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Brain Activity

SCIENCE
November 5, 2012 | By Jon Bardin
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.
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SCIENCE
November 9, 2010 | By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times
Fear is a complicated emotion, and scientists have recruited a scary laboratory aide ? the Brazilian salmon pink tarantula ? to help map out how the feeling is processed in the brain. Using video of the 8.7-inch-long arachnid, British researchers showed that the human brain engages several different systems when evaluating threats. For instance, the part of the brain that engages when a threat is approaching is different from the part that is activated when a threat is receding, they reported Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
SPORTS
April 19, 2012 | By Lance Pugmire
A yearlong study of boxers' and mixed martial-arts fighters' brain activity has found those who fight for more than six years begin to experience damage and those who fight longer than 12 years expose themselves to an even greater decline each time they return to the ring. "What we've found suggests changes and damage in the brain happens years before symptoms emerge," said Dr. Charles Bernick, author of the study. "It's what we see in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's patients. " Bernick has supervised MRIs and computerized and cognitive tests of an estimated 170 fighters at the Cleveland Clinic's Las Vegas center in the past year.
SCIENCE
June 27, 2012 | By Jon Bardin, Los Angeles Times / For the Science Now blog
How does the formidable human brain organize its memories? A new study used electrical activity of the brain to investigate. The resulting report shows that when people think of words that are linked by their meanings -- "apple" and "orange," for example -- the brain often exhibits similar patterns of activity. There's a futuristic, Big Brother-ish dimension to the work: The authors argue that down the road, their results might be useful in mind-reading approaches that rely on connecting measurements of brain activity to what a person is thinking.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 7, 1991
A UC Irvine scientist has won a $165,000 grant to help develop a revolutionary technique for mapping brain activity, university officials announced. Ron Frostig, an assistant professor of psychobiology at UCI, received the award recently from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation. He plans to use the funds to continue research into the way various parts of the brain reflect light.
SCIENCE
September 14, 2012 | By Jon Bardin, Los Angeles Times
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.
NEWS
March 21, 1986
Imprisoned financier Michele Sindona, who was once known as "God's Banker" because of his ties with the Vatican, was reported in a deep coma and near death, two days after being sentenced to a life term for ordering a murder. Sindona, 65, was taken ill as he ate breakfast at a prison in Voghera, Italy. He was reported to have been in a coma on arrival at a nearby hospital, where tests indicated no brain activity.
NEWS
June 13, 2011 | By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times / for the Booster Shots blog
Could the teen brain identify chart-topping pop music hits -- and duds -- before a big-shot producer ever could? Perhaps, according to a study published online June 8 in the Journal of Consumer Psychology. Almost by accident, some previous research by Emory University scientists into the teen brain showed that adolescents' brain activity could potentially predict a song's ultimate success or failure. Back in 2006, Emory University neuroeconomist Gregory Berns had 27 teens between age 12 and 17 listen to 120 songs picked from Myspace that were relatively unknown artists without recording contracts, and measured the teens' brain activity.
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