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
“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
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
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.
my immediate reaction to experiencing negative emotions and events or to expressing discomfort or sharing my experiences with trauma ranges between “it’s no big deal/I shouldn’t even be talking about this/I’m blowing it out of proportion” and “I’m sorry, it was my fault, I’m sorry” and I wish that weren’t the case.
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
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
why do I want to destroy myself with literally any psychoacitve substance I encounter like not even just things like alcohol or things people consider to be actual drugs… like even with caffeine once I start drinking it I want to drink a ton specifically to fuck myself up. why am I like this.