Tag Archives: brain

Nat Geo to Take Viewers Into Operating Room on BRAIN SURGERY LIVE, 10/25

Nat Geo to Take Viewers Into Operating Room on BRAIN SURGERY LIVE, 10/25
National Geographic Channel (NGC; @NatGeoChannel), in a partnership with Mental Floss (@mental_floss), will capture the drama of an awake deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery, a modern-day medical marvel, to celebrate our most complex machine, …
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Comparing Lions to Factory Farmed Chickens Is Pro-Human Bigotry
The point is that farmed animals experience more suffering than most of the celebrity animals who inspire the unpredictable and fickle mass public sympathy that arises at random to turn a lion-hunting dentist, for instance, into the world's greatest …
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Infantile Spasms Hope Award and Heroes Award Recipients Announced
After finishing his pediatric neurology residency, neurophysiology fellowship, and epilepsy fellowship in 2012 at the University of Virginia, Dr. Mytinger accepted a position at Nationwide Children's Hospital where he has created a multidisciplinary …
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Sleep Apnea Treatment May Reverse Unhealthy Brain Changes

Sleep Apnea Treatment May Reverse Unhealthy Brain Changes
In this small study, published recently in the Journal of Neurophysiology, Australian researchers found that CPAP treatment reduced that nerve activity by restoring normal brain stem function. The study included 13 sleep apnea patients who were …
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Researchers find potential targets to improve sleep in patients with fibromyalgia
… patterns worsen and may cause the pain. In a new study in Journal of Neurophysiology, researchers constructed a computational model that recreated the sleep patterns observed in patients with fibromyalgia to understand how the abnormal patterns arose.
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Like More Brain Ram?

Like More Brain Memory Today?

If you have a baby-easy strategy to deeply relax that requires 1-2 minutes maximum, you can improve your long-term memory up to 40%. That’s a lot

and we know three ways. So what? Relaxation releases chronic stress and even adds

to your mental health and longevity.

Three Facts

1. Fact: deep relaxation helps you receive new information and improves your personal learning and memory skills. Improvement will aid your career and finances.

2. Fact: learning is based on long-term memory. Get this: learning is directly

related to your attention-span. The more impulsive and anxiety-prone, the worse

your attention and memory. Relaxation reduces impulsivity and stress and improves

learning and memory.

3. Fact: we live our waking hours in Beta brain cycles per second – we are electrochemical beings and either awake and alert, sleeping or relaxed and


Inquiring Minds

For Inquiring Minds: Beta is 13-40 cycles per second, Alpha: 8-13 cps (Hz), Theta: 4-7 cycles, and Delta: ½ to 4 cycles per second.

EEG scientific research was discovered by Austrian scientist Hans Berger; he created the first working EEG (electroencephalograph) to measure human brainwave rhythms in 1908.

Who cares? What if more knowledge improves your career opportunities? It does.

The EEG measures the electricity (brainwave rhythms) operating in our brain during waking hours, sleep and light (Alpha) and deep (Theta) relaxation.

Google: Neuro-feedback for learning and memory.

In Sync (Synchronization – Simultaneously) –

When our brain’s memory neurons are relaxed – in harmony, agreement and accord – with our Theta brainwaves – you create and maintain stronger, lasting

memories. You become smarter in learning and remembering.

Theta cycles per second (brainwave rhythms) occur when you are DayDreaming,

drowsiness and enjoying deep relaxation.

When you close your eyes for just 20 seconds your brain shifts from Beta cycles of alert attention, to Alpha cps of not so alert concentration. Hippies used to call it an “altered state of consciousness.”

Who Says So

Google: Ueli Rutishauser, California Institute of Technology, published in the journal Nature, March 2010 produced this new research.

This is a direct link between our neural networks (brain circuits) and results

in human behavior. How we think and how we feel affects our behavior, our

final results. Remember: Theta produces creativity, imagination and dreams.

For the first time, scientific research offers evidence that when we link memory-related neurons to Theta brainwaves (for relaxation) during learning, encoding new information  (memories) is stronger and long-term. Aw, just relax and learn better.

Define Memory: specific patterns of activity across a network of neurons.

Synapses are connections (links) between neurons (nerve cells). They become

more active during learning.

Donald O. Hebb, Canadian neuroscientist (1905-1985) is famous for the principle

that synapses are the mechanism for long-term memory. Dr. Hebb showed,

“The cells that fire together, wire together.” The more your use it (repetition)

the better your memory becomes.


