Electromagnetic fields and the brain

Yesterday afternoon I visited Westmead Hospital and talked to a couple of psychiatrists on the use of electromagnetic fields in treating certain conditions. Treatments like the controversial but effective electroconvulsive therapy for depression, and transcranial magnetic stimulation for Parkinson’s and stroke, are becoming well used. However, there is little understanding of why they work. It’s a case […]

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Mysterious power generation

One consequence of being a physicist is that you can’t go anywhere without seeing physics calculations that need doing. I’ve just been to our library hunting down books on the medical technique of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), which was an interesting exercise in itself, since one textbook I found also has a chapter on homeopathy. […]

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Quantum Chicken

Our neighbours have a dog – one of those small, yappy, pointless pooches with an excessive bark-to-weight ratio. It runs about their garden, keeping our cat out and gets very loud when I venture over to the compost bin. The neighbours’ garden is fortunately well-fenced, meaning the creature thankfully can’t invade our side. So, imagine […]

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Electricity Show

I’m guessing many of you readers saw the ‘Sunday’ programme last Sunday. (Would be silly if were on another day of the week). Carlos Van Camp, the guy with the lightning show, was pretty impressive. What was refreshing was how the whole piece was presented without mangling the science, which is something that media are […]

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Thermal expansion again

Our new house (new to us – it’s twelve years old) can make some ferocious noises sometimes. It has some huge steel beams supporting the roof – these being held up as far as I can tell partly by steel supports and partly by concrete walls. I’ve been trying to work out just what is […]

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Trouble of enormous magnitude

We have a problem brewing in the lab.  Recently, we (by which I mean a PhD student or two and a researcher) moved into a new lab. As part of our research we are recording electrophysiological signals (electricity produced by living cells). These are pretty small, often in the microvolt region (a millionth of a […]

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