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Image: two men sitting in a laboratory, testing a device; Copyright:L.A. Cicero

Artificial synapse for neural networks

22/02/2017

For all the improvements in computer technology over the years, we still struggle to recreate the low-energy, elegant processing of the human brain. Now, researchers at Stanford University and Sandia National Laboratories have made an advance that could help computers mimic one piece of the brain's efficient design - an artificial version of the space over which neurons communicate, a synapse.
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Image: a woman and a man in a laboratory; Copyright: RUB, Marquard

The reasons for our left or right-handedness

20/02/2017

A preference for the left or the right hand might be traced back to that asymmetry. "These results fundamentally change our understanding of the cause of hemispheric asymmetries," conclude the authors. The team report about their study in the journal eLife.
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Image: a woman and a man sitting at a table, looking at some papers; Copyright: Courtesy of Center for BrainHealth

What the ability to 'get the gist' says about your brain

20/02/2017

Research findings from the Center for BrainHealth at UT Dallas may enhance traumatic brain injury (TBI) diagnosis and treatment.
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Image: Colored image of cells in tissue; Copyright: Song et al./Cell Reports

Basement membrane protein influences connection of blood vessel cells

06/02/2017

Which molecular mechanisms are at work when, in the case of inflammation, immune cells migrate from the blood vessel into the tissue? Researchers at the Cells-in-Motion Cluster of Excellence at Münster University have gained new insights into this question. The study has been published in the journal Cell Reports.
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Image: blue, green and pink lines with a black background; Copyright: Hoffman-Kim lab/Brown University

With mini-vessels, mini-brains expand research potential

03/02/2017

Scientists have recently made a wondrous variety of mini-brains - 3-D cultures of neural cells that model basic properties of living brains - but a new finding could add to the field's growing excitement in an entirely new "vein": Brown University's mini-brains now grow blood vessels, too.
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Image: Graphical illustration of a human brain; Copyright: panthermedia.net/tolokonov

Scientists identify two brain networks influencing how we make decisions

02/02/2017

Scientists at the Medical Research Council Brain Network Dynamics Unit at the University of Oxford have pinpointed two distinct mechanisms in the human brain that control the balance between speed and accuracy when making decisions.
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Image: Three small electrodes in a close-up; Copyright: Georgia Tech/Robert Butera

Buzzing the vagus nerve to fight inflammatory disease

20/01/2017

Kilohertz frequency electrical block of afferent vagus nerve pathways allows targeted stimulation to reduce inflammation in vivo.
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Image: A grey background with two magnifying glasses and some coloured spots; Copyright: Eric Jonas, CC-BY.

Classic video game system used to improve understanding of the brain

13/01/2017

The complexity of neural networks makes them difficult to analyze, but manmade computing systems should be simpler to understand.
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Image: A woman on a desk looking depressed because of too much work; Copyright: panthermedia.net/Reinhard Fürstberger

Study unveils how stress may increase risk of heart disease and stroke

13/01/2017

Heightened activity in the amygdala - a region of the brain involved in stress - is associated with a greater risk of heart disease and stroke, according to a study published in The Lancet that provides new insights into the possible mechanism by which stress can lead to cardiovascular disease in humans.
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Photo: Old man with his hand on his right ear; Copyright: panthermedia.net/stockyimages

Hidden hearing loss revealed by UConn School of Medicine researchers

09/01/2017

Two researchers at UConn School of Medicine have developed a new hearing test that can identify hearing loss or deficits in some individuals considered to have normal or near-normal hearing in traditional tests.
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Photo: Old man with two children and a tablet; Copyright: panthermedia.net/Barabasa

Tablet devices show promise in managing agitation among patients with dementia

09/01/2017

A new pilot study led by McLean Hospital's Ipsit Vahia, MD, medical director of Geriatric Psychiatry Outpatient Services at McLean Hospital, suggests that the use of tablet computers is both a safe and a potentially effective approach to managing agitation among patients with dementia.
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Image: 3D image of a brain, one part is highlighted red; Copyright: panthermedia.net/vampy1

