Right now, disorders of the brain take a variety of approaches, from just some drugs if you’re lucky to invasive, expensive and dangerous surgery if you’re less lucky. But one day in the future, conditions from Alzheimer’s to blindness could be treated with a little bit of a jolt of quantum dots and a spot of light.
Scientists have identified a gene in the brains of mice, that when turned on, give them super memories. And considering that mice brains and people brains are basically made of the same stuff, it could be possible to switch on this molecule in people, giving us tremendous super memory. But do you really want to remember everything?
Millions of people in America and around the world are classified as having some sort of autism spectrum disorder, with many more every day. It’s a mysterious ailment, one that can sometimes be somewhat controlled through medicine, but not cured. But just like scientists were recently able to peer into the secrets of schizophrenia by making neurons with schizophrenia, they’re now able to do the same with autism.
For those who suffer from epilepsy, drugs can often control seizures, but for some, no amount of drugs can stop their brain from going full out electrical storm all the time. But what drugs can’t do, perhaps permanently embedded electrodes can.
For decades, parents have advised that putting kids in front of the TV would rot their brains, and it looks like that’s somewhat true, at least for babies 2 months and under. Under two months, a baby can’t comprehend something on a screen, TV, computer, tablet or otherwise, and the glowing box might impede the brain’s development.
Building a computer chip that simulates a human brain has long been one of the goals of processor technology, and after 65 years of being in the computer business, IBM, along with DARPA, have created a chip that for the first time emulates the way that a human brain processes information.
How simple can a brain be and still have some function of a brain? About four neurons with 112 DNA strands seems to work just fine. Researchers at the California Institute of Technology say they have built what they call the world’s first artificial neural network out of DNA molecules and that it can answer questions correctly.
Smoking weed and playing video games might get a bad rap, but according to one study in the Netherlands (of course the Netherlands), smoking chronic and playing video games appears to have a positive effect on helping memory loss in elderly patients with Alzheimer’s.
In the quest to create an artificial brain, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh created a small organic neural network in a petri dish from rat brain cells. The brain is of course incredibly primitive, but it’s got a 12 second memory, which is pretty impressive.
Yeah, computers right now are a very crude representation of brain activity and computing as a whole has always been working towards replicating the functions of a human brain, but The Human Brain Project, started in 2005, aims to re-create the physical connections of a human brain in digital form by 2024.
Schizophrenia is an inherited disease, but other than that, we know little about it. Now, for the first time, researchers from across the US have gotten together to examine what schizophrenic neurons look like at the molecular level, giving valuable insight to how it works that could perhaps one day lead to a cure. What you’re looking at above are schizophrenic neurons that have been grown in a lab that show they have far weaker connections between each other than normal neurons.