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Neuroscience


— Health and Wellbeing

Easter Island drug improves learning and memory in mice of all ages

By - July 1, 2012 1 Picture
Rapamycin, a bacterial product first discovered in a soil sample from Easter Island – also known as Rapa Nui, hence the name – is an immunosuppressant drug used to prevent rejection in organ transplants that has now been found to enhance learning and memory in young and old mice alike. Researchers at the School of Medicine at The University of Texas (UT) Health Science Center San Antonio made the discovery while looking for a way to prevent the decline in cognitive skills that comes with age. Read More
— Science

Robotic arm could help reveal brain’s inner secrets

By - May 9, 2012 3 Pictures
A group of researchers at MIT and Georgia Tech has built a robotic arm that can automate whole-cell patch clamping, a complicated technique that normally requires great manual dexterity and takes researchers months to master. Once streamlined, this technology will monitor and record the electrical signals generated by the neurons in a living brain, to help uncover the secret inner workings of the human mind - or at least, in the not-so-distant future, of a lab rat's. Read More
— Science

Researchers get partial memory control and create "hybrid" memories in mice

By - March 22, 2012 1 Picture
You may remember – pun intended – that earlier in the week we reported on research that may provide an explanation of how memories are stored in the brain. In related news, a team consisting of researchers from the Scripps Research Institute, the University of Oregon and the University of North Carolina has found a way to partially control a specific memory in mice by turning neurons in their brains on and off. Although the research is in its early stages, the scientists say it could lead to a better understanding of how memories form and maybe even provide ways to change people’s thought patterns. Read More
— Science

Researchers may have discovered how memories are encoded in the brain

By - March 21, 2012 1 Picture
While it’s generally accepted that memories are stored somewhere, somehow in our brains, the exact process has never been entirely understood. Strengthened synaptic connections between neurons definitely have something to do with it, although the synaptic membranes involved are constantly degrading and being replaced – this seems to be somewhat at odds with the fact that some memories can last for a person’s lifetime. Now, a team of scientists believe that they may have figured out what’s going on. Their findings could have huge implications for the treatment of diseases such as Alzheimer's. Read More
— Medical

Cancer drug reverses Alzheimer's in mice

By - February 14, 2012 1 Picture
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
— Medical

FDA approves the treatment of brain tumors with electrical fields

By - February 13, 2012 8 Pictures
The FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) has approved a new treatment for patients as an alternative to chemotherapy. The promising new non-invasive treatment by Novocure uses "Tumor Treating Fields" (NovoTTF) to treat cancerous growths and is now available for adult patients with recurring brain tumors (recurrent glioblastoma or GBM). The treatment delivers electric fields to a patient utilizing a portable, wearable device that permits the patient to maintain normal daily activities without down time. Read More
— Medical

Non-surgical procedure repairs severed nerves in minutes

By - February 7, 2012 2 Pictures
Professor George Bittner and his colleagues at the University of Texas at Austin Center for Neuroscience have developed a simple and inexpensive procedure to quickly repair severed peripheral nerves. The team took advantage of a mechanism similar to that which permits many invertebrates to regenerate and repair nerve damage. The new procedure, based on timely application of common chemicals to the severed nerve ends, could help patients to recover nearly full function in days or weeks. Read More
— Military

Future wars may be waged with mind-controlled weaponry, Royal Society warns

By - February 7, 2012 1 Picture
Neuroscience has ramifications for future warfare, and the scientific community must be more aware. So says a new report published by the Royal Society titled Neuroscience, conflict and security, which cites interest in neuroscience from the military community, and identifies particular technologies that may arise. Among them is the potential for "neural interface systems" (NIS) to bring about weapons controllable by the human mind, though the reports also discusses more benign military applications of neuroscience, such as fostering a revolution in prosthetic limbs. Read More
— Science

Matrix-style instant learning could be one step closer

By - December 14, 2011 1 Picture
How would you like to have the ability to play the piano downloaded into your brain? You might not end up with the same sense of achievement, but it sure would be a lot quicker and easier than years of lessons and practicing. Well, we're not there yet (and perhaps we never should be), but that sort of scenario is now a little closer to reality, thanks to research conducted at Boston University and ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories in Kyoto, Japan. Read More
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