Mouse Mazes and Cutting Edge Science: A Discussion with Harvard’s Shuhan He

A winding discussion about neuroscience, technology, and mouse mazes.

As neuroscience advances, new human right laws are required to ensure our minds remain our own

Matter over mind.

An old game console could challenge all we know about how the brain works

And it can run Donkey Kong. Can your brain do that? Didn’t think so.

Detailed new map of human brain reveals almost 100 new regions

Just like space, the human brain has plenty of uncharted territory.

Genetic variant explains why women are more prone to Alzheimer’s

Like a sticking nail, Alzheimer’s has been irritating neuroscientists for decades. After so many years and billions worth of research, the underlying causes and mechanics that cause the gruesome neurodegenerative disease have yet to be identified, though hints suggest genetics have a major role to play – never mind a cure! Clearly, Alzhaimer’s is formidable and while we’ve yet to

Measuring creativity through spontaneous single spoken words

What is creativity? Although definitions vary, one might be inclined to say that creativity, ultimately, is anything that has to do with ideas – generating them, building them, transforming them into reality. There are a lot of tests that measure creativity and chances are if you’ve been to a job interview recently you might have actually been handed out such

Is making cyborg cockroaches immoral?

Through the halls of TedxDetroit last week, participants were introduced to an unfamiliar and unlikely guest – a remote controlled cyborg cockroach. RoboRoach #12 as it was called can be directed to either move left or right by transmitting electrical signals through electrodes attached to the insect’s antennae  via the Bluetooth signals emitted by a smartphone. Scientists have been doing these

Dwelling inside the gambler’s mind

There’s a lot more to gambling than just luck, and whilst it’s impossible to predict an outcome or utilise a system effectively, the human brain and our emotions have a lot to do with the decisions we make during the gambling process. Expectation Say you slide a coin into a one armed bandit, pull the lever and watch the reels

Schizophrenia symptoms canceled in mice after gene therapy

A group of international researchers may have reached a breakthrough moment after they successfully eliminated schizophrenia symptoms in mice after they targeted a specific gene and manipulated its expression. Their findings offer hope that similar results might be possible for humans as well. Despite schizophrenia being well documented for many years now and it being a somewhat prevailing mental disorder,  schizophrenia

Neurobiologist can see in 3-D after being stuck in 2-D for 48 years. [amazing brain adaption]

Meet Susan Barry. She’s an accomplished neurobiologist and a professor of biological studies at Mount Holyoke College. For 48 years of her life, however, Susan was visually stuck in 2-D world. You see, she was born with her eye crossed and could only see in two dimensions. Our eyes each produce an image, and since they’re very close to another and

Rats’ brains connect to form an organic computer

In an incredible feat of neuroscience and communications, researchers at Duke University School of Medicine formed a link between pairs of rats by electronically linking their brains. As such, the rats could exchange motor and tactile information between each other. In one particular case, the experiment showed that a pair of linked rats – one rat on a continent, the other

Meet SPAUN – the most complex artificial human brain yet

Needless to say, the human brain is the most complex neural structure encountered so far. While a computer can outwork a human in many cognitive tasks, our brain can perform a variety of tasks that no computing machine can even scratch the surface. Just think a bit about imagination – how could a computer ever come as close as generating

Cognitive computing milestone: IBM simulates 530 billon neurons and 100 trillion synapses

First initiated in 2008 by IBM, the Systems of Neuromorphic Adaptive Plastic Scalable Electronics (SyNAPSE) program whose final goal is that of developing a new cognitive computer architecture based on the human brain. Recently, IBM announced it has reached an important milestone for its program after the company successfully simulated 10 billion neurons and 100 trillion synapses on most powerful supercomputer.

Brain scans of rappers offer valuable insight on creativity

Freestyle rapping is perhaps the most prized skill in hip hop – it is the ability to make rhymes on the fly, and it’s usually what rappers do to “duel” – the one who makes the better insults win. But Siyuan Liu and Allen Braun, neuroscientists, didn’t go to a rap show – they brought the rap show to the

Humans are capable of short-term precognition, study finds

How many times did you find yourself anticipating a certain event shortly before it happened?

Cooking food helped early humans grow bigger brains

The pyramids, art, all of the world’s great inventions, literary works, just about any valuable intellectual work can be traced back to food – cooked food. If you care to go as far back as our very roots, that is. Previous research showed that cooked food made it easier and more efficient for our guts to absorb calories more rapidly, which

Slime can navigate using external memory, despite having no brain – a precursor to the nervous system?

Scientists at University of Sydney have been studying for the past few years one of the most peculiar events in nature. It seems that a living slime, no less, no more, is capable of reading information and remembering its past “steps” acting on some sort of external memory, this despite the fact that it has no brain, not even one single

Atlas of the human brain might help identify the mechanics of neural conditions

Neuroscientists at the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle have created an atlas of the human brain, which highlights the activity of genes across the entire organ. The brain map was created after many hard years of labor, and might help scientists from across the world  identify factors that underlie neurological and psychiatric conditions. “The human brain is the most complex structure known

We make mistakes more often and learn harder when rules change

Someone whose been driving for 20 years, let’s say, in the United States and somehow ends up driving a car in the UK will be in a lot of trouble. Going from right side driving to left side driving, or vice versa, will bewilder just about anyone, and if you’ve gone through such an experience maybe you can relate to

Fluoride in tap water lowers IQ and hampers child brain development

According to the Fluoride Action Network there are at present 24 independent studies which have a direct link between fluoride contamination from city tap water and reduced IQ, especially in children who are more vulnerable due to developing brains. The most recent one comes from Harvard University, which also came to the same conclusion, namely that of “the possibility of adverse