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Brain

The Melon EEG headband that is designed to measure focus

Thinking about how accurately and effectively you are thinking is an exercise from which many of us could profit. Unfortunately, this is a serious challenge for most people. Rather like thinking about your golf swing, or just how to hit that high C, self-examination tends to modify or destroy the mental processes that were to be evaluated. Fortunately, we are in the age of personal EEG monitors, of which the latest entry is the Melon (which briefly surfaced previously as the Axio), a Kickstarter project to manufacture a headband EEG monitor designed to measure mental focus.  Read More

An iRobot PackBot navigates a school, in a demonstration of the Cognitive Patterns system

It’s sometimes easy to forget that for all their human-like qualities, robots are in fact machines. While some systems allow them to recognize basic objects, they still don’t necessarily make sense of what they’re looking at – they might see and recognize a box, for instance, but what does the presence of a box suggest to them? Now, researchers at Massachusetts-based engineering firm Aptima are developing a system known as Cognitive Patterns. It allows robots and humans to collaborate on building the robots’ understanding of the world, thus allowing them to operate on their own more effectively.  Read More

UCSF researchers have been able to cure epilepsy in adult mice by transplanting a specific...

Earlier this week we reported on a neurological implant that has been found to accurately predict the onset of epileptic seizures. But a discovery by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) could one day render such a device obsolete. By transplanting a specific type of cell into the brain, the researchers have been able to cure epilepsy in adult mice, with hopes a similar treatment could work in humans.  Read More

The small almond-sized portion of the brain known as the hypothalamus could be the body's ...

Instead of traipsing through Florida in search of the Fountain of Youth, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León might have been better off turning his search inwards. More specifically, he should have turned his attention to a region of the brain called the hypothalamus. At least that’s what research carried out on mice by scientists at New York’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University suggests. They found that the hypothalamus controls many aspects of aging, opening up the potential to slow down the aging process by altering signal pathways within that part of the brain.  Read More

A new brain implant can accurately predict an impending epileptic seizure (Image: Shutters...

Epilepsy seizures can range from something as subtle as a passing localized numbness to something as noticeable and potentially dangerous as wild involuntary thrashing. While some people experience symptoms before a seizure that indicate one is about to occur, others have no warning at all. A new device that is designed to be implanted between the skull and the brain surface has been found to accurately predict epilepsy seizures in humans and can indicate the risk of a seizure occurring in the coming hours.  Read More

Seniors who played the Road Tour video game reportedly experienced an improvement in their...

It’s a sad fact of life that as we age, our cognitive skills decline. In particular, the “executive function” of our mind diminishes – this function is a key aspect of our memory, attention, perception, and problem solving skills. There may be help, however. Scientists from the University of Iowa are now claiming that by playing a specific video game, test subjects aged 50 and over were able to stop and even reverse the trend.  Read More

The lights themselves can be as small as single cells, and are printed onto the end of a f...

Optogenetics is the process by which genetically-programmed neurons or other cells can be activated by subjecting them to light. Among other things, the technology helps scientists understand how the brain works, which could in turn lead to new treatments for brain disorders. Presently, fiber optic cables must be wired into the brains of test animals in order to deliver light to the desired regions. That may be about to change, however, as scientists have created tiny LEDs that can be injected into the brain.  Read More

Banerji Subhasis (left) and Dr. John Heng, testing the SynPhNe system

People recovering from strokes can often find rehabilitation very frustrating. They try to move their hand in a certain way, for instance, but it just won’t do it – why not? That’s where a new system known as the Synergistic Physio-Neuro Platform (SynPhNe) comes into the picture. It guides patients through exercises, monitors their performance, and lets them know why they’re unable to perform certain tasks. They can then use that knowledge to self-correct their actions, instead of just getting exasperated.  Read More

Now you see it, now you don't – an intact adult mouse brain before and after the two-day C...

Many will remember the colorless colas that came and went in the early 90s. While they were nothing more than a gimmick, Stanford University researchers have developed a clear technology that should prove a little more beneficial to humanity. They have developed a process called CLARITY that turns a normally opaque brain transparent, allowing postmortem examinations to be done without slicing and dicing and opening the doors to a wealth of information about our least understood organ.  Read More

Scientists have used Deep Brain Stimulation to successfully treat patients suffering from ...

Deep Brain Stimulation, in which a pacemaker-like device activates select regions of the brain via implanted electrodes, has been used to help people suffering from a variety of neurological problems. Just in the past few years, studies have explored its use for treating anorexia, Alzheimer’s, and memory disorders. Now, perhaps not surprisingly, scientists from Germany’s Bonn University Hospital have found that it also appears to do wonders for acute depression.  Read More

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