than an entity. Every individual mind is a process of interaction with whatever it is that exists apart from ourselves according to its own private history. 
"The type of monism represented by the scientific materialism most often espoused by neuroscientists is not radically different  from the Cartesian dualism to which it is often thought to be opposed. Its solution to the problem has been simply to 'explain away' one part of duality, by claiming to reduce one to the other. Instead of two whatnesses, there is just one: matter. But Descartes was honest enough to acknowledge that there is a real problem here, one he wrestled with, as is clear from the passage in Meditation VI where he writes:  "... I am not merely present in my body as a sailor is present in a ship, but ..... am very closely joined and, as it were, intermingled with it, so that I form with it a single entity" (Descartes, 1984-91b, 'Meditation VI' p 56).  
Phenomenologically speaking, there is here both a unity, a 'single entity', and the most profound disparity; and any account that fails to do full justice to both the unity and the disparity cannot be taken seriously. There may be just one whatness here, but it has more than one howness, and that matters. Though (according to the left hemisphere) a thing, a quantity, a whatness, can be reduced to another - that is to say, accounted for in terms of its constituents - one way of being, a quality, a howness, cannot be reduced to another."
 I love the wave/water analogy: from the notes, p.465, analogy of mind to brain - wave to water: 
"Does the water cause the wave? No. Is it the movement of the water, then that causes the wave? No, not that either. The movement of the water just is the wave... the changing brain states are the mind, once the brain experiences them. And that is where the analogy ends, because there is no inwardness to a wave."

I think what he's saying here is that the mind (and maybe also the brain, body) are more verbs than nouns. Or better yet, just a single moving "thing" ---> interrelating-ed-ness of other also interrelating and ever-changing verbs.

That awful problem with language rears its head, yet again. As soon as that came into existence, language, as soon as humans developed symbolic thought, words that stood in as proxies for actual blobs of existing, i.e. nouns, and conceptualizations of things, also nouns, we started losing our bearings. We started being capable of lies to ourselves and to each other. We started losing our full consciousness, our relating-ed-ness to all that was around us and within us. Oblivious to most of it, most of the time, ordinary people wander about like zombies, lost in categorical thinking, the nouns of life and the behaviour they promote - un-thinking and un-feeling posing in roles -  inhabiting social space, reassuring each other, pretending to be sure of ourselves, acting like we know what's going on in our minds, letting the roles interact with one another instead of being authentic people who merely inhabit the roles, understanding the difference, and interacting with each others' authenticity.  

This is Dec 22, 2012. If there was ever a day for diving deep and just gazing at the mess, in the bright but mercifully short light of a clear glittery white winter day, the shortest day of the whole year, in the darkest season of the year, this is the day. I blame the left hemisphere. It makes up stuff all the time then pretends it's true. Then it hides in a bunker behind all the stuff it makes up and shoots at everything that moves. 

Yes, I know. It's a bleak outlook. Welcome to the inside of my particular brain. I've learned how to cope with and navigate the hall of jagged broken mirrors that is my particular take on life. Sorry, but this is how I see it. This is how my right hemisphere sees things; my left hemisphere has agreed to write it down. It finally agrees, after a lot of whining, balking, disagreeing and side-tracking. It will write whatever it's asked to write, in whatever form the right hemisphere would prefer. I'm fairly certain a lot of it won't be pretty. 

If there was ever a tradition of older single women living quiet lives as atheist nuns, so relieved, jubilant even, gleeful, as if we pulled a fast trick on the world, to have never reproduced, to have enjoyed our physicality but never let nature have its reproductive way with us: and, when forced to interact with the rest of the world, interacting from a place of as much integrity as is possible to find in the midst of external and internal chaos, hoping for nothing but less pain in the world, and peaceful departure from it when this particular way of being self-organized as a human anti-gravity suit is over: if there was such a tradition - and there isn't, other than in this privileged place and time, having been born here by sheer luck instead of in some horrid corner of the world where female physicality/capacity to reproduce is completely controlled and exploited...  I would be its triumphant poster girl. 

