File deleuze-guattari/deleuze-guattari.0509, message 14

Date: Wed, 14 Sep 2005 11:51:49 -0400
Subject: Re: [D-G] sex appeal pf the inorganic

I went drinking with some neurobiologists last weekend and all I got
was this lousy T-slice!!!
Modern neurological drugs like prozac are only partially understood
and if you are an american neurobiologist you can easily find huge
grants from the defense dept to study these drugs, or smaller
moderately-huge grants from massive private companies like the Howard
Hughes Medical Institute who are still looking for a safe way to
unfreeze their cyrogenic philanthropist (actually yes!).
When the neuroscientist has cut a thin slice of the mouse brain and
looks at it under the microscope, he is looking for relationships in
that slice that tells him something about the functiioning of the
complete brain. Neuro-genesis is the concept of creating new neural
networks. Neurogenesis is mostly associated with childhood where it is
prominently featured, but it doesn't end with childhood. It is mostly
believed that neuro-genesis occurs when the adult mouse is confronted
by novel situations, like in a maze. They use the word "Novel" in a
non-literary manner, but it still references that all important
"narrative". (That narrative being that they are starved to the brink
of insanity and then dropped in a maze where they might find anything
from food to random electric shock.)
So before the living mouse can run through the maze, his brain is
injected with a dye-attaching virus (often mutant cockroach dna). Now,
as he runs his course through the maze, confronting novel situations,
that virus spreads through the maze of his brain, leaving the dye-ed
trail of his particular neuro-genesis. Every mouse leaves their own
novel trail. These experiments are sometimes run with open-faced mice,
live mice with long wires connecting their brain to the scientist's
data collection device, but the dye method is more common. Under the
microscope, the little mouse brain slice functions like a map with its
dyed regions, it is tested like a circuit, electricity is run through
it in the hopes of finding intact neurological pathways that still
function. This slicing technique is an admittedly far-fetched
approach, but apparently it's success-rate has a better track-record
than other methods of data collection.  The problem with slicing is
that the brain is a multi-dimensional parallel processor, and the
causal relationships along a slice plane are somewhat narrow to say
least. Your are most likely not going to find an intact connection
even if millions exist. A computer's serial processor runs many
thousands of processes a second in a speedy linear manner. This is
unlike the brain, which is slow in comparison, usually running only a
hundred processes a second at most. What it lacks in speed it makes up
for with parallel processing. All the real estate for raw
computational pathways is found on the outer layer of the brain, and
they are orchestrated in a parallel fashion by the lower parts of the
brain, found in the inner region of the brain. The hippocampus is a
major organizer, sequencing everything from internal clock counters to
dealing with connecting all various sensory inputs in a meaningful
way. Like connecting sound source with visual source, just google it
to find out more. One of the most startling finds from this year has
been the "echo effect" in sleeping mice. During their daily maze run,
scientists have observed specific patterns in the mouse's hippocampus.
When the mouse's hippocampus is then observed afterwards during sleep,
those same patterns have been found, sometimes in a sped up form,
suggesting an echo or feedback loop type of dynamic.

Some more random info collected from a drunk conversation with a gay
neurobiologist grad student at bar near Columbia U.:
He tells me that during heterosexual male orgasm, certain parts (too
drunk to remember which) of the brain are activated. For heterosexual
female orgasm, those same certain parts are also activated. Orgasm for
homosexual men is quiet similar, with those same certain parts
activated too. But orgasm for homosexual women is another story
completely, not only are those same certain parts sometimes activated
but in many cases whole other regions are activated as well.
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