Optogenetics: Decoding the Brain with Light

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Scientists use fiber-optic cables to control neural activity in mice

Molecular “light switches” can reveal exactly which neurons are involved in creating a memory, allowing scientists to trigger that memory using only light. The finding, presented at the Society for Neuroscience conference in Chicago this week, is just one example of how a novel technology called optogenetics is allowing scientists to tackle major unanswered questions about the brain, including the role of specific brain regions in the formation of memory, the process of addiction, and the transition from sleep to wakefulness.

 

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Tiny Implants Connected To Nerve Cells Could Allow Greater Control Of Prosthetics

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Muscle cells (shown here) are grown on a biological scaffold.

A novel implant seeded with muscle cells could better integrate prosthetic limbs with the body, allowing amputees greater control over robotic appendages. The construct, developed at the University of Michigan, consists of tiny cups, made from an electrically conductive polymer, that fit on nerve endings and attract the severed nerves. Electrical signals coming from the nerve can then be translated and used to move the limb.

 

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Cochlear Implants Technology Getting Smaller, Faster, Smarter

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Serena Rush, 6, who got cochlear implants about 4 years ago and now has about 70% hearing.

Six-year-old Serena Rush loves to belt out It’s a Hard Knock Life, her favorite tune from the musical Annie, and someday she hopes to be a stage actress, when she’s not being a lifeguard. Which is pretty splendid considering she was diagnosed as deaf when she was 1. “I am very smart,” says the ballet-dancing, iPod-jamming, theatergoing, soon-to-be second-grader from Silver Spring, Md.

 

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Honda’s Human-To-Robot Brain Interface

Honda’s Human-To-Robot Brain Interface

 

If you’re one of the many fans of The Surrogates comic book (soon to be a Bruce Willis movie), then Honda’s new human-to-robot brain interface technology will be welcome news. The Honda Research Institute Japan, ATR and Shimadzu Corporation have come up with a non-invasive control mechanism called the Brain Machine Interface (BMI).

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Stem Cell Therapy To Grow Bigger Breasts

Stem Cell Therapy To Grow Bigger Breasts

“You won’t believe it, until you see it” 

A STEM cell therapy offering “natural” breast enlargement is to be made available to British women for the first time.

The treatment could boost cup size while reducing stomach fat. It involves extracting stem cells from spare fat on the stomach or thighs and growing them in a woman’s breasts. An increase of one cup size is likely, with the potential for larger gains as the technique improves.

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Eel Cells To Help Power Implants, Electrifying

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Eel’s Electricity For Powering Implants

Artificial versions of the eel’s electricity generating cells can be used as a power source for medical implants and other tiny devices, suggests a study.

The paper, according to NIST engineer David LaVan, says that there are at least seven different types of electrical channels in eels, each with several possible variables to tweak, such as their density in the membrane.

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TFAS: A New Procedure That Can Restore Full Use Of Spine

TFAS: A New Procedure That Can Restore Full Use Of Spine 

 TFAS Posterior View

Ever bend down and not get up again for a few days? Have you turned your neck in one direction only to find that your body had to accompany your neck to turn to the other side?

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Researchers Identify Where And How The Brain Recreates Memories

Researchers Identify Where And How The Brain Recreates Memories 

Scientists have for the first time recorded individual brain cells in the act of summoning a spontaneous memory, revealing not only where a remembered experience is registered but also, in part, how the brain is able to recreate it.

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Perfect Breasts Just an Injection Away

Perfect Breasts Just an Injection Away

Want to look like Jennifer Aniston? Always hiding behind push-up bras, but afraid of going under the knife? Imagine if all it took to obtain a cleavage as ample as that of those Victoria’s Secret model was an injection.

Well, the ‘boob job in an injection’ is now a reality, thanks to a new body-contouring treatment.

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