Archive for the ‘neuroscience’ category: Page 3

Oct 27, 2020

Can lab-grown brains become conscious?

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, engineering, law, neuroscience

Researchers are now calling for a set of guidelines, similar to those used in animal research, to guide the humane use of brain organoids and other experiments that could achieve consciousness. In June, the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine began a study with the aim of outlining the potential legal and ethical issues associated with brain organoids and human-animal chimaeras.

A handful of experiments are raising questions about whether clumps of cells and disembodied brains could be sentient, and how scientists would know if they were.

Oct 27, 2020

Multifunctional skin-mounted microfluidic device able to measure stress in multiple ways

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, health, mobile phones, neuroscience

An international team of researchers has developed a multifunctional skin-mounted microfluidic device that is able to measure stress in people in multiple ways. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group describes their device and how it could be useful.

Prior research has shown that can damage a person’s health. It can lead to diabetes, depression, obesity and a host of other problems. Some have suggested that one of the ways to combat stress is to create a means for alerting a person to their heightened stress so that they might take action to reduce it. To that end, prior teams have developed skin-adhesive devices that that collect sweat samples. The tiny samples contain small amounts of cortisol, a hormone that can be used as a marker of stress levels. In this new effort, the researchers have improved on these devices by developing one that measures more than just cortisol levels and is much more comfortable.

The researchers began with the notion that in order to convince people to wear a full time, it had to be both useful and comfortable. The solved the latter issue by making their device out of soft materials that adhere gently to the skin. They also used a skeletal design for their microfluidic sweat-collection apparatus—a flexible mesh. They also added more functionality. In addition to cortisol, their device is able to measure glucose and vitamin C levels. They also added electrodes underneath that are able to measure sweat rate and electrical conductivity of the skin, both of which change in response to stress. They also added a wireless transmitter that sends all of the data to a nearby smartphone running the device’s associated app.

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Oct 27, 2020

Recording Brain Activity Through the Mouth

Posted by in category: neuroscience

Neuroscientists introduce a new tool to detect hippocampal activity.

Oct 26, 2020

Single Brain Region Links Depression and Anxiety, Heart Disease, and Treatment Sensitivity

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

Overactivity in the subgenual anterior cingulate cortex underlies several key symptoms of depression, anxiety, and heart disease.

Summary: Over-activity in the subgenual anterior cingulate cortex underlies several key symptoms of depression, anxiety, and heart disease.

Source: University of Cambridge

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Oct 26, 2020

European startups that are hacking the brain better than Neuralink

Posted by in categories: cybercrime/malcode, Elon Musk, neuroscience

…BIOS is doing pretty much the same thing as Neuralink — only in many respects better.

Elon Musk’s Neuralink wants to hack the brain – here are the European neurotechnology startups that are doing the same with a lot less funding.

Oct 26, 2020

No Implants Needed For Precise Control Deep Into The Brain

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

“This is kind of a nice bookend to 16 years of research,” says Deisseroth, a neuroscientist and bioengineer at Stanford University. “It took years and years for us to sort out how to make it work.”

“The result is described this month in the journal Nature Biotechnology.”

“Optogenetics involves genetically engineering animal brains to express light-sensitive proteins—called opsins—in the membranes of neurons.”

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Oct 26, 2020

Israeli, American scientists reach breakthrough in brain research

Posted by in categories: innovation, neuroscience

While it may not immediately sound like a dramatic feat, it could open up completely new possibilities in the field of neurological research.

“This is a problem that everyone dreams of solving,” Dr. Sinefeld said, referring to the difficulty in successfully examining thick brain tissue, especially through adult fish scales.

Dr. David Sinefeld (Credit: Jerusalem College of Technology)
Dr. David Sinefeld (Credit: Jerusalem College of Technology)

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Oct 25, 2020

Neural Dust: Millimeter-Sized Brain Stimulators

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, computing, Elon Musk, engineering, neuroscience

“In a breakthrough study published on February 19th in Nature Biomedical Engineering, researchers connected neural dust implants reduced to 1.7 cubic millimeters to rat sciatic nerves. The implanted device, called the StimDust system, consisted of very few components, which will be scaled down for future applications. A piezoceramic ultrasonic transducer generated power allowing for wireless communication and stimulation. A capacitor stored any excess energy generated from ultrasonic beams. Bipolar stimulating electrodes directly interfaced with the nerve while a cuff attached to a small circuit-board allowed the device to adhere physically to the nerve. These components were sufficient to generate or record nerve-impulses. In anesthetized rodents, they elicited muscular contractions with the StimDust system.”

While Neuralink, Elon Musk’s startup-venture focused on creating a brain-computer interface, garners lots of coverage in the biotechnology space, other bioelectronics ventures continue innovating in this space.

iota Biosciences, a spin-off company from UC Berkley formed in 2017, made news two years ago by securing $15 million in Series A funding and again last year announcing a partnership with Astellas Pharma Inc. Bolstered by studies in rodents, iota Biosciences advances towards their vision. In a press release on their partnership, founders Jose Carmena and Michel Maharbiz commented:

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Oct 25, 2020

Elon Musk’s Neuralink is neuroscience theater

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, computing, Elon Musk, neuroscience

Rock-climb without fear. Play a symphony in your head. See radar with superhuman vision. Discover the nature of consciousness. Cure blindness, paralysis, deafness, and mental illness. Those are just a few of the applications that Elon Musk and employees at his four-year-old neuroscience company Neuralink believe electronic brain-computer interfaces will one day bring about.

None of these advances are close at hand, and some are unlikely to ever come about. But in a “product update” streamed over YouTube on Friday, Musk, also the founder of SpaceX and Tesla Motors, joined staffers wearing black masks to discuss the company’s work toward an affordable, reliable brain implant that Musk believes billions of consumers will clamor for in the future.

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Oct 25, 2020

A smarter way of thinking about intelligence

Posted by in categories: mobile phones, neuroscience

Why is one particular intellectual capacity valued over so many other worthy qualities, like compassion, honesty, courage, and common sense?

A t some point during the past decade, Harvard professor Michael Sandel started to notice the increasingly frequent invocation of a particular word: “smart.” The term was being applied to all manner of products and devices: smart phones, smart cars, smart thermostats, even smart toasters. He also heard the word creeping into the language of politics, employed to justify and promote governmental initiatives. “The way the word was being used bothered me,” Sandel says. “It seemed to pair a narrow kind of technocratic expertise with an attitude of smug superiority.”

Political philosopher that he is, Sandel decided to conduct an analysis of presidential rhetoric. Before the 1980s, he found, American presidents rarely used the word “smart” in their public speeches. Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush employed the term relatively sparingly. But the use of the word in presidential remarks “exploded” during the administrations of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, Sandel reported, with each man uttering the word “smart” at least 450 times. Barack Obama spoke it more than 900 times, and Hillary Clinton often invoked the term both as Secretary of State and as a candidate running for the highest office. This “rhetorical tic,” Sandel came to recognize, was representative of a much more sweeping cultural change, one he addresses with concern in his new book, “The Tyranny of Merit.” Over the past 40 years, he observes, America’s ruling class has exalted one quality, one virtue, one human attribute above all others: smartness.

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