Pigs & Immortality: A Step Towards Reversing Death

Researchers from the Yale School of Medicine have developed a system capable of sustaining certain aspects of brain function for several hours, even if the host animal has been dead for up to four hours beforehand. While this by no means suggests that complete restoration of neurological function is on the horizon, it reveals the surprising resilience of post-mortem brain tissue, introduces a promising technique that could allow scientists to study certain biological functions outside of live animals, and highlights the important ethical considerations that must be discussed before any potential complete resuscitation of neurological activity is achieved. Continue reading Pigs & Immortality: A Step Towards Reversing Death

Read My Mind: An Implant That Translates Brain Activity into Speech

For those who lose or lack the ability to speak, communication can be slow and painstaking. For example, towards the end of his life famed cosmologist Stephen Hawking communicated solely through the movement of a single cheek muscle as a result of his motor neuron disease (ASL). With the aim of finding a solution to this problem, a team at University of California have coupled … Continue reading Read My Mind: An Implant That Translates Brain Activity into Speech

Need to jog your memory? A zap to the brain could help

As you read this article, you may not be consciously trying to memorize each sentence, but the words do need to stick around temporarily. After all, you have to remember what you just read to understand the full article. This is your working memory, sometimes called “short-term memory,” and it allows us to remember things just long enough to complete a task. Its decline is … Continue reading Need to jog your memory? A zap to the brain could help

No, It’s Not Just You: Why time “speeds up” as we get older

How a clock measures time and how you perceive it are quite different. As we grow older, it can often feel like time goes by faster and faster. This speeding up of subjective time with age is well documented by psychologists, but there is no consensus on the cause. In a paper published this month, Professor Adrian Bejan presents an argument based on the physics … Continue reading No, It’s Not Just You: Why time “speeds up” as we get older

Scientists control rat’s movements with their minds

The concept of mind control sounds like something that only exists in sci-fi movies. Until now. Recent work from Zhejiang University on developing a system appears to allow human mind control over the rat’s movements. This “brain-to-brain interface”, or BBI, is achieved by wirelessly coupling the brains of a human operator and a “rat cyborg” and transmitting brain activity in real time. Brain cells communicate … Continue reading Scientists control rat’s movements with their minds

Double Vision: A Second Visual Pathway in Mice

A study of the mouse brain found that a region involved in processing visual motion does not depend on the area thought to be the primary source of visual information, but rather a separate structure. While a similar discovery in the analogous region of primates has yet to be made, this suggests the presence of non-conventional pathways in sensory processing and highlights that, even in widely studied areas, there is still much to learn. Continue reading Double Vision: A Second Visual Pathway in Mice

‘Pacemaker for the brain’ may help prevent seizures and treat movement disorders

Anyone who has ever been scolded for talking over someone knows that speaking and listening simultaneously is a hard thing to do. Conducting an intelligent conversation requires active listening, understanding the received knowledge, and crafting a meaningful response, which often requires blending the new information with one’s own experiences. On a microscopic scale, each neuron in the brain must do exactly this – listen to … Continue reading ‘Pacemaker for the brain’ may help prevent seizures and treat movement disorders

Your Brain on tACS: Electrical Stimulation Can Alleviate Chronic Back Pain

An investigation of individuals with chronic low back pain revealed that a disruption of normal brain activity patterns is related to worse perceived pain. Use of targeted electrical stimulation showed an increase in normal brain activity and reduced pain severity. While these results are only preliminary, they show promise for use of a noninvasive therapy for chronic pain that can be tailored to an individual’s specific brain activity. Continue reading Your Brain on tACS: Electrical Stimulation Can Alleviate Chronic Back Pain

My Favorite Things

The orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) is an area of the brain located in the prefrontal cortex, which, as its name suggests, is the front part of the brain. The OFC is my favorite area of the brain, partially because it was the first region I studied, but mostly because of its complex role in motivated behaviors. The OFC is comprised of five subregions: medial, ventral, ventrolateral, … Continue reading My Favorite Things