New Publication: Thalamic atrophy correltes with 6-months outcome in traumatic patients

Evan Lutkenhoff (MontiLab post-doc) just published a paper in NeuroImage Clinical:

Thalamic atrophy in antero-medial and dorsal nuclei correlates with six-month outcome after severe brain injury

Evan demonstrated that the degree of atrophy in specific antero-dorsal areas of thalamus is related to whether patients are doing better or not 6 months post-injury. This finding is very important because it shows that the secondary non-mechanic damage inflicted by TBI is present early on post trauma, giving us a window (and a target) for potential interventions

Red/yellow regions depict areas of maximal atrophy for patients who do worse after 6-months, as compared to patients who do better.

MontiLab in the news again: fMRI reveals signs of activity in former Israeli PM Ariel Sharon!

I was invited by a group of researchers at Ben-Gurion University to scan former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who has supposedly been in a Vegetative State since 2007, to assess residual brain activity.

The news is reported in several media outlets:

(English) Interview on Israel’s main TV news cast, Channel 2

Report of the news on CNN

NY Times report

Reuters News

CBS News

UCLA Press Release

Fighting the fight: Are language and algebra really dissociated in the human brain?

Drs Tzourio-Mazoyer and Laura Zago, very noted researchers in the field of reasoning, engage with my Psychological Science report on the dissociation between algebra and language, offering some potential cautionary points:

Myself, Dr Osherson and Dr Parsons, reply to their feedback explaining why the cautionary points do not actually apply to our paper, and thus do not affect the conclusion that there is a dissociation between the neural basis of the syntax of language and that of algebra:

Latest MontiLab publication in Psychological Science: A neural dissociation between the syntax operations of language and those of algebra

Does natural language provide a scaffolding upon which our mind built other domains of structure dependent thought, such as algebra, logic and music?

In a recent study published in Psychological Science we compared the neural basis of the syntactic operations of language to those of algebra, and the two appear to be (neurally) dissociated – meaning the neural machinery of language is not involved in reasoning and manipulating the syntactic structure of algebraic expressions. So the neural machinery that allows you to understand that “The girl kissed the boy” describes the same state of affairs as “The boy was kissed by the girl” is not involved in recognizing that “5 – 3 = 2” is the same as “5 = 3 + 2”.


Monti MM, Parsons LM, Osherson DN (2012) Thought beyond language: A neural dissociation of algebra and natural language. Psychological Science 23(8) 914-922. script