Sep 13, Dr. John Martyn Harlow treated Phinneas
Gage in Vermont for a head injury from a tamping iron that had
pierced the man’s skull during a blasting accident. Gage survived
until 1860, but with definite personality changes that Dr. Harlow
(ON, 10/02, p.9)(Econ, 12/23/06, Survey p.3)
1857 Paul Broca, a French
neurologist, discovered that particular regions of the brain are
specialized for particular functions. In 1861 he authored a
classical paper that detailed damage in the brain’s left temporal
lobe to loss of speech.
1902 Feb 21, Dr. Harvey
Cushing, US brain surgeon, performed his 1st brain operation.
1920-1950 Fore people of Papua New Guinea were
devastated by an epidemic of kuru, a brain-destroying disease caused
by abnormal proteins called prions.
(SFC, 4/11/03, p.A6)
1923 Apr 7, The 1st brain tumor
operation under local anesthetic was performed at Beth Israel
Hospital in NYC by Dr K. Winfield Ney.
1949 Portuguese neurologist
Antonio Egas Moniz (1874-1955) won the Nobel Prize in Medicine for
his pioneering work in prefrontal brain lobotomy. It was later
rejected as a valid medical technique.
(SFEC,11/2/97, Z1 p.6)(WUD, 1994, p.925)(SFC,
1956 John McCarthy (1927-2011),
computer science pioneer, led the first conference on “artificial
intelligence" at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire. He coined the
term to attract funding for the conference.
1973 Neurologist Oliver Sachs
(1933-2015) authored “Awakenings." In 1990 it was turned into a film
featuring Robin Williams.
(SFC, 8/31/15, p.A12)
1975 California enacted a
strict fire-safety law requiring that furniture withstand 12 seconds
of flame without catching fire. Manufacturers used large amounts of
polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) to comply. In 2012
researchers said PBDEs appear to delay the neurological development
of children of children. In 2013 state officials moved change
Technical Bulletin 117 easing the requirements on flame
(SFC, 11/15/12, p.A16)(SFC, 2/9/13, p.A1)
1976 Joseph Weizenbaum
(1923-2008) wrote "Computer Power and Human Reason." He described
here his program called ELIZA that demonstrated a conversation
between a patient and a computer posing as a psychiatrist.
1980 Post-traumatic stress
disorder (PTSD), an anxiety disorder that can develop after a person
is exposed to one or more traumatic events, was first defined.
1981 Jun 5, The Federal Centers
for Disease Control published the first report of a mysterious
outbreak of a sometimes fatal pneumonia among gay men. The syndrome
was named Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) in 1982. Within
10 years the disease killed 110,000 Americans. People infected with
HIV came to be defined as having AIDS when their immune system
became so weak that they got one of 26 specific illnesses including
non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, pneumonia, brain infections and some other
(SFEC, 5/30/99, Z1 p.4)(SFC, 7/21/00, p.B2)(AP,
1982 Psychologists Daniel
Kahneman, Paul Slovic and Amos Tversky authored “Judgment Under
Uncertainty," revealing many of the hard-wired flaws that shape
human behavior. Kahneman and Tversky were later hailed as the
fathers of behavioral economics.
(WSJ, 1/24/09, p.W8)(Econ, 10/29/11, p.99)
1982 Dr. Stanley B. Prusiner,
neurologist, reported the discovery of an infectious agent that
linked certain animal and human diseases. His lab identified a tiny
molecule in the membrane of cells that he called a proteinaceous
infected particle, or prion for short. In 1996 it is suspected that
this is the agent involved in the bovine mad-cow disease and the
rare human Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease.
(WSJ, 3/25/96, p.B7C)
1983 Harvard Prof. Howard
Gardner authored “Frames of Mind" in which he proposed the "multiple
intelligence theory," which held that there are multiple types of
intelligence, such as athletic prowess and musical ability, beyond
the traditional math and verbal skills.
(WSJ, 4/1/02, p.A1)(Econ, 4/17/04, p.80)
1987 An English edition of “The
Mind of a Mnemonist" by Russian psychologist Alexander Luria
(1902-1977) was published.
1989 Gerardo Beni and
Jing Wang introduced the expression “swarm intelligence" (SI) in the
context of cellular robotic systems. Marco Dorigo (b.1961) helped
found the field. It describes the collective behavior of
decentralized, self-organized systems, natural or artificial. The
concept is employed in work on artificial intelligence.
