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Study reveals new measure of intelligence involving temporal variability of brain areas

Results could be applied to building advanced deep neural networks and treating mental-health patients
August 1, 2016

Whole-brain temporal (time) variability is high in areas associated with intelligence and low in sensory cortices (credit: Jie Zhang et al./Brain)

A new study of human intelligence by University of Warwick researchers and associates at nine universities in China and NEC Laboratories America has quantified the brain’s dynamic functions, identifying how different parts of the brain interact with each other at different times, they reported in the journal Brain.

The more variable a brain is, and the more its different parts frequently connect with each other, the higher a… read more

Why prolonged sitting may increase risk of death

But an hour of moderate exercise a day is enough to counter health risks, say scientists in Lancet, based on data from 1 million men and women
July 29, 2016


American Heart Association | Signs and Symptoms of  VTE

Prolonged sitting, such as watching a lot of television every day, may increase your risk of dying from a blood clot in the lung, according to a new open-access research letter published July 26 in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation.

A lung blood clot (pulmonary embolism)… read more

New movie display allows for glasses-free 3-D for a theater audience

July 29, 2016

A new prototype display could show 3-D movies to any seat in a theater, with no eyewear required. (credit: Christine Daniloff / MIT)

A new “Cinema 3D” display lets audiences watch 3-D films in a movie theater without cumbersome glasses.

Developed by a team from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) and Weizmann Institute of Science, the prototype display uses a special array of lenses and mirrors to enable viewers to watch a 3-D movie from any seat in a theater.

Glasses-free 3-D already… read more

Electric brain stimulation during sleep found to enhance motor memory consolidation

May be new treatment paradigm for neurological and psychiatric disorders
July 29, 2016

Feedback-Controlled Spindle tACS ft

UNC Health Care | UNC Science Short: Sleep Spindles

University of North Carolina (UNC) School of Medicine scientists report using transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) to enhance memory during sleep, laying the groundwork for a new treatment paradigm for neurological and psychiatric disorders.

The findings, published in the journal Current Biology, offer a non-invasive method to potentially help millions of people with conditions such as autism, Alzheimer’s… read more

Imaging the brain at multiple size scales

New technique can reveal both subcellular details and long-range connections
July 27, 2016

A new technique called magnified analysis of proteome (MAP), developed at MIT, allows researchers to peer at molecules within cells or take a wider view of the long-range connections between neurons. (credit: Courtesy of the researchers)

MIT researchers have developed a new technique for imaging brain tissue at multiple scales, allowing them to peer at molecules within cells or take a wider view of the long-range connections between neurons.

This technique, known as “magnified analysis of proteome” (MAP), should help scientists in their ongoing efforts to chart the connectivity and functions of neurons in the human brain, says Kwanghun Chung, the… read more

Neuroscience researchers caution public about hidden risks of self-administered brain stimulation

DIY users of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) seek enhanced brain function; scientific community warns of unintended results
July 27, 2016

TheBrainDriver v.2.0 tDCS device (credit: TheBrainDriver, LLC)

“Do-it-yourself” users of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) seeking cognitive enhancement are exposing themselves to hidden risks, neuroscientists warn in an open-access Open Letter in the journal Annals of Neurology.

tDCS devices are made up of a band that wraps around one’s head with electrodes placed at specific scalp locations to target specific brain regions. The devices transmit varying levels of electrical current to the brain to achieve… read more

Flirtey drone delivers Reno 7-Eleven slurpies in first commercial drone delivery to a residence

Meanwhile, hampered by new FAA rules, Amazon Prime Air testing moves to the UK
July 27, 2016

Flirty 7-Eleven delivery (credit: 7-Eleven)

Drone delivery service Flirtey completed the first FAA-approved autonomous drone delivery to a customer’s residence on July 22, ferrying sandwiches and Slurpees from a 7-Eleven in Reno, Nevada.

The two companies plan to expand drone delivery tests in Reno and expect drone packages to include “everyday essentials” such as batteries and sunscreen in the future, according to 7‑Eleven EVP Jesus H. Delgado-Jenkins.

