Neuroscience is the study of the nervous system, which includes the brain and the spinal cord. It's a broad term encompassing numerous, more specific disciplines, including cognitive, clinical, and developmental neuroscience.
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Researchers have found that manipulating a particular brain wave can force human subjects to move more slowly, and provided some of the first evidence of how brain waves can directly affect behavior.
A group of 14 volunteers received brain stimulation as they tried to manipulate the position of a spot on a computer screen with a joystick. That stimulation led to a 10 percent drop in execution of the computer task.
Imagine going in for a brain procedure where you have to endure neither an invasive, cut-you-up procedure nor radiation treatment. When it was finished, you could enjoy a glass of bubbly with your doctors, and go home shortly thereafter. It's close to becoming a reality.
Four years ago, a team of researchers at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland switched on Blue Brain, a computer designed to mimic a functioning slice of a rat's brain. At first, the virtual neurons fired only when prodded by a simulated electrical current. But recently, that has changed.
Apparently, the simulated neurons have begun spontaneously coordinating, and organizing themselves into a more complex pattern that resembles a wave. According to the scientists, this is the beginning of the self-organizing neurological patterns that eventually, in more complex mammal brains, become personality.
Ever wondered what your brain sounds like on the inside? Trinity College philosophy professor Dan Lloyd has created a program that orchestrates our brainwaves. Scanning brains on an MRI, Lloyd can watch as certain areas of the brain light up and then assign different frequencies to the areas of the brain used, correlating the intensity of usage with volume. The results are bizarrely beautiful.
Wish you had a photographic memory? Well, Encyclopedia Brown, drugs may amp your brain up to that point soon. A group of Spanish scientists claim to have singled out a protein that can extend the life of visual memory significantly. When the production of the protein was boosted in mice, the rodents' visual memory retention increased, from about an hour to almost 2 months.
Scientists have achieved a new milestone in brain imaging: we have seen a memory in the process of being formed. Using brain cells from a lowly sea slug, which actually makes a good model for our brains, images were captured of proteins forming between the neurons. These proteins distinguish the memory as a long-term one rather than short-term, as the proteins solidify the memory in the neurons. This process had been suspected but not visualized until now.
On the greens of the lovely Bethpage Black for this weekend's U.S. Open and golf courses across the nation, it’s a taboo never spoken about yet easily identified – the yips. Talented, sometimes elite-level golfers, suddenly unable to hold their putter straight for seemingly simple tap-ins. It’s like a virus infecting the golfer's mind, causing involuntary reflexes with no warning and no mercy. Cures for the yips are as unknown as its very cause. But two researchers are recruiting the inflicted and hoping that an MRI will shed light on a disease devastating weekend warriors everywhere.
A neuroscientist carves up brains to investigate the presence of unique brain cells found only in humans, primates, elephants and a handful of marine mammals -- species that are characterized by large brains, a long childhood spent learning from their elders, and sophisticated social interaction, reports Smithsonian.
In his Caltech lab, John Allman slices off the thinnest slivers of an elephant's brain, looking for the presence of von Economo neurons -- and possibly a glimpse into the evolution of human behavior.
For the folks behind the Decade of the Mind initiative, the answer is simple: Spend it. On neuroscience.
By Steven KotlerPosted 01.23.2009 at 5:20 pm 3 Comments
The Decade of the Mind (DOM) initiative was created in 2007 at George Mason University’s Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study by an internationally-respected consortium of scientists. These scientists want to convince the US government to spend 4 billion dollars over a 10 year period with the objective of advancing our understanding of the human brain. Since the original announcement of the initiative, they’ve held two conferences a year to try to further this agenda. This year’s installment took place in early January, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.