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Neuroscience

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Sensor to detect Earth’s magnetic field discovered in an animal for very first time

By - June 17, 2015 1 Picture

It has been a long-held belief in scientific circles that many creatures navigate across land, through water, and through the skies using the Earth’s magnetic field for guidance. Now scientists and engineers working at The University of Texas at Austin (UT) have finally discovered the organic mechanism responsible for this in an animal. Looking just like a microscopic TV antenna, the structure has been found in the brain of a tiny roundworm that uses it to work out which way to burrow through the soil. This breakthrough may help scientists discover how other species with internal compasses use the magnetic field of our planet to pilot their course.

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The Hunger Pains: Mice genetically engineered to not feel them

By - April 28, 2015 1 Picture
Hunger pains are the bane of any dieter's existence, kicking in even when skipping a single meal and goading the sufferer to indulge their desire for food. Controlling hunger is now better understood as neuroscientists tease apart why we (well, our model mouse cousins) feel hunger. Mind-bendingly, the same researchers have used genetic therapies to create feelings of satiety where none would otherwise exist. Read More
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Scientists discover a "mini-brain" in spinal cord that helps keep us balanced

By - February 1, 2015 1 Picture
Keeping ourselves upright is something most of us shouldn't need to think a whole lot about, given we've been doing it almost our entire lives. But when it comes to dealing with more precarious terrain, like walking on ice or some sort of tight rope, you might think some pretty significant concentration is required. But researchers have found that even in our moments of great instability, our subconsciousness is largely responsible for keeping us from landing on our backsides. This is due to what scientists are describing as a mini-brain, a newly mapped bunch of neurons in the spinal cord which processes sensory information and could lead to new treatment for ailing motor skills and balance. Read More
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Study finds that retina "language" changes with brightness

By - December 11, 2014 1 Picture
Our eyes extract a lot of information from visible light that enables us to see color, movement, shadows, highlights, shapes, and more, with each component processed separately and sent to the brain in parallel to the others. It was previously thought that the same scene would always be converted into the same pattern of activity. But research by scientists at the University of Tübingen in Germany and the University of Manchester in the UK suggests that the signals differ wildly as the brightness of the environment changes by even small amounts. Read More
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Mantis shrimp's eyes inspire new cancer-detecting camera

By - October 1, 2014 1 Picture
One of nature’s most notorious psychopaths may be giving cancer patients new hope. The mantis shrimp is famous for having a punch like a .22 bullet and a perpetual bad attitude, but is also has the most complex eyes in the animal kingdom, which are excellent at detecting polarized light. With this in mind, the University of Queensland is developing new cameras based on the mantis shrimp’s eyes that can detect a variety of cancer tissues. Read More
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Brain implant and high-tech sleeve used to bypass spinal cord and move paralyzed limbs

By - June 25, 2014 5 Pictures
In what is being touted as a world first, a quadriplegic man has been given the ability to move his fingers and hand with his own thoughts thanks to the implantation of an electronic device in his brain and muscle stimulation sleeve. Part of a neurostimulation system dubbed "Neurobridge," the technology essentially bypasses the damaged spinal cord and reconnects the brain directly to the muscles. Read More
— Medical

LEDs may replace magnetism and radiation for neuroimaging

By - May 26, 2014 1 Picture
When doctors want to monitor someone's brain activity, they generally use either functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) or positron emission tomography (PET). One subjects the patient to strong magnetic fields, while the other involves radiation exposure. Scientists at Washington University in St. Louis, however, have recently had success using diffuse optical tomography (DOT). Although it may look kind of extreme, it basically just involves shining LEDs into the subject's head. Read More
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Electric "thinking cap" helps people learn from their mistakes

By - March 27, 2014 7 Pictures
Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) has become a widely used technique for reaching into a person's brain and altering the way in which it functions. Vanderbilt psychology Professor Geoffrey Woodman and graduate student Robert Reinhart have just published the results of a new study in the Journal of Neuroscience in which they found that tDCS stimulation of the mediofrontal cortex for a period of minutes can change one's ability to recognize and learn from error for a period of several hours. Read More
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