1990 The KE family were brought
to the attention of the scientific community about this time. Over
three generations of this family, about half the family members
suffer from a number of problems, the most obvious of which is
severe difficulty in speaking. A mutation of the FOXP2 brain gene
was later related to language loss.
1992 After hearing about his
cutting-edge research on the brain and emotions through mutual
friends, the Dalai Lama invited Richard Davidson, a University of
Wisconsin-Madison neuroscientist, to his home in India to pose a
question: Scientists often study depression, anxiety and fear, but
why not devote your work to the causes of positive human qualities
like happiness and compassion? In 2010 the Dalai Lama marked the
opening of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the
university's Waisman Center.
1994 Marvin Minsky wrote in a
Scientific American article that: "In the end we will find ways to
replace every part of the body and brain and thus repair all the
defects and injuries that make our lives so brief."
(Hem., 2/96, p.95)
1994 Oct, R.I. Hernstein and
Charles Murray published "The Bell Curve." The book asserted that
the US is fast becoming an "IQ meritocracy," in which bright people
are channeled into High-paying jobs while the very dull, including
many from minority groups, disproportionately become welfare
recipients, unwed teenage mothers, school dropouts and criminals.
(WSJ, 10/20/94, p.B1)
1995 Jeffrey Friedman of
Rockefeller Univ. and others announced the discovery of leptin, a
protein produced by fat cells, that signal the brain to reduce
(SFC, 6/30/00, p.A3)
1996 Joseph LeDoux, professor
of neuroscience ay NYU, authored “The Emotional Brain: The
Mysterious Underpinnings of Emotional Life."
(Econ, 7/26/08, p.83)
1997 Mar 5, Brain researchers
announced that some instinctual behavior was successfully
transferred between chicken and quail embryos. The young birds did
not live past 14 days.
(SFC, 3/5/97, p.A4)
1997 Aug 27, It was announced
that the diet drugs, Redux and Pondimin, caused brain damage in
animals at doses similar to those taken by humans.
(WSJ, 8/27/97, p.A1)
1997 Oct 6, Dr. Stanley B.
Prusiner, a neurologist from UC, won the Nobel Prize for his
discovery of the new class of proteins called prions described as
"an entirely new genre of disease-causing agents." [see 1982] In
1998 researchers at UCSF developed a sensitive technique for rapid
detection of the infectious proteins.
(SFC, 10/7/97, p.A1)(SFC, 9/30/98, p.A7)(AP,
1998 A brain implant let a
paralyzed stroke victim move a cursor on a computer screen to point
out simple phrases. [see Apr 13, 2004]
(SFC, 4/14/04, p.C8)
1998 Cybernetics Prof. Kevin
Warwick had a chip implanted into his arm for 9 days to monitor his
body's electrical signals and transmit results to a computer. He
followed up with a more sophisticated chip in 2000.
(SFC, 4/3/00, p.E16)
1999 Sep 13, Researchers
reported that gene therapy restored vigor to aged brains in
experiments with monkeys.
(WSJ, 9/14/99, p.A1)
2000 Dec 1, In South Africa the
government agreed to accept a $50 million donation of the drug
fluconazole from Pfizer to treat a brain inflammation associated
with AIDS. Recent approval was also given for nevirapine, a drug to
reduce transmission of the AIDS virus to a fetus.
(SFC, 12/2/00, p.A12)
2000 Dec 22, A 2nd genetic link
factor for Alzheimer’s was reported on Chromosome 10. the 1st
variant was known as ApoE4. the new gene was suspected in playing a
role in the production of the AB42 protein that makes the plaques
scattered through the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.
(SFC, 12/22/00, p.D3)
2001 Apr 10, Doctors in San
Diego implanted genetically modified cells in to the brain of a
60-year-old woman with early Alzheimer’s disease in an effort to
slow her mental decline.
(SFC, 4/11/01, p.A3)
2002 Jan 7, Scientists reported
that symptoms of Parkinson’s were relieved in rats when stem cells
were injected into their brains.
(WSJ, 1/8/02, p.A1)
2002 Mar 6, It was reported
that a 3-year study of heavy marijuana users showed that long-term
pot smoking impaired brain function.