We have so not got a clue as human primates. We are so screwed as a species. I hate to think about what we've done to ourselves and the planet, and to each other, most of the time. The only thing one can do, to keep oneself steadied and sane, is refrain from participation in most of it, as much as possible. And I feel like the profession I joined is pretty screwed too, in many ways, but at least it's off to one side, kind of obscure, not really in any strategic target zone. I want it to get back to its roots, some day, if it can. Stop all its silly reliance on categorical thinking and get back to the verbs of being and doing unto others as we would like to be and have things done onto ourselves - get back to the verbs of interbeing, interacting and interrelating. Head away from nociception toward yesiception.

See the following video (about a half hour) for a great discussion by Robert Sapolsky on the dangers of categorical thinking. Very few thinkers are as nimble: he understands human foibles. He points out when using categorical thinking as a mere tool is useful, and warns of the dangers inherent adopting a klutzy categorical approach to life. 

Biology and Human Behavior 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Two brain halves, disappearing bridge

Still reading aloud to myself from Iain McGilchrist's book, The Master and his Emissary. I've made it all the way to p. 22. Yup, this is a good thing. This really slows me down, makes me think and feel, soaks info into the neurons way better than reading/skimming effortlessly/silently. Similar to walking through countryside on foot as opposed to driving through it. Makes the book feel alive, not mere "seen-ery."

A quote:

You might think that as brains evolve to become larger, the interhemispheric connections would increase in tandem. But not at all. They actually decrease relative to brain size (Jänke and Steinmetz 2003 p 210-11). The bigger the brain, the less interconnected it is. Rather than taking the opportunity to increase connectedness, evolution appears to be moving in the opposite direction. (...) it turns out that the greater the brain asymmetry, too, the smaller the corpus callosum, suggesting that the evolution both of brain size and of hemispheric asymmetry went hand in hand with a reduction in interhemispheric connectivity (Hopkins and Marino 2003). And, in the ultimate case of the modern human brain, its twin hemispheres have been characterized as two autonomous systems (Friedman & Polson 1981 p. 18-19).

So, yay. Just ducky. As if it wasn't hard enough for the neotenous ape to become adult and wait 20 years for its brain to myelinate all the way throughout the cognitive-evaluative frontal lobes to gain executive function, we have two almost autonomous brains in there, in a way, taking two decades to ripen. Plus, they have to learn to get along with each other with fewer direct pathways available, are forced to externalize themselves so they can hear, see, feel each other, plus they prefer distinct modes of operation. Oh joy. No wonder being a human antigravity suit is not for sissies. Two whole brains to manage. 

Just yesterday, I found this: Patients Reflect on Life with a Common Brain Malformation, by Daisy Yuhas: 

"At least 1 in 4000 infants is born without a corpus callosum... “It’s a hidden disability,” says University of California Institute of Technology psychologist Lynn Paul. Many born without this structure go undiagnosed for years—only neuroimaging can confirm the agenesis, or failed development, of this brain area. Instead people are diagnosed with disorders such as autism, depression, or ADHD."
 (Depression, eh? Hmmn...)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

"Sensory neurons are the brain's portal to the external world"

This delicate tracing is not exquisite embroidery on some long-dead emperor's silk sleeve - it is a picture of the branched axon of a single sensory neuron; each little loop embraces the root of a hair follicle on a mouse's back. 

Read Nerve endings reveal hidden diversity in the skin, open access. 

Also read Morphologic diversity of cutaneous sensory afferents revealed by genetically directed sparse labeling open access. 

