November 5, 2012 |
Researchers have moved one step closer to understanding how anesthesia drugs work by identifying a component of brain activity that could explain why we lose consciousness under the influence of the drugs, according to a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Though "going under" is an extremely common part of many medical procedures, the mechanism by which it works remains a mystery. This fact has practical ramifications: Some studies have shown that anesthesia can lead to loss of memory and other side effects, something researchers might be able to alleviate if they understand exactly what the drugs do in the body.
December 30, 2010 |
Anesthesia doesn't put patients to "sleep," as they're often told. Rather, anesthesia puts the brain into a state of unconsciousness that's more like being in a reversible coma than being asleep, a new study says. The study published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Thursday looked at how the brain behaves while asleep, in a coma and under general anesthesia. The brain activity of an anesthetized patient, for example, was more like a deeply unconscious coma patient than someone sleeping.
September 14, 2012 |
A group of scientists created a novel brain implant that improves cognitive performance and decision-making in a monkey. The device, developed in part by researchers at USC, manipulates ongoing brain activity to guide the animal away from mistakes and toward a correct decision. The study, published this week in the Journal of Neural Engineering, marks an important step toward implantable devices that could one day help people with brain injuries better perform basic tasks. The field of "brain prosthetics" has been dominated by efforts to restore physical abilities, like devices that use brain activity to move a robotic arm or a cursor across a screen.
November 14, 2011 |
Here's new evidence that the condition known as “chemo brain” is real: A study of breast cancer patients finds that women who had chemotherapy along with surgery to treat their disease had more trouble kicking their brains into high gear than women who were treated with surgery alone. They also performed much worse on tests of mental function than a group of healthy women who served as controls. The study , published Monday in Archives of Neurology, included 25 breast cancer survivors who had surgery and chemotherapy, 19 breast cancer survivors who had surgery but no chemotherapy, and 18 women with no history of breast cancer who were picked because their ages, level of education and menopausal status were similar to those of the women who had chemo.
September 13, 2012 |
Inside the human skull lies a 3-pound mystery. The brain - a command center composed of tens of billions of branching neurons - controls who we are, what we do and how we feel. "It's the most amazing information structure anybody has ever been able to imagine," says Dr. Walter Koroshetz, deputy director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke in Bethesda, Md. For centuries, the brain's inner workings remained largely unexplored. But all that is changing.
November 15, 2012 |
In an unlikely pairing, two professional rappers have teamed up with researchers from the National Institutes of Health to study what happens in the brain during freestyle rapping. The results, published Thursday in the journal Scientific Reports , suggest that the process is similar to that of other spontaneous creative acts, including jazz improvisation. The study was initiated by the Los Angeles-based rappers Daniel Rizik-Baer and Michael Eagle and carried out by Allen Braun and Siyuan Liu of the NIH's National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.
April 19, 2012 |
In some ways, parties seem like the worst possible places to socialize. A cacophony of voices -- not to mention a blaring stereo system -- make for a noisy environment in which to hear what a friend is saying. Hence the term "the cocktail-party effect," which refers to people's ability to focus on one speaker and tune out another. Now Nima Mesgarani and Edward F. Chang of UC San Francisco have figured out how the brain accomplishes this feat of selective hearing: The auditory cortex, which processes sounds, favors the voice that it needs or wants to hear.
June 22, 2012 |
Does depth perception develop in humans as a result of nature or nurture? It's a question scientists have wondered about. And a new study comes to a surprising conclusion: Babies acquire binocular vision as a result of viewing the world around them, not merely thanks to genetic programming. "My guess was that it was going to be something in between nature and nurture," said study leader Ilona Kovacs, a psychologist at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics in Hungary.
January 26, 2012 |
An early symptom of autism might be found in a baby's gaze, researchers reported Thursday. Diagnosing autism as early as possible is of critical importance. Studies show the earlier therapy begins, the more likely the child can overcome the deficits linked to the brain disorder. The new study, published online in the journal Current Biology , examined babies 6 months to 10 months of age who were at higher risk of developing autism because they had an older sibling with autism.
July 16, 2011 |
A prestigious neurology clinic has launched an unprecedented brain study of professional fighters with the goal of advancing research to improve various treatments for brain damage. "We know what permanent brain damage looks like in its final stages, but we know so little about what causes it and what happens during cumulative trauma," said Maureen Peckman of the Cleveland Clinic. Peckman is coordinating the new study between the clinic's Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas and officials with the Nevada State Athletic Commission.