Brain Café - 2018

21.11.2018

I DON'T GET YOU – ALCOHOLISM AND SOCIAL COGNITION

PD Dr. Patrizia Thoma, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, Neuropsychology, Faculty of Psychology, Ruhr-Universität Bochum

Alcoholism often goes hand in hand with problems in interpersonal relationships. Some of these conflicts can be traced back to the fact that those affected by alcoholism have difficulties with processing social and emotional information and with acting appropriately. A reason for this is that chronic alcohol dependency leads to changes in those areas of the brain responsible for processing social and emotional information and behaviour control. The talk will give an overview on the latest research on this topic in the field of neuropsychology.

Download audio podcast (21,8 MB | 32:18 min)

31.10.2018

HALLOWEEN SPECIAL DIAGNOSIS: ZOMBIE WHAT NEUROPLASTICITY AND DEGENERATIVE CONDITIONS CAN TELL US ABOUT THE BRAIN

Dr. Stefanie Borowy, AG Neuroplastizität, Neurologische Klinik und Poliklinik, BG UK Bergmannsheil

This talk takes you on a tour through the human brain, based on the studies of Dr. Steven C. Schlozman, Harvard lecturer and science fiction author. The psychiatrist blurs the distinction between reality and fantasy and translates the idea of zombism into a fictional neurological disorder called "Ataxic Neurodegenerative Satiety Deficiency"-syndrome. Some symptoms of this disorder may very well derive from disturbances in specific areas of the brain – zombies can therefore serve as an interesting model for a number of neurodegenerative diseases. An excursion into the field of neuroparasitology is furthermore going to demonstrate that the concept of zombism is much closer to our reality than it might seem at first glance.

Download audio podcast (21,8 MB | 32:18 min)

26.09.2018

PARKINSON'S DISEASE – CAN NEW TREATMENTS OFFER HOPE OF A CURE?

Prof. Dr. Lars Tönges, St. Josef-Hospital – Katholisches Klinikum Bochum, Klinik für Neurologie, Ruhr-Universität Bochum

Parkinson's disease is characterised by motor symptoms such as tremor, restricted fine motor skills and limited mobility. Moreover non-motor symptoms may arise, e.g. digestive disorders, mood swings or memory impairment. The medication available can alleviate symptoms – it cannot, however, stop the chronic course of the disease. Researchers have now developed new ways of treating Parkinson's disease and it is possible that those treatments might have a healing effect. The talk will explore the potential of and the rationale behind these new therapies.

Download audio podcast (36,2 MB | 49:23 min)

20.06.2018

"MATRIX UNDER PRESSURE": CHANGES OF THE CELL ENVIRONMENT ASSOCIATED WITH GLAUCOMA

Dr. Jacqueline Reinhard, Department of Cell Morphology and Molecular Neurobiology, Faculty of Biology and Biotechnology, Ruhr-Universität Bochum

The glaucoma is the second-most common cause for loss of sight worldwide. This disease leads to a loss of retinal nerve cells and damage to the optic nerve. The main risk factor is increased intraocular pressure, which not only damages the nerve cells, but also changes their environment, the extracellular matrix. This matrix consists of a protein mix, which is formed by the cells and controls their survival as well as their death. The goal of our research is to decipher the function of specific parts of the matrix in order to develop new forms of treatment.

Download audio podcast (33,8 MB | 47:40 min)

16.05.2018

DOES PHYSICAL ACTIVITY IMPROVE YOUR BRAIN? ON THE INTERACTION BETWEEN BRAIN AND MUSCLES

Prof. Dr. Daniel Hahn, Department of Movement Science, Faculty of Sport Science, Ruhr-Universität Bochum

Without motion our life would be empty, but how does it work? Human motions are the result of the directed use of the skeletal muscles under a given physical condition – our muscles are the engines of life. But does the prejudice, that a lot of muscles come with a tiny brain, hold true? Far from it: motion only works well, as long as the brain, the peripheral nervous system and the muscles interact with each other. The talk will demonstrate what we know (as well as what we don't know) about the interaction between muscles and brain and how researchers try to deepen our understanding of this interaction.

Download audio podcast (30,0 MB | 50:05 min)

18.04.2018

BEHAVIOUR WITHOUT RESPONSIBILITY – IS AN ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE ABLE TO ACT MORALLY?

Lukas Brand (Mag.-Theol.), Interdisciplinary Questions of Philosophy and Theology, Department of Catholic Theology, Ruhr-Universität Bochum

Artificial intelligence (AI) already determines our everyday life. It is hidden in our phones, Amazon, Netflix and Google – it recognises cancerous cells and beats humans in chess and poker. For quite some time AI has been advanced enough to steer a car safely through traffic. We increasingly transfer autonomy to artificially intelligent machines; this in turn increases the probability that those artificial agents will have to solve moral problems. How can we develop AI systems, capable of autonomously solving moral questions? Which ethical theory can be applied to artificial agents? And what is the role of the attempt to simulate human behaviour by means of an artificial brain?.

Download audio podcast (30,4 MB | 33:52 min)

21.03.2018

Mistakes should be avoided in learning! Or shouldn´t they?

Prof. Dr. Nikol Rummel, Pädagogische Psychologie, Institut für Erziehungswissenschaft, Ruhr-Universität Bochum

Many instructional approaches start from the premise that mistakes in learning should be avoided. The students are supposed to perform flawlessly as soon as possible and to acquire only correct knowledge. A number of studies on the "Productive Failure" paradigm are taking a different direction. They show - in accordance with the phrase "from errors one learns"- that incorrect approaches to a problem without immediate correction can be fruitful for learning. The talk will address empirical results and theoretical aspects for both sides in order to enable a differentiated evaluation of the topic.

Download audio podcast (28,9 MB | 33:09 min)

21.02.2018

Alzheimer's – New Approaches in Basic Research

PD Dr. Dipl.-Ing. Thorsten Müller, AG Cell Signaling, Faculty of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Biochemistry II, Molecular Biochemistry, Ruhr-Universität Bochum

Research into Alzheimer's disease has reached a turning-point: Many approaches towards treating the disease have failed and its causes seem less clear than ever. Currently a new research group is being established at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum, examining new mechanisms which might be responsible for the disease. Does, for example, the cell nucleus and its genetic material play a more crucial role than hitherto recognised and can Alzheimer's be described as some sort of cancer of the brain? The research group "Cell signalling" will present their approaches in the Brain Café.

Download audio podcast (39,6 MB | 46 min)

24.01.2018

Remembering Unintentionally and Forgetting Deliberately – How Our Brain Processes Unwanted Memories of the Past

Dr. Gerd Waldhauser, Faculty of Psychology, Neuropsychology, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, Ruhr-Universität Bochum

Our memories define who we are and how we perceive the world around us. On the one hand we are afraid of losing memories; on the other hand we remember events and experiences we would rather forget. What happens in the brain when those unwanted memories pop up in our heads? How does the brain distinguish between important and disturbing memories? Is it possible to control the way we remember things? New methods of research allow us not only to track the brain-physiological patterns of individual memories from the moment they are stored in the brain to their retrieval, but also to modify the way in which memories are being processed. This helps us to improve our understanding of the way we remember things and enables us to treat mental illnesses such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

Download audio podcast (68,3 MB | 56:39 min)