Saturday, June 29, 2013


Escotes: After my experience at the Columbus museum this week, I couldn't fail to notice this bit of news. The BBC has made the sort of apology which isn't really an apology: "We're sorry if some people were upset etc."

Unrelatedly . . . Here's a fascinating podcast from the BBC, asking the question What do we really know about pornography? It seems there's no overall definition of what this is, meaning that all depends on which branch of science or philosophy - or religion - you're coming from. As it were. And on the boundaries of your personal distaste. The presenter does an excellent job of weaving her way between the differing opinions and arriving at an answer as to whether her feminism or her liberalism should hold sway.

Down in Gib, someone says a member of the Spanish Guardia Civíl fired on him in British waters, when he was out on a pedalo or something. He even claims to have a video of the event. The Guardia Civíl, on the other hand, says it never happened and lambasts the British government for giving credence to mere rumours. Now, the Spanish public rates the GC higher than almost any other institution. Admittedly, this isn't saying much, but it does put me in a who-to-believe dilemma. I mean, would the GC really lie? I've always found the Trafico officers to be scrupulously fair and honest. I'll have to give it some thought.

Finally . . . Before he died, I became a great fan of the comedian Bob Monkhouse. Well, he went off quite a bit after that. One of my all time favourite lines appeared in an article sent to me by an old New Orleans friend today and here it is - "They laughed when I told them I wanted to be a comedian. Well, they're not laughing now!" Click here and scroll down to the end for more of his best one-liners.

Talking of these . . . I also rather like this one from Odgen Nash:- You are only young once but you can stay immature indefinitely. I'm reminded of a car ride with my elder daughter which developed into a spat. After a while, she said "Well, how are we going to resolve this? One of us needs to grow up and it sure as hell isn't going to be you." She was that kind of daughter. Still is really.

Having chosen which brand of new TV I wanted, I went to one of their 2 official distributors today to see what they had in stock. Only to find it yet another victim of La Crísis. If the other one is also closed, I guess I'll end up in either Carrefour's Hypermarket (which I hate) or in El Corte Inglés. As the latter is in Vigo, I think I'm justified in regarding it as out-of-town shopping. I walked past yet another closure this morning - a florists - but this time the place had been opened as yet herb&spice shop. But at least/last I was able to get the coriander seeds I wanted.

Spanglish? Or just plain robbery? Angela tiene muchos fans. On this theme, my fellow blogger, Anthea, has come across Toppings being used by ice-cream vendors in Sanxenxo. What's remarkable about this is that it's being used in the way it is in English. In contrast with spinning, lifting, picking, parking, footing, etc., etc.

Finally, finally . . . Depression: No sooner do I cite the list of famous depressives than El Mundo brings us an interview with the man who plans to use brain implants for those of us who don't respond to brain-changing chemicals but do to ECT. Log off now if you've no interest. Otherwise, here's an interview with him. It's a Google translation, as I'm out having Arroz con Bogavante tonight. So you'll have to decide for yourself what the meaning is when the computer comes over all 'Spanish':-

Already there are volunteers prepared to that we put electrodes to them to improve its memory”

Andres Lozano is one of the world pioneers in the use of deep brain stimulation to treat various neurological and psychiatric diseases. Although born in Seville, when he was only three he moved with his family to Canada.

He is 50 and he has lived there and is currently head of the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Toronto. After so many years dedicated to neurosurgery, this scientist will continue to fascinate the mysteries of the brain, many of you will know, thanks to new research techniques.

What more confident to further expand the knowledge of the brain, imaging tests in genetics?

Many times the great discoveries have been a matter of chance. For example, when trying electrodes on a patient with obesity, found a region capable of improving memory. When you go to a new site in the brain, reveal new neural circuits and you can discover things you never imagined.

Where is the limit of brain stimulation? Can we treat anything with electrodes?

All psychiatric and neural circuits are altered brain base, but so have the memory, joy, sadness, intelligence ... For example, we have two volunteers willing to put them to improve your memory electrodes. This is unethical today, but it is something that society is going to have to raise, that kind of 'cosmetic neurosurgery'. Breast implants, for example, a few years ago were reserved for cases of cancer while surgery is now very common. Things change over time and in the case of the brain that debate will have to face in the future.

Has advanced knowledge of the brain much? How much we have to know?

We do not know how memory works, what is the anatomical basis of consciousness, how to write information to the brain ... There are still quite mysterious things, many regions of the brain do not know exactly what they are doing, why they have developed both in humans compared to animals, where they reside more developed functions such as empathy, ambition, justice ...

How do the patients before they start trading your brain?

Keep in mind that we do surgery for well-established diseases, such as Parkinson's [already treated 100,000 patients worldwide]. When we go to new targets, operate patients who have unsuccessfully tried all kinds of treatments with diseases resistant to conventional therapies, and are on the verge of death. They are very brave when they agree to be the first in the world who put electrodes with a new purpose.

After 50 years living in Canada, what is your relationship with Spain?

We have several collaborations in Spain and Spanish doctors are coming to Toronto to train in the art of deep brain stimulation, and this surgery and is routinely used in hospitals to treat Parkinson Spanish. However, its use in psychiatric disorders such as depression, is less widespread here.

What does the crisis from Toronto?

The crisis in Spain is quite worrying because the investigation is not advanced pace one would like due to lack of resources. But I think you have to invest in this for several reasons, and one of them is economic. For example, if you have a 30 year old patient with depression, stuck at home without going out, drawing a pension, it is costing the government money. However, if you manage to electrodes turn this person into someone who is working and paying taxes ... I think that even from the economic point of view, we must invest in science.

Would it have been you do in Spain what they do in Canada?

I do not know if everything I do I could have done, but curiosity is intrinsic, and I guess I had had anywhere. In Spain there are scientists fantastic.

2 comments:

Diego said...

Why don´t you try Mediamarkt? i see there is one in Pontevedra.

Just in case, i received a text from El Corte Ingles about a 21% discount on electronics, worth checking it out.

Colin said...

Thanks, Diego. In this case, they mean the province, not the town. It's in Vigo. But may go there to check out El Corte Inglés as well. Have seen what they off on their web page.