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Scientists use brain activity analysis to reconstruct words heard by test subjects Scientists have developed technology that is able to reconstruct words heard by test subjects, through analyzing their brain activity (Photo: Elvert Barnes) Image Gallery (2 images) Last September, scientists from the University of California, Berkeley announced that they had developed a method of visually reconstructing images from peoples' minds, by analyzing their brain activity. Much to the dismay of tinfoil hat-wearers everywhere, researchers from that same institution have now developed a somewhat similar system, that is able to reconstruct words that people have heard spoken to them. Instead of being used to violate our civil rights, however, the technology could instead allow the vocally-disabled to "speak." Epilepsy patients were enlisted for the study, who were already getting arrays of electrodes placed on the surface of their brains to identify the source of their seizures. According to study leader Brian N. About the Author Post a CommentRelated Articles

BRAINMETA.COM - NEUROSCIENCE, CONSCIOUSNESS, BRAIN, MIND, MIND-BRAIN, NEUROINFORMATICS, BRAIN MAPS, BRAIN ATLASES The benefits of meditation Studies have shown that meditating regularly can help relieve symptoms in people who suffer from chronic pain, but the neural mechanisms underlying the relief were unclear. Now, MIT and Harvard researchers have found a possible explanation for this phenomenon. In a study published online April 21 in the journal Brain Research Bulletin, the researchers found that people trained to meditate over an eight-week period were better able to control a specific type of brain waves called alpha rhythms. “These activity patterns are thought to minimize distractions, to diminish the likelihood stimuli will grab your attention,” says Christopher Moore, an MIT neuroscientist and senior author of the paper. There are several different types of brain waves that help regulate the flow of information between brain cells, similar to the way that radio stations broadcast at specific frequencies. For this study, the researchers recruited 12 subjects who had never meditated before.

Thinking About Mortality Changes How We Act THE THOUGHT of shuffling off our mortal coil can make all of us a little squeamish. But avoiding the idea of death entirely means ignoring the role it can play in determining our actions. Consider the following scenario: You’re visiting a friend who lives on the 20th floor of an old inner-city apartment building. Yipes! Or one of your two existential minds—if an emerging theory is correct. Of Two Minds One of our systems of existential thinking responds to the abstract concept of dying, so that even subtle everyday reminders of death, such as driving past a cemetery, prime the mind to ward off existential terror. The second existential system is vivid, concrete and highly personal; it is triggered not by subtle and abstract thoughts but by actually coming face to face with death. Priority Shifts Therefore, some thoughts of death shore up our beliefs, and other types of reflection make us reexamine them.

Love Deactivates Brain Areas For Fear, Planning, Critical Social Assessment Love Deactivates Brain Areas For Fear, Planning, Critical Social Assessment Andreas Bartels and Semir Zeki of the Wellcome Department of Imaging Neuroscience, University College London have found using Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) that love turns down activity in some areas of the brain in part so that we will not see flaws in the object of our affections. However the key result was that it's not just that certain shared areas of the brain are reliably activated in both romantic and maternal love, but also particular locations are deactivated and it's the deactivation which is perhaps most revealing about love. The scientists recruited mothers and used pictures of their children as well as pictures of other people and watched how the women responded to the pictures. We are fools for love because love disables our ability to do critical social assessment. Bartels has the full text of the research paper on his web site. Well, consider the possibilities.

Wirehead hedonism versus paradise-engineering Mind Uploading: Brain Facts What's the scale of things here? The following lengths (from Posner p. 305) give approximate sizes for structures in the nervous system: 0.001 mm: synapses (tip of a connection between neurons) 0.1 mm: neurons (brain cell) 1 mm: local circuits (small networks of cells) 10 mm: maps (spatially organized topographic maps) 100 mm: systems (e.g., the visual system) 1000 mm: the central nervous system (including spinal cord) How many things are we talking about? Short answer: a LOT. Long answer: Per cubic millimeter (mm^3), there are about 10^5 neurons and 10^9 synapses. How fast does the brain work? Not very fast by computer standards. How are memories stored in the brain? This is one of the great questions of neuroscience, and research has nearly converged on an answer. OK, so neurons and connections, is that it? Well, there's more in the brain than that. More Brain Facts and Figures are available from the University of Washington.

FDA approves the treatment of brain tumors with electrical fields The NovoTTF treatment involves placing pads onto the patient's skin that creates a low intensity and alternating electric field within the tumor Image Gallery (8 images) The FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) has approved a new treatment for patients as an alternative to chemotherapy. View all "Our device provides patients and physicians with a novel, non-invasive alternative to chemotherapy that is safe and effective," said Eilon Kirson, M.D., Ph.D., Novocure's Chief Medical Officer. The portable device, which weighs about six pounds (three kg), is used continuously throughout the day by the patient. Glioblastoma is considered an aggressive and common form of primary brain cancer. "In the lab we've observed tremendous synergies between chemotherapy and tumor treating fields," said Bill Doyle, Executive Chairman of Novocure, in a recent TED talk. You can watch Bill Doyle discuss the benefits of NovoTFF treatment in a TED talk on the video below. Source: Novocure About the Author