Whether it's as a research tool or a step in repairing severed nerves, the ability to join neurons together has some serious applications. If left to occur naturally, the process takes several hours, limiting its practicality. Now, however, scientists at the University of Alberta's Faculty of Engineering have developed a method of doing so within 15 milliseconds.
A sigh may do more for your health than provide emotional relief.
Researchers in California claim to have identified the source of the
sigh in the brain, which they say is a life-sustaining reflex for healthy lung
functioning. Humans sigh around 12 times per hour to reinflate the
half-billion or so tiny, balloon-like sacs in the lungs called alveoli,
which are vital in regulating the flow of oxygen and carbon dioxide. A
sigh is mostly an involuntary deep breath, or a regular breath with
another added on top before an exhale.
DARPA has announced a program aimed at developing a cutting edge neural implant capable of forming a communication bridge between a human brain and electronic devices. It is hoped that technology developed under the Neural Engineering System Design program will have a wide range of applications in research and healthcare.
Rett Syndrome is a rare but severe neurological disorder that causes autism-like behavior in young females. It has long been known that behind the condition is a genetic mutation, and researchers are now claiming to have found an absent molecule that facilitates regular nerve cell function and development in healthy brains. Armed with a drug that can repair this missing link, the scientists are hopeful their work can lead to effective treatments for not only Rett Syndrome, but various forms of autism-spectrum disorders as well.
A team of researchers at Stanford University has demonstrated the ability to manipulate states of consciousness by altering brain activity. By changing the firing rates of neurons in the central thalamus, scientists have been able to wake rats and/or send them back to sleep. This latest study on the brain's circuitry may help to develop new and effective methods to treat brain injuries and other neurological disorders.
By modifying genes to light up in one of three fluorescent colors during neural signaling, neuroscientists at Northwestern University have managed to (retrospectively) read the minds of fruit flies up to three hours after an event. This new technique could help in efforts to map the circuits within fruit fly brains, and that in turn might provide insights into the workings of the human brain.
Researchers at Brown University have developed a way to create "mini brains" – 3D arrangements of neural tissue that are able to transmit electrical synapses – that, at 25 cents apiece after fixed costs, could provide an efficient means of conducting neuroscience research.
Our brains are wondrous, incredible machines. They're slower than the earliest personal computers in terms of raw processing power, yet capable of leaps of intuition and able to store a lifetime of memories that are cross-referenced and instantly-accessible at the slightest prompting. We know so very little about how they do these things, however. But imagine for a moment if we could build a complete wiring diagram of a human brain – to map in detail every one of the hundred trillion or so synapses and roughly hundred billion neurons together with all the tiniest supporting mechanisms. What might that mean, and would it even be possible?
A mechanical hand utilizing DARPA-developed neural technologies has
become the first to allow a paralyzed patient to feel physical
sensations through a prosthesis. The 28 year-old test subject was able
to determine which mechanical finger was being touched whilst
blindfolded, with total accuracy.
Researchers at Ohio State University (OSU) have grown a nearly complete human brain equivalent in size and structure to that of a five-week old fetus. Called a "brain organoid," it was bioengineered using adult human skin cells and is the most advanced human brain model yet created in a laboratory.