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Neuroscience


Latest significant advancements in neuroscience research. Reporting on the far-reaching impacts of neuroscience on society and humanity.

The First Complete Brain Wiring Diagram of Any Species Is Here

For a humble, microscopic worm with only 302 neurons, C. elegans has had a lot of firsts. It was the first multicellular animal to have its whole genome sequenced. It was also the spark...

Could Lab-Grown Brains Develop Consciousness?

There’s a very un-sexy view of consciousness: our rich, meaningful inner experience of self and other is nothing but electrical and chemical chattering inside our brains. If you, like many scientists, subscribe to this theory,...

Scientists Can Now Clone Brain Organoids. Here’s Why That Matters

An army of free-floating minibrain clones are heading your way! No, that’s not the premise of a classic sci-fi brain-in-jars blockbuster. Rather, a team at Harvard has figured out a way to “clone” brain organoids,...

How Deep Learning Is Transforming Brain Mapping

Thanks to deep learning, the tricky business of making brain atlases just got a lot easier. Brain maps are all the rage these days. From rainbow-colored dots that highlight neurons or gene expression across the...

DARPA’s New Project Is Investing Millions in Brain-Machine Interface Tech

When Elon Musk and DARPA both hop aboard the cyborg hypetrain, you know brain-machine interfaces (BMIs) are about to achieve the impossible. BMIs, already the stuff of science fiction, facilitate crosstalk between biological wetware with...

The Crucial Role of Brain Simulation in Future Neuroscience

“Do we have a chance of ever understanding brain function without brain simulations?” So asked the Human Brain Project (HBP), the brainchild of Henry Markram, in a new paper in the prestigious journal Neuron. The...

How Two Paralyzed Patients Walked Again Without Surgery

Just a decade ago, the Walk Again Project was a blue sky, Hail Mary moonshot at total neural rehab for those paralyzed. The project, a collaboration among fearless neuroengineers, has the lofty goal of giving...

How Researchers Used AI to Better Understand Biological Vision

A few years back, DeepMind’s Demis Hassabis famously prophesized that AI and neuroscience will positively feed into each other in a “virtuous circle.” If realized, this would fundamentally expand our insight into intelligence, both...

Scientists Created a ‘Neural Decoder’ That Translates Brain Activity Into Speech

The idea of a mind-reading machine might freak a lot of people out, but a new device that can transform brain activity into speech could be the first step towards a lifeline for patients...

A Lab-Grown Brain Twitched an Isolated Muscle. Here’s Why That’s Amazing

Floating inside a petri dish in a lab at Cambridge University, a single disjointed muscle twitched. Normally that’s not news. But in this case, the surgically-dissected muscle is controlled by a slice of isolated brain...

Senolytics Show Promise Against Alzheimer’s in Mice

For the past quarter century, scientists battled Alzheimer’s disease under a single guiding principle: that protein clumps—beta-amyloid—deposited outside sensitive brain cells gradually damage neuronal functions and trigger memory loss. The solution seems simple: remove...

The New Science of Psychedelics: A Tool for Changing Our Minds

As our prosperity rises, our mental health is on the decline—and fast. Rates of depression, anxiety, suicide, addiction, and other psychological disorders have skyrocketed in recent years, and nobody knows what to do about...

AI Performed Like a Human on a Gestalt Psychology Test

Dr. Been Kim wants to rip open the black box of deep learning. A senior researcher at Google Brain, Kim specializes in a sort of AI psychology. Like cognitive psychologists before her, she develops various...

A Spotless Mind? Precisely-Timed Anesthesia May Dim Traumatic Memories

We all have things we’d rather forget. But for over four million people in the US who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), that need becomes very real. Erasing memories has always been the stuff...

Flashing Light and Sound Reduced Alzheimer’s Symptoms in Mice

The last thing Dr. Li-Huei Tsai expected to help her Alzheimer’s mice was a disco cage. Three years back, in a strobe of insight, her team decided to stick mice engineered with a genetic predisposition to...

A New Ion-Drive Transistor Is Here to Interface With Your Brain

Silicon transistors and the brain don’t mix. At least not optimally. As scientists and companies are increasingly exploring ways to interface your brain with computers, fashioning new hardware that conforms to and compliments our biological...

Giving Neural Nets an Innate Brain-Like Structure Could Bolster Deep Learning

How many times have you heard the following idea? Deep learning, the machine learning technique that has taken the AI world by storm, is loosely inspired by the human brain. I myself have repeated the...

