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Brain

— Medical

Surgical robot takes a cheeky approach to brain surgery

By - October 15, 2014 3 Pictures
Conventional open surgery on the brain involves drilling openings in the skull through which to access the gray matter. But what if the part of the brain needing to be accessed is located at the bottom of the brain as is the case with treating severe epileptic seizures? Generally it means more drilling. Now engineers at Vanderbilt University have developed a surgical robot that uses an alternative point of entry – the cheek. Read More
— Medical

Brain-computer interface enables "locked-in" brain stroke sufferer to communicate

By - October 9, 2014 1 Picture
By enabling users to communicate and control devices with their thoughts, brain-computer interfaces (BCI) hold almost a scary amount of potential. While they have achieved feats such as directing the flight of a quadcopter and helping victims of paralysis to communicate, sufferers of brainstem stroke with "locked-in" syndrome have so far been beyond reach. But now, a researcher at East Tennessee Sate University (ETSU) has demonstrated BCIs may in fact give brainstem stroke patients a voice again, with very specific brainwaves serving as a typing finger for a virtual keyboard. Read More
— Medical

Xenon could provide protection for the brain after a blow to the head

By - September 9, 2014 1 Picture
Injuries from a blow to the head are a two-stage affair, with the primary injury caused by the initial impact being followed by a secondary injury that develops in the subsequent hours and days. We have seen the development of devices like the Jolt Sensor that are designed to detect the severity of the initial impact, but there is currently no drug treatment for the secondary injury, which is largely responsible for a patient sustaining mental and physical disabilities. Now scientists at Imperial College London have found that xenon gas shows promise as such a treatment. Read More
— Sports

Clip-on Jolt Sensor vibrates when there's a risk of concussion

By - September 4, 2014 4 Pictures
Heightened awareness of brain injuries and their enduring impacts has seen emphasis grow on immediate concussion testing. Indeed, if some time passes before detection, an additional blow to the already injured brain can have serious consequences. The team behind the Jolt Sensor is looking to make these assessments an instantaneous affair, with a sensor that clips onto an athlete's headwear and vibrates when they receive too heavy a knock. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation found to boost memory

By - September 1, 2014 2 Pictures
Failing memory is one of the (many) drawbacks of old age, but can also impact younger people suffering stroke, early-stage Alzheimer's disease, traumatic brain injury and cardiac arrest. In a breakthrough that opens up the potential for new treatments for memory impairments in the young and old, researchers at Northwestern University have shown that electrical stimulation of the brain can improve memory, with the benefits lasting long after treatment. Read More
— Science

Creation of functional 3D brain-like tissue could aid in study of the brain

By - August 17, 2014 3 Pictures
One approach to studying the brain rather than working on the whole thing at once is to examine small bits of it. With that in mind, researchers at the Tissue Engineering Resource Center at Tufts University, Boston have developed a three-dimensional brain-like tissue that is structurally similar to living rat brain tissue, functions enough like it for experimental purposes, and one that scientists have been able to keep alive for up to two months. Read More
— Medical

Experimental drug compound found to reverse effects of Alzheimer's in mice

By - August 7, 2014 1 Picture
While there has been progress made in the fight against Alzheimer's, our understanding of the dispiriting disease remains somewhat limited, with a definitive cure yet to be found. The latest development comes at the hands of researchers from Yale's School of Medicine, who have discovered a new drug compound shown to reverse the effects of Alzheimer's in mice. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Blood test could indicate predisposition to suicide

By - July 30, 2014 1 Picture
While there are a wide range of scenarios that may cause a person to take their own life, the fact is that in a given situation, some people will do so whereas others won't. Scientists at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine now believe that this difference can largely be traced to a genetic mutation in the people who are more likely to commit suicide. What's more, this mutation can be detected via a blood test. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

DARPA wants to develop electronic memory-restoring implants

By - July 9, 2014 1 Picture
Earlier this year, we heard about how DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) was setting up its new Biological Technologies Office. The goal of that division is to "merge biology, engineering, and computer science to harness the power of natural systems for national security." This week, the agency released details of one of the office's key projects, called Restoring Active Memory. It's aimed at using implantable "neuroprosthetics" to help army veterans and other people recover from memory deficits caused by brain injury or disease. Read More

British Airways tests "happiness blanket"

British Airways recently flew a group of volunteers on flight BA 189 Dreamliner from Heathrow to New York as part of an experiment to study how people react to the night-time flight across time zones. What made this particular flight unusual were the high-tech "happiness blankets" used to measure how relaxed passengers were as part of a study of how to combat jet lag. Read More
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