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Next: Monitoring the body’s electrical signalling to enhance brain health

Researchers are seek­ing to record and inter­pret the body’s elec­tri­cal sig­nals. Pic­ture: ZEISS Microscopy/Flickr

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READING THE BODY’S ELECTRICAL SIGNALS TO TREAT ILLNESS (Uni­ver­si­ty of Mel­bourne):

Chem­i­cal elec­tric­i­ty is how we move, think, and remem­ber.

And increas­ing­ly, as tech­nol­o­gy minia­turis­es and com­put­er pow­er mul­ti­plies, it’s how we are treat­ing chron­ic ill­ness.

Since the ful­ly implantable pace­mak­er was devel­oped in the 1950s to keep a patient’s heart beat­ing in rhythm using elec­tri­cal impuls­es, engi­neers have now gone on to devel­op devices that can be implant­ed direct­ly in the brain, under the scalp, or even inside blood ves­sels to treat dis­eases and dis­or­ders like Parkinson’s and epilep­sy, as well as men­tal ill­ness­es and paral­y­sis.

But Pro­fes­sor David Gray­den in the Uni­ver­si­ty of Melbourne’s Depart­ment of Bio­med­ical Engi­neer­ing is aim­ing to go fur­ther Read the rest of this entry »

The value of neuroimaging techniques (and what those squiggly lines mean)

The media reg­u­lar­ly reports on find­ings based on neu­roimag­ing stud­ies, but rarely do they explain exact­ly what these tech­niques are, their ben­e­fits or what it’s like to actu­al­ly par­tic­i­pate in these types of stud­ies. Today I’ll describe what a par­tic­i­pant goes through when they vol­un­teer for a cog­ni­tive neu­ro­science exper­i­ment using a neu­roimag­ing tech­nique called elec­troen­cephalog­ra­phy (EEG). Unfor­tu­nate­ly, it is exceed­ing­ly com­mon for par­tic­i­pants to not under­stand how these tech­niques ben­e­fit pre­vi­ous behav­ioral find­ings. Sim­ply stat­ed, if I were a par­tic­i­pant, I’d like to know why I need­ed to wear a weird swim cap and how it ben­e­fits the research being done.

EEG is a tool reg­u­lar­ly used to view and record the changes in brain activ­i­ty involved in the var­i­ous types of cog­ni­tive func­tions while per­form­ing a task. Read the rest of this entry »

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As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters and more, SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking health and performance applications of brain science.

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