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Dec 7, 2021

New Imaging Method Visualizes Blood Flow in the Brain Down to a Single Blood Cell

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

Researchers from the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology and Saratov State University have come up with an inexpensive method for visualizing blood flow in the brain. The new technique is so precise it discerns the motions of individual red blood cells — all without the use of toxic dyeing agents or expensive genetic engineering. The study was published in The European Physical Journal Plus.

To understand more about how the brain’s blood supply works, researchers map its blood vessel networks. The resulting visualizations can rely on a variety of methods. One highly precise technique involves injecting fluorescent dyes into the blood flow and detecting the infrared light they emit. The problem with dyes is they are toxic and also may distort mapping results by affecting the vessels. Alternatively, researchers employ genetically modified animals, whose interior lining of blood vessels is engineered to give off light with no foreign substances involved. Both methods are very expensive, though.

Researchers from Skoltech and Saratov State University have devised an inexpensive method for visualizing even the smallest capillaries in the brain. The method — which integrates optical microscopy and image processing — is dye-free and very fine-grained, owing to its ability to detect each and every red blood cell travelling along a blood vessel. Since the number of RBCs in capillaries is not that high, every cell counts, so this is an important advantage over other methods, including dye-free ones.

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Dec 7, 2021

New Harvard institute to study natural, artificial intelligence

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience, robotics/AI

Harvard University on Tuesday launched the Kempner Institute for the Study of Natural and Artificial Intelligence, a new University-wide initiative standing at the intersection of neuroscience and artificial intelligence, seeking fundamental principles that underlie both human and machine intelligence. The fruits of discoveries will flow in both directions, enhancing understanding of how humans think, perceive the world around them, make decisions, and learn, thereby advancing the rapidly evolving field of AI.

The institute will be funded by a $500 million gift from Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg, which was announced Tuesday by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. The gift will support 10 new faculty appointments, significant new computing infrastructure, and resources to allow students to flow between labs in pursuit of ideas and knowledge. The institute’s name honors Zuckerberg’s mother, Karen Kempner Zuckerberg, and her parents — Zuckerberg’s grandparents — Sidney and Gertrude Kempner. Chan and Zuckerberg have given generously to Harvard in the past, supporting students, faculty, and researchers in a range of areas, including around public service, literacy, and cures.

“The Kempner Institute at Harvard represents a remarkable opportunity to bring together approaches and expertise in biological and cognitive science with machine learning, statistics, and computer science to make real progress in understanding how the human brain works to improve how we address disease, create new therapies, and advance our understanding of the human body and the world more broadly,” said President Larry Bacow.

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Dec 7, 2021

Elon Musk says Neuralink will start implanting chips in humans in 2022

Posted by in categories: computing, Elon Musk, neuroscience

Elon Musk says Neuralink is just waiting on FDA approval for its first human trials, which will be conducted among those with severe spinal injuries. Musk said he is sure the chip will help them walk.

Dec 7, 2021

Mind & Brain

Posted by in category: neuroscience

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Dec 7, 2021

A Ten-Minute Run Can Boost Brain Processing

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

Summary: A ten-minute run increases activation of the bilateral prefrontal cortex, improving mood and cognitive function.

Source: University of Tsukuba

Running may be a useful activity to undertake for better mental health. University of Tsukuba researchers have found that only ten minutes of moderate-intensity running increases local blood flow to the various loci in the bilateral prefrontal cortex —the part of the brain that plays an important role in controlling mood and executive functions.

Dec 7, 2021

Elon Musk Says It Is Possible to Test Neuralink on Humans Next Year

Posted by in categories: computing, Elon Musk, neuroscience

Are we there already?

Less than a year has passed since we saw Pager play Ping-Pong using Neuralink. The company’s owner, Elon Musk has now said that he is confident of testing the chip in humans next year.

Founded in July 2016, the company is busy building an implantable chip that will allow the human brain to interact with computers directly. The company made headlines when its experimental macaque played Ping-Pong telepathically, without the help of a joystick. The company seems to have made rapid progress in its technology since its founder is quite optimistic about human testing.

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Dec 7, 2021

The Next Global Pandemic: Mental Health

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

What if the next global health crisis is a mental health pandemic? It is here now.

According to Gallup, anger, stress, worry and sadness have been on the rise globally for the past decade — long before the COVID-19 pandemic — and all reached record highs in 2020.


People die from COVID-19 — they also die from depression and anxiety disorders. The U.S. has seen spikes in deaths from suicide and “deaths of despair.”

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Dec 7, 2021

The Placebo Effect and God May Live in the Same Brain Region

Posted by in category: neuroscience

𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐏𝐥𝐚𝐜𝐞𝐛𝐨 𝐄𝐟𝐟𝐞𝐜𝐭 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐆𝐨𝐝 𝐌𝐚𝐲 𝐋𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐒𝐚𝐦𝐞 𝐁𝐫𝐚𝐢𝐧 𝐑𝐞𝐠𝐢𝐨𝐧

𝘼𝙣 𝙖𝙣𝙘𝙞𝙚𝙣𝙩 𝙗𝙧𝙖𝙞𝙣𝙨𝙩𝙚𝙢 𝙧𝙚𝙜𝙞𝙤𝙣 𝙚𝙫𝙤𝙡𝙫𝙚𝙙 𝙩𝙤 𝙝𝙚𝙡𝙥 𝙪𝙨 𝙩𝙤 𝙗𝙚𝙡𝙞𝙚𝙫𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙪𝙣𝙗𝙚𝙡𝙞𝙚𝙫𝙖𝙗𝙡𝙚.

𝐏𝐬𝐲𝐜𝐡𝐨𝐥𝐨𝐠𝐲 𝐓𝐨𝐝𝐚𝐲:

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Dec 6, 2021

New Brain Maps Can Predict Behaviors

Posted by in categories: mapping, neuroscience

Rapid advances in large-scale connectomics are beginning to spotlight the importance of individual variations in the neural circuitry. They also highlight the limitations of “wiring diagrams” alone.

Dec 6, 2021

Sean Carroll: Is Consciousness Emergent?

Posted by in categories: cosmology, neuroscience, physics

Theoretical physicist Sean Carroll joins us to discuss whether it make sense to think of consciousness as an emergent phenomenon, and whether contemporary physics points in this direction.

We discussed Sean’s essay responding to Philip’s book ‘Galileo’s Error,’ and Philip’s counter-response essay. Both are available here: https://conscienceandconsciousness.com/2021/08/01/19-essays-on-galileos-error/

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