ELECTRODES so thin they are barely there could make brain treatments safer. Wires are sometimes implanted in the brain to treat epilepsy and Parkinson's disease by stimulating malfunctioning nerve cells. They can also be used to record electrical signals inside the brain – a useful tool for neuroscience. But these electrodes are wide – around 1.5 millimetres in diameter – and kill brain cells and sometimes hit blood vessels when they are inserted. Because they are stiff, they cause inflammation in the brain and gradually become covered with immune cells that reduce their efficiency.
CARLISLE, PENNSYLVANIA – A central Pennsylvania man was charged Thursday after police say he sprayed fluid used to embalm a human brain on marijuana he then smoked. State police in Carlisle charged 26-year-old Joshua Lee Long with abuse of a corpse and conspiracy. Court records indicate Long's aunt contacted detectives on June 21 after finding a human brain in a department store bag under a porch while cleaning out a trailer. Long allegedly told her during a phone conversation from the Cumberland County jail that he used the formaldehyde-soaked pot to get high. "The defendant related that he knew it was illegal to have the brain and that he and (another man) would spray the embalming fluid on'weed' to get high," wrote Trooper John Boardman, the investigator.
You might think your memories are unique, but a study involving a Sherlock Holmes drama suggests the opposite. When people describe the episode, their brain activity patterns are almost exactly the same as each other's, for each scene. And there's also evidence that, when a person tells someone else about it, they implant that same activity into their brain as well. That's the implication of a groundbreaking experiment which, for the first time, has revealed that when we record and recount a shared experience, we use practically the same brain activity as each other, rather than everyone remembering and recalling events in random, individual ways. "We feel our memories are unique, but we see now that there's a lot in common between us in how we see and remember the world, even at the level of brain activity patterns," says Janice Chen at Princeton University.
Approximately 45 US states do not require schools to teach students handwriting, but a new study suggests the skill is vital to a child's development. Following an examination of brain activity, researchers found using a pen and paper helps children learn more and remember better than if they record information on a computer. The data showed an increase of activity in the sensorimotor parts of the brain, which is involved with processing, attention and language. Scientist also found that the act is beneficial for adults, suggesting they will remember contents better after writing them down. The research was conducted by a team at Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), who now suggest national guidelines need to ensure children are receiving some handwriting lessons.