by Trevor Haynes In the late 18th century a particularly resourceful experimenter, Giovanni Aldini, saw scientific opportunity in the increasingly prevalent public executions being performed across Europe at the time. Using the corpse of a recently deceased prisoner, Aldini electrically stimulated the prisoner’s exposed brain causing his eyes to open and his face to contort and twitch, thus putting his uncle’s theory of bioelectricity to … Continue reading Shining A Light in the Brain: Optogenetics as a “guiding light” for deep brain stimulation
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurological disease that affects over 2 million people worldwide. In patients who suffer from MS, an abnormal immune response causes damage to a fatty substance called myelin. Like the coating around an electrical wire, myelin insulates nerve cells and facilitates neural communication. Symptoms of MS include muscle weakness, fatigue, and impaired speech. On March 28th 2017, the FDA approved Ocrevus, an … Continue reading FDA Approves New Drug for Multiple Sclerosis
by Tianli Xiao figures by Abigail Burrus Multiple sclerosis begins when a patient is as young as 20. It can start with blurry vision, tingling in the arms or legs, or a persistent feeling of tiredness. MS is a long-term, progressive disease that worsens over time, but there are few drugs available today. Even worse, patients diagnosed with a less common form of MS known … Continue reading Ocrelizumab: The first treatment for primary progressive multiple sclerosis
The brain is arguably the most complex organ in the human body and understanding its structure could help explain a fundamental mystery of human existence: consciousness. The brain is composed of billions of specialized cells called neurons, which communicate with each other via electrical and chemical signals. Neurons are responsible for processes ranging from vital life functions to the ability to walk, talk remember, … Continue reading One Neuron to Rule Them All?
What you’re seeing is the brain of an axolotl, an organism known for its ability to regenerate many organs including the limb, heart, and spinal cord. The different colors (blue, green, red) represent some of the neuronal cell types present within the brain. Incredibly, when this region of the brain is injured, the brain regenerates with fidelity, and all of these cell types are remade. … Continue reading Neuronal Diversity of the Axolotl Brain
by Tedi Asher figures by Brad Wierbowski What if, instead of taking a pill or talking with your therapist, you could train your brain to be healthier through a video game? Brain training is becoming increasingly feasible using a technique called neurofeedback, which allows individuals to change the way their brains function by responding to personalized feedback about how their own brains work naturally. This … Continue reading Brain training: The future of psychiatric treatment?
For decades now, scientists have believed that working memory, a form of short term memory, can be accessed only through the sustained firing of neurons. Working memory is used constantly in our day to day lives — from remembering the name of someone you just met while carrying on a conversation, to mixing the right ingredients in a recipe – it allows us to access … Continue reading New method successfully recovers lost short-term memories
Researchers have created the most detailed general map of the brain to date by scanning the brains of 1200 people. After recording detailed imaging of the subjects’ brain activity as they performed a variety of mental tasks, the information was used to ‘teach’ a computer to identify spatial ‘regions’ of related activity. These regions span the brain, creating a 3D, puzzle-like map. Also called a … Continue reading New Detailed Brain Map Could Aide Future Understanding
by JohnMark Taylor figures by Youngeun Kaitlyn Choi What about the human brain allows a person to perform such feats as learning guitar through imitation, empathizing with anothers’s pain, or intuiting where a fencer will strike next? Nearly twenty-five years ago, scientists discovered a special kind of cell called a mirror neuron that many both in science and the popular press came to believe might … Continue reading Mirror Neurons After a Quarter Century: New light, new cracks
by Jessleen K. Kanwal figures by Brad Wierbowski Imagine for a moment that you are unable to taste or smell anything. For many patients undergoing chemotherapy, this is an everyday reality of their daily fight against cancer. Chemotherapy kills fast-growing cells in the body in an effort to eradicate tumors. Taste receptor cells located on our tongue are also fast-growing, regenerating every 2 weeks. Thus, … Continue reading Brain tricks to make food taste sweeter: How to transform taste perception and why it matters