You can sit at your desk and within two-minutes add up to 40% to your memory and learning skills for the next ninety-minutes. That is a good CBA (Cost-Benefit-

Analysis) particularly before a presentation, interview or exam.

Important: attention is the fuel of memory. Add more oxygen and glucose to your mind and body and you just fill up an empty or low tank. Attention Span controls

brain power in learning and memory.

Diaphragmatic Breathing

Close your eyes – the whole thing requires two-minutes – and slowly deeply inhale from your diaphragm. You got it right when your stomach slowly expands.

Count one-one-thousand, two-one-thousand, three-one-thousand. Now hold the

breath for a three-count, and exhale (eyes closed) slowly for another three-count.

Repeat this breathing pattern twice more. Now drop your shoulders and feel lightness in your toes. Use your imagination to see and feel your feet, legs and lower half of your body. Change your mental imagery to release all the existing stress.

Consciously S-M-I-L-E.

Create a smile on your face by raising the sides of your mouth, and crinkle (crow’s feet) the sides of each eye. It is critical you maintain this forced smile for 20 seconds because it triggers a relaxed state of mind.

Inquiring Minds: Google – Zygomatic Major (draws the angle of the mouth), Risorius muscle – raises the corner of mouth for smiling, and Orbicularis Oculi –  creates Crow’s Feet at the sides of the eyes.

Eyes still closed, create a mental movie of the upper half of your body. See a relaxation of the six muscles (extraocular muscles) in each eye. Feel your neck

muscles, tendons and ligament release their stress as you exercise your will power.

Mopping Up

Slowly breathe and consciously feel the oxygen entering your lungs. Mentally

visualize yourself at the beach on a summer weekend, stretched out in the sun.

Smile and feel the warmth of the sun on your body as your mind releases all stress

and tension.

The two-minutes are up and your mind and body are rejuvenated.  See ya.


Would you have a competitive advantage in your career by reading and

remembering three (3) books, articles and reports in the time your peers

can hardly finish one? Knowledge is power in our economy.

Contact us to grab a free speed reading report with detailed information to

become a speed reader. It will raise your career to a higher level. Start now.

copyright © 2010 H. Bernard Wechsler www.speedlearning.org



Author of Speed Reading For Professional, published by Barron’s.

Business partner of Evelyn Wood, creator of speed reading, graduating

2 million, including the White House staffs of four U.S. Presidents:


Yoga And The Brain: A Possible Explanation For Yoga's Stress-Busting Effects

Yoga And The Brain: A Possible Explanation For Yoga's Stress-Busting Effects
"This paper provides a theory, based on neurophysiology and neuroanatomy, to understand how yoga helps patients feel better by relieving symptoms in many common disorders." Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine, New York Medical …
Read more on Huffington Post

Blackrock Microsystems Launches Advanced Neurotechnologies for Stimulating the Brain and Synchronizing Brain Activity with Behavior

Salt Lake City, Utah and Chicago, Illinois (PRWEB) October 16, 2009

Blackrock Microsystems LLC (Blackrock) today announced the launch of two new products with highly sophisticated technology to improve the monitoring and assessment of neural signals associated with brain electrical stimulation and behavior. The launch announcement was made at the 29th annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in Chicago, Illinois. The new products, Cerebus Stim Switch and NeuroMotive, are designed to assist researchers searching for new insights into brain communication that could have important applications in developing treatments for Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, addiction, sleep disorders and other neurological conditions.

The Cerebus Stim Switch significantly improves switching control for neural stimulation applications, an important capability in brain research. A single module enables programmatic switching among a maximum of 32 individual electrodes, while multiple modules can be combined to switch among a maximum of 256 electrodes. The enhanced switching capability enables researchers to make high-quality recordings of neural spikes and field potentials immediately after different forms of brain stimulation.

NeuroMotive provides real-time video recording, tracking and analysis of synchronized behavior and neurophysiology, allowing researchers to directly attribute subject behavior to specific brain activity. This integrated analytic capability is expected to play a critical role in behavior studies often associated with neurological research.

“Cerebus Stim Switch and NeuroMotive offer neuroscience researchers access to critical information about brain function that was unattainable even a decade ago,” said Andrew Gotshalk, CEO of Blackrock Microsystems. “These technologies are clearly positioned to help uncover important new insights into brain function, neural stimulation and the epidemiology of neurological disorders, with a potentially profound impact on patient care in multiple neurological disease states in the years ahead.”

