Primates Paralyzed Leg Restored With Spinal Stimulation | NEUROnomics

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A silicon model of a primate brain, and its implant.

By Kristen E. Strubberg Editor-in-Chief

The central nervous system is at once brilliantly adaptable and confoundingly vulnerable. The brain can rewire itself to overcome deficits but minor insults to the spine can cause a seemingly insurmountable cataract in the electrical flow of information up and down the spinal cord. Ultimately cutting entire portions of the body off from its central command mechanism. For most of medical history such spinal injuries could not be cured and only palliative care of their symptoms could be accomplished. Now the field of neuroprosthetics has combined computer science and biology to overcome previously untreatable spinal injuries. At the forefront is École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) whose multinational team of scientists recently published in the journal Nature, a groundbreaking study where they restored mobility in a paralyzed limb of a non-human primate with a spinal injury.

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Breakthrough: How Brain Takes Shape In Utero Discovered

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By Kristen Strubberg Editor-In-Chief

The geography of the human brain is covered in wrinkles. Deep fissures separate peaks of grey, squishy tissue. These strange convolutions, however, are a key to many of humanity’s higher functions such as cognition, touch, memory, movement – name an ability and it has a wrinkle with its name on it. Anatomically the ridges are called gyri (singular gyrus) and the creases are called sulci (singular sulcus). The hilly geography of the human brain allows for the cerebral cortex – the topmost layer of the brain – to maximize surface area and hence mental capacity. Surprisingly, the primary sulci and gyri are observed in relatively the same location from person to person. How these conserved formations develop in utero have stymied scientists for decades. A novel experimental approach may now have solved the mystery.

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NEUROnomics: Brain Word Map Revealed

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(Image Credit: Public Domain)

By Kristen E. Strubberg Editor-in-Chief

Researchers at University California-Berkley have mapped what they are colloquially dubbing the “brain thesaurus” in their findings published in Nature.  Neuroscientists have long been aware of the human brain’s semantic system or areas of the cerebral cortex that associates words and the knowledge store-house that comes with them. What about individual words?  Does every word have a corresponding micro-region? That’s what postdoctoral fellow Alex Huth sought to discover. Continue reading

NEUROnomics: Neural Signature – Fact or Fantasy?

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(Image Credit: Public Domain)

By Kristen E. Strubberg Editor-in-Chief

Science-fiction loves to play with our minds! In William Gibson‘s Neuromancer people can pipe their consciousness through a digital world and store disembodied electronic psyches as a collection of pseudo-sentient data.  The Star Trek franchise frequently refers to “synaptic patterns” which encompass an individual’s “unique configuration of neurons and synapses…considered to represent a person’s consciousness.” So how close is contemporary science to these futuristic feats?

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NEUROnomics: Everything Brain

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(Image Credit: Public Domain)

By Kristen E. Strubberg Editor-in-Chief

TGNR is excited to announce a new upcoming weekly column by TGNR‘s Founder and Editor-In-Chief Kristen E. Strubberg: NEUROnomics. With the subheading of “Everything Brain,” NEUROnomics will report breakthrough discoveries involving grey (and white) matter across the animal kingdom. NEUROnomics will also venture into popular culture, and popular science comparing current neuroscience technologies with those depicted in the futuristic worlds of Science Fiction.

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