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Archive for the ‘neuroscience’ category

Mar 3, 2015

The elastic brain

Posted by in category: neuroscience

Rebecca Boyle — aeon

Five years ago, in a new city and in search of a new hobby, I decided to try playing a musical instrument for the first time. I had never learned to read music; in my grade school, the optional orchestra class was offered at the same time as the optional robotics class, and I chose the latter. Understanding nothing about chords or music theory, I settled on the relatively simple mountain dulcimer, a three-stringed lap instrument from Appalachia.

I was proud of how quickly I picked it up. I could replicate many of the old-time fiddle tunes, Civil War ballads and Ozark folk songs my instructor played during demonstrations, and I learned to discern notes by ear. I was hardly a virtuoso, however, and after a few months I hit a plateau. I could hear how they were supposed to sound, but challenging, faster-tempo songs remained out of my grasp. Frustrated, I distinctly remember thinking: ‘If only I’d learned music as a kid, I might have been great at this.’
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Feb 21, 2015

The Coming Boom In Brain Medicines

Posted by in category: neuroscience

Matthew Herper Forbes


TONY COLES COULD have had any job he wanted in the drug industry. In five years at the helm of cancer drug developer Onyx Pharmaceuticals he increased its market cap eightfold by purchasing an experimental blood cancer drug for $800 million, developing it into a big seller and flipping the whole company to Amgen AMGN +1.01% for $10.4 billion in October 2013. He personally made $60 million on the deal. Biotech watchers expected him to start another cancer company or even command a drug giant like Merck or Pfizer PFE –0.29%.

Instead, Coles, 54, is using his own money to build a Cambridge, Mass.-based startup called Yumanity that is using yeast, the microbes that help make bread and beer, to study how misfolded proteins in the brain cause Alzheimer’s, Lou Gehrig’s disease and Parkinson’s, and to create drugs based on that knowledge. There’s already interest from Big Pharma. Coles says he chose to attack brain diseases, not tumors, because the need is so dire and the science is so fresh.

“We’ve got 50 million people around the world who have these diseases, costing $650 billion a year, and lots of families like mine that have been affected,” says Coles. “I had a grandmother who died of the complications of Alzheimer’s disease. I think about my own health as well.”

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Feb 13, 2015

USC neuroscientists lead global ENIGMA consortium to crack brain’s genetic code

Posted by in category: neuroscience

USC Press Room
http://www.kurzweilai.net/images/Unknown-2.084640-e1421863825851.jpeg
LOS ANGELES — In the largest collaborative study of the brain to date, researchers from the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC) led a global consortium of 190 institutions to identify eight common genetic mutations that appear to age the brain an average of three years. The discovery could lead to targeted therapies and interventions for Alzheimer’s disease, autism and other neurological conditions.

An international team of roughly 300 scientists known as the Enhancing Neuro Imaging Genetics through Meta Analysis (ENIGMA) Network pooled brain scans and genetic data worldwide to pinpoint genes that enhance or break down key brain regions in people from 33 countries. This is the first high-profile study since the National Institutes of Health (NIH) launched its Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) centers of excellence in 2014. The research was published Wednesday, Jan. 21, in the peer-reviewed journal Nature.
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Feb 3, 2015

Back-up brains: The era of digital immortality

Posted by in category: neuroscience

Jan 29, 2015

Dr. Ken Hayworth, Part 3: If we can build a brain, what is the future of I?

Posted by in categories: augmented reality, biotech/medical, entertainment, existential risks, futurism, neuroscience, particle physics, philosophy, physics, quantum physics, science, singularity

The study of consciousness and what makes us individuals is a topic filled with complexities. From a neuroscience perspective, consciousness is derived from a self-model as a unitary structure that shapes our perceptions, decisions and feelings. There is a tendency to jump to the conclusion with this model that mankind is being defined as self-absorbed and only being in it for ourselves in this life. Although that may be partially true, this definition of consciousness doesn’t necessarily address the role of morals and how that is shaped into our being. In the latest addition to The Galactic Public Archives, Dr. Ken Hayworth tackles the philosophical impact that technologies have on our lives.

Our previous two films feature Dr. Hayworth extrapolating about what radical new technologies in neuroscience could eventually produce. In a hypothetical world where mind upload is possible and we could create a perfect replica of ourselves, how would one personally identify? If this copy has the same memories and biological components, our method of understanding consciousness would inevitably shift. But when it comes down it, if we were put in a situation where it would be either you or the replica – it’s natural evolutionary instinct to want to save ourselves even if the other is an exact copy. This notion challenges the idea that our essence is defined by our life experiences because many different people can have identical experiences yet react differently.

Hayworth explains, that although there is an instinct for self-survival, humanity for the most part, has a basic understanding not to cause harm upon others. This is because morals are not being developed in the “hard drive” of your life experiences; instead our morals are tied to the very idea of someone just being a conscious and connected member of this world. Hayworth rationalizes that once we accept our flawed intuition of self, humanity will come to a spiritual understanding that the respect we give to others for simply possessing a reflection of the same kind of consciousness will be the key to us identifying our ultimate interconnectedness.

Continue reading “Dr. Ken Hayworth, Part 3: If we can build a brain, what is the future of I?” »


Jan 26, 2015

A Brain-Computer Interface That Works Wirelessly

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

By Antonio Regalado — MIT Technology Review

http://www.singularityworld.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/emotiv.jpgA few paralyzed patients could soon be using a wireless brain-computer interface able to stream their thought commands as quickly as a home Internet connection.

After more than a decade of engineering work, researchers at Brown University and a Utah company, Blackrock Microsystems, have commercialized a wireless device that can be attached to a person’s skull and transmit via radio thought commands collected from a brain implant. Blackrock says it will seek clearance for the system from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, so that the mental remote control can be tested in volunteers, possibly as soon as this year.

