UCLA scientists use ultrasound to jump-start a man’s brain after coma

A 25-year-old man recovering from a coma has made remarkable progress following a treatment at UCLA to jump-start his brain using ultrasound. The technique uses sonic stimulation to excite the neurons in the thalamus, an egg-shaped structure that serves as the brain’s central hub for processing information.

“It’s almost as if we were jump-starting the neurons back into function,” said Martin Monti, the study’s lead author and a UCLA associate professor of psychology and neurosurgery. “Until now, the only way to achieve this was a risky surgical procedure known as deep brain stimulation, in which electrodes are implanted directly inside the thalamus,” he said. “Our approach directly targets the thalamus but is noninvasive.”

Monti said the researchers expected the positive result, but he cautioned that the procedure requires further study on additional patients before they determine whether it could be used consistently to help other people recovering from comas.

“It is possible that we were just very lucky and happened to have stimulated the patient just as he was spontaneously recovering,” Monti said.

A report on the treatment is published in the journal Brain Stimulation. This is the first time the approach has been used to treat severe brain injury.

The researchers targeted the thalamus with low-intensity focused ultrasound pulsation.  Martin Monti/UCLA

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• 6/100 Days of Productivity • 28.08.16

So I did UKCAT prep today and it didn’t go terribly but I need to get quicker with my maths and reading. I also reviewed my old work experience notes + books and tried to write my personal statement. As you can see it started off brilliantly but I’ve written around 900 words and still haven’t talked about my extracurriculars 😂

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 Researchers Find Brain’s “Physics Engine”

Whether or not they aced the subject in high school, human beings are physics masters when it comes to understanding and predicting how objects in the world will behave. A Johns Hopkins University cognitive scientist has found the source of that intuition, the brain’s “physics engine.”

This engine, which comes alive when people watch physical events unfold, is not in the brain’s vision center, but in a set of regions devoted to planning actions, suggesting the brain performs constant, real-time physics calculations so people are ready to catch, dodge, hoist or take any necessary action, on the fly. The findings, which could help design more nimble robots, are set to be published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“We run physics simulations all the time to prepare us for when we need to act in the world,” said lead author Jason Fischer, an assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences in the university’s Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. “It is among the most important aspects of cognition for survival. But there has been almost no work done to identify and study the brain regions involved in this capability.”

“Functional neuroanatomy of intuitive physical inference” by Jason Fischer, John G. Mikhael, Joshua B. Tenenbaum, and Nancy Kanwisher in PNAS. Published online August 8 2016 doi:10.1073/pnas.1610344113

11 Things Only People Who Suppress Their Emotions Will Understand

Originally posted by reigns-karma

Some of us carry catastrophic storms in our hearts and minds wherever we go. They try to keep everything bottled in as they have trouble expressing themselves or nobody’s listening.

When they do react , they are reacting to not only the current situation but the many like it before. If two or more of these aspects relate to you then I’d suggest you start venting and seeking avenues of love and acceptance for yourself (and the safety of others).

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Study Shows That “Male” And “Female” Brains Are A Myth

Originally posted by camicosmos

A recent study proves that “all male” and “all female” brains are rare and that most people are in the middle.

Awareness about gender fluidity has been increasing in recent years as sexuality and identity are being questioned and the current wave of feminism challenges traditional gender roles and the supposed abilities of each sex.

A recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences further challenged the assumed differences between the sexes by studying the brains of 1,400 males and females to determine if there really are distinct differences. Find out what we discovered below:

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How Interpreters Juggle Two Languages at Once

For most of history, interpretation was mainly done consecutively, with speakers and interpreters making pauses to allow each other to speak. But after the advent of radio technology, a new simultaneous interpretation system was developed in the wake of World War II. In the simultaneous mode, interpreters instantaneously translate a speaker’s words into a microphone while he speaks, without pauses. Those in the audience can choose the language in which they want to follow.  

On the surface it all looks seamless, but behind the scenes, human interpreters work incessantly to ensure every idea gets across as intended. And that is no easy task.

It takes about two years of training for already fluent bilingual professionals to expand their vocabulary and master the skills necessary to become a conference interpreter. To get used to the unnatural task of speaking while they listen, students shadow speakers and repeat their every word exactly as heard, in the same language. In time, they begin to paraphrase what is said, making stylistic adjustments as they go. At some point a second language is introduced. Practicing in this way creates new neural pathways in the interpreter’s brain and the constant effort of reformulation gradually becomes second nature.  

Over time, and through much hard work, the interpreter masters a vast array of tricks to keep up with speed, deal with challenging terminology and handle a multitude of foreign accents. They may resort to acronyms to shorten long names, choose generic terms over specific, or refer to slides and other visual aids. They can even leave a term in the original language while they search for the most accurate equivalent.

Interpreters are also skilled at keeping aplomb in the face of chaos. Remember: they have no control over who is going to say what or how articulate the speaker will sound. A curve ball can be thrown at any time. Also, they often perform to thousands of people and in very intimidating settings, like the UN General Assembly. To keep their emotions in check, they carefully prepare for an assignment, building glossaries in advance, reading voraciously about the subject matter, and reviewing previous talks on the topic.

Finally, interpreters work in pairs. While one colleague is busy translating incoming speeches in real time, the other gives support by locating documents, looking up words and tracking down pertinent information. Because simultaneous interpretation requires intense concentration, every 30 minutes the pair switches roles. Success is heavily dependent on skillful collaboration.

From the TED-Ed Lesson How interpreters juggle two languages at once - Ewandro Magalhaes

Animation by @rewfoe