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The brain is wired in a 3D grid structure, landmark study finds

March 30, 2012

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The brain appears to be wired in a rectangular 3D grid structure, suggests a new brain imaging study funded by the National Institutes of Health.

“Far from being just a tangle of wires, the brain’s white-matter connections turn out to be more like ribbon cables — folding 2D sheets of parallel neuronal fibers that cross paths at right angles, like the warp and weft of a… read more

The brain may be able to repair itself from within, Duke researchers discover

June 3, 2014

In this artist's representation of the adult subependymal neurogenic niche (viewed from underneath the ependyma), electrical signals generated by the ChAT+ neuron give rise to newborn migrating neuroblasts, seen moving over the underside of ependymal cells ( credit: O’Reilly Science Art)

Duke researchers have found a new type of neuron in the adult brain that is capable of telling stem cells to make more new neurons.

Neuroscientists have suspected for some time that the brain has some capacity to direct the manufacturing of new neurons, but it was difficult to determine where these instructions are coming from, explains Chay Kuo, M.D. Ph.D., an assistant professor of… read more

The Brain May Use Only 20 Percent of Its Memory-Forming Neurons

April 20, 2007

Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles and The Hospital for Sick Children have found that the pace at which a brain cell activates a key protein, CREB (a transcription factor that typically increases the production of other proteins in cells) may influence its role in memory formation — a finding that could lead to new Alzheimer therapies

The brain organizes objects by size: MIT scientists

June 22, 2012

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Researchers at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) and Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences have discovered that the brain organizes objects based on their physical size.

A specific region of the brain is reserved for recognizing large objects and another is reserved for small objects.

Their findings could lead to a greater understanding of how the brain organizes and maps information,… read more

The brain scan that can read people’s intentions

February 11, 2007

A team of world-leading neuroscientists has developed a powerful technique that allows them to look deep inside a person’s brain and read their intentions before they act.

The team used high-resolution computed tomography (CT) brain scans to identify patterns of activity before translating them into meaningful thoughts, revealing what a person planned to do in the near future. They revealed signatures of activity in the medial prefrontal cortex that… read more

The Brain Starts to Change at Age 40

June 11, 2004

Researchers at Children’s Hospital in Boston and Harvard Medical School report that aging brains show significant differences in the behavior of several groups of genes that are important for brain function and that may contribute to the aging process.

One group of the genes plays a role in “synaptic plasticity” — the ability of the brain to make new connections so critical to learning and memory. Another group of… read more

The Brain That Changed Everything

October 26, 2010

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In 1953, the majority of the hippocampus of Henry Molaison (the man who could not remember) along with some surrounding neuronal tissue, was surgically removed from both hemispheres of his brain. Because of Molaison, it is known that memory function originates in this region.

When Jacopo Annese finishes constructing his multidimensional, zoomable atlas of H.M.’s brain, scientists will be able to see at the neuronal level exactly how… read more

The Brain Under Anesthesia

April 3, 2008

A large-scale study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has found that a commonly used device designed to prevent anesthesia awareness–the rare event when a patient is actually conscious during surgery–was largely ineffective.

Massachusetts General Hospital researchers are using brain imaging of human volunteers and, in animals, electrophysiology approaches–which more directly measure brain activity–to gain a deeper understanding of anesthesia. Their preliminary research suggests that measuring activity… read more

The Brain Unmasked

August 6, 2008

A variation on MRI called diffusion sensor imaging allows scientists to map the neural fibers that relay signals in the brain.

In this example, each fiber in the image represents hundreds to thousands of fibers in the brain, each traveling along the same path. (George Day, Ruopeng Wang, Jeremy Schmahmann, Van Wedeen, MGH)

The Brain Unveiled

October 27, 2008

Diffusion spectrum imaging, developed by neuroscientist Van Wedeen at Massachusetts General Hospital, analyzes MRI data in new ways, helping scientists map the nerve fibers that carry information between cells.

The brain-computer interface goes wireless

March 3, 2013

Neural interface implanted in pig (credit: David A Borton et al./J. Neural Eng.)

A team of neuroengineers at Brown University has developed a fully implantable and rechargeable wireless brain sensor capable of relaying real-time broadband signals from up to 100 neurons in freely moving subjects.

Several copies of the novel low-power device, described in the open-access Journal of Neural Engineering, have been performing well in animal models for more than year, a first in the brain-computer interface field.… read more

The Brain: Malleable, Capable, Vulnerable

May 28, 2007

In the new book, “The Brain That Changes Itself,” Dr. Norman Doidge offers a fascinating synopsis of the current revolution in neuroscience, focusing on the surprising neuroplasticity (malleability) of both the injured and normal brain.

The Brains Behind the Image Fulgurator

June 30, 2008

The guerrilla-art stunt “Image Fulgurator” projects stealth images into the flash photographs of strangers.

A photograph flash triggers a flash located behind a film camera to project an instantaneous image (from a 35 mm slide) onto the scene being photographed.

The brain’s three layers of working memory allow you to multitask

March 11, 2011

Researchers from Rice University and Georgia Institute of Technology have found support for the theory that the brain has three concentric layers of working memory where it stores readily available items, allowing for a person to effectively multitask.

The researchers, Chandramallika Basak of Rice University and Paul Verhaeghen of Georgia Tech, used simple memory tasks involving colors and shapes on a computer screen to determine the three distinct layers… read more

The brain’s visual data-compression algorithm

December 24, 2013

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Researchers have assumed that visual information in the brain was transmitted almost in its entirety from its entry point, the primary visual cortex (V1).

“We intuitively assume that our visual system generates a continuous stream of images, just like a video camera,” said Dr. Dirk Jancke from the Institute for Neural Computation at Ruhr University.

“However, we have now demonstrated that the visual cortex suppresses… read more

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