“Brain Imaging Research is Often Wrong. This Researcher Wants to Change That”

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Julia Belluz at Vox interviews Russ Poldrack, the director of the Center for Reproducible Neuroscience, on recent efforts to “clean up the house of neuroscience and improve transparency and the reliability of research.”  Poldrack illustrates the current problems with fMRI studies by recounting the story of a group of researchers who put a dead salmon in an MRI scanner and found activation in the salmon’s brain.  Poldrack hopes to solve some of the reproducibility and reliability problems in neuroscience through “free, powerful, and innovative computing tools” but sees the project as “part of a bigger movement going on across science for openness and transparency and reproducibility.”

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5 COMMENTS

  1. What if you could watch where the electricity flows in a computer “brain” CPU , would it tell you what it is doing?
    I imagine two kinds of computers, one in a factory production line, one in your living-room playing chess.

    Neither CPU under visual study of where electrons are flowing would tell you what the CPU was doing in the real world.

  2. This is one of the biggest wastes of money around – studies of brain/neuron activity in people under severe emotional distress. They have contributed virtually nothing to improved treatments nor to understanding of why people are distressed. The false promises continue to pile up about how breakthroughs are coming in brain imaging research, but they never do – think about the plight of “schizophrenics” now, after all the brain studies of the last few decades, compared to the middle of the 20th century. No different, probably worse.

    Improved “treatments” for people who report delusions, depression, anxiety, etc. have to involve understanding a person in context, in their important relationships and in their societal context. And it must involve understanding their history. The problem with brain imaging research is that it is base on a completely erroneous model of how human suffering is caused. The article in question referred to depression as a “disease”… how pathetic is that.

    This type of BS research is wasting people’s time. It’s too bad that the money will not be devoted to respite centers like Soteria, providing affordable psychotherapy, jobs/housing for disadvantaged people, etc. Common sense is too much to ask for from people like these Stanford scientists.

  3. The MRI; another scientific and technological scam. If we need to know what’s going on in our brain/mind; we need to trust out gut instincts; not through vitamins and what not but by what is considering what is right and what is right for each of us as individuals. How can thing as noisy, confining, and claustrophobic be said to be of any benefit to anyone? Who thought of this thing; one of Hitler’s scientific minions? Science and medical science once had many breakthroughs that truly helped people, lessened suffering, gave us knowledge about life and the universe, and helped us to live a longer life. Now, they seem “hell-bent” on destroying what is sacred to us; our life, our morality, our integrity, our true selves. Each day; the clock ticks down to might war in which we are to truly reclaim our goodness from science and medical science gone “mad.” Thank you.

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