“Blackrock’s goal is to develop advanced technology products to help us understand and monitor brain and organ signaling and stimulation with greater accuracy and control,” said Florian Solzbacher, Ph.D., president of Blackrock Microsystems and assistant professor and director of the Microsystems Laboratory at the University of Utah. “These advances enable us to identify opportunities for new therapies to meet patient needs with maximum precision. “Blackrock’s two new products represent a major step forward in our ongoing efforts to apply advances in technology to improve patient care in neurology in the future.”

Blackrock Microsystems will be demonstrating its two new products, Cerebus Stim Switch and NeuroMotive, along with other products in the company portfolio at Booth # 762 in the Exhibition Hall at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience (SfN). SfN is a nonprofit organization of more than 38,000 member scientists and physicians from around the world who study the brain and nervous system. Hundreds of research studies involving Blackrock technologies will be presented in symposia and posters at this year’s SfN. A schedule for select key presentations can be downloaded from Blackrock’s website.

More information about these and other Blackrock Microsystems products, including fact sheets, is available at http://www.blackrockmicro.com.

About Blackrock Microsystems LLC

Blackrock Microsystems, a privately held company, is a leading global manufacturer of intelligent microsystems that aid neuroscience researchers and physicians in the development of improved medical solutions for the diagnosis and treatment of serious central nervous system diseases and conditions. Blackrock also produces a broad range of neural monitoring equipment to neuroscience researchers worldwide.

Contact Information:

Andrew Gotshalk

Blackrock Microsystems LLC

Phone: 801-582-5533 x275

Cell: 617-549-8316

Elizabeth Razee

Razee Corporate Communications

Cell: 508-468-5464

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UMD Brain Cap Technology Turns Thought into Motion

College Park, MD (PRWEB) July 27, 2011

“Brain cap” technology being developed at the University of Maryland allows users to turn their thoughts into motion. Associate Professor of Kinesiology José ‘Pepe’ L. Contreras-Vidal and his team have created a non-invasive, sensor-lined cap with neural interface software that soon could be used to control computers, robotic prosthetic limbs, motorized wheelchairs and even digital avatars.

“We are on track to develop, test and make available to the public—within the next few years—a safe, reliable, noninvasive brain computer interface that can bring life-changing technology to millions of people whose ability to move has been diminished due to paralysis, stroke or other injury or illness,” said Contreras-Vidal of the university’s School of Public Health.

The potential and rapid progression of the UMD brain cap technology can be seen in a host of recent developments, including a just published study in the “Journal of Neurophysiology,” new grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institutes of Health (NIH), and a growing list of partners that includes the University of Maryland School of Medicine, the Veterans Affairs Maryland Health Care System, the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Rice University and Walter Reed Army Medical Center’s Integrated Department of Orthopaedics & Rehabilitation.

“We are doing something that few previously thought was possible,” said Contreras-Vidal, who is also an affiliate professor in Maryland’s Fischell Department of Bioengineering and the university’s Neuroscience and Cognitive Science Program. “We use EEG (electroencephalography) to non-invasively read brain waves and translate them into movement commands for computers and other devices.

Peer Reviewed

Contreras-Vidal and his team have published three major papers on their technology over the past 18 months, the latest a just released study in the “Journal of Neurophysiology” in which they successfully used EEG brain signals to reconstruct the complex 3-D movements of the ankle, knee and hip joints during human treadmill walking. In two earlier studies they showed (1) similar results for 3-D hand movement and (2) that subjects wearing the brain cap could control a computer cursor with their thoughts.

Alessandro Presacco, a second-year doctoral student in Contreras-Vidal’s Neural Engineering and Smart Prosthetics Lab, Contreras-Vidal and co-authors write that their “Journal of Neurophysiology” study indicated “that EEG signals can be used to study the cortical dynamics of walking and to develop brain-machine interfaces aimed at restoring human gait function.”

There are other brain computer interface technologies under development, but Contreras-Vidal notes that these competing technologies are either very invasive, requiring electrodes to be implanted directly in the brain, or, if noninvasive, require much more training to use than does UMD’s EEG-based, brain cap technology.

Partnering to Help Sufferers of Injury and Stroke

Contreras-Vidal and his team are collaborating on a rapidly growing cadre of projects with researchers at other institutions to develop thought-controlled robotic prosthetics that can assist victims of injury and stroke.

Their latest partnership is supported by a new $ 1.2 million NSF grant. Under this grant, Contreras-Vidal’s Maryland team is embarking on a four-year project with researchers at Rice University, the University of Michigan and Drexel University to design a prosthetic arm that amputees can control directly with their brains, and which will allow users to feel what their robotic arm touches.

