The Quantified Brain of a Self-Tracking Neuroscientist
A neuroscientist is getting a brain scan twice every week for a year to try to see how neural networks behave over time
Russell Poldrack, a neuroscientist at the University of Texas at Austin, is undertaking some intense introspection. Every day, he tracks his mood and mental state, what he ate, and how much time he spent outdoors. Twice a week, he gets his brain scanned in an MRI machine. And once a week, he has his blood drawn so that it can be analyzed for hormones and gene activity levels. Poldrack plans to gather a year’s worth of brain and body data to answer an unexplored question in the neuroscience community: how do brain networks behave and change over a year?
OH MY GOD, ELLEN. IS THIS AT YOUR SCHOOL?! WHY IS THIS NOT ME?!
The first thing I thought when I read the top part was “UT!!! :D”
And then I read through it and was like, “Whoa!!”
AND THEN I SAW MY NAME AND IT WAS COOL.
But seriously, this is awesome. The most I’ve ever tracked was liquid intake versus how many times I peed, but this is obviously way more legit.
I’m excited to see what comes of this! And if he does a seminar or a talk or something cool like that.
So lately I have been really into chest poppin’.
If music is playing, I’m poppin’.
If I feel happy, I’m poppin’.
If I do a thing, I’m poppin’.
Basically, I’m poppin’ all the time.
Pop pop pop!
Hope your finals are poppin’!
(EDIT: If the gifs are slow and awkward, you just need to let them load a bit. Then, they will still be awkward, but fast. And more fun.)
MARSHMALLOWS AND COOKIE!
To make the magic happen yourself:
Us engineering kids aren’t exactly the most belligerent type..
I sometimes wish
An illustration from the 1840s of surgeon James Young Simpson and his friends who would spend evenings together sampling new chemicals to see if they had any anaesthetic effect. Simpson discovered the anaesthetic properties of chloroform and successfully introduced it for medical use where it quickly replaced ether as the anaesthetic of choice.
Hehe I used chloroform in pchem lab last week (and we boiled it, no less), and I felt super intense.
On Monday, at work, my manager asked me how long I would be working for FOA. She said that she liked my snarky attitude. On Friday, she showed me where the supply closet was, and on Monday, she took me to the ECJ “attic” (11th floor). I think she’s interested in having me be a student manager in the future.
Today, in my advising session, my advisor said that she might tap into me (those were her words, generally) to be a thermo tutor in the future. This was super encouraging, especially because she had my entire academic record before her, and probably saw my less than stellar performance in ochem and transport.
Quality time may be my top love language, but words of affirmation are definitely a close second.
My thermo professor/faculty advisor is just so wonderful.
Earlier, I was sitting on a bench inside CPE, scrolling through Tumblr on my phone. I saw this, and starting laughing really hard.
“What are you cracking up over?”
I looked up, and saw my professor walking over towards me. She scooted next to me on the bench (I was sitting at the end of the bench), and peered over my shoulder. I scrolled back to the top of the post, and showed her the whole post.
She chuckled, and agreed that it was indeed quite funny. We chatted for a bit, and then she left.
Hehe, definitely my favorite professor.
Today, I walked down Dean Keeton from ECJ to Kinsolving in the pouring rain.
With just an average hoodie between me and the elements. Definitely no raincoat.
I had been napping for the past hour, so I had no idea that the skies had opened up for a downpour. I went to work, and then said I could go home, since there were extra people.
Right when I stepped out of the door of the call center, I saw why everybody was especially reluctant to leave. The soaking wet raincoat on the door handle suddenly made sense. I now understood why someone was saying that there was a flash flood warning.
I was wearing closed toe non-athletic shoes, and I didn’t want them to get wet and nasty, because then they would stay wet and nasty for a long time. I took them off, oriented them bottom to bottom, and then carefully placed them in my backpack. I then bobby-pinned my bangs back, so that they wouldn’t be flapping in my face.
I opened the door and faced the torrents head first.
The pebbled pavement probably hurt the most. Since there was heavy rain, some of the gravelly parts of the soil washed up onto parts of the pavement, and so that part hurt a bit, too. Thankfully there was nothing sharp on the main road, when I crossed the street.
The worst part was probably the rain in my face, though.
To give you context, I do not like water in my face. I even keep a towel inside the shower (on the rod, in a place where it won’t get wet, or at least not very wet), so that I can dry my eye area. If I ever go swimming, I wear goggles, or at least give very strong consideration to wearing goggles.
I felt a little pathetic wiping the water away from my eyes with my already soaked sleeves.
In the end, I made it back to kins safely, albeit with rather sore feet and drenched clothes.
The main thought crossing through my mind was, “Man, and I can’t even take a picture to document how intense I am.” Two days into the fast, and there have already been two kind of big things that I would typically want to take a picture of. But glory to God, and not me, right? God is greater than my petty “accomplishments”.
Thank You, God, for keeping me safe out there in the rain. Thank You for keeping my feet unscathed. Thank You for letting me get sick after. Thank you for allowing me to not get hit by a car.
Another day, another experience.
Today, in Ops 1 (Unit Operations: Transport Processes, if you aren’t familiar with ChE lingo), Dr. Eldridge was talking about shock waves in the context of sonic, supersonic, and subsonic flow in nozzles.
Every time he said “shock” or “before the shock”, or anything with the word “shock” in it, for that matter, I would think about the Beast songs of similar names (“Shock” and “Just Before Shock”), and a goofy smile would spread across my face.