A news take on this: Why our backs can't read braille: Scientists map sensory nerves in mouse skin

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The malleableness of "things"

A quote:

"Things change according to the stance we adopt towards them, the type of attention we pay to them, the disposition we hold in relation to them. This is important because the most fundamental difference between the hemispheres lies in the type of attention they give to the world. But it's also important because of the widespread assumption in some quarters that there are two alternatives: either things exist 'out there' and are unaltered by the machinery we use to dig them up, or to tear them apart (naïve realism, scientific materialism); or they are subjective phenomena which we create out of our own minds, and therefore we are free to treat them in any way we wish, since they are after all, our own creations (naïve idealism, post-modernism). These positions are not by any means as far apart as they look, and a certain lack of respect is evident in both. In fact, I believe there is something that exists apart from ourselves, but that we play a vital role in bringing it into being (Tanner 1999 p. 6). A central theme of this book is the importance of our disposition towards the world and one another, as being fundamental in grounding what it is that we come to have a relationship with, rather than the other way around. The kind of attention we pay actually alters the world: we are, literally, partners in creation. This means we have a grave responsibility, a word that captures the reciprocal nature of the dialogue we have with whatever it is that exists apart from ourselves. I will look at what philosophy in our time has had to say about these issues. Ultimately I believe that many of the disputes about the nature of the human world can be illuminated by an understanding that there are two fundamentally different 'versions' delivered to us by the two hemispheres, both of which can have a ring of authenticity about them, and both of which are hugely valuable; but that they stand in opposition to one another, and need to be kept apart from one another - hence the bihemispheric structure of the brain." - Iain McGilchrist, The Master and his Emissary, p.4 of  INTRODUCTION.

Last night I started reading this book again. I obtained it several months ago, had started it, had skipped forward, had read chunks, had even post-noted a few pages, dog-eared others, tried some underlining, but somehow had not been able to get into it, even though it came highly recommended by people I trust who have great taste and had found themselves enriched through reading it. 

The problem was with me, not the book, I decided. How could I engage with this book? Had I forgotten how to focus? Had I forgotten how to let a writer creep into my brain, how to be a good hostess to their thought; entertain, converse with, pay attention through my own engaged response to meanings derived from words, written by them, asynchronously, on a page? Had I spent so much time racing around online over the years, that my brain had developed ADHD? 
It was definitely I who was flat - not the book. 

No great surprise, in that I've been chronically depressed for years, diagnosed by myself, socially quite phobic, unless there was a perfectly reasonable point in being around other people; recovering slowly in the sunny wide receding horizons and white glittery winters of the elevated Saskatchewan prairies (1893 feet, 577 m altitude), a plateau sloped slightly east, after decades of life at damp coastal doom and gloom sea level in Vancouver, crowded between giant walls of rock in the east and north, US in the immediate south, and cold dark wet ocean west. Living like a bug inside a jug. A jug lidded by thick grey cloud most of the time.

I would find myself asking myself, as if I were an acting student, "Where's my motivation?" The answer: gone away, apparently. Maybe forever. Would life ever fluff itself back up? Be enjoyable? Before it finally guttered itself completely out?

Well, I think last night saw a breakthrough, kind of: 

Out of the blue, perhaps to make myself focus better, I started reading in this book, aloud. To myself.  

I have never done that before, ever. It must have changed the input into my brain. I could feel stuff start happening in there, again, after such a long time of not feeling much in there at all. Some part of my brain I remembered dimly from long ago, an underground spring, bubbled up. I could feel it start up. It liked being read aloud to
I (or something in the larger "me"..) liked the sound of my own voice reading aloud!

Imagine that. 

For so long I've treated my critter brain as if it were non-verbal and kinesthetic, only, that I probably, likely, had forgotten it was actually a human brain too, and could understand language, tone, inflection, all that.

It's been a very long time since my brain and I've enjoyed singing. It's been a very long time since my brain and I've really listened to, and enjoyed listening to, music. My brain used to like doing that, but stopped. Long time passing. It's been a long time since it and I've liked to listen to other people talking. 

I read to it for about an hour, aloud, at one point started the book over again from the beginning, kind of excited, because it felt like the right thing to do at the time, 1:00am, not able to sleep for whatever reason... my brain liked being spoken to. By me. 