“There’s nothing fictional about this,” said Rice University co-principal investigator Marcia O’Malley, an associate professor of mechanical engineering. “The investigators on this grant have already demonstrated that much of this is possible. What remains is to bring all of it — non-invasive neural decoding, direct brain control and (touch) sensory feedback — together into one device.”

In a NIH-supported project now underway, Contreras-Vidal and his colleagues are pairing their brain cap’s EEG-based technology with a DARPA-funded next-generation robotic arm designed by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory to function like a normal limb. And the UMD team is developing a new collaboration with the New Zealand’s start-up Rexbionics, the developer of a powered lower-limb exoskeleton called Rex that could be used to restore gait after spinal cord injury.

Two of the earliest partnerships formed by Contreras-Vidal and his team are with the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Baltimore. A particular focus of this research is the use of the brain cap technology to help stroke victims whose brain injuries affect their motor-sensory control. Originally funded by a seed grant from the University of Maryland, College Park and the University of Maryland, Baltimore, the work now also is supported by a VA merit grant (anklebot BMI) and an NIH grant (Stroke).

“There is a big push in brain science to understand what exercise does in terms of motor learning or motor retraining of the human brain,” says Larry Forrester, an associate professor of physical therapy and rehabilitation science at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

For more than a year, Forrester and the UMD team have tracked the neural activity of people on a treadmill doing precise tasks like stepping over dotted lines. The researchers are matching specific brain activity recorded in real time with exact lower-limb movements. They just received a new NIH grant of almost 1 million dollars to support this work, which was originally funded by a small “seed” grant from the University of Maryland, College Park and the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

This data could help stroke victims in several ways, Forrester says. One is a prosthetic device, called an “anklebot,” or ankle robot, that stores data from a normal human gait and assists partially paralyzed people. People who are less mobile commonly suffer from other health issues such as obesity, diabetes or cardiovascular problems, Forrester says, “so we want to get (stroke survivors) up and moving by whatever means possible.”

The second use of the EEG data in stroke victims is more complex, yet offers exciting possibilities. “By decoding the motion of a normal gait,” Contreras-Vidal says, “we can then try and teach stroke victims to think in certain ways and match their own EEG signals with the normal signals.” This could “retrain” healthy areas of the brain in what is known as neuroplasticity.

One potential method for retraining comes from one of the Maryland research team’s newest members, Steve Graff, a first-year bioengineering doctoral student. He envisions a virtual reality game that matches real EEG data with on-screen characters. “It gives us a way to train someone to think the right thoughts to generate movement from digital avatars. If they can do that, then they can generate thoughts to move a device,” says Graff, who brings a unique personal perspective to the work. He has congenital muscular dystrophy and uses a motorized wheelchair. The advances he’s working on could allow him to use both hands – to put on a jacket, dial his cell phone or throw a football while operating his chair with his mind.

No Surgery Required

During the past two decades a great deal of progress has been made in the study of direct brain to computer interfaces, most of it through studies using monkeys with electrodes implanted in their brains. However, for use in humans such an invasive approach poses many problems, not the least of which is that most people don’t’ want holes in their heads and wires attached to their brains.

“EEG monitoring of the brain, which has a long, safe history for other applications, has been largely ignored by those working on brain-machine interfaces, because it was thought that the human skull blocked too much of the detailed information on brain activity needed to read thoughts about movement and turn those readings into movement commands for multi-functional high-degree of freedom prosthetics,” said Contreras-Vidal. He is among the few who have used EEG, MEG or other sensing technologies to develop non-invasive neural interfaces, and the only one to have demonstrated decoding results comparable to those achieved by researchers using implanted electrodes.

A paper Contreras-Vidal and colleagues published in the “Journal of Neuroscience” in March 2010 showed the feasibility of Maryland’s EEG-based technology to infer multidimensional natural movement from noninvasive measurements of brain activity. In their two latest studies, Contreras-Vidal and his team have further advanced the development of their EEG brain interface technology, and provided powerful new evidence that it can yield brain computer interface results as good as or better than those from invasive studies, while also requiring minimal training to use.

In a paper published in April in the “Journal of Neural Engineering,” the Maryland team demonstrated that people wearing the EEG brain cap, could after minimal training control a computer cursor with their thoughts and achieve performance levels comparable to those by subjects using invasive implanted electrode brain computer interface systems. Contreras-Vidal and his co-authors write that this study also shows that compared to studies of other noninvasive brain control interface systems, training time with their system was substantially shorter, requiring only a single 40-minute session.

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