My Inner Life with Asperger’s

Alix Generous is a young woman with a million and one ideas — she’s done award-winning science, helped develop new technology and tells a darn good joke (you’ll see). She has Asperger’s, a form of autistic spectrum disorder that can impair the basic social skills required for communication, and she’s worked hard for years to learn how to share her thoughts with the world. In this funny, personal talk, she shares her story — and her vision for tools to help more people communicate their big ideas.

Published Sep 8, 2015 | By TED

Elizabeth Marincola on open access

What happens when science, money, and freedom of information collide?

A free flow of information goes to the heart of science, says Elizabeth Marincola, but an arcane system has commoditized data instead. Can web-based, open-access publishing level advance knowledge -- and turn a profit?

Elizabeth Marincola is the CEO of the Public Library of Science, and the former President of the nonprofit membership organization Society for Science & the Public (SSP) and publisher of Science News, the award-winning magazine.

Mapping and Manipulating the Brain

"This TED Studies explores the human brain's 100 billion neurons and 100 trillion connections among them, and learn how neuroscientists are using an array of techniques to chart — and in some cases, change — this amazing organ."

TED Studies, created in collaboration with Wiley, are curated video collections — supplemented by rich educational materials. This post has snippets from the Introductory Essay and Summary Analysis and links to videos in this TED Studies.

My stroke of insight

"Neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor had an opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: One morning, she realized she was having a massive stroke. As it happened -- as she felt her brain functions slip away one by one, speech, movement, understanding -- she studied and remembered every moment. This is a powerful story about how our brains define us and connect us to the world and to one."

Filmed February 2008 at TED 2008
Uploaded to YouTube on March 13, 2008 by TED

How to look inside the brain

There have been remarkable advances in understanding the brain, but how do you actually study the neurons inside it? Using gorgeous imagery, neuroscientist and TED Fellow Carl Schoonover shows the tools that let us see inside our brains.

Filmed February 2012 at TED 2012
Uploaded to YouTube on July 12, 2013 by TED

I am my connectome

Sebastian Seung is mapping a massively ambitious new model of the brain that focuses on the connections between each neuron. He calls it our "connectome," and it's as individual as our genome -- and understanding it could open a new way to understand our brains and our minds.

Filmed July 2010 at TED Global 2010
Uploaded to YouTube on Sept. 28, 2010 by TED

How flies fly: Michael Dickinson

Professor of Biomedical Engineering; Chair for Engineering in Medicine; Director, Institute for Engineering in Medicine; and Director, Center for Neuroengineering

You Look Familiar: Unearthing the Face Within

Doris Tsao is an assistant professor of biology and computation and neural systems at Caltech. She joined the Caltech faculty in 2009, and prior to that was head of an independent research group at the University of Bremen. She studied biology and mathematics at Caltech as an undergraduate and received her Ph.D. in neuroscience from Harvard in 2002. Her central interest is in understanding the neural mechanisms underlying vision.

Video published on Feb. 1, 2013 by TEDx Talks at TEDxCaltech

A light switch for neurons

Ed Boyden shows how, by inserting genes for light-sensitive proteins into brain cells, he can selectively activate or de-activate specific neurons with fiber-optic implants. With this unprecedented level of control, he's managed to cure mice of analogs of PTSD and certain forms of blindness. On the horizon: neural prosthetics.

Filmed March 2011 at TED 2011
Uploaded to YouTube on May 17, 2011 by TED

A look inside the brain in real time

Neuroscientist and inventor Christopher deCharms demos an amazing new way to use fMRI to show brain activity while it is happening -- emotion, body movement, pain. (In other words, you can literally see how you feel.)

The applications for real-time fMRIs start with chronic pain control and range into the realm of science fiction, but this technology is very real.

