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Brain

Dr Rickard Brånemark tests the functionality of the world's first muscle and nerve control...

It took some time, but the age of the cyborg is upon us. For the first time, neuromuscular electrodes that enable a prosthetic arm and hand to be controlled by thought have been permanently implanted into the nerves and muscles of an amputee. The operation was carried out recently by a surgical team led by Dr Rickard Brånemark at Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Goteborg, Sweden.  Read More

A prototype tongue-buzzing PoNS device

Scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have created a device known as a PoNS, that shows promise for the treatment of traumatic brain injuries, strokes, or the effects of diseases such as Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis. Researchers at the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command are now conducting a study on the device, which works by stimulating the patient’s tongue.  Read More

One of the test mice, and a live video feed of its fluorescing neurons

What’s that mouse thinking about? Scientists at California’s Stanford University can now tell you – to a limited extent. They recently had success in imaging the neural activity of mice, in real time. While the ability to “read a mouse’s mind” may not fire many peoples’ imaginations, the technology could prove very useful in researching diseases like Alzheimer's.  Read More

One of Duke University's infrared detector-equipped test subjects

Quite often, when we hear about brain-machine interfaces, it’s in the context of returning an ability to people who lack it. People who are unable to speak, for instance, might be able to interface with a machine that could speak for them. Recently, however, scientists at Duke University used such an interface to augment rats with a sort of “sixth sense” – the ability to detect invisible infrared light by sense of touch. The research could have significant implications for the disabled.  Read More

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

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