So, this is me, starting a new relationship with parts of my own brain, parts of my own cognitive-evaluative capacity that are still connected to bits that still feel actual motivation. This will be a new relationship forged, possibly between my own 2 hemispheres - the verbal language side will hang out with and read, aloud!, to the non-verbal side, which nonetheless can understand fully everything that's said/read, can reflect on things, can respond in nuanced ways, can inform by sharing those thick and quite lush sensations with the speaking part of me. 

Maybe, just maybe, it isn't just that "the most fundamental difference between the hemispheres lies in the type of attention they give to the world" - it might also be in the sort of attention and respect they can give to each other, inside a single individual. 

Maybe, together, they'll figure out how to write better, more productively.

Here is a very good animated video of the author discussing the book, from 2011. 

RSA Animate - The Divided Brain

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Deeper (more brain-based) model for posture

After I posted earlier today, some better stuff (at least, more interesting to me) came along. I found a link to a blogpost on posture:

How to increase testosterone and decrease cortisol through body language. 

Now this really makes sense, to me anyway, as a deep model for posture, or at least a rational rationale for posturing.
(No, I don't think I was being redundant in that last sentence. There are so many non-rational rationales for posture out there, floating around like doo-doo in a sewage pond.)

Anyway, from the video embedded in the link: 

1. "Practice for two minutes at a time" (that's about the length of time it takes to feel someone's body change over during certain manual treatment techniques - coincidence? I think not. It could be that is about how long it takes for perceptible changes in circulating hormones to manifest physically, if the research discussed in the link has any merit whatsoever..) 
2. Repeat as necessary. Face your fear, fake it until you make it, two minutes at a time. For as many years as necessary. 

For whatever reason, awareness of this post arose with awareness of this other post, A Radical Shift to Better Pain Relief. Excerpt:

"When it comes to pain relief, create the brain you want and the rest will follow."

Much food for nonverbal (i.e., postural) thought at the Center for NonVerbal Studies website, one of the earliest places I ever visited after joining the internet, more than a decade ago. See the entry for posture:
1. A vertically looming stance in which the body "enlarges" through extension of the limbs.  
2. A primeval "pushup" intended to lift the quadrupedal body higher off the ground.

A day in the life

It's 11am on a Tuesday morning. I don't have anybody booked for treatment today. This is a situation that I hope will start to change very soon. I've spent the last 3.5 years of my life wallowing about, living frugally but comfortably on the proceeds of my Vancouver condo sale, waiting for my latest depressive state to resolve, motivation and energy to return.

I haven't been entirely a lazy bum the whole time. I have exercised more regularly than ever before in my life. I've looked after the social media communication for the Canadian PT PainScienceDivision.
I've taught, studied, presented, travelled, written. I just haven't been making any kind of living. But I did get organized to do so, have a sweet place all set up. Now I'm working on filling it with enthusiastic patients who have honed in on the fact that they don't have to be in pain, necessarily.

Anyway, all that aside, this post is going to contain bits and pieces of what I look at everyday online. I'm a hunter and a pecker. I stalk Google reader. I subscribe to multiple news feeds and blogs. Day after day, I open Google reader to see what awaits. Usually there are 500 or so headlines and full text to scroll by. It's a bit slower on the weekends. [So I design materials for my practice instead.]

Anyway, I'm sitting here, coffee cup in hand, able to check my practice for phone calls every hour or so to ensure I don't miss any. Google reader is open, and in front of me are 448 posts to scan, select out juicy bits from, to post on Facebook, Twitter, and SomaSimple - to contribute to the thinking PT community and hopefully stimulate my own brain into feeling better about life in general and about my chosen path through it in particular.

