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Archive for the ‘neuroscience’ category: Page 393

Nov 14, 2017

Security Breach and Spilled Secrets Have Shaken the N.S.A. to Its Core

Posted by in categories: business, cybercrime/malcode, neuroscience

A serial leak of the agency’s cyberweapons has damaged morale, slowed intelligence operations and resulted in hacking attacks on businesses and civilians worldwide.

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Nov 12, 2017

Listen: Adam Savage interviews Natasha Vita-More

Posted by in categories: cosmology, evolution, neuroscience, transhumanism

The SYFY25: Origin Stories Podcast, hosted by Adam Savage (editor-in-chief, tested.com and former co-host of Mythbusters), is a nostalgic celebration of all things science fiction. In this podcast series Adam sits down with creators, thought-leaders, and celebrity fans to discuss the moments, people, and milestones that have changed the genre universe forever. From revealing personal anecdotes to deep philosophical discussions.

Transhumanist philosopher Natasha Vita-More chats with Adam and explains what transhumanism means for us regular humans, how it will impact the evolution of humanity, and close we are to uploading our brains into databases, ensuring our immortality.

Listen on iTunes.

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Nov 12, 2017

This $100-million Startup Plans to Put Chips Into Human Brains to Enhance Intelligence

Posted by in categories: computing, neuroscience

A startup with a $100 million investment wants to implant chips into human brains to enhance their abilities.

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Nov 8, 2017

Outcry as scientists implant tiny human brains inside rats

Posted by in categories: futurism, neuroscience

Tiny human brains connected to the minds of rats have sparked a major ethical debate among researchers.

Two papers being presented at a renowned US neuroscience conference this week claim to have hooked human brain tissue to the minds of rats and mice.

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Nov 7, 2017

Fluidic transistor ushers the age of liquid computers

Posted by in categories: computing, neuroscience, space travel

Transistors, those tiny electrical switches that process signals and data, are the brain power behind every electronic device – from laptops and smartphones to your digital thermostat. As they continue to shrink in size, computers have become smaller, more powerful, and more pervasive. However, as we look to build squishy, human-friendly machines that have the look and feel of soft natural organisms, we need to look beyond the rigid materials used to create electrical switches and circuits.

Mechanical engineers Carmel Majidi and James Wissman of the Soft Machines Lab at Carnegie Mellon University have been looking at new ways to create electronics that are not just digitally functional but also soft and deformable. Rather than making from rigid metals like copper or silver, they use a special metal alloy that is liquid at room temperature. This alloy, made by mixing indium and gallium, is a non-toxic alternative to mercury and can be infused in rubber to make circuits that are as soft and elastic as natural skin.

Teaming up with Michael Dickey at North Carolina State University, they recently discovered that electronics are not only useful for stretchable circuit wiring but can also be used to make . These fluidic transistors work by opening and closing the connection between two liquid metal droplets. When a voltage drop is applied in one direction, the droplets move towards each other and coalesce to form a metallic bridge for conducting electricity. When voltage is applied in a different direction, the droplets spontaneously break apart and turn the switch to open. By quickly alternating between an open and closed and open switch state with only a small amount of voltage, the researchers were able to mimic the properties of a conventional transistor.

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Nov 7, 2017

Nottingham’s 3D printed helmet ushers in a new era of natural brain scans

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, neuroscience, quantum physics

“Room temperature quantum sensors can be mounted directly on the scalp of any subject. This will give us a projected four-fold increase in sensitivity for adults, but the sensitivity could potentially be up to a 15 or 20 fold increase for children or babies.”


A £1.6 million collaborative project between scientists at the University of Nottingham and University College London (UCL) is looking to improve the way we map the human brain. Focusing on the development of magnetoencephalography (MEG), researchers have 3D printed a prototype helmet that may yield quadruple the sensitivity of current MEG devices.

Reading at room temperature

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Nov 3, 2017

Researchers develop a gel for growing large quantities of neural stem cells

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

In many ways, stem cells are the divas of the biological world. On the one hand, these natural shapeshifters can transform themselves into virtually any type of cell in the body. In that regard, they hold the promise of being able to cure ills ranging from spinal cord injuries to cancers.

On the other hand, said associate professor of materials science and engineering Sarah Heilshorn, , like divas, are also mercurial and difficult to work with.

“We just don’t know how to efficiently and effectively grow massive numbers of stem and keep them in their regenerative state,” Heilshorn said. “This has prevented us from making more progress in creating therapies.”

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Nov 2, 2017

Landmark editorial identifies microbes as major cause of Alzheimer’s Disease

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

A worldwide team of senior scientists and clinicians have come together to produce an editorial which indicates that certain microbes — a specific virus and two specific types of bacteria — are major causes of Alzheimer’s Disease. Their paper, which has been published online in the highly regarded peer-reviewed journal, Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, stresses the urgent need for further research — and more importantly, for clinical trials of anti-microbial and related agents to treat the disease.

This major call for action is based on substantial published evidence into Alzheimer’s. The team’s landmark editorial summarises the abundant data implicating these microbes, but until now this work has been largely ignored or dismissed as controversial — despite the absence of evidence to the contrary. Therefore, proposals for the funding of clinical trials have been refused, despite the fact that over 400 unsuccessful clinical trials for Alzheimer’s based on other concepts were carried out over a recent 10-year period.

Opposition to the microbial concepts resembles the fierce resistance to studies some years ago which showed that viruses cause certain types of cancer, and that a bacterium causes stomach ulcers. Those concepts were ultimately proved valid, leading to successful clinical trials and the subsequent development of appropriate treatments.

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Oct 31, 2017

Alzheimer’s may be able to spread through blood transfusions

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

Alzheimer’s may be contagious.


A protein might be capable of spreading Alzheimer’s through blood transfusions and surgical equipment, but we don’t know yet how much of a risk this is.

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Oct 28, 2017

The first data from a repository of living human brain cells

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

PROFITABLY recycling waste is always a good idea. And the Allen Institute for Brain Science, in Seattle, has found a way to recycle what is perhaps the most valuable waste of all—living human brain tissue. Understandably, few people are willing to donate parts of their brains to science while they are still alive. But, by collaborating with seven local neurosurgeons, the institute’s chief scientist, Christof Koch, and his colleagues, have managed to round up specimens of healthy tissue removed by those surgeons in order to get to unhealthy parts beyond them, which needed surgical ministration. Normally, such tissue would be disposed of as waste. Instead, Dr Koch is making good use of it.

The repository the cells from these samples end up in is a part of a wider project, the Allen Cell Types Database. The first data from the newly collected human brain cells were released on October 25th. The Allen database, which is open for anyone to search, thus now includes information on the shape, electrical activity and gene activity of individual human neurons. The electrical data are from 300 live neurons of various types, taken from 36 people. The shapes (see picture for example) are from 100 of these neurons. The gene-expression data come from 16,000 neurons, though those cells are post-mortem samples.

The human brain is the most complex object in the known universe. Because it is more complicated than animal brains in ways that (say) human livers are not more complicated than animal livers, using animal brains as analogues of human ones is never going to be satisfactory. Dr Koch’s new database may therefore help explain what is special about human brains. That will assist understanding of brain diseases and disorders. It may also shed light on one of his particular interests, the nature of consciousness.

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