A team of scientists in the United Kingdom and the U.S. recently reported the discovery of pathological signs of Alzheimer's disease in dolphins, animals whose brains are similar in many ways to those of humans. This is the first time that these signs – neurofibrillary tangles and two kinds of protein clusters called plaques – have been discovered together in marine mammals. As neuroscience researchers, we believe this discovery has added significance because of the similarities between dolphin brains and human brains. The new finding in dolphins supports the research team's hypothesis that two factors conspire to raise the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease in dolphins. Those factors are: longevity with a long post-fertility life span – that is, a species living, on average, many years after the child-bearing years are over – and insulin signaling.
Two popular video games act like IQ tests, with the most intelligent players gaining the highest scores, research has shown. Both games, League of Legends and Defence of the Ancients 2 (DOTA 2) involve chess-like strategic thinking. Scientists discovered that high levels of skill in both games correlated with having a high IQ. A similar association has been seen between IQ and chess performance. Two popular video games act like IQ tests, with the most intelligent players gaining the highest scores, research has shown.
Implanting a microchip into your brain to unlock its full potential may sound like the plot from the latest science fiction blockbuster. But the futuristic technology could become a reality within 15 years, according to Bryan Johnson, an expert working on such a device. The chips will allow people to buy and delete memories, and will soon be as popular as smartphones, Mr Johnson claims. Implanting a microchip into your brain to unlock its full potential may sound like the plot from the latest science fiction blockbuster. Kernel is currently working on prototypes of a brain implant device for medical use in humans.
Tiny human brains connected to the minds of rats have sparked a major ethical debate among researchers. Two papers being presented at a renowned US neuroscience conference this week claim to have hooked human brain tissue to the minds of rats and mice. Ethicists have questioned whether the move could one day give the animals a consciousness, meaning they will be entitled to'respect' in future. It could even mean injected rodents cross the species barrier with humans to become an intelligent hybrid organism. Tiny brains connected to the minds of rats have sparked a major ethical debate.
Much of Professor Emeritus Richard Wurtman's career in MIT's Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences revolved around developing new treatments for diseases and conditions by modifying chemicals produced in the brain. Since coming to MIT in 1970, Wurtman and his research group have generated more than 1,000 research articles and 200 patents, laying the groundwork for numerous successful medical products. For example, the 3 million people in the United States who take melatonin as a sleeping aid are using a product that derives from research in Wurtman's lab. "I'm very interested in using basic knowledge to ameliorate the human condition, to make living better," says Wurtman, who is also a medical doctor. Now a nutrient mix based on essential research contributions by Wurtman has shown promise in treating the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, according to a new clinical trial funded by the European Union.
UC San Diego is creating an outdoor site where it can test fly unmanned aerial vehicles, which are rapidly coming into common use by everyone from police investigating crime scenes to scientists looking for archaeological remains. The aerodrome will be a net cage that will be 30 feet high and roughly 50 feet long and wide, making it similar to a facility that's being built at the University of Michigan, a leader in drone research. San Diego chipmaker Qualcomm gave UC San Diego $200,000 to create the flight center, which is meant to help promote the school's quickly expanding research in robotic systems. The campus recently announced that it will begin testing driverless vehicles on university roads next year, using golf carts to deliver packages. The research will begin about the time that engineers start to extensively use the aerodrome.
A company called Zebra Medical Vision (Zebra-Med) has unveiled a new service called Zebra AI1 that uses algorithms to examine your medical scans for a dollar each. The deep learning engine can examine CT, MRI and other scans and automatically detect lung, liver, heart and bone diseases. New capabilities like lung and breast cancer, brain trauma, hypertension and others are "constantly being released," the company says. The results are then passed on to radiologists, saving them time in making a diagnosis or requesting further tests. Engadget met Zebra-Med CEO and co-founder Elad Benjamin at the Hello Tomorrow startup conference in Paris, where he delivered the news about the scans.
Engadget met Zebra-Med CEO and co-founder Elad Benjamin at the Hello Tomorrow startup conference in Paris, where he delivered the news about the scans. "We have a product that automatically reads and analyzes medical imaging data from CTs, X-rays, etc.," he said. "And AI1 provides an entire suite [of services] at a flat dollar scale." The system can detect 11 different ailments right now, and will be able to sniff out six more by the end of 2017. The company has 35 diagnostic products in total that it plans to release within a year.
Learning and memory are generally thought to be composed of three major steps: encoding events into the brain network, storing the encoded information, and later retrieving it for recall. Two years ago, MIT neuroscientists discovered that under certain types of retrograde amnesia, memories of a particular event could be stored in the brain even though they could not be retrieved through natural recall cues. This phenomenon suggests that existing models of memory formation need to be revised, as the researchers propose in a new paper in which they further detail how these "silent engrams" are formed and re-activated. The researchers believe their findings offer evidence that memory storage does not rely on the strengthening of connections, or "synapses," between memory cells, as has long been thought. Instead, a pattern of connections that form between these cells during the first few minutes after an event occurs are sufficient to store a memory.
On Sept. 28, the Better World tour was back in MIT's own neighborhood, at the Boch Center Wang Theatre in downtown Boston. More than 1,000 MIT alumni and friends were in attendance to celebrate the MIT Campaign for a Better World, a galvanizing effort that has gathered momentum and participation since the its public launch in May 2016, at events around the world. Guests who might have thought that listening would be their only role in the program were in for a pleasant surprise. Eran Egozy '95, MNG '95, MIT professor of the practice in music technology, a cofounder of Harmonix Music Systems, and the creator of "Guitar Hero," kicked off the evening by inviting the audience to join him in a classic MIT experiment. Using a new music application called "Tutti" (Italian for "together") and audience members' cell phones, Egozy transformed the audience into an orchestra for a rendition of "Engineered Engineers," a composition created for the event by Evan Ziporyn, the Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor and Music and Theater Arts chair.