Study Reveals Autism Could Be Reversible

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have shown that it may be possible to reverse autism. Autism is a genetically-linked condition and there is still much uncertainty as to what all the different genetic causes of the condition are. One genetic cause for example, affecting 1% of the those with autism, is the lack of a Shank3, which has responsibilities related to brain development. Those missing the gene experience autism symptoms such as avoiding social activities/interact...
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Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the chief cause of death and disability among children and adults from 1 to 44 years of age in the United States, leading to more than two million emergency department visits annually. A brain protein is thought to be the source of long-term cognitive impairments in those who have had seemingly mild, concussion-type head injuries, and a blood test may one day be available to predict such damage. Researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of...
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A study on Taste

New study proves that sense of taste is hardwired in the brain, independent of learning or experience. Most people probably think that we perceive the five basic tastes sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami (savory) with our tongue, which then sends signals to our brain “telling” us what we’ve tasted. However, scientists have turned this idea on its head, demonstrating in mice the ability to change the way something tastes by manipulating groups of cells in the brain. “Taste, the way you and I th...
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Flexible, implantable device could block pain signals

Building on wireless technology that has the potential to interfere with pain, scientists have developed flexible, implantable devices that can activate and, in theory, block pain signals in the body and spinal cord before those signals reach the brain. The researchers, at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said the implants one day may be used in different parts of the body to fight pain that doesn’t respond to other therapi...
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Lack of sleep zaps cell growth, brain activity.

Lack of adequate sleep can do more than just make you tired. It can short-circuit your system and interfere with a fundamental cellular process that drives physical growth, physiological adaptation and even brain activity, according to a new study from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Albrecht von Arnim, a molecular biologist based in the Department of Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology, studied plants but said the concepts may well translate to humans. His team examined h...
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How a moth slows its brain to see in the dark

Hawkmoths are big, agile insects that hover in place expertly as they feed on nectar at dawn, dusk, and in the evenings. So, not only is it dark out, but the flowers are moving targets thanks to the breeze. Now, with the help of a robotic flower, researchers reveal how hawkmoths forage in the darkness: Their twilight or night vision is exquisitely attuned to flowers swaying in the wind. The findings, suggest that hawkmoth sight and flight evolved to perfectly match the movements of their only so...
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Brain cells can be activated by a prosthetic hand.

Researchers from Stanford University have improved artificial hands by attaching some flexible sensors on the fingertips, which can generate some electrical signals that can communicate with our brain directly instead of via a processor or a computer to translate back the signals to our brain. Engineers have built a flexible sensor that detects touch and, just like skin, produces electrical pulses that get faster when the pressure increases. They have also used those pulses to drive neuronal ...
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How the Brain Controls Sleep

MIT neuroscientists have discovered a brain circuit that can trigger small regions of the brain to fall asleep or become less alert, while the rest of the brain remains awake. This circuit originates in a brain structure known as the thalamic reticular nucleus (TRN), which relays signals to the thalamus and then the brain’s cortex, inducing pockets of the slow, oscillating brain waves characteristic of deep sleep. Slow oscillations also occur during coma and general anesthesia, and are associate...
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How the brain loses and regains consciousness

Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators have identified specific EEG (electroencephalogram) signatures that indicate when patients lose and regain consciousness under the general anesthetic drug propofol. The study reveals brain patterns produced by the general anesthesia drug which could help doctor’s better monitor patients. "We have discovered highly structured EEG patterns that indicate when people are sedated during administration of propofol, when they are unconscious and whe...
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Unique brain ‘Fingerprint’ offers new method of identification.

Neurologists at Yale University have discovered that it is possible to identify an individual's unique identity by mapping brain activity. Unlike a fingerprint, which is based on the physical structure of a finger or thumb, a brain profile is based on brain activity, which is similarly unique. The research, published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, used data obtained through functional MRI (fMRI) scans to build an individual's connectivity profile. Neuroscientists have found that they can...
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How the brain keeps time

Neuroscientists at MIT and Columbia University have now figured out how neurons in one part of the brain measure time intervals and accurately reproduce them. Keeping track of time is critical for many tasks, such as playing the piano, swinging a tennis racket, or holding a conversation. The researchers found the lateral intraparietal cortex (LIP), which plays a role in sensorimotor function, represents elapsed time, as animals measure, and then reproduce a time interval. They also demonstrated ...
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NASA: Studying twins for a year in space

A Northwestern-led research team is one of 10 NASA-funded groups across the country studying identical twins Scott and Mark Kelly to learn how living in space for a long period of time, such as a mission to Mars affects the human body. While Scott spends a year in space, his brother, Mark, also a veteran NASA astronaut, will remain on Earth, as a ground-based control. The study will allow researchers to understand how the long-term exposure to space impacts the human brain and body and how the s...
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A noninvasive way to measure pressure in the brain.

MIT researchers team up with Boston Medical Center and Philips to test a noninvasive way to measure intracranial pressure. Current methods to check for increased pressure in a patient’s brain are invasive. One widely used technique is to drill a hole in the skull to insert a catheter or sensor into the brain tissue. Because of the risk of brain injury and infection, doctors typically only measure intracranial pressure or ICP when a patient is very sick, even though knowledge of this pressure cou...
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Building a brain from the inside out

Researchers at UC San Francisco have succeeded in mapping the genetic signature of a unique group of stem cells in the human brain that seem to generate most of the neurons in our massive cerebral cortex. The human cerebral cortex contains 16 billion neurons, wired together into arcane, layered circuits responsible for everything from our ability to walk and talk to our sense of nostalgia and drive to dream of the future. In the course of human evolution, the cortex has expanded as much as...
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Ultra-Flexible Devices to Monitor the Brain

Brain activity can be monitored with tiny flexible electronics which could roll up to fit in a pocket. Charles Lieber, a nanoscientist and nanotechnologist at Harvard University, has designed latest ultra-thin electronics flexible enough to get stuffed into the needle of a syringe with a diameter as small as the average width of a human hair. Currently available flexible electronics are usually flat sheets, designed to lie on surfaces. They help to monitor and manipulate living tissue but ...
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Ultra-flexible, Ultra-Thin Devices Developed to Monitor the Brain

Brain activity can be monitored with tiny flexible electronics which could roll up to fit in a pocket. Charles Lieber, a nanoscientist and nanotechnologist at Harvard University, has designed latest ultra-thin electronics flexible enough to get stuffed into the needle of a syringe with a diameter as small as the average width of a human hair. Traditional electronics are rigid and the procedures to measure brain activity would involve surgery; surgeons would make an opening equal to the siz...
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Stick-on Micro-Electric Medical Tattoo Invented

A novel stick on tattoo has been developed that can effectively measure data about the human heart, brain waves and muscle activity. The latest in medical invention is new type of ultra-thin, self-adhesive electronic device that can effectively measure the aforementioned vital signs without the use of bulky equipment, conductive fluids, or glues. This product is in the form of a tattoo which has to be applied to the skin like any ink transfer tattoo. It is made from a rubbery polymer subst...
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MARVEL and 3D brain surgery

MARVEL is the world’s first 3D, high definition endoscope under 4mm with rotating tip . MARVEL which stands for Multi Angle Rear Viewing tool, has just received the award for Outstanding technology from the federal laboratory Consortium for Innovation in brain surgery Industry today has shifted from open skull operations to the latest techniques in which a tiny camera and tools are inserted through a small hole in the brain called an endoscope, a device that examines the interior of a body...
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