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Archive for the ‘neuroscience’ category

Jan 20, 2017

Brain’s connections that keep related memories distinct identified in new study

Posted by in category: neuroscience

Neuroscientists at the University of Bristol are a step closer to understanding how the connections in our brain which control our episodic memory work in sync to make some memories stronger than others. The findings, published in Nature Neuroscience, reveal a previously unsuspected division of memory function in the pathways between two areas of the brain, and suggest that certain subnetworks within the brain work separately, to enhance the distinctiveness of memories.

The team studied the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex—two regions of the brain critical to function—as damage in these areas can induce severe memory loss.

Both areas are connected by a complex network of direct and indirect pathways, and the challenge has been until now, how to identify the precise routes through which these brain regions interact in memory formation.

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Jan 20, 2017

Internet of Things smart needle probes the brain during surgery

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, internet, neuroscience

A “smart” needle with an embedded camera is helping doctors perform safer brain surgery.

The device was developed by researchers at the University of Adelaide in South Australia and uses a to identify at-risk blood vessels.

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Jan 20, 2017

A New Device Could Make Memory Implants a Reality

Posted by in categories: biological, health, mathematics, neuroscience

In Brief

  • By mimicking the way neurons fire in the hippocampus during natural memory creation, a brain implant was used to successfully plant memories in the brains of rats.
  • Though human implementation is far off, this breakthrough in cracking the hippocampus’ mathematical “memory code” has very important implications for health and research.

Memories are the faintest, most ethereal wisps of our neurophysiology — somehow, the firing of delicate synapses and the activation of neurons combine to produce the things we remember. The sum of our memories make us who we are; they are us, in every way, and without them we cease to be.

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Jan 19, 2017

Brain atlas advances MRI exploration

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

January 20, 2017 — Researchers have developed a high-resolution, interactive anatomic brain-mapping atlas they say can overcome the limitations of functional MRI (fMRI) and expand the modality’s value to conventional MR brain imaging and standard MRI applications.

The Gibby-Cvetko atlas is designed to segment the brain into finite anatomic regions with a resolution of 1 mm or less to correct for variations in the brain sizes of patients and better delineate the location of cortical structures and skull morphology.

“Having a high-resolution, interactive, quantitative brain atlas that we warp to fit the patient and run inside a PACS improves accuracy and speed of reading fMRI studies,” said co-developer Dr. Wendell Gibby, an adjunct professor of radiology at the University of California, San Diego. “It is a big step toward routine utilization of fMRI in clinical practice.”

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Jan 19, 2017

In Mumbai: 35.3% premature deaths were results of stroke because of air pollution

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

Most premature deaths in Mumbai and Delhi over two decades were caused by stroke (a medical condition that occurs when blood supply to the brain is cut off), due to inhalation of ultrafine suspended particles, revealed a study by the Indian Institute of Technology – Bombay (IITB).

The three-member IITB team attributed 35.3% premature deaths to cerebrovascular disease – arteries supplying blood to the brain is affected – as a result of being exposed to high levels of particulate matter of size less than 2.5 microns in diameter (PM2.5) between 1991 and 2015. Additionally, premature deaths due to ischemic heart disease (it falls under the group of cardiovascular diseases) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) stood at 33.3% and 22.9% during the same period.

A dangerous pollutant, PM2.5 can lodge deep into the lungs and cardiovascular system, giving rise to a host of problems from damage to lung tissue, sneezing, asthma attacks, migraines, headaches to even cancer and heart attacks. The elderly, children, and those with chronic lung disease, influenza, or asthma, are especially sensitive to the effects of PM2.5.

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Jan 19, 2017

Is the Default Mode of the Brain to Suffer?

