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Activity observed in the brain when using a “mind machine” is similar to how the brain learns new motor skills, scientists have found.
Participants’ neural activity was recorded by using sensors implanted in their brain, which were linked to a computer that translated electrical impulses into actions.
The researchers believe people will be able to perform increasingly complex tasks just by thinking them.
The study is published in PNAS journal.
Image credit: V.J. Wedeen and L.L. Wald, Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at MGH
A group of Oxford dons are spending roughly the same amount per month as a gym membership to be cryo-preserved after they die - or frozen in liquid nitrogen at -196C.
The hope is that in a few hundred years, technology will be developed enough to revive them.
Anders Sandberg told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme’s Evan Davis that that he is one of the academics planning to have his head frozen.
Listen to the interview here.
The power of mind
Watch how these three guys, despite their physical disability, are able to create a tune by just using their minds.
Hat tip to wildcat2030 for original post.
This discovery could help researchers develop an early detection test for severe seizure disorders. Childhood epilepsy is often linked to developmental and intellectual problems later in life, so being able to diagnose it early could help improve outcomes and treat children as young as possible.
PEEKABOO BRAIN A new technique that makes mouse brains transparent makes it easier for researchers to look at specific features, such as individual neurons (shown in green). From a report published in Nature.
Dream decoding made possible: Japanese scientists have started to ‘read’ people’s dreams.
Spinnaker, an ambitious project at the University of Manchester (UK), is to build a one-billion-neuron computer from microchips. The idea is to create a supercomputer that works just like the human brain using the same ARM chips that power most smartphones. The team wants to do parallel simulation of large-scale neural networks using the equivalent of 1 per cent of the human brain’s neuron count. They are well on their way: using chips that model 1000 neurons each, their system has created the equivalent of 750,000 neurons. “We’re advancing slowly but steadily,” says project leader Steve Furber.
An illustration depicting the damaging effects of a tumor (red) on structural connections within the brain.
Image credit: Sherbrooke Connectivity Imaging Lab
Working with patients with electrodes implanted in their brains, researchers at the University of California, Davis, and The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) have shown for the first time that areas of the brain work together at the same time to recall memories. The unique approach promises new insights into how we remember details of time and place.
Chinese these doctors are attempting to erase motivation by erasing a part of the addict’s brain. It is an extreme procedure which involves drilling small holes into the skulls of patients and inserting long electrodes which extend down to the part of the brain called the nucleus accumbens (“pleasure center” of the brain) which is the major nucleus of the brain’s reward circuit.
Despite a ban in 2004, when the Ministry of Health in China banned the procedure due to lack of data on long term outcomes and growing outrage in Western media over ethical issues about whether the patients were fully aware of the risks, over 1000 people have undergone this procedure since. The reason: some doctors were allowed to continue the procedure for research purposes.
In the Western world brain ablations occur rarely and only as a last result. About two dozen ablations are performed each year in the US and the UK. These rare cases are reserved for people suffering from debilitating depression or obsessive-compulsive disorder for which conventional treatments have been ineffective. And the procedures are only performed in these countries after an “extensive review by institutional review boards and intensive discussions with the patient, who must acknowledge the risks.”
The brain ablation surgeries being performed in China are vastly more precise than blunt dissection lobotomies, but any brain surgery carries with it serious risk to the patient. In addition to infection and other complications that all surgeries entail, the incredible complexity of the brain makes the consequence of even a perfect procedure highly unpredictable. Moreover, the “pleasure center” isn’t just the part of the brain that makes people drug addicts, it’s also essential to seeking the more worthy rewards in life such as a completed novel, a beautiful sunset, a lifelong love. It also gives us that non-negotiable impulse that leads us to make bad choices. Perhaps more than any other brain region, the “pleasure center” could be renamed to the “human nature” center, for what’s more human than rejoice and regret?
One of the main reasons I fell in love with science is its great ability to improve people’s lives. One such example is Jan Scheuermann, a lady who has quadriplegia (also known as tetraplegia). It is a paralysis caused by illness or injury to a human that results in the partial or total loss of use of all their limbs and torso.
A recent study published in the scientific journal The Lancet described how Jan and a team of researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and UPMC, demonstrated for the first time that a person with longstanding quadriplegia can maneuver a mind-controlled, human-like robot arm in seven dimensions (7D) to consistently perform many of the natural and complex motions of everyday life. Using the robotic arm for the first time in ten years Jan was able to feed herself a piece of chocolate.
To an outsider, American football may seem a complete random, chaotic and non-sense game. It has in fact an abundance of rules and plays, making this a highly strategic game, which not only requires physical strength but also courage from the players. Why courage? Unfortunately, due to the tough nature of the game frequent injuries are part of it including concussions. Most hauntingly, according to a recent brain study, it turns out that NFL players are literally putting their lives on the line. The study published in the scientific journal Brain links brain diseases of deceased NFL players to concussions.
The growing evidence of a link between head trauma and long-term, degenerative brain disease was amplified in the extensive study which included athletes, military veterans and others who absorbed repeated hits to the head, reports the New York Times.
What the study did not demonstrate was what percentage of professional football players were likely to develop C.T.E. To do that, investigators would need to study the brains of players who do not develop C.T.E., and those are difficult to acquire because families of former players who do not exhibit symptoms are less likely to donate their brains to science.
Recent study by connectome researchers, published in the journal Science, revealed that the brain’s neurons are not the haphazard tangle that some had thought, but are arranged in a tidy grid that resembles a city street map.
And if you have ever wondered what makes you, you, thensome of the world’s top neuroscientists might say: “You are your connectome.”
The connectome refers to the exquisitely interconnected network of neurons (nerve cells) in your brain. Like the genome, the microbiome, and other exciting “ome” fields, the effort to map the connectome and decipher the electrical signals that zap through it to generate your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors has become possible through development of powerful new tools and technologies.