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Memory-boosting brain implants are in the works. Would you get one?

Neural prostheses look promising in new studies, though there’s still a lot of work to do.   How far would you go to keep your mind from failing? Would you go so far as to let a doctor drill a hole in your skull and stick a microchip in your brain?   It’s not an idle question. In recent years neuroscientists have made major advances in cracking the code of memory, figuring out exactly how the human brain stores information and learning to reverse-engineer the process. Now they’ve reached the stage where they’re starting to put all of that theory into practice.   Last month two research teams reported success at using electrical signals, carried into the brain via implanted wires, to boost memory in small groups of test patients. “It’s a major milestone in demonstrating...

What Modern Day Challenges Affect Epilepsy Treatment?

Researchers recently published an article in The Lancet Neurology discussing the difficulties facing seizure detection in patients with epilepsy.   Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that is characterised by short repetitive epileptic seizures. These seizures can be harmful to the individual depending on the circumstances in which they occur, such as a seizure while driving. This disorder is set apart from other neurological disorders since there is a broad range of different physiological changes that can cause it, leading to a large variation in symptoms and making it difficult to treat. While 70% of sufferers can be treated with pharmacological agents, 30% have no reliable anti-epileptic drugs that are effective for their particular type of epilepsy.

Wake Forest Baptist memory study shows signs of improving short-term recall

Research progress in improving short-term memory performance could represent an important step toward two key health goals, according to a joint project involving Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.  The study is aimed at helping restore short-term memory loss and assisting individuals with holding onto memories as they age.   The project features the successful implementation of a prosthetic system that uses a person’s own memory patterns to facilitate brain ability to encode and recall memory.

New Study Shows Promising Results In Restoring Memory Function

Memory loss is a devastating symptom of neurodegenerative diseases. Now, there is some hope as a group of scientists have found a way to assist the brain’s ability to encode and recall memories using a new prosthetic memory system.   A promising study released last week from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem is showing results in restoring memory loss. The prosthetic memory system they devised uses a person’s own memory patterns, reinforces them using a mathematical model and then feeds the information back into the brain. Dr. Robert Hampson is a Professor of physiology/pharmacology and neurology at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. He’s also the lead author of the study which began in the 1990s.

Educational Attainment Down With In Utero Exposure to AEDs

Exposure to sodium valproate or a combination of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) in utero is associated with worse attainment on national educational tests for 7-year-olds, according to a study published online March 26 in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry. Arron S. Lacey, from Swansea University Medical School in the United Kingdom, and colleagues identified children born to mothers with epilepsy and linked these children to their national attainment Key Stage 1 (KS1) tests in mathematics, language, and science at age 7. The children were compared with matched children born to mothers without epilepsy.

Student Educates Classmates On Epilepsy

(Special Note: Great job Taylor and we love you using our exclusive EpilepsyStore.com Epilepsy Awareness Purple Ribbon Flag.  Keep up the wonderful work you are doing up there in Canada Taylor!  Love it!  EpilepsyU.com)   A 10-year-old girl is leading her peers in becoming more aware about epilepsy.   Taylor Burk, a Grade 5 student at Indian Creek Road Public School, has been doing announcements at school every day for the past week or so regarding facts on epilepsy. Students who paid attention during the announcements were then given a little “quiz” on Monday — which was also Epilepsy Awareness Day.

Specialized test at QEII allows doctors to better plan for epilepsy surgery

A specialized test for epilepsy patients is allowing doctors to better plan for epilepsy surgery, while avoiding catastrophic effects on speech and memory.   “It involves using an anesthetic called etomidate to put one half of the brain to sleep at a time while testing the language and memory abilities in the opposite hemisphere,” explains neuropsychologist Antonina Omisade.   Omisade says there are two main goals to the etomidate speech and memory test – or ESAM for short.

How to record 1 million neurons in real time

An innovative new method might allow scientists to translate the information coming from more than 1 million neurons at once, as well as decode the activity as it happens.   The brain produces big data like no other organ, but can we tame it?   Over the past few decades, the amount of data produced in everyday life has exploded.

This funky helmet makes brain-scanning more comfortable

It can make scanning kids and patients with movement problems much easier.   See that helmet in the photo up there? That’s not a prop for a new sci-fi/horror flick — it’s a magnetoencephalography (MEG) helmet that can scan the brain and map its activity. MEG machines are used to look for pathological activity in patients with epilepsy and for brain tumor patients’ surgical planning. The machines are typically, humongous, heavy and can’t do their job if subjects don’t stay perfectly still, which means it’s hard to scan kids with epilepsy or people with Parkinson’s and other movement disorders. This helmet designed by scientists from the University of Nottingham and University College London will work even if the patient is moving.

Stanford researchers listen for silent seizures with “brain stethoscope” that turns brain waves into sound

By converting brain waves into sound, even non-specialists can detect “silent seizures” – epileptic seizures without the convulsions most of us expect. When a doctor or nurse suspects something is wrong with a patient’s heart, there’s a simple way to check: put a stethoscope over the heart and listen to the sounds it makes. Doctors and nurses can use the same diagnostic tool to figure out what’s going on with the heart, lungs, stomach and more, but not the brain – although that could change with a new device. Josef Parvizi, PHOTO, a professor of neurology, Chris Chafe, a professor of music, and colleagues have tested a method for detecting seizures that transforms brain waves into sound. (Image credit: School of Medicine) Stanford researchers have developed a “brain stethoscope” that can h...

Can MRI Brain Scans Help Us Understand Epilepsy?

A massive meta-analysis of global MRI imaging data on epilepsy patients seeks to clarify a complicated and mysterious neurological disorder. Epilepsy is a neurological disorder characterized by seizures, which can vary from mild and almost undetectable to severe, featuring vigorous shaking. Almost 40 million people worldwide are affected by epilepsy. Epileptic seizures are caused by an abnormally high level of activity in nerve cells in the brain. A small number of cases have been tied to a genetic defect, and major trauma to the brain (such as an injury or stroke) can also induce seizures. However, for the majority of cases, the underlying cause of epilepsy is not known. In many instances, epilepsy can be treated with the use of anti-convulsant medication. Some people will experience an i...

What is Status Epilepticus?

Status epilepticus (SE) is an extremely serious and often fatal medical emergency. It may be defined as a continuous seizure which lasts for 30 minutes or more, or as 2 or more seizure episodes without the patient recovering full consciousness in between any 2 episodes.   It is thought to be due to the lack of efficacy of GABA-ergic activity which is typically responsible for terminating abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Once SE is in progress, it should be treated by benzodiazepines, with fosphenytoin being added if required. If the patient does not respond, but has persistent seizures, a second-line drug is administered, such as a barbiturate, Propofol, sodium valproate, levetiracetam or topiramate, according to the situation and the facilities available. The patient must a...

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