Protein associated with Parkinson's travels from brain to gut

06/01/2017

Researchers of the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) have found that "alpha-synuclein", a protein involved in a series of neurological disorders including Parkinson's disease, is capable of travelling from brain to stomach and that it does so following a specific pathway. Donato Di Monte and co-workers report on this in the journal "Acta Neuropathologica".
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Image: Man sitting at a gambling table, with a drink in his hand, looking sad; Copyright: panthermedia.net/Wavebreakmedia ltd

Gambling addiction triggers the same brain areas as drug and alcohol cravings

04/01/2017

Gambling addiction activates the same brain pathways as drug and alcohol cravings, suggests new research. The study, by international scientists including researchers from Imperial College London, suggests targeting these brain pathways may lead to future treatments for the condition.
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Image: Computer-generated image of a human brain on a magnet; Copyright: panthermedia.net/Satori

Magnetic stimulation: more precise, reliable activation of neural circuitry

21/12/2016

Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) researchers have developed what appears to be a significant improvement in the technology behind brain implants used to activate neural circuits responsible for vision, hearing or movement.
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Photo: Man moving a robotic arm with his mind; Copyright: College of Science and Engineering

How people can control a robotic arm with only their minds

16/12/2016

Researchers at the University of Minnesota have made a major breakthrough that allows people to control a robotic arm using only their minds. The research has the potential to help millions of people who are paralyzed or have neurodegenerative diseases. The study is published online today in "Scientific Reports", a Nature research journal.
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Image: Dr. Surjo R. Soekadar (left) with a propositi; Copyright: Surjo R. Soekadar

Neurorobotic hand exoskeleton restores grasp function to quadriplegics

14/12/2016

A consortium of European scientists has successfully restored grasp function to six quadriplegics using a non-invasive hybrid brain-neural hand exoskeleton. The system was developed by researchers at the University of Tübingen, Germany, The BioRobotics Institute at the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Italy, and the Guttmann Institute in Spain.
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Image: Zebrafish brain, fluorescence image (left) and 3D image (right); Copyright: private

"A 3D movie of the brain in action"

08/12/2016

Watching millions of neurons in the brain interacting with each other – for a long time this was possible only to a limited extent. The current techniques can visualize only superficial layers or the imaging they use is too slow. But now, Prof Daniel Razansky and his team have found a new method to visualize the brain activity – by using optoacoustics.
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Photo: Elderly woman at the doctor; Copyright: panthermedia.net/Jeanette.Dietl

Women with dementia receive less medical attention

06/12/2016

Women with dementia have fewer visits to the GP, receive less health monitoring and take more potentially harmful medication than men with dementia, new UCL (University College London) research reveals.
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Image: A man sitting on a bench, with his head down; Copyright: panthermedia.net/Andriy Popov

Sometimes just watching hurts - and the signs of pain are seen in the brain

30/11/2016

Some people claim to experience pain just watching something painful to happen. This is true especially of people suffering from complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), a disabling chronic pain disorder in a limb. In CPRS patients, both own movements and just observing other persons' movements may aggravate the pain.
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Image: Many wires in different colors, shaped like a brain; Copyright: Radiological Society of North America

Head impacts lead to brain changes in high school football players

29/11/2016

Brain imaging exams performed on high school football players after just one season revealed changes in both the gray and white matter that correlated with exposure to head impacts, according to a new study that will be presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).
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Image: A silhouette of a human head. In the head is a brain shown. A speech bubble points to the open mouth; Copyright: panthermedia.net/Benoit Charton

Stuttering related to brain circuits that control speech production

28/11/2016

Researchers at Children's Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) have conducted the first study of its kind, using proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) to look at brain regions in both adults and children who stutter.
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Image: Hybrid OR; Copyright: Philips GmbH

Hybrid Operating Room: The OR of the Future Today?

