Archive for the ‘neuroscience’ category: Page 2

May 11, 2022

Surprising Discovery: How a Gene Mutation Causes Higher Intelligence in Humans

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

When genes mutate, it can result in severe diseases of the human nervous system. Neuroscientists at Leipzig University and the University of Würzburg have now used fruit flies to demonstrate how, apart from the negative effect, the mutation of a neuronal gene can have a positive effect – namely higher IQ in humans. They have published their findings in the prestigious journal Brain.

Synapses are the contact points in the brain via which nerve cells ‘talk’ to one another. Disruptions in this communication lead to nervous system diseases, since altered synaptic proteins, for example, can impair this complex molecular mechanism. This can cause mild symptoms, but also very severe disabilities in those affected.

The interest of the two neurobiologists Professor Tobias Langenhan and Professor Manfred Heckmann, from Leipzig and Würzburg respectively, was aroused when they read in a scientific publication about a mutation that damages a synaptic protein. At first, the affected patients attracted scientists’ attention because the mutation caused them to go blind. However, doctors then noticed that the patients were also of above-average intelligence. “It’s very rare for a mutation to lead to improvement rather than loss of function,” says Langenhan, professor and holder of a chair at the Rudolf Schönheimer Institute of Biochemistry at the Faculty of Medicine.

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May 11, 2022

Scientists Discover Master Gene In Mice That Could Restore Hearing Lost In Aging

Posted by in categories: life extension, neuroscience

Hearing loss is normally permanent as sensory cells responsible for transmitting frequency information from the world around us to the brain get damaged from excessive noise and lifestyle factors as we age. Up until now, it’s been challenging to selectively regrow these sensory cells that play an important part in transmitting sound through the outer and inner ear to the brain, but that might be about to change.

In a study involving mice, scientists from Northwestern University have identified a single master gene that can program ear hair cells (known as cochlear hair cells) into becoming either outer or inner ear hair cells required for hearing. The breakthrough is reported in the journal Nature.

“Our finding gives us the first clear cell switch to make one type versus the other,” said lead study author Jaime García-Añoveros, PhD, in a statement. “It will provide a previously unavailable tool to make an inner or outer hair cell. We have overcome a major hurdle.”

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May 10, 2022

Researchers find new function performed by almost half of brain cells

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

* Astrocytes play a variety of roles with neurons, but until now, scientists did not know that these cells carry electrical impulses.

* Applying new technology, Tufts University scientists recently discovered in mice that astrocytes are electrically active like neurons. Astrocytes play a variety of roles with neurons, but until now, scientists did not know that these cells carry electrical impulses.

Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that facilitate the transfer of electrical signals between neurons and support the blood-brain barrier. Scientists have long understood that astrocytes control these substances to support neuronal health.

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May 10, 2022

A neurotech firm founder tested his brain scan helmet. Using ketamine?

Posted by in category: neuroscience

May 9, 2022

Does Earth Have a Mind and Agency of Its Own?

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

Does our planet have a mind and agency of its own? This is one of the main questions philosopher and mystic Oberon Zell illuminates in his latest masterpiece GaeaGenesis: Conception and Birth of the Living Earth. Just as we don’t see a bacterium with a naked eye, we don’t quite seem to have an innate ability to perceive the Gaian mind with a “naked” brain. As Dr. Ralph Metzner, Professor Emeritus of California Institute of Integral Studies and Founder-President of The Green Earth Foundation, writes: “Oberon Zell was the first person to conceive and publish the biological and metaphysical foundations of what has become known as the ‘Gaia Theory’ — the unified body and emergent soul of the living Earth… For over 50 years Oberon has been writing and lecturing on Gaian consciousness, and it is high time that he put it all together into a book!” And, indeed, he did.

The newly-released book takes the idea beyond the metaphorical realm postulated by James Lovelock in his “Gaia Hypothesis” and posits that the entire evolution of life on Earth is the literal embryology of a single vast living being — one replicating continuum of DNA and protoplasm. This distinction has significant implications for the subject of this book: The proposition that Mother Earth is a living, sentient being with a “soul” that humans can perceive if they are aware enough to sense it. In essence, the living beings that populate the Earth are cells within a greater macro-organism.

Here’s one of the revelatory passages from the book: To better understand the planet as a living system, we need to go beyond the time scales of human life to the planet’s own time scale, vastly greater than our own. Looked at in this way, the rhythm of day and night might be the pulse of the planet, one full cycle of every hundred thousand human heartbeats. Speeding up time appropriately, we would see the atmosphere and ocean currents swirling round the planet, circulating nutrients and carrying away waste products, much as the blood circulates nutrients and carries away waste in our own bodies.

May 9, 2022

This High Schooler Invented a Low-Cost, Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm

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

May 9, 2022

Longevity Research is an Economic Necessity

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

It is vital to recognize the immediate economic importance of i nvesting in longevity and healthy-aging sciences.

Aging itself is a complex series of at least 300 biological processes involving more than 10% of our genetic makeup. It follows that methods to combat these effects must be a combination of sciences, from biotech to biophysics and pharmaceuticals. There is no single “silver bullet” solution.

Aging, along with the physical and mental decay that accompanies it, is still widely regarded as a natural and inevitable thing. It is not, it is a degenerative disease in which the physical integrity and structure of our cells decay each time they divide to replace old ones or as part of any healing process.

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May 8, 2022

Scientists engineer a bacteria to produce a drug used to treat Parkinson’s disease

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

The results of the study could lead to new treatment options. In a groundbreaking new study published in the journal Nature on Thursday, researchers have compared the brain cells of patients who had died from either Parkinson’s disease or dementia to people unaffected by the disorders and found which brain cells are responsible for both conditions.

A team of researchers has created a bacteria that can produce a steady and consistent source of medicine inside a patient’s gut, suggesting the possibility for genetically edited bacteria to be an efficient Parkinson’s disease treatment.

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May 6, 2022

Neuronal Plasticity: Scientists Show How Chronic Pain Leads to Maladaptive Anxiety

Posted by in category: neuroscience

Chronic pain is persistent and inescapable, and can lead to maladaptive emotional states. It is often comorbid with psychiatric disorders, such as depression and anxiety disorders. It is thought that chronic pain causes changes in neural circuits, and gives rise to depression and anxiety.

Researchers at Hokkaido University have identified the neuronal circuit involved in chronic pain-induced anxiety in mice. Their research, which was published on April 27, 2022, in the journal Science Advances, could lead to the development of new treatments for chronic pain and psychiatric disorders such as anxiety disorders and major depressive disorder.

“Clinicians have known for a long time that chronic pain often leads to anxiety and depression, however the brain mechanism for this was unclear,” said Professor Masabumi Minami of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at Hokkaido University, the corresponding author of the paper.

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May 6, 2022

Elon Musk’s Neuralink rival Synchron starts human trials of implants

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

Elon Musk’s Neuralink rival Synchron has begun human trials of its brain implant that lets the wearer control a computer using thought alone.

The firm’s Stentrode brain implant, about the size of a paperclip, will be implanted in six patients in New York and Pittsburgh who have severe paralysis.

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