Archive for the ‘neuroscience’ category

Jul 12, 2020

Want to Join the Delta Force? Your Chances Are Almost Zero

Posted by in category: neuroscience

Do you have what it takes?

By Sebastien Roblin

Key Point: It takes a rare individual to muster the physical endurance, mental adaptability and sheer ambition to qualify.

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Jul 12, 2020

How to Trick Your Brain to Remember Almost Anything

Posted by in category: neuroscience

Nelson Dellis is a four-time USA Memory Champion and Grandmaster of Memory. Some of his feats of recollection include memorizing 10,000 digits of pi, the order of more than nine shuffled decks of cards, and lists of hundreds of names after only hearing them once.

But with a little dedication, Dellis says that anyone can improve their memory. Here are five steps to follow that will get your filling your head with information.

1. Start With Strong Images

Jul 10, 2020

Using astrocytes to change the behavior of robots controlled by neuromorphic chips

Posted by in categories: information science, neuroscience, robotics/AI

Neurons, specialized cells that transmit nerve impulses, have long been known to be a vital element for the functioning of the human brain. Over the past century, however, neuroscience research has given rise to the false belief that neurons are the only cells that can process and learn information. This misconception or ‘neurocomputing dogma’ is far from true.

An is a different type of cell that has recently been found to do a lot more than merely fill up spaces between neurons, as researchers believed for over a century. Studies are finding that these cells also play key roles in brain functions, including learning and central pattern generation (CPG), which is the basis for critical rhythmic behaviors such as breathing and walking.

Although astrocytes are now known to underlie numerous brain functions, most existing inspired by the only target the structure and function of neurons. Aware of this gap in existing literature, researchers at Rutgers University are developing brain-inspired algorithms that also account for and replicate the functions of astrocytes. In a paper pre-published on arXiv and set to be presented at the ICONS 2020 Conference in July, they introduce a neuromorphic central pattern generator (CPG) modulated by artificial astrocytes that successfully entrained several rhythmic walking behaviors in their in-house robots.

Jul 10, 2020

Researchers study if nerve cells evolved to talk to microbes

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, evolution, genetics, neuroscience

Various diseases of the digestive tract, for example severe intestinal inflammation in humans, are closely linked to disturbances in the natural mobility of the intestine. What role the microbiome—i.e. the natural microbial community colonizing the digestive tract—plays in these rhythmic contractions of the intestine, also known as peristalsis, is currently the subject of intensive research. It is particularly unclear how the contractions are controlled and how the cells of the nervous system, that act as pacemakers, function together with the microorganisms.

A research team from the Cell and Developmental Biology group at Kiel University has now succeeded in demonstrating for the first time, using the freshwater polyp Hydra as an example, that phylogenetically old neurons and bacteria actually communicate directly with each other. Surprisingly, they discovered that the are able to cross-talk with the microorganisms via immune receptors, i.e., to some extent with the mechanisms of the immune system.

On this basis, the scientists of the Collaborative Research Center (CRC) 1182 “Origin and Function of Metaorganisms” formulated the hypothesis that the has not only taken over sensory and motor functions from the onset of evolution, but is also responsible for communication with the microbes. The Kiel researchers around Professor Thomas Bosch published their results together with international colleagues today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Jul 10, 2020

Severe brain damage possible even with mild coronavirus symptoms

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

According to British neurologists, COVID-19 can cause serious damage to the brain and central nervous system. Such damage can lead to psychosis, paralysis and strokes, which are often detected in their late stages.

Jul 10, 2020

Scientists discover extraordinary regeneration of neurons

Posted by in categories: biological, neuroscience

Biologists from the University of Bayreuth have discovered a uniquely rapid form of regeneration in injured neurons and their function in the central nervous system of zebrafish. They studies the Mauthner cells, which are solely responsible for the escape behavior of the fish, and previously regarded as incapable of regeneration. However, their ability to regenerate crucially depends on the location of the injury. In central nervous systems of other animal species, such a comprehensive regeneration of neurons has not yet been proven beyond doubt. The scientists report their findings in the journal Communications Biology.

Mauthner are the largest cells found in animal brains. They are part of the central nervous system of most fish and amphibian species and trigger life-saving escape responses when predators approach. The transmission of signals in Mauthner cells to their motoneurons is only guaranteed if a certain part of these cells, the axon, is intact. The axon is an elongated structure that borders the cell body with its at one of its two ends. If the injury of the axon occurs close to the cell body, the Mauthner cell dies. If the axon is damaged at its opposite end, lost functions are either not restored at all or only slowly and to a limited extent. However, the Mauthner cell reacts to an injury in the middle of the axon with rapid and complete regeneration. Indeed, within a week after the , the axon and its function are fully restored, and the fish is able to escape approaching predators again.

“Such a rapid regeneration of a neuron was never observed anywhere in the of other animal species until now. Here, regeneration processes usually extend over several weeks or months,” says Dr. Alexander Hecker, first author of the new study and member of the Department of Animal Physiology. This finding clearly disproves the widely accepted view in the that Mauthner cells are unable to regenerate.

Jul 9, 2020

Neuralink progress update: what to know about Elon Musk’s major event

Posted by in categories: computing, Elon Musk, neuroscience

The brain-computer linkup firm, Neuralink, is set to reveal more about its progress toward its goals.

Jul 9, 2020

Brain benefits of exercise can be gained with a single protein

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension, neuroscience

A little-studied liver protein may be responsible for the well-known benefits of exercise on the aging brain, according to a new study in mice by scientists in the UC San Francisco Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research. The findings could lead to new therapies to confer the neuroprotective effects of physical activity on people who are unable to exercise due to physical limitations.

Exercise is one of the best-studied and most powerful ways of protecting the from and has been shown to improve cognition in individuals at risk of neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal dementia —even those with rare gene variants that inevitably lead to dementia.

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Jul 9, 2020

Protein from blood of exercising mice rejuvenates brains of ‘couch potato’ mice

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

Study could lead to a pill that confers the benefits of physical activity on cognition.

Jul 8, 2020

Research advances understanding of how the brain focuses while ignoring distractions

Posted by in category: neuroscience

When trying to complete a task we are constantly bombarded by distracting stimuli. How does the brain filter out these distractions and enable us to focus on the task at hand? Psychologists at the University of California, Riverside, have made a discovery that could lead to an answer.

Experimenting on mice, they located the precise spot in the brain where distracting stimuli are blocked. The blocking disables the brain from processing these stimuli, which allows concentration on a particular task to proceed.

Edward Zagha, an assistant professor of psychology, and his team trained mice in a sensory detection task with target and distractor stimuli. The mice learned to respond to rapid stimuli in the target field and ignore identical stimuli in the opposite distractor field. The team used a novel imaging technique, which allows for high spatiotemporal resolution with a cortex-wide field of view, to find where in the brain the distractor stimuli are blocked, resulting in no further signal transmission within the cortex and, therefore, no triggering of a motor response.

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