New Study Suggests You Can Learn While You Sleep

As a chronic insomniac, I have a trick to lure me to sleep without drugs: podcasts. Every night before bed, I queue up a list of podcasts lengthy enough to last me the night. And...

Neuroscientists Just Found a Way to Image the Brain 1,000 Times Faster Than Ever Before

You know those stories of scientific breakthroughs, in which the lone genius scientist struggles for years until his “eureka!” moment? Yeah, that’s a lie. With the big data revolution well under way, today scientific discoveries are...

5 Discoveries That Made 2018 a Huge Year for Neuroscience

2018 was when neuroscience made the impossible possible. There was the dazzling array of crazy neurotech: paralyzed patients shopped and texted using an Android tablet with just their brain waves; BrainNet let three people collaboratively...

Could an Atlas of the Brain’s Genome Solve Neuropsychiatric Disorders?

Dr. Thomas Lehner was tired of his research repeatedly hitting a wall. A scientist at the National Institute of Mental Health, Lehner studies the genetic underpinnings of neuropsychiatric disorders. Teasing out associated genes turned out...

Are We Made of Memories? A Researcher’s Quest to Record His Life

How well do you remember what happened last week? Two weeks ago? Five weeks from last Tuesday? Unless you are meticulous in recording the events of your life, or something notable happened on a...

The Surprising Parallels Between Netflix’s ‘Maniac’ and Real-Life Therapy Tech

The human mind can be a confusing and overwhelming place. Despite incredible leaps in human progress, many of us still struggle to make our peace with our thoughts. The roots of this are complex...

Paralyzed Patients Can Now Control Android Tablets With Their Minds

Patient T6 was barely middle-aged when she began losing muscle function. A talented musician with a love for red lipstick, T6 was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, a progressive—and unstoppable—neurodegenerative disorder that eats away at...

Incepting Sight? This Brain Implant Lets Blind Patients “See” Letters

For most of us, “eyes” are synonymous with “sight”: whatever our eyes capture, we perceive. Yet under the hood, eyes are only the first step in an informational relay that transmutes photons into understanding. Light-sensitive...

What Happens to the Brain in Zero Gravity?

NASA has made a commitment to send humans to Mars by the 2030s. This is an ambitious goal when you think that a typical round trip will anywhere between three and six months and...

Hacking the Mind Just Got Easier With These New Tools

For eons, the only way to access the three-pound mushy bio-computer between our ears was to physically crack the skull, or insert a sharp object up the nose. Lucky for us, these examples of medical...

How BrainNet Enabled 3 People to Directly Transmit Thoughts

For a remarkably social species, we’re not particularly effective communicators. Finding the right words to clearly, efficient transmit our thoughts to another consciousness—even something as simple as driving directions—can be a challenge, especially in-the-moment and...

DeepMind’s New Research on Linking Memories, and How It Applies to AI

There’s a cognitive quirk humans have that seems deceptively elementary. For example: every morning, you see a man in his 30s walking a boisterous collie. Then one day, a white-haired lady with striking resemblance...

New Research Shows How Brain-Computer Interaction Is Changing Cinema

Over the past few years, we have seen the extraordinary development of neural prosthetic technologies that can replace or enhance functions of our central nervous system. For example, devices like brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) allow...

Thinking Like a Human: What It Means to Give AI a Theory of Mind

Last month, a team of self-taught AI gamers lost spectacularly against human professionals in a highly-anticipated galactic melee. Taking place as part of the International Dota 2 Championships in Vancouver, Canada, the game showed...

Amazing New Brain Map of Every Synapse Points to the Roots of Thinking

Imagine a map of every single star in an entire galaxy. A map so detailed that it lays out what each star looks like, what they’re made of, and how each star is connected...

New DNA Synthesis Method Could Soon Build a Genome in a Day

Synthetic biologists are the computer programmers of biology. Their code? DNA. The whole enterprise sounds fantastical: you insert new snippets of DNA code—in the form of a chain of A, T, C, G letters—into an...

Transdifferentiation Can Create An Endless Supply of Brain Cells—And Fast

Cellular reprogramming is like the fairytale of spinning straw into gold: you take an abundant, mundane cell type, dose it with a cocktail of chemicals, and voilà—now you have an unlimited supply of therapeutic...

