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Archive for the ‘neuroscience’ category: Page 6

Oct 16, 2020

Neuroadaptive modelling for generating images matching perceptual categories

Posted by in categories: computing, neuroscience

Brain–computer interfaces enable active communication and execution of a pre-defined set of commands, such as typing a letter or moving a cursor. However, they have thus far not been able to infer more complex intentions or adapt more complex output based on brain signals. Here, we present neuroadaptive generative modelling, which uses a participant’s brain signals as feedback to adapt a boundless generative model and generate new information matching the participant’s intentions. We report an experiment validating the paradigm in generating images of human faces. In the experiment, participants were asked to specifically focus on perceptual categories, such as old or young people, while being presented with computer-generated, photorealistic faces with varying visual features. Their EEG signals associated with the images were then used as a feedback signal to update a model of the user’s intentions, from which new images were generated using a generative adversarial network. A double-blind follow-up with the participant evaluating the output shows that neuroadaptive modelling can be utilised to produce images matching the perceptual category features. The approach demonstrates brain-based creative augmentation between computers and humans for producing new information matching the human operator’s perceptual categories.

Oct 15, 2020

A New Approach to Analyzing the Morphology of Dendritic Spines

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

Summary: A clusterization approach allows researchers to analyze dendritic spines in new ways.

Source: SPbPU

Dendritic spines are small protrusions from a neuron’s dendrite membrane, where contact with neighboring axons is formed to receive synaptic input. These spines have different sizes, shapes, and density. Changes in the characteristics of the dendritic spines are associated with learning and memory and could be a feature of neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and Huntington’s disease.

Oct 14, 2020

New Therapy Improves Treatment for Multiple Sclerosis

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

Summary: By fusing a cytokine to a blood protein, researchers have developed a new therapy to help treat multiple sclerosis.

Source: University of Chicago

Multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system that affects millions worldwide, can cause debilitating symptoms for those who suffer from it.

Oct 13, 2020

Dietary Fats and Cardiovascular Disease: A Presidential Advisory From the American Heart Association

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

If Dr. Ken Berry actually meant to say that you need to eat saturated fat for your nerves and brain, he flunks Biochem 101. First of all, your body can make all the saturated fat you need out of carbs and proteins. You don’t need to eat ANY saturated fat. Second, the most common fatty acid in your brain is the polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) called DHA, which you DO need to eat, because you can’t make it from non-fats (you need to eat it or EPA in things like seafood, or at least the precursor omega-3 PUFA called ALA in cold-climate plants.) Ironically enough, ALA is common in Canola oil, which Dr. Berry deprecates, but not in the tropical plant oils that he likes. More on that later.

A diet with a lot of saturated fat is NOT the best for the heart. The American Heart Association continues to recommend low saturated fat diets (with the missing sat-fat replaced by mono and polyunsaturated fat, not by carbohydrates) because the evidence from animal and human trials and even properly controlled epidemiology, shows these the best diets (see reference below—an extensive review of meta analyses [1]). Examples are the DASH hypertension diet and the closely-related Mediterranean diet (which has lots of olive oil for monounsaturated fatty acid, and seafood for DHA). If Dr. Berry thinks he has something better than the Mediterranean diet for longevity, what is his direct evidence?

Saturated fat, of course, is used by the body to make cholesterol (you don’t need to eat any cholesterol for this reason), and it does raise cholesterol levels and it does increase atherosclerosis in nearly every controlled prospective experimental model in animals and humans. This is the gold standard of evidence in medicine.

Continue reading “Dietary Fats and Cardiovascular Disease: A Presidential Advisory From the American Heart Association” »

Oct 13, 2020

A New Brain-Inspired Learning Method for AI Saves Memory and Energy

Posted by in categories: neuroscience, robotics/AI

Interesting Eric Klien


That prompted the researchers, who are part of the Human Brain Project, to look at two features that have become clear in experimental neuroscience data: each neuron retains a memory of previous activity in the form of molecular markers that slowly fade with time; and the brain provides top-down learning signals using things like the neurotransmitter dopamine that modulates the behavior of groups of neurons.

In a paper in Nature Communications, the Austrian team describes how they created artificial analogues of these two features to create a new learning paradigm they call e-prop. While the approach learns slower than backpropagation-based methods, it achieves comparable performance.