Filmed February 2008 at TED 2008
Uploaded to YouTube on March 27, 2008 by TED

TED Talks webpage

Turning off Parkinson’s and depression

Deep brain stimulation is becoming very precise. This technique allows surgeons to place electrodes in almost any area of the brain, and turn them up or down -- like a radio dial or thermostat -- to correct dysfunction. Andres Lozano offers a dramatic look at emerging techniques, in which a woman with Parkinson's instantly stops shaking and brain areas eroded by Alzheimer's are brought back to life.

Filmed January 2013 at TEDs Caltech 2013
Uploaded to YouTube on June 12,, 2013 by TED

A mouse. A laser beam. A manipulated memory.

"Can we edit the content of our memories? It's a sci-fi-tinged question that Steve Ramirez and Xu Liu are asking in their lab at MIT. Essentially, the pair shoot a laser beam into the brain of a living mouse to activate and manipulate its memory. In this unexpectedly amusing talk they share not only how, but -- more importantly -- why they do this."

Filmed June 2013 at TEDx Boston 2013
Uploaded to YouTube on August 15,, 2013 by TED

A neural portrait of the human mind

"Brain imaging pioneer Nancy Kanwisher, who uses fMRI scans to see activity in brain regions (often her own), shares what she and her colleagues have learned: The brain is made up of both highly specialized components and general-purpose "machinery." Another surprise: There's so much left to learn."

Filmed March 2014 at TED 2014
Uploaded to YouTube on October 2, 2014 by TED

The paralyzed rat that walked

"A spinal cord injury can sever the communication between your brain and your body, leading to paralysis. Fresh from his lab, Grégoire Courtine shows a new method -- combining drugs, electrical stimulation and a robot -- that could re-awaken the neural pathways and help the body learn again to move on its own. See how it works, as a paralyzed rat becomes able to run and navigate stairs."

Filmed June 2013 at TED Global 2013
Uploaded to YouTube on November 6, 2013 by TED

Know thyself, with a brain scanner

"Imagine playing a video game controlled by your mind. Now imagine that game also teaches you about your own patterns of stress, relaxation and focus. Ariel Garten shows how looking at our own brain activity gives new meaning to the ancient dictum "know thyself."

Filmed September 2011 at TEDx Toronto 2011
Uploaded to YouTube on January 26, 2012 by TED

What we’re learning from 5,000 brains

"Mice, bugs and hamsters are no longer the only way to study the brain. Functional MRI (fMRI) allows scientists to map brain activity in living, breathing, decision-making human beings. Read Montague gives an overview of how this technology is helping us understand the complicated ways in which we interact with each other."

Filmed June 2012 at TED Global 2012
Uploaded to YouTube on September 24, 2012 by TED

Hawkins: How brain science will change computing

Palm creator Jeff Hawkins urges us to take a new look at the brain -- to see it not as a fast processor, but as a memory system that stores and plays back experiences to help us predict, intelligently, what will happen next.

Filmed Feb. 2003 at TED 2003

Ray Kurzweil: Get ready for hybrid thinking

"Two hundred million years ago, our mammal ancestors developed a new brain feature: the neocortex. This stamp-sized piece of tissue (wrapped around a brain the size of a walnut) is the key to what humanity has become.

Now, futurist Ray Kurzweil suggests, we should get ready for the next big leap in brain power, as we tap into the computing power in the cloud."

Happiness and its surprises

"Cognitive researcher Nancy Etcoff looks at happiness -- the ways we try to achieve and increase it, the way it's untethered to our real circumstances, and its surprising effect on our bodies."

Filmed February 2004 at TED 2004
Uploaded to YouTube on June 15, 2009 by TED

The optimism bias

"Are we born to be optimistic, rather than realistic? Tali Sharot shares new research that suggests our brains are wired to look on the bright side -- and how that can be both dangerous and beneficial."

Filmed February 2012 at TED 2012
Uploaded to YouTube on May 14, 2012 by TED

Why do we sleep?

