Tag Archives: Neuron

Neural Implant Enables Patients: Biomedical innovation

A paralyzed ALS patient uses a brain implant to steer a computer cursor to various targets.

Typing six words per minute may not sound very impressive. But for paralyzed people typing via a brain-computer interface (BCI), it’s a new world record.

To pull off this feat, two paralyzed people used prosthetics implanted in their brains to control computer cursors with unprecedented accuracy and speed. The experiment, reported today in Nature Medicine, was the latest from a team testing a neural system called BrainGate2. While this implant is only approved for experiments right now, researchers say this demonstration proves that such technology can be truly useful to quadriplegics, and points the way toward regular at-home use.

Charge your Brain to Learn Faster:Biomedical Technology

If you consider your brain a microprocessor, you could assume that an increased electrical charge would lead to faster brain cells.

As silly as that sounds, that assumption may in fact be accurate. There is a startup called GoFlow, which intends to be offering a mass-market tDCS device, which stands for transcranial direct current stimulation.

There is not much information on the device as well as the manufacturer as of now, but they claim that they can provide a basic, DIY tDCS machine for just $99, instead of the typical cost of at least $600 in medical fields or academia. The promise is that tDCS has been proven to work in pain treatment and in the military to train snipers and drone pilots, who saw their learning rates accelerate by a factor of 2.5x.

Engineers Redefine How Movements are planned by Brain

New measurement technologies and techniques provide researchers more complete look at neurological activity

In 1991, Carl Lewis was both the fastest man on earth and a profound long jumper, perhaps the greatest track-and-field star of all time in the prime of his career. On June 14th of that year, however, Carl Lewis was human. Leroy Burrell blazed through the 100-meters, besting him by a razor-thin margin of three-hundredths of a second. In the time it takes the shutter to capture a single frame of video, Lewis’s three-year-old world record was gone.

Spinal cord can be Regenerated with the aid of a Cancer Drug

Researchers have discovered that a cancer drug, Taxol, can reduce deterioration of the cytoskeleton and scar tissue following spinal cord injuries in rats.

A weakened cytoskeleton and impenetrable walls of scar tissue are considered by many to be the main obstacles of regeneration of nerve cells in the spinal cord.

The researchers claim Taxol was effective in promoting regeneration of injured spinal cord nerve cells in rats following spinal cord lesions. Only a few weeks following the spinal cord lesions and Taxol application, rats showed significant improvement in movements.

Activity of Brain Nerve cells influenced by Magnetic Stimulation enables more learning ability

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)
Image via Wikipedia

What sounds like science fiction is actually possible: thanks to magnetic stimulation, the activity of certain brain nerve cells can be deliberately influenced. What happens in the brain in this context has been unclear up to now. Medical experts from Bochum under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Klaus Funke (Department of Neurophysiology) have now shown that various stimulus patterns changed the activity of distinct neuronal cell types. In addition, certain stimulus patterns led to rats learning more easily. The knowledge obtained could contribute to cerebral stimulation being used more purposefully in future to treat functional disorders of the brain. The researchers have published their studies in the Journal of Neuroscience and in the European Journal of Neuroscience.


To understand the root of the problem of these latter diseases, visualizing brain activity is key. But even the best imaging devices available — fMRIs and PET scans — can only give a “coarse” picture of brain activity.

UCLA neuroscientists have now collaborated with physicists to develop a non-invasive, ultra–high-speed microscope that can record in real time the firing of thousands of individual neurons in the brain as they communicate, or miscommunicate, with each other.

“In our view, this is the world’s fastest two-photon excitation microscope for three-dimensional imaging in vivo,” said UCLA physics professor Katsushi Arisaka, who designed the new optical imaging system with UCLA assistant professor of neurology and neurobiology Dr. Carlos Portera-Cailliau and colleagues.