Archive for the ‘neuroscience’ category: Page 5

Jan 1, 2020

How to train your brain to release more happy chemicals

Posted by in categories: food, neuroscience

Do you ever wish you could just turn on the happy chemicals in your brain? Imagine how much easier it would make getting out of bed each morning, getting even the most tedious parts of your job done, and finding the energy to consistently show up as your best self for the people you care about the most. But is it really possible – never mind advisable – to try and train our brains for more happiness?

“The quest for good feelings is nature’s survival engine,” explained Professor Loretta Breuning, founder of the Inner Mammal Institute, when I interviewed her recently. “For example, animals seek food to relieve the bad feeling of hunger. They seek warmth to relieve the bad feeling of cold. And happy chemicals start flowing before a mammal even eats or warms up because the brain turns them on as soon as it sees a way to meet a need.”

Dec 31, 2019

Brain Patterns Indicative of Consciousness, in Unconscious Individuals

Posted by in category: neuroscience

Summary: Researchers say human consciousness is supported by dynamic, complex patterns of brain signal coordination.

Source: AAAS.

Amid longstanding difficulties distinguishing consciousness in humans in unconscious states, scientists report fMRI-based evidence of distinct patterns of brain activity they say can differentiate between consciousness or unconsciousness. Detecting these patterns in real-time could allow for externally induced manipulations that noninvasively restore consciousness.

Dec 31, 2019

Buzzing through the blood-brain barrier

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

UConn engineers have designed a non-toxic, biodegradable device that can help medication move from blood vessels into brain tissues —a route traditionally blocked by the body’s defense mechanisms. They describe their invention in the 23 December issue of PNAS.

Blood vessels in the are lined by cells fitted together tightly, forming a so-called , which walls off bacteria and toxins from the brain itself. But that blood-brain also blocks medication for brain diseases such as cancer.

“A safe and effective way to open that barrier is ultrasound,” says Thanh Nguyen, a biomedical engineer at UConn. Ultrasonic waves, focused in the right place, can vibrate the cells lining enough to open transient cracks in the blood-brain barrier large enough for medication to slip through. But the current ultrasound technology to do this requires multiple ultrasound sources arrayed around a person’s skull, and then using an MRI machine to guide the person operating the ultrasounds to focus the waves in just the right place. It’s bulky, difficult, and expensive to do every time a person needs a dose of medication.

Dec 31, 2019

Mom With Brain Tumor Turns To Boston Hospital For Keyhole Brain Surgery

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

(CBS) — Imagine giving birth to a premature baby and then being told you have a brain tumor. That’s what happened to a woman from Holden. But thanks to a new approach at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, this new mom was able to have brain surgery and quickly return to her newborn son.

At 27 weeks pregnant, Bethany Shea was diagnosed with preeclampsia and had an emergency C-section. Then she went blind.

“It was a pregnancy complication due to my high blood pressure,” Bethany explained.

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Dec 30, 2019

Why Solitary Confinement Is The Worst Kind Of Psychological Torture

Posted by in categories: habitats, health, neuroscience

There may be as many as 80,000 American prisoners currently locked-up in a SHU, or segregated housing unit. Solitary confinement in a SHU can cause irreversible psychological effects in as little as 15 days. Here’s what social isolation does to your brain, and why it should be considered torture.

There’s no universal definition for solitary confinement, but the United Nations describes it as any regime where an inmate is held in isolation from others, except guards, for at least 22 hours a day. Some jurisdictions allow prisoners out of their cells for one hour of solitary exercise each day. But meaningful contact with others is typically reduced to a bare minimum. Prisoners are also intentionally deprived of stimulus; available stimuli and the fleetingly rare social contacts are rarely chosen by the prisoners, and are are typically monotonous and inconsiderate of their needs.

Dec 30, 2019

The link between drawing and seeing in the brain

Posted by in category: neuroscience

Regions of the visual cortex participate in the recognition of an object and reproduction of the object when drawing. The study provides new insight into the relationship between visual production and recognition in the brain.

Dec 30, 2019

How to tell if a brain is awake

Posted by in categories: augmented reality, biotech/medical, neuroscience

Summary: Study finds EEG features may not always be accurate in being able to capture the level of consciousness in patients under anesthesia. Source: Michigan Medicine

Dec 30, 2019

Move Your Body, Bolster Your Brain

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

“A hormone that is released during exercise may improve brain health and lessen the damage and memory loss that occur during dementia, a new study finds. The study, which was published this month in Nature Medicine, involved mice, but its findings could help to explain how, at a molecular level, exercise protects our brains and possibly preserves memory and thinking skills, even in people whose pasts are fading.”

Exercise doesn’t just strengthen your muscles, it can also be good for your mind and memory. Fitness advice from the year in Well.

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Dec 29, 2019

Doctors Fighting Brain Cancer

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

Glioblastoma is one of the most common and aggressive forms of brain cancer, and it is particularly difficult to treat. Now, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have come up with a new approach to treatment for the disease, by growing organoids based on a patient’s own tumor to find the most effective treatments. Digital Trends spoke to senior author Dr. Donald O’Rourke to learn more.

The technique uses mini-brains — pea-sized organoids grown from stem cells which recreate features of full-scale brains. The mini-brains are similar enough to real brains that they can be used for testing out medical treatments to see how a full-sized brain would respond.

The breakthrough in this research is regarding treatment individualization. One of the challenges of treating a complex disease like brain cancer is that different people respond in different ways to the various treatment options available. After surgery has been performed to remove a tumor, doctors typically begin further treatment using radiation or chemotherapy around one month later. That means there isn’t always time to use perform genetic analysis to see which treatment might be best suited for a particular patient — the doctors need to know what will work and start further treatment as soon as possible.

Dec 28, 2019

Scientists Have ‘Cleared’ Alzheimer’s Plaque From Mice Using Only Light And Sound

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

Clumps of harmful proteins that interfere with brain functions have been partially cleared in mice using nothing but light and sound.

Research led by MIT earlier this year found strobe lights and a low pitched buzz can be used to recreate brain waves lost in the disease, which in turn remove plaque and improve cognitive function in mice engineered to display Alzheimer’s-like behaviour.

It’s a little like using light and sound to trigger their own brain waves to help fight the disease.

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