Flirtey previously conducted the… read more

Placenta-on-a-chip models the vital mother-fetus placental barrier

Will help in studies on preterm birth
July 25, 2016

The flash-drive-sized device contains two layers of human cells that model the interface between mother and fetus. Microfluidic channels on either side of those layers allow researchers to study how molecules are transported through, or are blocked by, that interface. (credit: University of Pennsylvania)

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have developed the first placenta-on-a-chip that can fully model the transport of nutrients across the placental barrier — part of a nationwide effort sponsored by the March of Dimes to identify causes of preterm birth and ways to prevent it.

Prematurely born babies may experience lifelong, debilitating consequences, but the underlying mechanisms of this condition are not well understood due in part to… read more

Cinnamon may be the latest nootropic

July 25, 2016

(credit: The Great American Spice Co.)

Kalipada Pahan, PhD, a researcher at Rush University and the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in Chicago, has found that cinnamon improved performance of mice in a maze test.

His group published their latest findings online June 24, 2016, in the Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology.

“The increase in learning in poor-learning mice after cinnamon treatment was significant,” says Pahan. “For example, poor-learning mice took… read more

Americans worried about gene editing, brain chip implants, and synthetic blood

July 25, 2016

(iStock Photo)

Many in the general U.S. public are concerned about technologies to make people’s minds sharper and their bodies stronger and healthier than ever before, according to a new Pew Research Center survey of more than 4,700 U.S. adults.

The survey covers broad public reaction to scientific advances and examines public attitudes about the potential use of three specific emerging technologies for human enhancement.

The nationally… read more

Whole-brain imaging method identifies common brain disorders

New chemical allows for measuring the density of synapses in the entire brain in vivo for the first time, using a PET scan
July 22, 2016

Human synaptic density ft

How many of the estimated 100 trillion synapses in your brain are actually functioning? It’s an important question for diagnosis and treatment of people with common brain disorders, such as epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, depression, schizophrenia, and traumatic brain injury (TBI), but one that could not be answered, except in an autopsy (or an invasive surgical sample of a small area).

Now a Yale-led team of researchers… read more

Distinct stages of thinking revealed by brain activity patterns

July 22, 2016

four stages ft

Using neuroimaging data, Carnegie Mellon University researchers have identified four distinct stages of math problem solving, according to a new study published in the journal Psychological Science.

“How students were solving these kinds of problems was a total mystery to us until we applied these techniques,” says psychological scientist John Anderson, lead researcher on the study. “Now, when students are sitting there thinking hard, we can tell… read more

Mental, physical exercises found to produce different brain benefits

July 22, 2016

(credit: iStock)

Cognitive brain training improves executive function while aerobic activity improves memory, according to a new study by the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas.

The study, published in an open-access paper in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, compared cerebral blood flow and cerebrovascular reactivity data, obtained via MRI, for two groups of healthy sedentary adults ages 56–75 years. The members of both… read more

Facebook’s internet-beaming drone completes first test flight

July 21, 2016

(credit: Facebook)

Facebook Connectivity Lab announced today the first full-scale test flight of Aquila — a solar-powered unmanned airplane/drone designed to bring affordable internet access to some of the 1.6 billion people living in remote locations with no access to mobile broadband networks.

When complete, Aquila will be able to circle a region up to 60 miles in diameter, beaming internet connectivity down from an altitude of more than… read more

New nanomaterial mimics cell membranes

Applications include water purification, fuel cells, and selective drug delivery
July 20, 2016

This simulated cross-section shows how the lipid-like peptoids interact to form a membrane. Each peptoid has two sections: a fatty-like region that interacts via benzene rings (shown in pink) with its neighbors to form a sheet. And a water-loving region that juts above or below the flat sheet. Each region can be designed to have specific functions. (credit: Chun-Long Chen/PNNL)

Materials scientists at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have created a new material that performs like a biological cell membrane — a material that has long been sought for applications like water purification and drug delivery.

The “peptoid” material can assemble itself into a sheet that’s thinner, but more stable, than a soap bubble, the researchers report this week in Nature Communications. The assembled… read more

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