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Brain on a chip?

March 17, 2009

European researchers are building a neuromorphic computer that will work similar to the brain, at smaller scale.

The first effort is a network of 300 artificial neurons and half a million “synapses” on a single chip.

Brain ‘noise’ found to nurture synapses

May 8, 2014

McCabe-CUMC-image-brain-noise

A long-overlooked form of neuron-to-neuron communication called “miniature neurotransmission” plays an essential role in the development of synapses, a study by researchers at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) has shown.

The findings, made in fruit flies, raise the possibility that abnormalities in miniature neurotransmission may contribute to neurodevelopmental diseases. The findings were published in the journal Neuron.

The primary way in which neurons communicate with each… read more

Brain network related to intelligence identified

September 12, 2007

Richard Haier of the University of California, Irvine and Rex Jung of the University of New Mexico have uncovered evidence of a distinct neurobiology of human intelligence.

Their Parieto-Frontal Integration Theory (P-FIT) identifies a brain network related to intelligence, one that primarily involves areas in the frontal and the parietal lobes.

The data suggest that some of the brain areas related to intelligence are the same areas related… read more

Brain ‘network maps’ reveal clue to mental decline in old age

February 9, 2011

The human brain operates as a highly interconnected small-world network, not as a collection of discrete regions as previously believed, with important implications for why many of us experience cognitive declines in old age, a new study shows.

Using graph theory, Australian researchers have mapped the brain’s neural networks and for the first time linked them with specific cognitive functions, such as information processing and language. Results from the… read more

Brain Mechanism Can Turn Off Trauma of Bad Memories

July 31, 2008

University of California, Irvine and University of Muenster researchers have identified the brain mechanism that turns off traumatic feelings associated with bad memories: a protein called neuropeptide S (NPS).

NPS reduces traumatic responses to bad memories by stimulating neurons in the basolateral amygdala (brain region associated with anxiety and memory formation).

They found that blocking NPS receptors in the amygdala of mice caused traumatic responses to bad memories… read more

Brain May Still Be Evolving, Studies Hint

September 9, 2005

Two genes, microcephalin and ASPM, involved in determining the size of the human brain have undergone substantial evolution in the last 60,000 years, researchers say, leading to the surprising suggestion that the brain is still undergoing rapid evolution.

Brain matter linked to introspective thoughts

September 17, 2010

The anterior prefrontal cortex of the brain appears to be larger in individuals who are good at turning their thoughts inward and reflecting upon their decisions, and is also linked to this process of introspection, researchers led by Prof. Geraint Rees from University College London have found.

In the future, the discovery may help scientists understand how certain brain injuries affect an individual’s ability to reflect upon their own thoughts and… read more

Brain maps reveal clue to mental decline

February 8, 2011

The human brain operates as a highly interconnected small-world network, not as a collection of discrete regions as previously believed, with important implications for why many of us experience cognitive declines in old age, a new study shows.

Australian researchers have mapped the brain’s neural networks and for the first time linked them with specific cognitive functions, such as information processing and language. Results from the study are published… read more

Brain Maps for Stroke Treatment

April 1, 2010

New research that uses brain imaging to examine connections between different parts of the brain shows that communication between the left and right hemispheres is often disrupted from a stroke; the greater the disruption, the more profound the patient’s impairment in movement or vision.

This is a first step in a multiyear project assessing how to predict how well people will recover from stroke and better target stroke treatments… read more

Brain mapping reveals neurological basis of decision-making in rats

March 26, 2013

mouse_hippocampus

UC San Francisco scientists have discovered how memory recall is linked to decision-making in rats, showing that activity in the hippocampus occurs when rats in a maze are playing out memories that help them decide which way to turn.

The more they play out these memories, the more likely they are to find their way correctly to the end of the maze.

The researchers implanted electrodes directly on… read more

Brain map project set to revolutionise neuroscience

March 14, 2008

The Allen Institute for Brain Science is launching a four-year, $55-million effort to build a 3D map documenting activity levels of some 20,000 different genes across the human brain.

The scientists will divide the human brain into 500 to 2000 anatomical regions and study gene activity in each by using gene chips to record which messenger RNA is present in different regions of the brain.

For instance, some… read more

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.

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