Neurons Made From Blood Cells—A New Tool for Understanding Brain Diseases

Our team at Stanford University has just figured out the recipe for converting blood cells from adults directly into nerve cells, or neurons. You may be wondering why anyone would want to convert blood into...

Robots Will Be Able to Feel Touch With This Artificial Nerve

When the disembodied cockroach leg twitched, Yeongin Kim knew he had finally made it. A graduate student at Stanford, Kim had been working with an international team of neuroengineers on a crazy project: an artificial...

A Quarter Million Gamers Helped Build This Incredibly Detailed Map of the Brain

EyeWire, neuroscience’s most audacious experiment, just opened up a digital museum. Constructed with the help of a quarter million gamers, EyeWire Museum is one-of-a-kind: the 3D interactive playground showcases neurons in a mouse’s retina in...

Living Neanderthal ‘Mini-Brains’ May Reveal What Makes Our Brains Special

He isolated DNA from Egyptian mummies. He discovered the Denisovans, an extinct ancient human species, by sequencing DNA from a tiny bone fragment. He led a massive study that reconstructed the Neanderthal genome—and found...

This DeepMind AI Spontaneously Developed Digital Navigation ‘Neurons’ Like Ours

When Google DeepMind researchers trained a neural network to tackle a virtual maze, it spontaneously developed digital equivalents to the specialized neurons called grid cells that mammals use to navigate. Not only did the...

Holograms Can Now Program Brain Activity—Are Fake Experiences Next?

Optogenetics, neuroscience’s hottest mind-control tool, just got a major update. Projecting 3D-light holograms—yes, holograms!—directly onto a mouse’s cortex, engineers at UC Berkeley instantaneously gained control of dozens of neurons at once. That’s not the impressive part....

Mini-Brains Just Grew Their Own Blood Vessels—Here’s Why That’s Great News

If you ever put a brain through a Picasso filter, you’d probably get something close to a brain ball. When brain balls first hit the neuroscience scene in 2013, they were just a curious oddity....

How Will Merging Minds and Machines Change Our Conscious Experience?

One of the most exciting and frightening outcomes of technological advancement is the potential to merge our minds with machines. If achieved, this would profoundly boost our cognitive capabilities. More importantly, however, it could...

This Memory Prosthesis Boosts Recall in Humans by Roughly 40 Percent

This one’s for the books: in a jaw-dropping study, a team just turned the human brain from a read-only memory device to a rewritable one. "What?" you might ask. Of course the brain is rewritable....

New Bionic Arm Blurs Line Between Self and Machine for Wearers

At 29 years old, Canadian firefighter Rob Anderson lost his left arm and left leg to a harrowing helicopter crash into the side of a mountain. Although fitted with “top of the line” prosthetics...

The Startup That Has to Kill You to Preserve Your Brain—Here’s the Science Behind the Buzz

Here’s something you don’t hear every day: for $10,000, an MIT-backed startup will preserve your brain right down to the synapse level. Within this century, the company pitched, future neuroscientists will extract the information...

How Brain Stimulation Can Boost Memory If Paired With Learning

In 47 CE, Scribonius Largus, court physician to the Roman emperor Claudius, described in his Compositiones a method for treating chronic migraines: place torpedo fish on the scalps of patients to ease their pain...

Powerful New Algorithm Is a Big Step Towards Whole-Brain Simulation

The renowned physicist Dr. Richard Feynman once said: “What I cannot create, I do not understand. Know how to solve every problem that has been solved.” An increasingly influential subfield of neuroscience has taken Feynman’s...

In Landmark Study, Human Stem Cells Restore Monkeys’ Movement After Spinal Cord Injury

Stem cell therapy is highly attractive in its intuitive simplicity: you clean out injured cells, plop down a gang of healthy replacements, sit back, and wait for the body to heal itself. For spinal cord...

This Sensor Lets Scientists See Neuron-Level Brain Activity in Real Time

Picture this: you’re at a boisterous party, trying to listen in on a group conversation. People are talking over each other and going a mile a minute, but you can only pick up snippets...

Brain-Like Chips Now Beat the Human Brain in Speed and Efficiency

Move over, deep learning. Neuromorphic computing—the next big thing in artificial intelligence—is on fire. Just last week, two studies individually unveiled computer chips modeled after information processing in the human brain. The first, published in Nature...

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