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Welcome to Brain Stories

Brain Stories's picture

Curious about the brain? About behavior and experiences/feelings, your own and other people's? There's lots on Serendip to help you think about such things, and to encourage you to develop new understandings and new questions about them, including a whole section on Brain and Behavior and another on Mental Health. And, of course, there are new observations being made all of the time, reported in professional journals, newspapers, magazines, books, and on the web.

Brain Stories calls attention to recent findings that seem particularly interesting from Serendip's perspective and provides forum for discussion of them. Your thoughts on these are not only welcome but are an important part of helping everyone, including research scientists, make sense of what we are discovering and have yet to discover about the brain. Like all Serendip forums, this is a place not for conclusions but rather for thoughts in progress, a place to find ideas that might be helpful to you in developing your own stories about the brain and to leave ideas that might be helpful to others in developing theirs.

Go to Brain Stories for a listing of recent findings and continuing forums for discussion of them. Use the forum below to suggest additional topics and publications, or to comment on Brain Stories in general.   Anyone can post but there will be a delay before comments appear so we can prevent spam postings. 


Anonymous's picture

Its hard to see the truth

Its hard to see the truth through this mist that shrouds ur vision its a fake world that u live in step in the alternate world that i live in and ull know where i come from its madness and tranquelity livin side by side where the line between reality and hallisunation is thin and absolute freedom is not heard of cause its a fact that u live with nothing is bad and if it doesnt kill u u learn form it!!
what u might ask this reality is where does it exist?

right inside ur head is where it exists cause thats the only thing one must listen to and
evolve by force not by choice cause uncerteainity is a fact of life that nothing can overcome and no fortune teller can point his finger and say this is where u need to go..

now that my friends is the mind talkin wat gets u back on earth is ur brain!

kevin's picture

brain nutrition

It seems like brain nutrition is always on the back burner. Most brain related issues occur as a result of the lack of nutrition.

Anthony's picture

You are welcome. Next month

You are welcome. Next month will be 4 years. Aftermath would have to still be the same as I stated before. There is one thing though, short term memory isn't as good. At least for me anyway.

googbb's picture


thanks for the info :)

Anonymous's picture

nde aftermath

There is perhaps one thing that isn't or hasn't been reviewed, the aftermath. It doesn't end with the experience yet leaves a profound change, one that can be viewed by others that knew the person before. Nothing is or will ever be the same in perspectives no matter how hard you try. One that neither science nor religion can explain.

Aditya Vora's picture

The Mind and the Brain: Proof of being separate entities?

In order to ensure processes like consciousness and thought can occur, we need the billions of neurons in our brain to constantly be firing...right?

As I was reading an article on an msnbc website (, my beliefs about needing the brain for proccesses of the mind were starting to be questioned. The article was about a new life-saving protocol used in people who have suffered from heart attacks, whose hearts have stopped beating and whose cells have been deprived of oxygen. Ninety-five percent of the time these persons pass away. This new protocol in use at the University of Pennsylvania takes victims whose hearts have been stopped for several minutes and induces hypothermia. These persons are clinically dead, but hypothermia has shown to be effective in bringing them back to life!

This is exceptional in that it saves lifes that would otherwise not have a good chance of survival as well as it allows death to be studied. Where is the mind when the brain is not functioning?

Below is a short piece from page 5 of the article that touches on some interesting ideas backed up by real life experiences:

"Brian Duffield, then 40, a salesman in Tucson, collapsed in the shower after a swim. Luckily for him, he was on the campus of the University of Arizona, whose hospital uses a cooling protocol similar to Penn's. "I was there one minute and the next thing I know, it's a few days later and people are telling me I was dead and came back," says Duffield. But Duffield's memory and intellect and personality all returned intact from his brush with death, as did Bondar's. This is, on some level, deeply mysterious. We experience consciousness embedded in time, a succession of mental states continually re-created in our brains, even during sleep. But when the brain shuts down, where does the mind go?"