(SFC, 3/6/02, p.A2)
2002 Mar 14, It was reported
that scientists had developed a brain implant that allowed monkeys
to control a computer cursor by thought alone.
(SFC, 3/14/02, p.A2)
2003 May 7, It was reported
that scientists had altered a common cold virus to destroy a common
brain tumor in mice.
(WSJ, 5/7/03, p.D7)
2003 May 12, A British
government doctor reported that the brains of at least 20,000
people, many of them depressed or mentally ill when they died, were
removed without their families' consent from 1970-1999.
(AP, 5/12/03)(USAT, 5/13/03, p.10A)
2004 Mar 17, Harvard
researchers reported that an enzyme in the brain appears to regulate
appetite and weight.
(WSJ, 3/18/04, p.A1)
2004 Apr 13, The FDA approved a
clinical trial by Cyberkinetics on implants in humans for a
(SFC, 4/14/04, p.C8)
2004 Jul 30, Scientists
reported the creation of synthetic prions and showed they could
replicate without genetic material and cause brain disease in
(SFC, 7/30/04, p.A3)
2004 Harvard Prof. Howard
Gardner authored “Changing Minds: The Art and Science of Changing
Our Own and Other People’s Minds.
(Econ, 4/17/04, p.80)
2004 Dr. Edelman and associates
in San Diego, Ca., constructed Darwin IX, a mobile physical device
equipped with artificial whiskers and a simulated nervous system
based on the neuroanatomy of the rat somatosensory system. The team
built machines run by computer programs to work the way they thought
that brains work and then studied the results.
(Econ, 12/23/06, Survey
2004 Jeff Hawkins and Sandra
Blakeslee authored “On Intelligence."
(Econ, 3/8/08, TQ p.31)
2005 Mar 5, It was reported
that an experimental technique called deep-brain stimulation was
effective in turning off depression.
(Econ, 3/5/05, p.78)
2005 Jul, A paper by Francis
Crick (d.2004) and his collaborator Christof Koch appeared in the
Philosophical Transactions of the royal society. It addressed the
neurological basis of human consciousness. They suggested various
regions of the cortex could be bound together into one cohesive,
conscious experience by the claustrum, a thin sheet of grey matter
beneath part of the cortex.
(Econ, 7/30/05, p.73)
2006 Aug 17, Scientists believe
they have found a key gene that helped the human brain evolve from
our chimp-like ancestors. In just a few million years, one area of
the human genome seems to have evolved about 70 times faster than
the rest of our genetic code. It appears to have a role in a rapid
tripling of the size of the brain's crucial cerebral cortex,
according to an article published in the journal Nature.
2006 Marvin Minsky authored
“The Emotion Machine: Commonsense Thinking, Artificial Intelligence,
and the Future of the Human Mind.
(SSFC, 12/10/06, p.M1)
2007 Sep 20, It was reported
that Arizona Prof. Piere Balthazard planned to use data from brain
scans of visionary leaders to plot a map of a “leader’s" brain. He
then planned to use the map to help train others use their brains
(WSJ, 9/20/07, p.B1)
2007 Sep 24, An Australian man
was conscious and spoke to his medical team during life-saving brain
surgery in what doctors are claiming as a world-first procedure with
2007 James R. Flynn (b.1934)
authored “What Is Intelligence." He discovered that IQ scores
increased from one generation to the next for all of the countries
for which data existed. This came to be called the Flynn effect.
2007 Lumos Labs launched
Lumosity, a website of online games designed to improve users’
(Econ, 8/10/13, p.56)
2008 Apr 25, China banned a
controversial type of irreversible brain surgery used to treat
(WSJ, 4/28/08, p.A11)
2008 May 6, Canadian
researchers reported that suicide victims who were abused as
children have clear genetic changes in their brains in a finding
they said shows neglect can cause biological effects.
2008 Aug 29, French
neurosurgeons said they had successfully treated brain tumors
through ultra-keyhole surgery, using a tiny fiber-optic laser to
destroy cancerous cells.
2008 Nov 6, Japanese
researchers said they had created functioning human brain tissues
from stem cells, a world first that has raised new hopes for the
treatment of disease.
2008 Dec 2, Henry Molaison
(82), a native of Connecticut, died. In the 1950s he had his medial
temporal lobes removed by surgery to alleviate his grand mal
epileptic seizures. From that point on he was unable to form new
memories. Scientists learned from Molaison that the hippocampus is
crucial in forming some long term memories, but not for maintaining
or retrieving them.
