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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 »

Study: Brain scans mapping language and memory areas can help guide epilepsy-related surgeries

---Language task fMRI and resting-state fMRI data from a presurgical patient with left temporal lobe epilepsy. Copyright Bradley Goodyear, Einat Liebenthal and Victoria Mosher.

—Lan­guage task fMRI and rest­ing-state fMRI data from a presur­gi­cal patient with left tem­po­ral lobe epilep­sy. Copy­right Bradley Goodyear, Einat Lieben­thal and Vic­to­ria Mosh­er.

Can brain scans help doc­tors nav­i­gate epilep­sy surgery? (UPI)

…When med­ica­tion doesn’t effec­tive­ly con­trol epilep­sy, surgery may be rec­om­mend­ed. Doc­tors can remove the part of the brain that trig­gers seizures or use cer­tain pro­ce­dures to con­trol seizure activ­i­ty.

Before surgery, how­ev­er, the brain must be “mapped” to ensure the regions respon­si­ble for lan­guage and mem­o­ry aren’t dam­aged dur­ing Read the rest of this entry »

Next: Targeted neurotechnology to augment–perhaps even take over–neuropharmacology

deep-brain-stimulationNeu­rotech­nol­o­gy offers new solu­tions to treat­ing brain dis­eases (Dell Tech Cul­ture):

A new wave of med­ical tech­nolo­gies is chang­ing the way we approach study­ing the brain and treat­ing patients suf­fer­ing from neu­ro­log­i­cal dis­eases and men­tal ill­ness.

For peo­ple suf­fer­ing from Parkinson’s, epilep­sy, OCD and severe depres­sion, these tech­no­log­i­cal advance­ments are Read the rest of this entry »

Thinking globally to improve mental health: New NIH initiative

Think­ing glob­al­ly to improve men­tal health: NIH announces inter­na­tion­al research ini­tia­tive (press release):

- “The Grand Chal­lenges in Glob­al Men­tal Health Ini­tia­tive, led by the Nation­al Insti­tutes of Health and the Glob­al Alliance for Chron­ic Dis­eases, has iden­ti­fied the top 40 bar­ri­ers to bet­ter men­tal health around the world. Sim­i­lar to past grand chal­lenges, which Read the rest of this entry »

More on Neurofeedback’s Brain Training Value

(Note: neu­ro­feed­back is a form of biofeed­back that mea­sures brain waves and that, accord­ing to prac­ti­tion­ers, pro­vides good “brain train­ing” for spe­cif­ic clin­i­cal con­di­tions).
A few weeks ago Dr. David Rabin­er wrote a great post on How Strong is the Research Sup­port for Neu­ro­feed­back in Atten­tion Deficits?, con­clud­ing that

- “It is for these rea­sons that neu­ro­feed­back is under­stand­ably regard­ed as an unproven treat­ment approach for ADHD at this time by many ADHD researchers.

- How­ev­er, these stud­ies do pro­vide a sol­id basis for sug­gest­ing that if par­ents choose to pur­sue neu­ro­feed­back for their child, there is a rea­son­able chance that their child will ben­e­fit even though we can’t be sure that it is the spe­cif­ic EEG train­ing that is respon­si­ble for the ben­e­fits. Thus, although the effi­ca­cy of neu­ro­feed­back has yet to be con­clu­sive­ly con­firmed in a ran­dom­ized, place­bo-con­trolled tri­al, it is impor­tant to place this lim­i­ta­tion in the con­text of the sup­port­ive research evi­dence that has been accu­mu­lat­ed.

Read the rest of this entry »

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