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Brain matter Throughout history, the human brain has been remarkably good at dismissing itself. Everyone from ancient Egyptians to Aristotle has downplayed the role of the mysterious stuff between our ears. Famed anatomist Galen gave the brain credit as commander of movement and speech, but even he brushed aside the white and gray matter, figuring the fluid-filled ventricles inside the brain did most of the work. Human brains are big... <p> The average adult brain weighs just under 3 pounds (between 1.3 and 1.4 kilograms).
A copying error appears to be responsible for critical features of the human brain that distinguish us from our closest primate kin, new research finds. When tested out in mice, researchers found this "error" caused the rodents' brain cells to move into place faster and enabled more connections between brain cells. When any cell divides, it first copies its entire genome .
March 13th, 2013 | by Charles Q. Choi Scientists scanning the human brain can now tell whom a person is thinking of, the first time researchers have been able to identify what people are imagining from imaging technologies.
Hold your hand up in front of your face. It is patently obvious that the five-fingered thing in front of you is your hand, and the empty space next to it is not. But this ability to recognise your own body is more complicated than it first appears, and can be fooled through a surprisingly simple trick. Henrik Ehrsson from the Karolinska Institute is a master of such illusion. When I visited his lab in 2011, he used little more than virtual reality headsets, mannequins and batons to convince me that I had left my body, shrunk to doll-size, and gained a third arm .
Jedidiah Becker for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online A recent study by neuroscientists at Johns Hopkins University has torn the bottom out of a widely accepted theory about how the brain creates memories. The old paradigm held that the ability to form long-term memories depended largely on the activity of a single enzyme in the brain, a notion that now appears to be entirely incorrect. In a report of their research published in the January 2 issue of the journal Nature , the researchers described how an experiment with mice inadvertently demonstrated that the enzyme in question – known as PKM-zeta – cannot be as critical as once thought, since mice that lacked the enzyme were still able to create long-term memories.
By ROBERT LEE HOTZ Scientists are learning how to turn neurons on and off at will by shining light into caverns of the mind, a technique that someday might allow the precise treatment of people suffering psychiatric problems and other ailments. By blending gene therapy, neural engineering and fiber optics, experimenters at more than 800 laboratories world-wide are making neurons into switches they can directly control by beaming a selected wavelength of laser light to a targeted cell in a living brain. In specially-wired lab animals, these researchers can trigger bursts of brain activity in the specific cells responsible for a movement, a mood, or disease. Science/AAAS Light-activated neurons were first cultivated by researchers as layers of cells in Petri dishes, as shown above with mouse cells and blue light.
Many fMRI studies could be giving false-positive results according to an important new paper from Anders Eklund and colleagues: Does parametric fMRI analysis with SPM yield valid results?—An empirical study of 1484 rest datasets . The authors examined the SPM8 software package, probably the most popular tool for analyzing neuroimaging data. Their approach was beautifully simple.
Brain scan breakthrough show researches just what you're thinking about and could lead to treatment for disorders like autismBy Daily Mail Reporter PUBLISHED: 04:57 GMT, 15 March 2013 | UPDATED: 10:11 GMT, 15 March 2013 Brain scans now allow researchers to know exactly what a person is imagining. The latest breakthrough comes after scientists used brain scans to decode images directly from the brain. Researchers have been able to put together what numbers people have seen, the memory a person is recalling, and even reconstruct videos of what a person has watched. Read my mind: New advances in brain scans let scientists see what you are imagining
I'm sorry I can't remember the name right now, but there was another character from the American Revolution who had his head "cleaved clean open" by a saber blow. On the battlefield at the time they stuffed milled cotton into the wound, describing clearly how they packed it into the 8 - 10'' gash in his brain, never expecting him to live. Amazingly, he did live - and went on to become a successful merchant and state Senator ( I want to say South Carolina). AND, just in case you're interested, the Army's medical museum has just reopened in DC (actually, it's in Silver Spring, Maryland now).
The Brain in Nature magazine
The Brain in Discover magazine
Articles on the Brain in New Scientist
The Brain in MIT Technology Review
Articles on the Brain in the Daily Mail
What the McLean brain bank malfunction means for autism research | Simon Baron-Cohen | Comment is freeThe sensitivities of organ donation mean that brain banks' tissue collections take years of patient effort to acquire. Photograph: Graeme Robertson for the Guardian This week, the freezer at the Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital broke down , with the loss of about 150 brain samples from people who had died and who had had conditions such as autism , Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, or schizophrenia. This is bad news for at least five different communities. First, there are the families of the bereaved individuals who had to make the very difficult decision about whether to donate their loved one's brain for research, hoping that such a donation would result in scientific advance in our understanding of the causes of a condition like autism. For some relatives, such a decision will have meant wrestling with their own religious beliefs, or with their own strongly-held emotions and wishes about how their relative should be treated.
Credit: EMBL/ Francesca Peri The film clip shows shows microglial cells (labelled green) migrating towards injured neurons in the embryonic zebrafish brain. Microglia are immune cells that act as the brain's emergency workers - they constantly patrol the organ, extending and retracting their finger-like protruberances to sniff out any damage, and then migrating to an injury site to mop up dead cells and other cellular debris. New research shows that they migrate to an injury site in response to a distress call sent out by dying neurons and transmitted throughout the brain. I've written a news story about the work for Science . Microglia are also deployed to engulf microbes that invade the brain.
An image of the brain of Nan Wise, who volunteered to have an orgasm while inside an fMRI scanner – but what do the beautiful colours really tell us? Neuroscientists have long been banging their heads on their desks over exaggerated reports of brain scanning studies. Media stories illustrated with coloured scans, supposedly showing how the brain works, are now a standard part of the science pages and some people find them so convincing that they are touted as ways of designing education for our children, evaluating the effectiveness of marketing campaigns and testing potential recruits. Recently, to the chagrin of French scientists, politicians called for neuro-imaging to be used in the courts to decide on the guilt of criminals, after the technology made its dubious debut in the legal systems of India, Italy and the US.
Zoloft has unexpected effects in single-celled yeast By Laura Sanders Web edition: April 24, 2012 Print edition: June 2, 2012; Vol.181 #11 (p. 14) Brewer’s yeast cells don’t have the brain chemical serotonin — or brains, for that matter — but that doesn’t stop the single-celled fungus from responding to an antidepressant in unexpected ways. A new study finds that the antidepressant piles up in yeast cells, distorting normally curved membranes and triggering the cells to start eating themselves.
Brain cells know which way you'll bet Neural activity in nucleus accumbens foretells card-game decision making By Laura Sanders
Drug that interferes with recollection works only when people face a twist By Laura Sanders Web edition: February 14, 2013 Print edition: March 23, 2013; Vol.183 #6 (p. 13) An element of surprise may be the key to whitewashing a painful memory.