Highlights from Interbike 2014

Brain

New research has provided 'strong hope' of finding a drug to combat Alzheimer’s (Image: Sh...

A team of researchers at Yale University has completed a molecular model for Alzheimer's disease by identifying a protein that plays a key role in its onset. Promisingly, the study showed that when the activity of this protein is blocked by an existing drug, mice engineered as models for human AD recover their memories.  Read More

A special polymer material created by UCLA professor Vijay Gupta has been found to reduce ...

One of the most feared football-related injuries is concussion. With the new NFL and NCAA college seasons just about to kick off, fans will be praying that none of their team suffers any serious impact collisions that could end their season or result in memory loss or depression later in life. University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) biomechanical engineering professor, Vijay Gupta, is testing a special polymer material that when applied to the inside of helmets, can reduce G-force impact by 25 percent.  Read More

A cross section of one of the 'mini brains'

Within the past few years, scientists have successfully grown organs such as kidneys and livers in laboratories. It’s possible that some day, such lab-grown organs could be used as transplants, particularly when grown from the recipient’s own cells. Now, a team at the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences has succeeded in growing miniature human brains. While no one is suggesting that they could be swapped in for a patient’s existing brain, they could prove to be a boon to the field of medical research.  Read More

Reconstructed images of letters viewed by the test subjects

If someone were looking at a letter of the alphabet that was blocked from your view, would you be able to accurately guess what that letter was? Well, if you were at Radboud University Nijmegen in The Netherlands, you might not have to guess or call in a psychic. Scientists there have used an MRI scanner and a mathematical model to read observed letters, right out of test subjects’ brains.  Read More

The active cannula goes to work on a simulated blood clot

Intracerebral hemorrhaging is what occurs when a blood vessel in the brain bursts, and the blood which subsequently leaks out of that vessel forms a clot that places pressure on the surrounding brain tissue. It’s not that uncommon of an occurrence, it’s difficult to treat, and is fatal in about 40 percent of cases. Help may be on the way, however. A team from Nashville’s Vanderbilt University has created a robotic device that is designed to remove those clots, in a safe and minimally-invasive fashion.  Read More

The love hormone has a dark side (Photo: Shutterstock)

Often called the love hormone, oxytocin has shown the ability to enhance social bonding, decrease anxiety and encourage an overall feeling of satisfaction with life. A new study out of Northwestern University, however, finds that this ancient hormone has a dark side, and is capable of strengthening unpleasant memories, fear, and anxiety. This Jeckyll and Hyde behavior results from the fact that oxytocin has a general strengthening effect on social memories, without regard to their polarity.  Read More

Swiss researchers have taken an important step towards imitating the brain’s information p...

Researchers at the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich have designed a sophisticated computer system that is comparable in size, speed and energy consumption to the human brain. Based on the development of neuromorphic microchips that mimic the properties of biological neurons, the research is seen as an important step in understanding how the human brain processes information and opens the door to fast, extremely low-power electronic systems that can assimilate sensory input and perform user-defined tasks in real time.  Read More

MIT neuroscientists identified the cells (highlighted in red) where memory traces are stor...

An ongoing collaboration between the Japanese Riken Brain Science Institute and MIT’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory has resulted in the discovery of how to plant specific false memories into the brains of mice. The breakthrough significantly extends our understanding of memory and expands the experimental reach of the new field of optogenetics.  Read More

One of the silk implants used in the study

The group of neurological disorders known as epilepsy not only cause disruptive, alarming seizures, but those seizures also tend to increase in frequency and severity over time. While the majority of patients can gain some control of their condition via medication or surgery, approximately 30 percent cannot. Now, however, help may be on the way ... in the form of tiny pieces of silk implanted in the brain.  Read More

The VEPS sensor can detect signs of traumatic brain injury (TBI) that can result from blow...

Victims of penetrating head injuries usually seek immediate attention, as the hole in their skull is difficult to miss. However, people with closed-head injuries may show few immediate signs of the trauma, and appropriate diagnostic equipment (primarily a CAT scanner) is often not immediately available. A Mexican-US team of researchers has now developed a simple, easy to operate, and inexpensive electromagnetic sensor for traumatic brain injuries, suited to on site use by field personnel and paramedics.  Read More

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