(Econ, 12/20/08, p.146)
2008 Torkel Klingberg authored
“The Overflowing Brain: Information Overload and the Limits of
(WSJ, 12/13/08, p.A17)
2008 Paul R. McHugh, M.D.,
authored Try to Remembers: Psychiatry’s Clash over meaning Memory
and Mind," in which he recounts the history of the movement to
recover “repressed" memories of abuse.
(WSJ, 11/20/08, p.A19)
2009 Oct 1, Mattel planned to
release its Mindflex toy, which allowed users to lift a ball and
send it through an obstacle course using brain control interface
(SSFC, 9/6/09, p.A8)
2009 Dec 15, Australian
scientists reported the discovery of an octopus in Indonesia that
collects coconut shells for shelter, unusually sophisticated
behavior that the researchers believe is the first evidence of tool
use in an invertebrate animal.
2009 Iain McGilchrest authored
“The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of
the Western World." He noted how the left side of the brain
specializes in narrowly focused attention and how the right side
attends to broader contexts.
(Econ, 11/28/09, p.99)
2009 Alva Noë, a philosopher at
UC Berkeley, authored “Out of Our Heads: Why You Are Not Your Brain,
and Other Lessons From the Biology of Consciousness."
(SSFC, 3/1/09, Books p.J5)
2010 Jan 4, A new report by
Canada's Alzheimer Society said Canadians are developing dementia at
such a rapid rate that dealing with the problem will cost a total of
more than C$870 billion ($835 billion) over the next 30 years unless
preventive measures are taken.
2010 Jul 11, Avid
Radiopharmaceuticals presented a study that demonstrated a new brain
scan to detect the brain plaques in patients with Alzheimer’s
(SFC, 7/13/10, p.A7)
2010 Nicholas Carr authored
“The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains."
(SSFC, 6/6/10, p.F1)
2010 Carl Schoonover authored
"Portraits of the Mind: Visualizing the Brain from Antiquity to the
21st Century" (Abrams 2010).
2010 Barbara Strauch authored “
The Secret Life of the Grown-Up Brain."
(SFC, 6/7/10, p.E1)
2010 Shankar Vedanta,
India-born Washington Post science journalist (b.1969), authored:
“The Hidden Brain: How Our Unconscious Minds Elect Presidents,
Control Markets, Wage Wars, and Save Our Lives."
2010 The Allen Institute for
Brain Science, founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, launched
its human brain atlas.
(Econ, 9/7/13, TQ p.25)
2011 Feb 12, US researchers
said that people who used two specific varieties of pesticide,
paraquat and rotenone, were 2.5 times as likely to develop
2011 Feb 16, The IBM computer
named Watson beat two former Jeopardy champions, Ken Jennings and
Brad Rutter, finishing a 3-day match at the TV quiz show.
(SFC, 2/17/11, p.D4)
2011 Feb 21, Tom DeBaggio, herb
grower and Alzheimer’s patient, died in Virginia. His work included
“Losing My Mind" and “When It Gets Dark."
(Econ, 3/5/11, p.93)
2011 Mar, IBM began teaching a
computer chip, called Synapse, to play Pong. The chip was designed
to learn through experience and after a few weeks it was nearly
(SFC, 11/7/11, p.D1)
2011 May 31, A World Health
Organization panel reported that radiation from cell phones “is
possibly carcinogenic" to humans.
(SFC, 6/1/11, p.A5)
2011 Jun 17, It was reported
that scientists at Wake Forest have designed a brain implant that
restores lost memory function and strengthens recall of new
information in laboratory rats.
(SFC, 6/17/11, p.A17)
2011 Sep 14, Japanese
researchers from Hitachi working with university scientists unveiled
a headset they say can measure activity in the brain and could be
used to improve performance in the classroom or on the sports field.
2011 Sep 15, British scientists
reported that fluctuating levels of the brain chemical serotonin,
often brought on when someone hasn't eaten or is stressed, affect
brain regions that enable people to regulate anger.
2011 Sep 28, A British High
Court judge said in a landmark ruling that a brain-damaged,
minimally conscious woman should not be allowed to die.