"Russell Foster is a circadian neuroscientist: He studies the sleep cycles of the brain. And he asks: What do we know about sleep? Not a lot, it turns out, for something we do with one-third of our lives. In this talk, Foster shares three popular theories about why we sleep, busts some myths about how much sleep we need at different ages -- and hints at some bold new uses of sleep as a predictor of mental health."

Filmed March 2014 at TED 2014
Uploaded to YouTube on August 14, 2013 by TED

The pursuit of ignorance

"What does real scientific work look like? As neuroscientist Stuart Firestein jokes: It looks a lot less like the scientific method and a lot more like "farting around ... in the dark." In this witty talk, Firestein gets to the heart of science as it is really practiced and suggests that we should value what we don't know -- or "high-quality ignorance" -- just as much as what we know"

Filmed February 2013 at TED 2013
Uploaded to YouTube on September 24, 2013 by TED

How to control someone else’s arm with your brain

"Greg Gage is on a mission to make brain science accessible to all. In this fun, kind of creepy demo, the neuroscientist and TED Senior Fellow uses a simple, inexpensive DIY kit to take away the free will of an audience member. It’s not a parlor trick; it actually works. You have to see it to believe it."

Filmed March 2015 at TED 2015
Uploaded to YouTube on April 28, 2015 by TED

Why dieting doesn’t usually work

"In the US, 80% of girls have been on a diet by the time they're 10 years old. In this honest, raw talk, neuroscientist Sandra Aamodt uses her personal story to frame an important lesson about how our brains manage our bodies, as she explores the science behind why dieting not only doesn't work, but is likely to do more harm than good. She suggests ideas for how to live a less diet-obsessed life, intuitively."

Filmed June 2013 at TEDGlobal 2013
Uploaded to YouTube on January 8, 2014 by TED

Can the damaged brain repair itself?

'After a traumatic brain injury, it sometimes happens that the brain can repair itself, building new brain cells to replace damaged ones. But the repair doesn't happen quickly enough to allow recovery from degenerative conditions like motor neuron disease (also known as Lou Gehrig's disease or ALS). Siddharthan Chandran walks through some new techniques using special stem cells that could allow the damaged brain to rebuild faster."

Filmed March 2014 at TED 2014
Uploaded to YouTube on February 24, 2014 by TED

One more reason to get a good night’s sleep

"The brain uses a quarter of the body's entire energy supply, yet only accounts for about two percent of the body's mass. So how does this unique organ receive and, perhaps more importantly, rid itself of vital nutrients? New research suggests it has to do with sleep."

Filmed September 2014 at TEDMED 2014
Uploaded to YouTube on October 13, 2014 by TED

Why we laugh

"Did you know that you're 13 times more likely to laugh if you're with somebody else than if you're alone? Cognitive neuroscientist Sophie Scott shares this and other surprising facts about laughter in this fast-paced, action-packed and, yes, hilarious dash through the science of the topic"

Filmed March 2015 at TED 2015
Uploaded to YouTube on April 30, 2015 by TED

The quest to understand consciousness

"Every morning we wake up and regain consciousness -- that is a marvelous fact -- but what exactly is it that we regain? Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio uses this simple question to give us a glimpse into how our brains create our sense of self."

Filmed March 2011 at TED 2011
Uploaded to YouTube on December 18, 2011 by TED

How your brain tells you where you are

"How do you remember where you parked your car? How do you know if you're moving in the right direction? Neuroscientist Neil Burgess studies the neural mechanisms that map the space around us, and how they link to memory and imagination."

Filmed November 20111 at TEDSalon London 2011
Uploaded to YouTube on February 6, 2012 by TED

The mysterious workings of the adolescent brain

"Why do teenagers seem so much more impulsive, so much less self-aware than grown-ups? Cognitive neuroscientist Sarah-Jayne Blakemore compares the prefrontal cortex in adolescents to that of adults, to show us how typically "teenage" behavior is caused by the growing and developing brain."

