The field of optogenetics where individual brains cells are made to behave differently when exposed to light has wide-ranging potential. It may one day be used to reverse acquired blindness, alter pain thresholds and even hit the rest button on our biological clocks. With one eye on this emerging area of neuroscience, scientists have developed a device the width of a human hair that can be planted in the brain to deliver light or drugs only where needed, offering better targeted treatments and reduced side effects.
If the thought of using a person's brainwaves to control a machine isn't quite enough to make the mind boggle, then mixing signals from multiple brains for the same purpose might just do the job. This far-fetched field of neuroscience is edging ever closer to real-world technology, with a number of recent research efforts achieving significant advances, with mind-controlled drone flight just one example. The latest step forward in this area sees the brains of separate animals hooked up and their combined motor and sensory information used for things like controlling a virtual arm, pattern recognition and even predicting the weather.
A team of researchers from the University of Virginia School of Medicine has made a landmark discovery of vessels that connect the brain with the lymphatic system – something that wasn't previously thought to exist. The breakthrough has significant implications on the study of major neurological diseases, from multiple sclerosis to Alzheimer's.
Back at CES 2015, one of the coolest new gizmos we tried was Thync. The wearable zaps your brain to make you feel either calm or energized (or both) – and, despite some healthy skepticism at first, we found that it worked exactly as advertised. We got a second hands-on last week in advance of Thync pre-orders starting today.
By enabling the rigid brains of adult mice to return to the high levels of plasticity found in juvenile brains, scientists are opening new pathways to the treatment of brain injuries such as stroke. Back in 2013, researchers from Yale University reported the discovery of a molecular switch that achieved this result, and now scientists at the University of California, Irvine, have managed to make an old brain young again using a different approach.
Using a matrix of nano-sized memristors, researchers
working at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) and the
University of California, Santa Barbara claim to have constructed the world’s
first electronic memory cell that effectively mimics the analog process of the
human brain. By storing memories as multiple threads of varying information,
rather than a collection of ones and zeroes, scientists believe that this
device may prove to be the first step towards creating a completely artificial,