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Brain makes its own version of Valium, Stanford scientists discover

June 5, 2013

(Credit: iStock)

Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have found that a naturally occurring protein secreted only in discrete areas of the mammalian brain may act as a Valium-like brake on certain types of epileptic seizures.

The protein is known as diazepam binding inhibitor, or DBI. It calms the rhythms of a key brain circuit and so could prove valuable in developing novel, less side-effect-prone… read more

Brain machine ‘improves musicianship’

July 25, 2003

Scientists have created a technique using biofeedback that dramatically improves the performance of musicians.

The “Neurofeedback” system monitors brain activity through sensors attached to the scalp which filter out the brainwaves. These filtered brainwaves are then fed back to the individual in the form of a video game displayed on a screen.

The participant learns to control the game by altering particular aspects of their brain activity.

Brain linked to robotic hand; success hailed

October 11, 2011

(Credit: Doug Oster)

When a robotic hand that Tim Hemmes was controlling with his mind touched his girlfriend Katie Schaffer’s outstretched hand, it marked the first time a person with quadriplegia has used his mind to control a robotic arm so masterfully.

Doctors at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center had installed an ECoG (electrocorticography) array at a precise location against the brain to control the robotic arm.

The 30-year-old man… read more

Brain learns like a robot

June 10, 2004

Our brains are following the laws of artificial intelligence, researchers have found.

Baylor College of Medicine neuroscientists plotted brain activity on a graph to give a mathematical description of processes that underlie the formation of value judgements. The patterns they saw resembled those made by robots as they learn from experience.

Brain knitting

April 18, 2006

A scaffold of nanoscale fibers that self-assembles from small, synthetic protein-like components provides a framework for the regrowth of damaged brain tissue, allowing vision to be restored in hamsters with brain lesions, a team in the USA and China reports.

The nano-scaffold, made of short peptides, is biodegradable and non-toxic, causes no immune response, is injectable — it self-assembles when the molecules come together in a salty solution –… read more

Brain is organized like the Internet: USC neuroscientists

August 10, 2010

A study by USC scientists of the brain connections in a small area of the rat brain showed them as patterns of circular loops, suggesting that at least in this part of the rat brain, the wiring diagram looks like a distributed network, rather than a hierarchy, the traditional view.

“We started in one place and looked at the connections. It led into a very complicated series of loops… read more

Brain Interfaces Made of Silk

April 19, 2010

Brain x220

A group of researchers is building biocompatible electronics on thin, flexible substrates made of biodegradable, mechanically strong silk films.

When it’s placed on brain tissue and wetted with saline, a silk film will shrink-wrap around the surface of the brain, bringing electrodes with it into the wrinkles of the tissue, without scarring.

BRAIN initiative report lists detailed research priorities

September 18, 2013


A scientific team has released a report that identifies research priorities for the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) initiative, Science Insider reports.

The report lists nine top research priorities. It highlights the need for cheaper, faster technologies that can trace connections between individual brain cells and record large networks of cells acting in synchrony.

It calls for development of tools that can… read more

Brain implants ‘read’ monkey minds

July 9, 2004

Brain implants have been used to “read the minds” of monkeys to predict what they are about to do and even how enthusiastic they are about doing it, California Institute of Technology researchers have found.

By decoding the signals from 96 electrodes in a region of the brain just above the ear, called the parietal cortex, the researchers were able to predict 67 per cent of the time where… read more

Brain implant reveals the neural patterns of attention

February 25, 2010

A paralyzed patient implanted with a brain-computer interface device has allowed University of Chicago scientists to determine the relationship between brain waves and attention.

Using a small chip containing nearly 100 microelectrodes that was previously implanted in a patient’s primary motor cortex, they found that beta waves indicate how much attention a subject is paying to the task at hand, while slower delta waves act as an internal metronome,… read more

Brain implant gives early warning of epileptic seizure

May 2, 2013


A new brain implant can warn of seizures minutes before they strike, enabling them to get out of situations that could present a safety risk, New Scientist reports.

With funding from NeuroVista, a medical device company in Seattle, Mark Cook of the University of Melbourne and his colleagues have developed a brain implant that consists of a small patch of electrodes that measure brain… read more

Brain Implant Cuts Seizures

December 10, 2009


The Responsive Neurostimulator, a brain implant designed by Neuropace to detect and block the onset of seizures, can significantly reduce their frequency in people with difficult-to-treat epilepsy.

The device, which consists of a neurostimulator that’s smaller than a deck of cards, a battery, and a small computer, continuously monitors electrical activity. It’s surgically implanted into a hollowed out part of the skull, along with a set of electrical leads… read more

Brain implant could prevent epileptic seizures

August 20, 2007

Neuropace of Mountain View, California, is testing in humans an implant that detects seizures and then delivers an electric current to stop them.

Brain imaging reveals why we remain optimistic in the face of reality

October 10, 2011

prefrontal cortex

People who are very optimistic about the outcome of events tend to learn only from information that reinforces their rose-tinted view of the world, related to a “faulty” function of their frontal lobes, researchers at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at UCL (University College London) have shown.

This is a problem that has puzzled scientists for decades: why is human optimism is so pervasive,… read more

Brain Imaging Reveals New Language Circuits

December 13, 2004

Researchers using diffusion tensor (DT) MRI have found a third area of the human brain, dubbed “Geschwind’s territory,” that is part of human language circuits along with Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas.

“There are clues that the parallel pathway network we found is important for the acquisition of language in childhood,” said Marco Catani, M.D., from the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London. “Geschwind’s territory is the last area… read more

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