Filmed June 2012 at TED Global 2012
Uploaded to YouTube on July 14, 2014 by TED

Beware neuro-bunk

"Brains are ubiquitous in modern marketing: Headlines proclaim cheese sandwiches help with decision-making, while a "neuro" drink claims to reduce stress. There's just one problem, says neuroscientist Molly Crockett: The benefits of these "neuro-enhancements" are not proven scientifically. In this to-the-point talk, Crockett explains the limits of interpreting neuroscientific data, and why we should all be aware of them."

Filmed November 2012 at TEDSalon Londno 2012
Uploaded to YouTube on December 18, 2012 by TED

Your brain is more than a bag of chemicals

"Modern psychiatric drugs treat the chemistry of the whole brain, but neurobiologist David Anderson believes in a more nuanced view of how the brain functions. He illuminates new research that could lead to targeted psychiatric medications -- that work better and avoid side effects. How's he doing it? For a start, by making a bunch of fruit flies angry"

Filmed January 2013 at TEDx Caltech 2013
Uploaded to YouTube on March 12, 2013 by TED

What is so special about the human brain?

"The human brain is puzzling -- it is curiously large given the size of our bodies, uses a tremendous amount of energy for its weight and has a bizarrely dense cerebral cortex. But: why? Neuroscientist Suzana Herculano-Houzel puts on her detective's cap and leads us through this mystery. By making "brain soup," she arrives at a startling conclusion."

Filmed June 2013 at TEDGlobal 2013
Uploaded to YouTube on November 26, 2013 by TED

Could future devices read images from our brains?

"As an expert on cutting-edge digital displays, Mary Lou Jepsen studies how to show our most creative ideas on screens. And as a brain surgery patient herself, she is driven to know more about the neural activity that underlies invention, creativity, thought. She meshes these two passions in a rather mind-blowing talk on two cutting-edge brain studies that might point to a new frontier in understanding how (and what) we think."

Filmed March 2013 at TED 2013
Uploaded to YouTube on March 3, 2013 by TED

How do you explain consciousness?

"Our consciousness is a fundamental aspect of our existence, says philosopher David Chalmers: "There's nothing we know about more directly.... but at the same time it's the most mysterious phenomenon in the universe." He shares some ways to think about the movie playing in our heads."

Filmed March 2014 at TED 2014
Uploaded to YouTube on July 14, 2014 by TED

3 clues to understanding your brain

"Vilayanur Ramachandran tells us what brain damage can reveal about the connection between celebral tissue and the mind, using three startling delusions as examples."

Filmed march 2007 at TED 2007
Uploaded to YouTube on October 23, 2007 by TED

How we read each other’s minds

Sensing the motives and feelings of others is a natural talent for humans. But how do we do it? Here, Rebecca Saxe shares fascinating lab work that uncovers how the brain thinks about other peoples' thoughts -- and judges their actions.

Filmed July 2009 at TED Global 2009
Uploaded to YouTube on Sep 11, 2009 by TED

Monkey controls a robot with its thoughts

"Can we use our brains to directly control machines -- without requiring a body as the middleman? Miguel Nicolelis talks through an astonishing experiment, in which a clever monkey in the US learns to control a monkey avatar, and then a robot arm in Japan, purely with its thoughts. The research has big implications for quadraplegic people -- and maybe for all of us."

Filmed April 2012 at TEDMED 2012
Uploaded to YouTube on February 18, 2013 by TED

Videos by Oliver Sacks, a tribute

Oliver Sacks, M.D. was a physician, a best-selling author, and a professor of neurology at the NYU School of Medicine. The New York Times has referred to him as “the poet laureate of medicine.”

Some of the videos in this post include:
What hallucination reveals about our minds
Musicophilia - Alzheimer's/The Power of Music
Musicophilia - Bright Blue Music
Musicophilia - Strokes, Language, and Music
Authors@Google: Oliver Sacks

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