E5 (HL) The Human Brain

Check out the excellent resources from the NewScientist: The Human Brain

PBS has a great site called The Secret Life of the Brain (with 3D animation), and there’s Slate’s special issue on The Brain. Here’s a nice podcast from the Guardian, too.

Class presentation:

Essential Biology E5: The Human Brain

Regions of the brain:

PBS: 3D brain animation

If you have an iPod Touch, iPhone or iPad, get this cool free app: 3dBrain.

Try this out as a class or review activity: using showercaps to teach neuroanatomy.


Evidence for functions of brain structures

Reader on brain technologies, from Nature

PhET Lab: Simplified MRI shows you how MRI works (allow Java to run)

How does fMRI work? Video from 60 minutes:

Investigating Broca’s area:

Ferrier’s animal experiments reader (from 1881)

Guardian article: Your Lying Brain – the quest for perfect lie detector.

The strange past and promising future for the lobotomy, from Wired Science

Although fMRI is a great tool, there is the danger of believing too much of the hype. Ben Goldacre explains that some brain imaging studies report more positive findings then their numbers can support.


Sympathetic vs Parasympathetic control

Simple animation from GFisk

Heart rate control animation, from McGraw Hill

Put some ACh into it, music video:


Pupillary Reflex

Pathways of the pupil reflex animation from Utah Medicine

How to test the pupil response:


Perception of Pain

Pain pathways animation, from Bay Area Pain Medical

Pain is in the brain:

Effect of endorphins on pain, from Wadsworth Psychology

The Mystery of Chronic Pain:

Do fish feel pain? Reader from Science Daily


Optogenetics: Shedding Light on Brain Regions.

This is a great video, and Ed Yong has a really good post on optogenetics at his site.

TED Talk: Aditi Shankardass on A Second Opinion on Learning Disorders

With an estimated 1 in 6 children suffering from a developmental disorder, Aditi Shankardass asks if we can afford to ignore brain imaging and diagnostic technology when making decisions about brain-related difficulties. Another great short talk from TED, which links to the use of technology in determining brain function.

TOK link: how might the use of brain scanning technology represent a potential paradigm shift in diagnosis? Where we have relied on symptomatic diagnosis in the past, could the use of new neuroscience give a new way of knowing that replaces what we already know?

Now protect that brain that you’ve been cramming full of knowledge!

Can dead salmon recognise human emotions?



This is a funny story from Wired.com. Read the experimental protocol in the image here, then click on it to read about the results. Ooh, the dangers of false-positives!

And Carl Zimmer has a great piece on the teenage brain at Discover Magazine.

A similar piece at Wall Street Journal.

And a lot of teen brain resources at PBS Frontline, including a full documentary.


Key terms: brain, regions, broca,

  1. Love your videos and songs!

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