Photokina 2014 highlights

Mind

An anticancer drug, bexarotene, reverses the physical and cognitive effects of Alzheimer's...

Studies of the anticancer drug bexarotene have shown that, in mice, the drug quickly reverses the physiological, cognitive, and memory deficits which are characteristic of Alzheimer's. More than half of the amyloid beta plaques associated with Alzheimer's were cleared from the brain within hours, and normal behavioral patterns which had been blocked by the plaques were restored within 72 hours.  Read More

Scientists have created a system that is able to visually reconstruct images that people h...

In the 1983 film Brainstorm, Christopher Walken played a scientist who was able to record movies of people's mental experiences, then play them back into the minds of other people. Pretty far-fetched, right? Well, maybe not. Utilizing functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and computer models, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have been able to visually reconstruct the brain activity of human subjects watching movie trailers - in other words, they could see what the people's brains were seeing.  Read More

The anterior cingulate and prefrontal cortex (red) and frontal gyrus (orange) areas of the...

The World Health Organization has projected that by 2020, major depression will be the second-most significant cause for disability in the world, after heart disease. Along with psychotherapy, the disorder is usually treated using antidepressant drugs. There is often a frustrating trial-and-error period involved in finding the right drug for the right person, however, while side effects can include obesity, sexual dysfunction, and fatigue ... to name a few. Los Angeles-based company NeuroSigma is now looking into an alternative drug-free therapy, that could ultimately incorporate electrodes implanted under the patient’s skin.  Read More

A Phrygian cap, also known as the 'liberty cap' - one of over 200 species of fungi produci...

The use of mushrooms by man for practical, culinary or recreational purposes is said to date back to at least Paleolithic times, with perhaps the best-known variety in recent times being Amanita muscaria or Fly Agaric. Nibbling on one side of this fungus made Alice grow in size and the other made her shrink, leading to some rather bizarre adventures and inspiring one of my favorite songs - White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane. The favored psychoactive mushrooms of the drop-out 1960s, though, were members of the Psilocybe genus. Researchers now believe that they have found the optimum dose of the pure chemical found in those so-called magic mushrooms, a level which offers maximum therapeutic value with little risk of having a bad trip.  Read More

Scientists are creating a brain-computer interface that will allow users to control device...

Practical thought-controlled devices, such as wheelchairs, artificial arms, or even cars, are perhaps a step closer to reality thanks to research being carried out at Switzerland’s Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). Traditionally, brain-computer interfaces require the user to concentrate on constantly maintaining a mental command of either turn left, turn right, or no-command (go straight). According to EPFL, most users can’t sustain more than about an hour of the necessary mental effort. The school is developing a new system, however, that allows users to take breaks and shift their attention to other things while their thought-controlled device continues to operate on its own.  Read More

One of the test subjects playing an action video game (Photo: J. Adam Fenster, University ...

For some time now, it’s been one of those “well-known facts” that playing video games increases one’s hand-eye coordination... much to the consternation of parents and spouses trying to convince family members that their obsessive gaming has no redeeming value. Now, research conducted at the University of Rochester indicates that playing action video games also increases peoples’ ability to make right decisions faster. Ironically, an activity that involves sitting on the couch helps people to think on their feet.  Read More

fMRI brain scans from UBC Mind Wandering Study
 (Image: Courtesy of Kalina Christoff)

If you think letting your mind wander is unproductive then you may be in for a big surprise. A recent study at the University of British Columbia found that our brains are much more active when we daydream than previously thought. What is surprising is that the study also found that brain areas associated with complex problem-solving – previously thought to go dormant when we daydream – are actually more active than when we focus on routine tasks.  Read More

The Psyleron Mind Lamp changes color due to the power of the human mind … we think

A Princeton University research team claims that the Psyleron Mind Lamp changes color due to the power of the human mind. According to researchers, "electron tunneling" causes the lamp to move from deep shades of white, red, orange, yellow, green, cyan, blue, purple, and magenta. The powerful LEDs within the lamp help to ensure that the lamp glows brightly even in a lit room.  Read More

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