Inside Paul Allen's Plan to Reverse-Engineer the Human Brain - Wired Science In 2003, Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen spent $100 million to build the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle. With laser-equipped microscopes and custom brain-slicers, the institute has mapped the brains of mice, monkeys, and humans, showing which genes are turned on—and where—to better understand vision, memory, autism, and other neural phenomena. Last year Allen ponied up another $300 million to aim the institute at a narrower but more ambitious goal: a complete understanding of how the mouse brain interprets visual information. To succeed, they’ll have to go beyond static gene maps and learn how to watch a living brain in action. The new method will track electrical activity in neurons—not just in one mouse but many. Of all the things you could have invested in, why brain research?
Why Cognitive Enhancement Is in Your Future (and Your Past) - Ross Andersen Using technology to enhance our brains sounds terrifying, but using tools to make ourselves smarter may be part of humans' nature. It could be that we are on the verge of a great deluge of cognitive enhancement. Or it's possible that new brain-enhancing drugs and technologies will be nothing compared to how we've transformed our minds in the past. If it seems that making ourselves "artificially" smarter is somehow inhuman, it may be that similar activities are actually what made us human. Let's look at the nature of the new technology.
Scientists create artificial link between unrelated memories The ability to learn associations between events is critical for survival, but it has not been clear how different pieces of information stored in memory may be linked together by populations of neurons. In a study published April 2nd in Cell Reports, synchronous activation of distinct neuronal ensembles caused mice to artificially associate the memory of a foot shock with the unrelated memory of exploring a safe environment, triggering an increase in fear-related behavior when the mice were re-exposed to the non-threatening environment. The findings suggest that co-activated cell ensembles become wired together to link two distinct memories that were previously stored independently in the brain. "Memory is the basis of all higher brain functions, including consciousness, and it also plays an important role in psychiatric diseases such as post-traumatic stress disorder," says senior study author Kaoru Inokuchi of the University of Toyama.
Brains flush toxic waste in sleep, including Alzheimer’s-linked protein, study of mice finds Scientists say this nightly self-clean by the brain provides a compelling biological reason for the restorative power of sleep. “Sleep puts the brain in another state where we clean out all the byproducts of activity during the daytime,” said study author and University of Rochester neurosurgeon Maiken Nedergaard. Those byproducts include beta-amyloid protein, clumps of which form plaques found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. Staying up all night could prevent the brain from getting rid of these toxins as efficiently, and explain why sleep deprivation has such strong and immediate consequences. Too little sleep causes mental fog, crankiness, and increased risks of migraine and seizure. Rats deprived of all sleep die within weeks.
The Baby Lab On weekday mornings at nine o’clock, at Harvard University’s Laboratory for Developmental Studies, the babies start arriving in a long procession, looking like young pashas in their luxurious, oversized strollers. Researchers rush out to greet them, brandishing toys and consent forms. One day this summer, eight-month-old William was carried into a small, darkened room, where he sat on his father’s lap and viewed, on a screen in front of him, rectangles and dots shrinking in size or number. He was alerted to a new picture by a silly boing noise (and a brief appearance by Clifford the Big Red Dog).
10 theories that explain why we dream Kinja is in read-only mode. We are working to restore service. I like #7 and #8 of sorts, as they sort of fit in with the kinds of dreams I have. Dopamine regulates the motivation to act Printer friendly version Share 10 January 2013 Asociación RUVID The widespread belief that dopamine regulates pleasure could go down in history with the latest research results on the role of this neurotransmitter. Researchers have proved that it regulates motivation, causing individuals to initiate and persevere to obtain something either positive or negative.
Science & Environment - Ten extraordinary Pentagon mind experiments The Pentagon's growing interest in the brain for everything from mind-controlled vehicles to advanced prosthetics. It’s been 30 years since the first message was sent over initial nodes of the Arpanet, the Pentagon-sponsored precursor to the internet. But this month, researchers announced something that could be equally historic: the passing of messages between two rat brains, the first step toward what they call the “brain net”. Connecting the brains of two rats through implanted electrodes, scientists at Duke University demonstrated that in response to a visual cue, the trained response of one rat, called an encoder, could be mimicked without a visual cue in a second rat, called the decoder. In other words, the brain of one rat had communicated to the other.
Physicians in China treat addictions by destroying the brain's pleasure center "Many Chinese scientists conduct shoddy and unethical research where 'rewards for publication in international journals are high.'" I'm am so fed up with China & all their stupid antics, it's one thing after another & it's all negative, shortcuts to shortcuts, fast & cheap, screw originality, screw safety, screw the environment, & yet we are to play nice or else. They're like the big crazy person in the mall's food court that's acting out, but no one is willing to say or do anything because they're afraid if what might happen.
Alzheimer's breakthrough hailed as 'turning point' 10 October 2013Last updated at 08:56 GMT By James Gallagher Health and science reporter, BBC News Professor Giovanna Mallucci says the hope is to arrest the process of brain cell death The discovery of the first chemical to prevent the death of brain tissue in a neurodegenerative disease has been hailed as the "turning point" in the fight against Alzheimer's disease. More work is needed to develop a drug that could be taken by patients. Obama to Unveil Initiative to Map the Human Brain A senior administration scientist compared the new initiative to the Human Genome Project, in that it is directed at a problem that has seemed insoluble up to now: the recording and mapping of brain circuits in action in an effort to “show how millions of brain cells interact.” It is different, however, in that it has, as yet, no clearly defined goals or endpoint. Coming up with those goals will be up to the scientists involved and may take more than year. The effort will require the development of new tools not yet available to neuroscientists and, eventually, perhaps lead to progress in treating diseases like and and traumatic .
Hypnagogic State & Hypnopompic hallucination Hypnagogia Hypnagogia (also spelled hypnogogia) are the experiences a person can go through in the hypnagogic (or hypnogogic) state, the period of falling asleep. Hypnopompia are the experiences a person may go through in the hypnopompic state, the period of waking up. Crows could be the key to understanding alien intelligence But seriously, Annalee.... We're all ready for you to write the definitive science fiction novel about crows. In fact, you've been teasing us all far too long now :-) Write it already! Flagged I'm just gonna leave this here....
Why ‘neuroskeptics’ see an epidemic of brain baloney Earlier this month, Barack Obama unveiled a grand, new U.S. government initiative called BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) that he said would provide “a dynamic picture of the brain in action” and help humanity “better understand how we think and how we learn and how we remember.” The brain-mapping effort is set to cost $100-million in 2014, and hundreds of millions more in the years to come. This follows last year’s move in Ottawa to create a Canada Brain Research Fund with up to $100-million in matching funds to the Brain Canada Foundation. For Mr. Obama, it may be a way to put a triumphant stamp on the presidential legacy, but to those familiar with the field, the new program is a question mark.