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A chunk of our thoughts

October / November 1976

From “Pharmacology and the Mind”: Since historical instances, medicine have been used to revive psychological well being or discover the thoughts. It was stated that the Homeric doctor Polydama offered Menelaos and Helen with “a drug in opposition to sorrow and anger, a drug to outlive despair” on their approach dwelling to Troy. The variety of mind-bending medicine out there right this moment is numerous. Some have altered the course of medical apply; others have modified the material of our society. Many have larger specificity of motion and fewer uncomfortable side effects than ever earlier than. The event of such medicine has been paralleled by our elevated data of how medicine work on the molecular degree to change habits. On this regard, one of the fruitful analysis approaches has concerned the examine of how nerve cells talk with different cells within the physique, and the way numerous medicine may alter this communication.

Might / June 1987

From “Designing Computer systems That Suppose the Manner We Do”: Neuroscientists have come to understand that the structure of the mind is central to its operate. Particular person neurons aren’t sensible by themselves, however once they’re linked to one another they turn into fairly clever. The issue is, no person is aware of how they do it. It isn’t that neurons are quick: in sending their electrochemical messages to different neurons, they’re 100,000 instances slower than a typical pc change. However what our brains lack in velocity they make up in“wetware,” as it’s generally referred to as. The mind comprises from 10 billion to a trillion neurons, every of which can be linked to anyplace from 1,000 to 100,000 others. If this huge internet of interconnected neurons varieties the grand collective conspiracy we name our minds, perhaps an unlimited interconnected internet of mechanical switches could make a machine that thinks.

July / August 2014

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