Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Brain

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

This CheckLight's blinking red LED indicates that a serious blow to the head has taken pla...

Although everyone knows of the dangers of brain injuries, it’s often difficult to tell if such an injury has taken place. There are certainly cases in which athletes receive concussions, yet say that they feel fine when asked. That’s why Reebok and flexible electronics developer MC10 have created the CheckLight skull cap. It lets athletes and coaches know when a potentially brain-damaging impact has been delivered to its wearer’s head.  Read More

Subjects were trained to control the quadcopter by imagining opening or closing their fist...

Researchers at the University of Minnesota have done away with all that tedious joystick work by developing a mind-controlled quadcopter. It may seem like the top item of next year’s Christmas list, but it also serves a very practical purpose. Using a skullcap fitted with a Brain Computer Interface (BCI), the University's College of Science and Engineering hopes to develop ways for people suffering from paralysis or neurodegenerative diseases to employ thought to control wheelchairs and other devices.  Read More

The AMES device, which has just received FDA approval

Last week, the US Food and Drug Administration granted clearance to a new device that could be of considerable aid to stroke victims or people with partial spinal cord injuries. Created by Dr. Paul Cordo of the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) in collaboration with OHSU spinoff company AMES, the "AMES device" reportedly helps the brain get paralyzed muscles moving again.  Read More

The foc.us gaming headset claims to improve a gamer's abilities by stimulating specific ar...

What would you do if you wanted to improve your video game skills? Practice more often? Study game maps? Maybe get some tips from pro gamers? But why do any of that when you can just hook some electrodes to your scalp and run an electric current through your cranium? That's what Focus Labs is offering with the foc.us headset, which it claims will improve a gamer's abilities by stimulating specific areas of the brain with a low electric current.  Read More

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