And another piece from page 6:
"If you look at a brain cell under a microscope, it can't think. Why should two brain cells think? Or 2 million?" The evidence that the mind transcends the brain is said to come from near-death experiences, the powerful sensation of well-being that has been described by people like Anthony Kimbrough, a Tennessee real-estate agent who suffered a massive coronary in 2005 at the age of 44. Dying on the table in the cath lab during angioplasty, he sensed the room going dark, then lighter, and "all of a sudden I could breathe. I wasn't in pain. I felt the best I ever felt in my life. I remember looking at the nurses' faces and thinking, 'Folks, if you knew how great this is, you wouldn't be worried about dying'."

If people like Anthony Kimbrough can still produce thoughts while being clinically dead, does this mean that the mind can exist without the brain?

I'm not so sure that my views that the brain and mind are one entity are going to be changed. Up to date science has shown us that we need the brain for processes of the mind. To make memories long term we need the hippocampus, to complete our daily tasks for example like brushing teeth we use the executive functions of the frontal lobe to ensure we perform the steps of brushing teeth in the correct order. We are constantly analyzing and thinking whether we realize it or not, and science has shown us that specific pieces of the brain are most likely responsible for specific processes. It hasn't been proven that the mind and brain are separate up-to-date findings lead me to believe so.

To be unbias and play devil's advocate, I will admit that at one point people thought the earth was flat and at the center of the universe. Current technology guides our current beliefs, and as technology advances so might what we believe to be true. I appreciate the study of near-death experiences as a new piece of evidence in figuring out the relationship between the mind and body.

Angela Bryant's picture

I thought it was a very

I thought it was a very interesting lesson about story telling. There are two ways of story telling. They are traditional linear and looping story telling. They both deal with the hypothesis that is the summary of observation. experiment makes new observation and the conclusion is the implication.
Ashley Dawkins's picture

Childhood Origins of Adult Resistance to Science

      The real world provides many ways to develop misconceptions when it comes to physics.  We can’t see our world functioning properly in a society that’s not literally in a vacuum.  For example, the idea behind the law of gravity; EVERYTHING is supposed to fall at the same rate no matter the mass, width, density….But we find in our world if you ask a person “what will drop faster a penny or a feather?”,  many will say the penny.  In reality, they both fall at the same rate, but the feather encounters air resistance that makes it seem to float slowly to the ground.  BUT when these two are placed in a vacuum, they reach the bottom at exactly the same time.

            As we grow up we see how things behave around us and justify them in our head.  These justifications are usually wrong and we develop misconceptions.  When a science is being taught it is the responsibility of the educator to find out what these misconceptions are and address them properly, or people will go back to their old ways of thinking; naive physics. Therefore, I agree with, “The problem with teaching science to children is thus ‘not what the student lacks, but what the student has, namely alternative conceptual frameworks for understanding the phenomena covered by theories we are trying to teach’”.  In saying this, I don’t believe behaving in this way (as the previous examples) is resisting science.  In fact, they have become somewhat of a scientist in order to make these false observations in the first place; it’s just basing science on what they have observed; but in many cases it’s wrong.  I do believe that problems can arise from people who misconceive science, but I don’t believe it’s because people are trying to purposely resist it.  These are issues that need to be addressed and explained, most likely in a school setting. 

This article also states that if people are resistant to evolution, they are then resistant to science. I don’t believe this is true. I don’t agree with evolution, but I love science. Although, I do agree that we have a science ignorant society.  But there can be many reasons for this - people were turned off to it early on. I think it’s important to remember that science has developed because we were wrong about how the world works and there was a desire to become less and less wrong.  Scientists are most often wrong in the lab and they learn from that, we can help people learn their misconceptions so they can progress in their knowledge.

I do believe that problems can arise from people who misconceive science, but I don’t believe it’s because people are trying to purposely resist it.  These are issues that need to be addressed and explained, most likely in a school setting.  The question is; how can we address the science ignorant society to first create an interest in science.  Without an interest, they may not be interested in changing their misconceptions.  Also, I would argue that people who purposely resist science are the ones that don’t understand it.  I believe this article is addressing two different sets of people; ones that have a naïve understanding of science and the other who have an understanding of science and choose to resist it.  Overall, I feel this article did not go in depth and explain the issues it was presenting.