Archive for the ‘neuroscience’ category

Jul 23, 2021

Scientists reverse age-related memory loss in mice

Posted by in categories: genetics, life extension, neuroscience

Scientists at Cambridge and Leeds have successfully reversed age-related memory loss in mice and say their discovery could lead to the development of treatments to prevent memory loss in people as they age.

In a study published today in Molecular Psychiatry, the team show that changes in the extracellular matrix of the brain — ‘scaffolding’ around nerve cells—lead to loss of with aging, but that it is possible to reverse these using genetic treatments.

Recent evidence has emerged of the role of perineuronal nets (PNNs) in neuroplasticity—the ability of the brain to learn and adapt—and to make memories. PNNs are cartilage-like structures that mostly surround inhibitory neurons in the brain. Their main function is to control the level of plasticity in the brain. They appear at around five years old in humans, and turn off the period of enhanced plasticity during which the connections in the brain are optimized. Then, plasticity is partially turned off, making the brain more efficient but less plastic.

Jul 23, 2021

Neurotransmitter Levels Predict Math Ability

Posted by in categories: mathematics, neuroscience

Summary: A new study found a person’s math ability was linked to levels of GABA and glutamate in the brain. In children, greater math fluency was associated with higher GABA levels in the left intraparietal sulcus, while lower levels of GABA were linked to math ability in adults. The reverse was true for glutamate in both children and adults.

Source: PLOS

The neurotransmitters GABA and glutamate have complementary roles — GABA inhibits neurons, while glutamate makes them more active.

Jul 23, 2021

Preclinical study finds success in reversing age-related memory loss

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

“What is exciting about this is that although our study was only in mice, the same mechanism should operate in humans – the molecules and structures in the human brain are the same as those in rodents,” says Fawcett. “This suggests that it may be possible to prevent humans from developing memory loss in old age.”

An intriguing new study from researchers in the United Kingdom is proposing an innovative method to treat age-related memory loss. The preclinical research shows memory decline in aging mice can be reversed by manipulating the composition of structures in the brain known as perineuronal nets.

Perineuronal nets (PNNs) are structures in the brain that envelop certain subsets of neurons, helping stabilize synaptic activity. They essentially put the brakes on the neuroplasticity seen in the first few years of life.

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Jul 23, 2021

Nature has learnt how to eat our plastic!

Posted by in categories: food, genetics, neuroscience, sustainability

Nature always finds a way…so they say! But it looks like it may actually be true in the case of our global plastic waste dilemma. Genetic mutations have been discovered in specific natural bacteria that enable them to break the polymer chains of certain plastics. Where have we found these bacteria? Well…in plastic recycling dumps of course. So, gloves and masks on everyone. We’re going in!

Video Transcripts available at our website.

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Jul 23, 2021

Can consciousness be explained by quantum physics? Research is closer to finding out

Posted by in categories: computing, cosmology, neuroscience, particle physics, quantum physics

One of the most important open questions in science is how our consciousness is established. In the 1990s, long before winning the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics for his prediction of black holes, physicist Roger Penrose teamed up with anaesthesiologist Stuart Hameroff to propose an ambitious answer.

They claimed that the brain’s neuronal system forms an intricate network and that the consciousness this produces should obey the rules of quantum mechanics —the theory that determines how tiny particles like electrons move around. This, they argue, could explain the mysterious complexity of human consciousness.

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Jul 23, 2021

Mind the gap: State-of-the-art technologies and applications for EEG-based brain–computer interfaces

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, computing, education, law, neuroscience, security, wearables

Brain–computer interfaces (BCIs) provide bidirectional communication between the brain and output devices that translate user intent into function. Among the different brain imaging techniques used to operate BCIs, electroencephalography (EEG) constitutes the preferred method of choice, owing to its relative low cost, ease of use, high temporal resolution, and noninvasiveness. In recent years, significant progress in wearable technologies and computational intelligence has greatly enhanced the performance and capabilities of EEG-based BCIs (eBCIs) and propelled their migration out of the laboratory and into real-world environments. This rapid translation constitutes a paradigm shift in human–machine interaction that will deeply transform different industries in the near future, including healthcare and wellbeing, entertainment, security, education, and marketing. In this contribution, the state-of-the-art in wearable biosensing is reviewed, focusing on the development of novel electrode interfaces for long term and noninvasive EEG monitoring. Commercially available EEG platforms are surveyed, and a comparative analysis is presented based on the benefits and limitations they provide for eBCI development. Emerging applications in neuroscientific research and future trends related to the widespread implementation of eBCIs for medical and nonmedical uses are discussed. Finally, a commentary on the ethical, social, and legal concerns associated with this increasingly ubiquitous technology is provided, as well as general recommendations to address key issues related to mainstream consumer adoption.

Jul 22, 2021

When Will Neuralink Be Available To Everyone?

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

When will Neuralink be available to healthy individuals? It’s difficult to find a coherent train of thought pertaining to this question specifically.

Recently, I’ve started thinking more in terms of regulatory approval rather than rough timeline estimates. This sent me down a fascinating path learning more about how medical devices in general make it through “the system.”

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Jul 22, 2021

Brain Cells Snap Open Their DNA To Make Memories – Extent of DNA Double-Strand Breaks Is “Surprising and Concerning”

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

To quickly express learning and memory genes, brain cells snap both strands of DNA in many more places and cell types than previously realized, a new study shows.

The urgency to remember a dangerous experience requires the brain to make a series of potentially dangerous moves: Neurons and other brain cells snap open their DNA in numerous locations — more than previously realized, according to a new study — to provide quick access to genetic instructions for the mechanisms of memory storage.

The extent of these DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) in multiple key brain regions is surprising and concerning, says study senior author Li-Huei Tsai, Picower Professor of Neuroscience at MIT and director of The Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, because while the breaks are routinely repaired, that process may become more flawed and fragile with age. Tsai’s lab has shown that lingering DSBs are associated with neurodegeneration and cognitive decline and that repair mechanisms can falter.

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Jul 22, 2021

Brain-Computer Implants Will Let Corporations Mine Your Thoughts for Cash, Researchers Warn

Posted by in categories: computing, neuroscience

Researchers paint a grim picture of a corporate mind-melding future via brain-computer interface technology that’s as addictive as opioids.

Jul 21, 2021

Brain ‘Noise’ Keeps Nerve Connections Young

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

The findings, published in Nature Communications, could have important implications for human health: minis have been found at every type of synapse studied so far, and defects in miniature neurotransmission have been linked to range of neurodevelopmental disorders in children. Figuring out how a reduction in miniature neurotransmission changes the structure of synapses, and how that in turn affects behavior, could help to better understand neurodegenerative disorders and other brain conditions.

Summary: Study reveals how miniature release events help to keep neurons intact and preserve motor neuron function in aging insects.

Source: EPFL

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