The device was developed by a consortium, called BrainGate, which is based at Brown and was among the first to place implants in the brains of paralyzed people and show that electrical signals emitted by neurons inside the cortex could be recorded, then used to steer a wheelchair or direct a robotic arm (see “Implanting Hope”).

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Jan 4, 2015

New Book: An Irreverent Singularity Funcyclopedia, by Mondo 2000’s R.U. Sirius.

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, alien life, augmented reality, automation, big data, bionic, bioprinting, biotech/medical, complex systems, computing, cosmology, cryptocurrencies, cybercrime/malcode, cyborg, defense, disruptive technology, DNA, driverless cars, drones, economics, electronics, encryption, energy, engineering, entertainment, environmental, ethics, existential risks, exoskeleton, finance, first contact, food, fun, futurism, general relativity, genetics, hacking, hardware, human trajectories, information science, innovation, internet, life extension, media & arts, medical, military, mobile phones, nanotechnology, neuroscience, nuclear, posthumanism, privacy, quantum physics, robotics/AI, science, security, singularity, software, solar power, space, space travel, supercomputing, time travel, transhumanism

Quoted: “Legendary cyberculture icon (and iconoclast) R.U. Sirius and Jay Cornell have written a delicious funcyclopedia of the Singularity, transhumanism, and radical futurism, just published on January 1.” And: “The book, “Transcendence – The Disinformation Encyclopedia of Transhumanism and the Singularity,” is a collection of alphabetically-ordered short chapters about artificial intelligence, cognitive science, genomics, information technology, nanotechnology, neuroscience, space exploration, synthetic biology, robotics, and virtual worlds. Entries range from Cloning and Cyborg Feminism to Designer Babies and Memory-Editing Drugs.” And: “If you are young and don’t remember the 1980s you should know that, before Wired magazine, the cyberculture magazine Mondo 2000 edited by R.U. Sirius covered dangerous hacking, new media and cyberpunk topics such as virtual reality and smart drugs, with an anarchic and subversive slant. As it often happens the more sedate Wired, a watered-down later version of Mondo 2000, was much more successful and went mainstream.”

Read the article here >https://hacked.com/irreverent-singularity-funcyclopedia-mondo-2000s-r-u-sirius/

Jan 3, 2015

Legal Consulting Firm Believes Artificial Intelligence Could Replace Lawyers by 2030

Posted by in categories: architecture, augmented reality, automation, big data, business, complex systems, computing, cybercrime/malcode, disruptive technology, economics, encryption, engineering, ethics, finance, futurism, geopolitics, governance, government, human trajectories, information science, innovation, internet, law, law enforcement, military, neuroscience, philosophy, policy, privacy, robotics/AI, science, security, software, strategy, supercomputing, transhumanism, transparency

Quoted: “Tony Williams, the founder of the British-based legal consulting firm, said that law firms will see nearly all their process work handled by artificial intelligence robots. The robotic undertaking will revolutionize the industry, “completely upending the traditional associate leverage model.” And: “The report predicts that the artificial intelligence technology will replace all the work involving processing information, along with a wide variety of overturned policies.”

Read the article here > https://hacked.com/legal-consulting-firm-believes-artificial-intelligence-replace-lawyers-2030/

Dec 30, 2014

The Blockchain is the New Database, Get Ready to Rewrite Everything

Posted by in categories: architecture, augmented reality, automation, big data, bitcoin, business, complex systems, computing, cryptocurrencies, cyborg, defense, disruptive technology, economics, education, encryption, engineering, finance, futurism, genetics, geopolitics, governance, government, hacking, hardware, human trajectories, information science, internet, law, military, mobile phones, nanotechnology, neuroscience, open access, open source, philosophy, physics, privacy, robotics/AI, science, scientific freedom, security, singularity, software, strategy, supercomputing, transhumanism, transparency

Quoted: “If you understand the core innovations around the blockchain idea, you’ll realize that the technology concept behind it is similar to that of a database, except that the way you interact with that database is very different.

The blockchain concept represents a paradigm shift in how software engineers will write software applications in the future, and it is one of the key concepts behind the Bitcoin revolution that need to be well understood. In this post, I’d like to explain 5 of these concepts, and how they interrelate to one another in the context of this new computing paradigm that is unravelling in front of us. They are: the blockchain, decentralized consensus, trusted computing, smart contracts and proof of work / stake. This computing paradigm is important, because it is a catalyst for the creation of decentralized applications, a next-step evolution from distributed computing architectural constructs.

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Read the article here > http://startupmanagement.org/2014/12/27/the-blockchain-is-th.….verything/

Dec 25, 2014

Brain-computer interface enables “locked-in” brain stroke sufferer to communicate

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

By — Gizmag

Research conducted at the East Tennessee Sate University suggests that brain-computer inte...

By enabling users to communicate and control devices with their thoughts, brain-computer interfaces (BCI) hold almost a scary amount of potential. While they have achieved feats such as directing the flight of a quadcopter and helping victims of paralysis to communicate, sufferers of brainstem stroke with “locked-in” syndrome have so far been beyond reach. But now, a researcher at East Tennessee Sate University (ETSU) has demonstrated BCIs may in fact give brainstem stroke patients a voice again, with very specific brainwaves serving as a typing finger for a virtual keyboard.

“We have significant research showing that BCI is beneficial to ALS patients [amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a neurodegenerative disorder that results in muscle wasting],” says Dr Eric Sellers, associate professor of Psychology at ETSU and leader of the study. “But until now there were no studies that looked specifically at patients with a brainstem stroke to see if it worked for them as well.”

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