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Brain

A nerve cell, with the myelin sheath shown in brown (Image: Shutterstock)

Myelin is a fatty tissue that covers the fibers between nerve cells – it’s not unlike the insulation on electrical wiring. When that tissue is compromised, the cells have difficulty communicating, and neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis can be the result. If the myelin of MS sufferers could be regrown, then it’s possible that the disease could be cured. Recently, a team of scientists successfully regenerated myelin in mice, using human skin cells that were reprogrammed into brain cells.  Read More

The Infrascanner Model 2000 is a handheld device that uses near infra-red light to detect ...

A little over two years ago, we looked at a hand-held device known as the Infrascanner Model 1000, which uses near infra-red light to detect traumatic brain injuries. Now, the InfraScan company has received US Food and Drug Administration approval to market the 1000’s improved successor, the Infrascanner Model 2000.  Read More

Graphene and the human brain have been selected as the research areas that could each rece...

The European Commission has announced two Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) Flagships that could each receive funding of a staggering one billion euro (US$1.3 billion) over a period of ten years. The “Graphene Flagship” and the “Human Brain Project” are large-scale, science-driven research initiatives designed to “fuel revolutionary discoveries” and provide major benefits for European society – hopefully creating new jobs and providing economic growth along the way.  Read More

University of Illinois neuroscience professor Aron Barbey

We tend to think of reason and emotion as being two different things, but it turns out that there may not be a choice between the heart and the head. A University of Illinois team, led by neuroscience professor Aron Barbey, has made the first detailed 3D map of emotional and general intelligence in the brain, that shows a strong overlap of general and emotional intelligence.  Read More

Electric stimulation of the brain through the skull has been found to release a powerful, ...

Twenty to thirty percent of the world's population suffers from some sort of chronic pain, which is far more difficult to control than, say, the pain of a cut or bruise. A great deal of effort has gone into the search for medically acceptable ways to control such pain, with few good answers emerging. Now medical researchers at the University of Michigan have directly demonstrated that transcranial electrical stimulation of a patient's brain causes the release of a natural opiate that dulls or eliminates the perception of pain.  Read More

Berkeley scientists have created the first map of how the brain organizes what we see (Ima...

How does our brain organize the visual information that our eyes capture? Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, used computational models of brain imaging data to answer this question and arrived at what they call “continuous semantic space” – a notion which serves as the basis for the first interactive maps showing how the brain categorizes what we see.  Read More

Scientists are looking into treating Alzheimer's disease by applying tiny shocks to the br...

The process of deep brain stimulation involves using a pacemaker-like implanted device to apply controlled mild electrical pulses to specific areas of the brain. In recent studies, it has been used – with some success – to treat conditions such as Parkinson's disease, major depression and Tourette syndrome. Now, in the ADvance Study, researchers at several research centers are exploring its use in restoring memory function to people with Alzheimer’s disease.  Read More

Researchers at the University of Waterloo have built what they claim is the most accurate ...

Researchers at the University of Waterloo have built what they claim is the most accurate simulation of a functioning brain to date. Despite a seemingly unimpressive count of only 2.5 million neurons, Spaun (Semantic Pointer Architecture Unified Network) is able to process visual inputs, compute answers and write them down using a robotic arm, performing feats of intelligence that up to this point had only been attributed to humans.  Read More

Researchers at Canada’s Western University have found a way to effectively block certain t...

We’re all carrying around some cringe-inducing memories that we’d rather forget. But for those suffering Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), recalling certain memories can provoke fearful, emotional experiences. By the same token, some memories can remind those battling drug addiction of the rewarding effects of the drug and trigger a relapse. Researchers at Canada’s Western University have found a way to effectively block these types of memories that could lead to better treatments for both conditions.  Read More

MIT engineers have devised a way to stack neurons to form three-dimensional brain tissue (...

A team of researchers from MIT and Harvard Medical School have devised a cheap way of artificially growing three-dimensional brain tissues in the lab. Built layer by layer, the tissues can take on just about any shape and closely mimic the cellular composition of the tissue found in the living brain. The advance could allow scientists to get a closer look at how neurons form connections, predict how cells of individual patients will respond to different drugs, and even lead to the creation of bioengineered implants to replace damaged brain tissue.  Read More

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