There are patterns. The same themes crop up over and over. This is today's sampling:

1. Why are there so few women in the X Y Z field?
2. How fish turned into land animals - fins to legs
3. Targeted molecular or gene or novel drug therapy for this and that, with dizzingly complicated and dyslexia-inducing names comprised of strings of letters, numbers and sometimes Greek letters.
4. Nerve cells made out of stem cells from blood, cells in urine, skin, bone, whatever. Remarkable, actually.
5. Studies on what captures attention best.
6. Tracking evolution through gene studies.
7. What occurs at the interface of salmonella bacteria (or whatever) and our gut wall. How they breach defenses.
8. Epigenetics, or how genes are just a launch pad for all sorts of random environmental influence, including cancers, homosexuality, you name it.
9. Countries where you are killed for being an atheist [or female, or male, or gay, or by societal whim of any kind].
10. Overeating and binge eating.
11. Better medical needles, maybe, by studying porcupine quills.
12. Superbugs, hospital dangers.
13. Perception. Threat makes things loom larger.
14. Dozens and dozens and dozens of papers with names like "Epidermal Expression of Neuropilin 1 Protects Murine keratinocytes from UVB-induced apoptosis", and "PRC2/EED-EZH2 Complex Is Up-Regulated in Breast Cancer Lymph Node Metastasis Compared to Primary Tumor and Correlates with Tumor Proliferation In Situ"
15. Profiles of up and coming researchers at some university or other. 
16. Announcement of a new psychiatric pavilion somewhere. Fanfare.
17. Effect of physical fitness on Everything.
18. How basketball teamwork teaches people about networking and communication. [Yeah, I know.. file under Duh]
19. Time of year stuff - New Year's, resolutions, gift-giving, blahblah
20. China
21. Same sex marriage
22. Hm. CRPS-UK seems to have developed a heavily Buddhist flavour lately. [There is plenty of mindfulness training around that has no religious overtones or undertones.. I wonder why this blog, which I like quite a lot, actually, doesn't favour that instead? Oh well, we move along..]
23. Eating salt and drinking sugar seem to go together
24. Underwater noise and health of marine wildlife
25. New kinds of solar cells
26. Soybean diesases
27. Hurricane aftermath
28. Death of a revered Brit astronomer
29. Examining gorilla poop. 
30. Enticing toys to attach to bicycles [file, then disregard, under seasonal content/gift stuff]
31. Laser beam applications
32. More wonders of oxytocin
33. Lucid dreaming and creative consciousness  40 minutes, might be good to watch a bit later.. nah, on second thought, too many capitalizations and references to "spirituality" - don't want my brain shaped by fluff into more fluff. 
34. American politics, military, religion, blahblah 
35. Digital management of whatever
37. Autism
38. Premature children in later life, increased risk for this and that
39. Biploar disorder
40. Macro and microcephaly (we humans are so concerned about our head size and contents therein)
41. Black holes
42. Immunotherapy for this or that type of cancer
43. Women outlive men [men are still trying to figure out why]
44. Quest for new antibiotics
45. PTSD
46. Recession, fiscal cliff, blahblah
47. MDs try to adapt to social media, learn to doctor by Skype in remote areas
48. Flu season, go get shots
49. Effects of serotonin
50. Diabetes, obesity in children
51. Bedbugs are undaunted by ultrasonic frequency devices
52. Link between watching TV and obesity. [File under Duh]
53. Hot flashes
54. ALS
56. Coral still in trouble.
57. Ketamine
Same guy who posted the Buddhist video earlier.
59. Eczema
60. Postpartum stress and stressors on the mom
61. Apps and devices for this and that
62. Don't feel lonely or you may become demented
63. Diesel fumes and childhood brain tumours
64. Kate, pregnancy, blahblah
65. Illustrated history of this and that - mostly pop culture
66. Toxoplasma [pretty sure I have this, NYD]
67. Compatibility or non-, of science and religion [theme more pronounced at this time of year I think]
68. Isagenix Study Is Not Convincing, from ScienceBasedMedicine
69. Concussion
70. "Pain doubted if medical basis is missing", [You can say that again]
71. Rocks on Mercury, or Mars, or wherever
72. Using drones to track poachers
73. Is the internet rotting? 

Now it's 1pm: while I sorted through that batch another 85 came into the feed, which I scanned also. 
Anyway, I may have missed some themes and topics due to glazed eyes, but those were the endlessly recycled news items, with a few good, or at least less boring, highlights. 

I need to get a new life I think.