Archive for the ‘neuroscience’ category

Oct 27, 2016

Scientists identify fossilized dinosaur brain tissue for first time ever

Posted by in category: neuroscience

A brown pebble discovered on an English beach more a decade ago is actually the world’s first known example of a fossilized dinosaur brain, scientists have confirmed.

The remarkable find is thought to have come from a large plant-eater such as the Iguanodon, which walked the earth about 133 million years ago.

It is believed the creature must have died near water with its head buried in sediment in a swamp or boggy ground, allowing its brain to be “pickled” and preserved.

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Oct 25, 2016

Can A Brain Computer Interface Convert Your Thoughts to Text?

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

Summary: Brain-to-text system could help people with speech difficulties to communicate, researchers report.

Source: Frontiers.

Recent research shows brain-to-text device capable of decoding speech from brain signals.

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Oct 25, 2016

Can the brain feel it? The world’s smallest extracellular needle-electrodes

Posted by in category: neuroscience

A research team in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Information Engineering and the Electronics-Inspired Interdisciplinary Research Institute (EIIRIS) at Toyohashi University of Technology developed 5-μm-diameter needle-electrodes on 1 mm × 1 mm block modules. This tiny needle may help solve the mysteries of the brain and facilitate the development of a brain-machine interface. The research results were reported in Scientific Reports on Oct 25, 2016.

The neuron networks in the human brain are extremely complex. Microfabricated silicon needle-electrode devices were expected to be an innovation that would be able to record and analyze the electrical activities of the microscale neuronal circuits in the brain.

However, smaller needle technologies (e.g., needle diameter 10 μm) are necessary to reduce damage to brain tissue. In addition to the needle geometry, the device substrate should be minimized not only to reduce the total amount of damage to tissue but also to enhance the accessibility of the electrode in the brain. Thus, these electrode technologies will realize new experimental neurophysiological concepts.

Oct 25, 2016

Kernel’s Quest to Enhance Human Intelligence

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, cyborgs, genetics, neuroscience

Today I’m announcing a $100M commitment to Kernel in an effort to enhance human intelligence and reimagine our future. Unlocking our brain is the most significant and consequential opportunity in history — and it’s time sensitive.

We’re starting to identify the mechanisms underlying neural code and make them programmable. Our biology and genetics have become increasingly programmable; our neural code is next in line. Programming our neural code will enable us to author ourselves and our existence in ways that were previously unimaginable.

I started Kernel in 2016 (read more at the Washington Post) to build the world’s first neural prosthetic for human intelligence enhancement. The investment I’m making in Kernel today will expedite the development of this prosthetic and similarly transformative neurotechnologies.

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Oct 25, 2016

Expert says we are closer to ‘computing at the speed of thought’

Posted by in categories: computing, neuroscience

Get ready to dump the keyboard: Experts claim mind controlled computers are just a decade away…

An expert at West Virginia University suggests human thought will soon communicate directly with computers, which will move us toward an era of ‘computing at the speed of thought.’

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Oct 25, 2016

What comes after smartphones? Brain implants, maybe

Posted by in categories: computing, mobile phones, neuroscience

It would be the ultimate user interface: a device the size of two stacked nickels that allows your thoughts to control computers. The only catch is it’ll have to be implanted in your brain.

Oct 21, 2016

Bryan Johnson invests $100 million in Kernel to unlock the power of the human brain

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

Earlier this year, former Braintree founder Bryan Johnson publicly announced his plans to forge Kernel, a company with the sole purpose of building hardware and software to augment human intelligence. Today, Johnson is investing $100 million of his own money into the concept, looking to rapidly double the size of his team, shore up a portfolio of intellectual property and prepare for animal and human testing trials for a forthcoming device aimed at reducing cognitive deficiencies for sufferers of conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Kernel is still very much in the planning stages, but the idea is rooted in the research of Theodore Berger, the company’s chief science officer. The futuristic device, which Johnson says might actually not need to be implanted beneath the skull at all, is designed to facilitate communication between brain cells by hacking the “neural code” that enables our brain to store and recall key information. With proper implementation, such a device could correct faulty signals to mend a cognitive impairment.

“We have done this before with biology and genomics,” said Johnson in an interview. “We can program yeast to do a specific function. We can expect the same path with neural code.”

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Oct 21, 2016

Autism study identifies defect in sufferers’ cells and existing medication could treat it

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

Scientists at Boston Children’s Hospital identified a defect that causes a genetic disorder in 50% of autism sufferers — and two existing classes of drugs that counter the defect.

Oct 21, 2016

Caloric restriction can be beneficial to the brain, study shows

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, food, life extension, neuroscience

Studies of different animal species suggest a link between eating less and living longer, but the molecular mechanisms by which caloric restriction affords protection against disease and extends longevity are not well understood.

New clues to help solve the mystery are presented in an article published in the September issue of Aging Cell by scientists at the Center for Research on Redox Processes in Biomedicine (Redoxoma), one of the Research, Innovation and Dissemination Centers (RIDCs) funded by FAPESP.

The results of in vitro and in vivo experiments performed by the Redoxoma team included the finding that a 40% reduction in dietary caloric intake increases mitochondrial calcium retention in situations where intracellular calcium levels are pathologically high. In the brain, this can help avoid the death of neurons that is associated with Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy and stroke, among other neurodegenerative conditions.

Oct 19, 2016

PGC-1α Gene Therapy Slows Alzheimer’s Progression in Mouse Model

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, health, life extension, neuroscience

PCG-1α therapy shows promise in treating age-related decline.

It is always a good idea to look closely at the biochemistry involved in any potential Alzheimer’s disease therapy that shows promise in mouse models. There is perhaps more uncertainty for Alzheimer’s than most other age-related conditions when it comes to the degree to which the models are a useful representation of the disease state in humans — which might go some way towards explaining the promising failures that litter the field. In the research here, the authors are aiming to suppress a step in the generation of amyloid-β, one of the proteins that aggregates in growing amounts and is associated with brain cell death in Alzheimer’s disease. They achieve this goal using gene therapy to increase the level of PGC-1α, which in turn reduces the level of an enzyme involved in the production of amyloid-β. Interestingly, increased levels of PGC-1α have in the past been shown to produce modest life extension in mice, along with some of the beneficial effects to health associated with calorie restriction.


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