01/09/2016

Patients take center stage during surgery. Their treatment should be as gentle and effective as possible, which is why there is a trend towards minimally invasive surgery (MIS). But minimal procedures require better supporting technologies. The hybrid operating room combines surgery and imaging systems and increasingly replaces conventional open surgery approaches with MIS.
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Image: Closed eyes of a patient. Electrodes are attached above the eyebrows; Copyright: savir-center.com

Electrical Stimulation: Using Electrical Pulses to Combat Blindness

22/07/2016

Millions of people all over the world suffer from partial blindness – caused by glaucoma, a stroke or traumatic brain injury. For years, the loss of vision was deemed irreversible. But now a new treatment makes it possible to improve eyesight and vision.
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Photo: child with broken arm

Different specialties, one goal – treating children right

01/02/2016

Children, especially newborns, are generally no longer simply considered to be small adults whose treatment just needs to be "reduced". This is why a pediatrician’s education includes several specialties because ultimately everything in terms of care comes together here.
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Photo: pipette in petri dish

Great leaps forward thanks to new methods

01/02/2016

Self-healing powers like a superhero on the big screen? That’s the aim of regenerative medicine; at least in a very broad sense. This promising field of biomedicine is currently highly dynamic with innovative technologies and development. New methods are designed to help propel medicine into a whole new sphere.
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Photo: Magnet draws zigzag lines

Magnetogenetics: how neural stem cells grow in a certain direction

01/12/2015

If you could stimulate brain cells to grow in a specific direction, you would probably be able to achieve a significant improvement in the health of patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease. This is why the MAGNEURON project focuses on this approach. The EU is funding the project with approximately 3.5 million Euros.
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Graphic: stent in a blood vessel

Mechanical thrombectomy: stroke treatment 2.0

01/12/2015

Each year, approximately 250,000 Germans suffer a stroke. This makes stroke the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer. The circulatory disorder that occurs in the brain is normally treated using systemic thrombolysis, a procedure that bears various risks. Unlike mechanical thrombectomy, which offers clear advantages by comparison.
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Photo: laboratory mouse eating something

Multiple Sclerosis: does the colon affect the immune system?

01/12/2015

Multiple sclerosis apparently can strike anyone - regardless of age, family history, lifestyle or gender. Yet why then does it not strike everyone? Genetic and environmental factors appear not to be the only reason whether it develops or not. The countless microorganisms that colonize our intestinal tract could also be involved in this.
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Pediatric anesthesia: "I would object to a specialty medical training"

01/09/2014

When very young children already need to be in the operating room, it’s not just the parents that are concerned. This type of situation is a special challenge for the entire operating team, because children are always very special patients - especially since they are not just simply small grown-ups!
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Persistent vegetative state: brain stimulation with laser beams

01/09/2014

The public only notices diseases when celebrities become patients: in the spring of 2014, Formula One driver Michael Schumacher fell into a coma for several months as the result of a head injury caused by a skiing accident. These types of accidents show how delicate the brain responds to injuries. Brain stimulation could possibly support the rehabilitation of vegetative patients.
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Diagnosing Parkinson's: the skin is revealing

01/07/2014

In patients with Parkinson's, neural cells in the brain die off that produce the neurotransmitter dopamine. Certain physical symptoms that can indicate the disease follow years later. But a reliable diagnosis can only be made through examination of the brain after the patient's death, and not during his lifetime.
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Graphic: Space station

"Studies involving microgravity suggest stem cells will grow faster in space"

22/04/2014

The International Space Station ISS is not only the largest artificial object in space. It is also a laboratory for physicists, chemists, biologists and physicians and orbits earth at 28.000 kilometers per hour at an altitude of 400 kilometers. Thanks to this location, the ISS could one day make an important contribution to regenerative medicine.
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