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Brain

Biology

Weak electrical field found to carry information around the brain

In a development that could lead to improved understanding of memory formation and epilepsy, scientists have discovered a new way information may be traveling throughout the brain. The team has identified slow-moving brainwaves it says could be carried only by the brain's gentle electrical field, a mechanism previously thought to be incapable of spreading neural signals altogether.Read More

Medical

Mobile EEG cap to enable brainwave monitoring on the go

Like many scientists around the world, researchers working out of UC San Diego have high hopes for how our brainwaves might one day be used to control devices, tackle neurological disorders and everything in between. But for that to happen, the devices used to monitor them not only have to be highly advanced, but comfortable and practical to wear on our heads in everyday environments. The team has now taken a promising step towards such a future, unveiling what it says to be a first-of-its-kind EEG headset that will take brain monitoring out of the lab and into homes, cars and offices. Read More

Medical

Boosting brain molecule points to treatment for autism and other neurological disorders

Rett Syndrome is a rare but severe neurological disorder that causes autism-like behavior in young females. It has long been known that behind the condition is a genetic mutation, and researchers are now claiming to have found an absent molecule that facilitates regular nerve cell function and development in healthy brains. Armed with a drug that can repair this missing link, the scientists are hopeful their work can lead to effective treatments for not only Rett Syndrome, but various forms of autism-spectrum disorders as well.Read More

Science

Standout science and technology in 2015

The blistering advance of technology we are experiencing in the 21st century is nothing short of mind-boggling, and the rate of change being exponential, 2015 was by definition the busiest year yet. So before the Gregorian calendar keels over into 2016, let's take a wander through some of the year's most significant, salutary and attention-grabbing examples of scientific achievement, technological innovation and human endeavor.
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Biology

Sending rats to sleep sheds light on brain circuitry

A team of researchers at Stanford University has demonstrated the ability to manipulate states of consciousness by altering brain activity. By changing the firing rates of neurons in the central thalamus, scientists have been able to wake rats and/or send them back to sleep. This latest study on the brain's circuitry may help to develop new and effective methods to treat brain injuries and other neurological disorders.Read More

Biology

Fluorescent molecules let neuroscientists peer into the mind of a fruit fly

By modifying genes to light up in one of three fluorescent colors during neural signaling, neuroscientists at Northwestern University have managed to (retrospectively) read the minds of fruit flies up to three hours after an event. This new technique could help in efforts to map the circuits within fruit fly brains, and that in turn might provide insights into the workings of the human brain.Read More

Biology Feature

Can we build a complete wiring diagram of the human brain?

Our brains are wondrous, incredible machines. They're slower than the earliest personal computers in terms of raw processing power, yet capable of leaps of intuition and able to store a lifetime of memories that are cross-referenced and instantly-accessible at the slightest prompting. We know so very little about how they do these things, however. But imagine for a moment if we could build a complete wiring diagram of a human brain – to map in detail every one of the hundred trillion or so synapses and roughly hundred billion neurons together with all the tiniest supporting mechanisms. What might that mean, and would it even be possible?Read More

Biology

The brain stores memories relative to time and place of origin

Where and when you form new memories affects where they are stored in the brain's hippocampus, which is the memory center in our brain, researchers at Ohio State University found in a new study. They saw evidence that a particular part of the hippocampus stores memories relative to time over durations of at least a month and space over distances of up to 30 km (18.6 mi).Read More

Medical

Mice brainpower boosted with alteration of a single gene

"Ignorance is bliss," so the old saying goes, but who wouldn't give their brainpower a boost if they had the chance? By altering a single gene to inhibit the activity of an enzyme called phosphodiesterase (PDE4B), researchers have given mice the opportunity to see what an increase in intelligence is like. While many people would welcome such a treatment, the scientists say their research could lead to new treatments for those with cognitive disorders and age-related cognitive decline.Read More

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