Continue reading “A New Brain-Inspired Learning Method for AI Saves Memory and Energy” »

Oct 13, 2020

Which Cooking Oils are Safe? (Which to AVOID)

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

If Dr. Ken Berry actually meant to say that you need to eat saturated fat for your nerves and brain, he flunks Biochem 101. First of all, your body can make all the saturated fat you need out of carbs and proteins. You don’t need to eat ANY saturated fat. Second, the most common fatty acid in your brain is the polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) called DHA, which you DO need to eat, because you can’t make it from non-fats (you need to eat it in things like seafood, or at least the precursor omega-3 PUFA called ALA in cold-climate plants.) Ironically enough ALAis common in Canola oil, which Dr. Berry deprecates, but not in the tropical plant oils he likes. More on that later. A diet with a lot of saturated fat is NOT the best for the heart. The American Heart Association continues to recommend low saturated fat diets (with the missing sat-fat replaced by mono and polyunsaturated fat, not by carbohydrates) because the evidence from animal and human trials and even properly controlled epidemiology, shows these the best diets (see reference below–an extensive review of meta analyses [1]). Examples are the DASH hypertension diet and the closely-related Mediterranean diet (which has lots of olive oil for monounsaturated fatty acid, and seafood for DHA). If Dr. Berrythinks he has something better than the Mediterranean diet for longevity, what is his direct evidence? Saturated fat, of course, is used by the body to make cholesterol (you don’t need to eat any cholesterol for this reason), and it does raise cholesterol levels and it does increase atherosclerosis in nearly every controlled prospective experimental model in animals and humans. This is the gold standard of evidence in medicine.

One can go only so far with epidemiology, because occasionally when one bad thing (saturated fat) is heavily replaced for calories by another bad thing (certain carbohydrates) one detects no epidemiologic effect from changing just the first thing.

Continue reading “Which Cooking Oils are Safe? (Which to AVOID)” »

Oct 13, 2020

MIT Neuroscientists Discover a Molecular Mechanism That Allows Memories to Form

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

Modifications to chromosomes in “engram” neurons control the encoding and retrieval of memories.

When the brain forms a memory of a new experience, neurons called engram cells encode the details of the memory and are later reactivated whenever we recall it. A new MIT study reveals that this process is controlled by large-scale remodeling of cells’ chromatin.

This remodeling, which allows specific genes involved in storing memories to become more active, takes place in multiple stages spread out over several days. Changes to the density and arrangement of chromatin, a highly compressed structure consisting of DNA and proteins called histones, can control how active specific genes are within a given cell.

Continue reading “MIT Neuroscientists Discover a Molecular Mechanism That Allows Memories to Form” »

Oct 12, 2020

Scientists find neurochemicals have unexpectedly profound roles in the human brain

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

In first-of-their-kind observations in the human brain, an international team of researchers has revealed two well-known neurochemicals–dopamine and serotonin–are at work at sub-second speeds to shape how people perceive the world and take action based on their perception.

Furthermore, the neurochemicals appear to integrate people’s perceptions of the world with their actions, indicating dopamine and serotonin have far more expansive roles in the human nervous system than previously known.

Known as neuromodulators, dopamine and serotonin have traditionally been linked to reward processing–how good or how bad people perceive an outcome to be after taking an action.

Continue reading “Scientists find neurochemicals have unexpectedly profound roles in the human brain” »

Oct 12, 2020

Team reprograms CRISPR system in mice to eliminate tumor cells without affecting healthy cells

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

The CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing tool is one of the most promising approaches to advancing treatments of genetic diseases—including cancer—an area of research where progress is constantly being made. Now, the Molecular Cytogenetics Unit led by Sandra Rodríguez-Perales at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) has taken a step forward by effectively applying this technology to eliminate so-called fusion genes, which in the future could open the door to the development of cancer therapies that specifically destroy tumors without affecting healthy cells. The paper is published in Nature Communications.

Fusion genes are the abnormal result of an incorrect joining of DNA fragments that come from two different genes, an event that occurs by accident during the process of cell division. If the cell cannot benefit from this error, it will die and the will be eliminated. But when the error results in a reproductive or survival advantage, the carrier cell will multiply and the genes and the proteins they encode thus become an event triggering tumor formation. “Many and the fusion genes they produce are at the origin of childhood sarcomas and leukaemias,” explains Sandra Rodríguez-Perales, lead co-author of the study now published by the CNIO. Fusion genes are also found in among others prostate, breast, lung and brain tumors: in total, in up to 20% of all cancers.

Because they are only present in tumor cells, fusion genes attract a great deal of interest among the scientific community because they are highly specific therapeutic targets, and attacking them only affects the tumor and has no effect on .

Oct 12, 2020

US Air Force aims to train pilots faster using brain electrode

Posted by in categories: military, neuroscience

In August, the US Air Force Research Laboratory 711th Human Performance Wing launched its iNeuraLS project, an effort to speed up pilot training through brain stimulation.


Some will feel a slight tingling sensation. Others will feel nothing at all.

The electrode placed inside the ear canal isn’t designed to shock. Rather, the US Air Force Research Laboratory (ARFL) believes the earbud-like device, when placed next to the brain’s vagas nerve, will have more of an intellectually stimulating effect. It ought to create moments of super learning, controllable periods of focus that allow pilots to soak up their flight training faster than humanly possible.

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