Posted by in categories: futurism, neuroscience

It underscores the fact that not all minds that wander are lost. University of British Columbia philosopher Evan Thompson, author of Waking, Dreaming, Being: Self and Consciousness in Neuroscience, Meditation, and Philosophy, says the DMN’s mental meanderings are “the baseline state of you as a cognitive system.” It’s tremendously pragmatic: being able to remember the past, plan for the future, and happen upon creative insights are all essential tools for navigating life. While he was hesitant to mix the word “suffering,” which is so loaded in ancient Asian religious traditions, with the “default mode,” which is of a contemporary neural vintage, the two connect in the way that suffering arises when people concretize the fleeting swirls of thought, especially around conceptions of self. Still, he says, there’s “particular kind of stickiness” that can come when DMN activity grows overly self-centered.

Default-mode content involves an image of self, one that’s easy to become attached to. These self-conceptions are “affectively charged,” he says; they carry lots of emotional weight. “We constantly think that it’s not just another thought, that [the image of self] is something real, not just an mental image.”

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Jan 19, 2017

Brain stimulation used like a scalpel to improve memory

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

Precise memory, rather than general memory, is critical for knowing details such as the specific color, shape and location of a building you are looking for, rather than simply knowing the part of town it’s in. This type of memory is crucial for normal functioning, and it is often lost in people with serious memory disorders.

“We show that it is possible to target the portion of the brain responsible for this type of memory and to improve it,” said lead author Joel Voss, assistant professor of medical social sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “People with brain injuries have problems with precise memory as do individuals with dementia, and so our findings could be useful in developing new treatments for these conditions.”

By stimulating the brain network responsible for spatial memory with powerful electromagnets, scientists improved the precision of people’s memory for identifying locations. This benefit lasted a full 24 hours after receiving stimulation and corresponded to changes in brain activity.

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Jan 19, 2017

After 50 years, frozen WWI veteran’s body awaits reanimation

Posted by in categories: cryonics, finance, life extension, neuroscience

“His body, along with the others, will remain frozen indefinitely, with enough ongoing financial support to sustain its current state, news.com.au reported.

Last year, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate successfully froze and reanimated a rabbit brain”.


Since his death, James Bedford’s body has been cryogenically frozen and awaiting reanimation on the edge of the Sonaran Desert in Arizona. This week marks the 50th year of Bedford’s deep freeze, making him the oldest “de-animated” human being on earth.

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Jan 19, 2017

Jekyll & Hyde Tale Unfolding Within The Human Brain May Explain Neurodegenerative Disease

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

Interesting write up by Stanford on Astrocytes and neurodegenerative diseases. One area that I will be interested in finding research is any ties to Dystonia as Astrocytes own impact to the central nervous system.


Judging from the very terms used to designate brain research — neuroscience, neuro logy, neuro biology — you might figure nerve cells (or neurons, as brain scientists like to call them) are the only cells in the brain worth knowing about or, indeed, the only cells resident in that organ.

Not true. In fact, neurons account for a measly 10 percent of the cells in a healthy human brain. And over the past 25 years Stanford brain scientist Ben Barres, MD, PhD, has arguably done as much as any human on earth to advance the status of the 90 percent of cells in the brain that aren’t neurons. Among those are a particularly interesting group called astrocytes because of their star-shaped appearance, and they were the focus of a just-published study by Barres’ group.

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Jan 18, 2017

Memristor can do multistate processing as well as nonvolatile memory

Posted by in categories: computing, nanotechnology, neuroscience, quantum physics

Nice; ReRam with multi-state processing and reliable storage.


Short of full blown molecular computers or universal quantum computers or optical computers memristors have the most potential for a hardware change to dramatically boost the power and capabilities of computers. The boost to computer power could be nearly a million times by fully leveraging memristors. It would likely be more like a thousand times with more near to mid term usage of memristors.

Memristors (aka ReRAM) could become computer memory that is over 10 times denser than Flash or DRAM in two dimensions. Memristors like flash would be nonvolatile memory that would not need power for retain memory. Memristors are created from nanowire lattices which could be stacked in three dimensions. Memristors have also previously been shown to behave like brain synapses which could be used for computer architectures that emulate the human brain for neuromorphic computing. Now there is work on multistate memristors that perform computation. This means that eventually processing and memory could be tightly integrated.

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