Category Archives: AMM 2014, Volume 60, Number 6

The inner representation of the external world – from conditioned reflexes to high level mental functions in the light of Nobel Prizes

DOI: 10.1515/amma-2015-0001

In this paper the seminal results of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine Laureates are presented. First, a historical review of the development of our knowledge is provided along with the major paradigm shifts, by looking at the Nobel prizes awarded in the field of neuroscience in the last 110 years. We outline the major discoveries that were necessary for humankind to pass through the road leading to the remarkable understanding of high-level mental functions, which led to this year’s Nobel Prize award. Next, the ground breaking discoveries of this year Nobel laureates are presented, which provide insights how neural representations of the environment are formed in the association cortices. These cortical areas are many synapses away from sensory receptors and motor outputs, and their activity do not reflect directly the activation patterns of the receptor population, but depends more strongly on intrinsic cortical computations. We also present how ensembles of specialized cells work together to compute complex cognitive functions and behaviour.

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Luxury and necessity

Weather is predictable with a certain margin of error. Despite the general predictions, certain meteorological events are necessary. Take for instance the snow. A Christmas without snow is unconceivable in our geographical region. However, as unpredictable as weather seems to be lately, we lived an unprecedented snowless Christmas. Without the joy of winter, we lived the Christmas through the carols. Music and poetry, the hope for redemption. They are a must, the very core and meaning of Christmas, but is it enough to actually get into the magic of Christmas!?
The falling snowflakes are associated with the protection of the nourishing earth. Vanishing beauty and frailty are mandatory for survival.
So do the authors of the articles we publish. They need to publish to fulfill their job positions. They depend on it. It becomes so vain and uncommon to publish for the sake of art. It is paramount also to publish in a well positioned medical journal, that is, bearing a high citation index. However, archiving this is quite a performance merely when the author is a beginner. He needs mentoring and coaching. Our mentors instead, have come to an age characterized by excellent clinical performance, but significantly less communication abilities, be them computer related. [More]

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