2011 Sep 29, The Journal of
Psychopharmacology reported that researchers at Johns Hopkins had
found psilocybin mushrooms can make people more open in their
feelings and aesthetic sensibilities.
(SFC, 9/30/11, p.A9)
2011 Michael Gazzaniga authored
“Who’s In Charge: Free Will and the Science of the Brain."
(Econ, 12/17/11, p.149)
2011 Daniel Kahneman, Nobel
Prize winner (2002), authored “Thinking, Fast and Slow." He noted a
two tier model of cognition: "System 1," which is quick and
intuitive, and “System 2," which is slow and deliberate.
(Econ, 10/29/11, p.98)
2011 Michael Shermer authored
“The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and
Conspiracies – How We construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as
(Econ, 6/18/11, p.90)
2012 Apr 12, Brazil's supreme
court voted 8-2 to authorize abortions in cases of fetuses with no
2012 Oct 12, Italy’s top court
sided with doctors who blamed a non-cancerous brain tumor in
businessman Innocenzo Marcolini on electro-magnetic radiation from
his cell phone.
2012 Oct, In San Francisco a
new brain health center opened as part of the California Pacific
Medical Center. It was later named the Ray Dolby Brain Health Center
after Ray Dolby, the founder of Dolby Laboratories. In 2014 the
Ddolby family acknowledged a $21 million donation to make the center
(SFC, 9/18/14, p.A1)
2012 Jonah Lehrer (31) authored
“Imagine: How Creativity Works." Lehrer later admitted plagiarism
and resigned from The New Yorker. He made a promise to help fix any
inaccuracies in his work.
2012 Leonard Mlodinow authored
“Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior. "
(Econ, 4/28/12, p.89)
2013 Feb 20, It was reported
that the US National Institutes of Health is in the planning stages
of a massive effort called the Brain Activity Map (BAM) to
understand how neurons actually process information. On March 7
protagonists published a manifesto for BAM in Science.
(SFC, 2/20/13, p.D3)(Econ, 3/9/13, p.79)
2013 Apr 2, Pres. Obama
unveiled the so-called Brain Initiative, a plan to map the human
brain and study how it is wired up at all levels.
(SFC, 4/3/13, p.A1)
2013 May 22, The 5th edition of
the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders" was
released. This marked its first major revision since 1994.
(SFC, 5/22/13, p.C1)
2013 Oct 18, Canada’s Supreme
Court, in the case of a severely-brain damaged man, ruled that
family, not doctors, should decide when to cut off life support.
2014 Mar 19, IBM said it is
teaming up with the New York Genome Center to help fight brain
cancer. IBM said its Watson cloud computing system will be used in
partnership with the genetic research center to help sequence DNA
for the treatment of glioblastoma, the most common type of brain
cancer in US adults.
(SFC, 3/20/14, p.C2)
2014 Jul 7, In an open letter,
more than 190 neuroscience researchers on called on the EU to put
less money into the effort to "build" a brain, and to invest instead
in existing projects. The 10-year $1.6 billion Human Brain Project
is largely funded by the European Union.
2014 Aug 21, A new study
suggested that there is an oversupply of synapses in at least some
parts of the brains of children with autism.
(SFC, 8/22/14, p.A6)
2014 Nov, Amazon unveiled the
Echo, a 9-inch cylindrical voice command device that plays music,
provides news and answers basic questions. It was offered to members
of Amazon Prime for $99.
(SFC, 1/29/15, p.C1)(http://tinyurl.com/mmlp28z)
2014 Nick Bostrom authored
“Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies," an examination of
(Econ, 8/9/14, p.68)
2014 Susan Greenfield authored
“Mind Change: How Digital Technologies are Leaving their Mark on our
(Econ, 8/30/14, p.72)
2015 Jul 22, Researchers at the
Alzheimer’s Association Int’l. Conference in Washington, DC,
announced that an antibody called solanezumab appeared to slow the
progress of the disease.
(Econ, 7/25/15, p.63)
2015 Aug 30, Oliver Sacks
(b.1933), neurologist and writer, died at his home in NYC. His books
included “Awakenings" (1973), “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a
Hat" (1985), and “The Island of the Colorblind" (1977).
(SFC, 8/31/15, p.A12)(Econ, 9/5/15, p.90)
2015 Steve Silberman authored
“Neurotribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of
(Econ, 8/22/15, p.68)