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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Ultrasound has been used to 'jumpstart' a coma patient's brain for the first time
This is your wake up call.
By David Nield

Researchers in the US have pioneered the use of ultrasound to successfully ‘restart’ brain activity in a coma patient for the first time.

It’s too early to say if the technique will be safe and effective every time, but it could give doctors a non-invasive option for treating those who would otherwise be stuck in a vegetative state.

Read more… 

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.

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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

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.