Category Archives: Brain

Small, foam hearable captures heart data

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In a small study, Danilo Mandic from Imperial College London has shown that his hearable can be used to capture heart data. The device detected heart pulse by sensing the dilation and constriction of tiny blood vessels in the ear canal, using the mechanical part of the electro-mechanical sensor. The hearable is made of foam and molds to the shape of the ear. The goal is a comfortable and discreet continuous monitor that will enable physicians to receive extensive data. In addition to the device’s mechanical sensors, Mandic, a signal processing experter, claims that electrical sensors detect brain activity that could  monitor sleep, epilepsy, and drug delivery, and be used in personal authentication and cyber security.

Join ApplySci at Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Silicon Valley on February 26-27, 2018 at Stanford University. Speakers include:  Vinod Khosla – Justin Sanchez – Brian Otis – Bryan Johnson – Zhenan Bao – Nathan Intrator – Carla Pugh – Jamshid Ghajar – Mark Kendall – Robert Greenberg – Darin Okuda – Jason Heikenfeld – Bob Knight – Phillip Alvelda – Paul Nuyujukian –  Peter Fischer – Tony Chahine – Shahin Farshchi – Ambar Bhattacharyya – Adam D’Augelli

Registration rates increase November 24th, 2017

 

Closed-loop control of drug delivery across the blood brain barrier

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Tao Sun, Nathan McDannold, Eric Miller and Brigham & Women’s and Tufts colleagues have developed a controller that offers a finer degree of control in penetrating the blood brain barrier for drug delivery.  The technology, only tested in rats, could improve safety in humans if found effective.

Using focused ultrasound and microbubbles as before, the team is now able to listen to echoes for instantaneous feedback on microbubble oscillation stability, providing fast, real-time control and analysis.

Microbubbles can help temporarily open the blood-brain barrier without incision or radiation, but can destabilize and collapse, damaging the brain’s critical vasculature.

The team used a rat model to develop a closed-loop controller. Sensors were placed on the outside of the brain, as microphones, enabling researchers to listen to ultrasound echoes bouncing off the microbubbles, to determine stability. They then tuned and adjusted the ultrasound input, instantly, to stabilize the bubbles, excite them to open the barrier, and deliver a drug of a predefined dose, while maintaining safe ultrasound exposure.

The approach was tested in healthy rats as well as an animal model of glioma brain cancer. Further research is needed to adapt the technique for humans. Clinical trials  are now underway in Canada.


Join ApplySci at Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Silicon Valley on February 26-27, 2018 at Stanford University. Speakers include:  Vinod Khosla – Justin Sanchez – Brian Otis – Bryan Johnson – Zhenan Bao – Nathan Intrator – Carla Pugh – Jamshid Ghajar – Mark Kendall – Robert Greenberg – Darin Okuda – Jason Heikenfeld – Bob Knight – Phillip Alvelda – Paul Nuyujukian –  Peter Fischer – Tony Chahine – Shahin Farshchi – Ambar Bhattacharyya – Adam D’Augelli

Registration rates increase November 24th, 2017

Researchers claim to improve human memory with implanted electrodes

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In a small study, USC’s Dong Song demonstrated the efficacy of an implantable “memory prosthesis.”   Dr. Song presented his work at the Society for Neuroscience conference in Washington this week.

20 volunteers had the device implanted at the same time as electrodes for epilepsy treatment, a procedure which they had already planned.

The “prosthesis” collected brain activity data during tests designed to stimulate  short-term memory or working memory. The researchers then determined and used optimal memory performance patterns to stimulate the brain during later tests.

They claimed that the procedure improved short-term memory by  approximately 15 percent, and working memory by 25 percent. When the brain was stimulated randomly, performance worsened.


Join ApplySci at Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Silicon Valley on February 26-27, 2018 at Stanford University. Speakers include:  Vinod Khosla – Justin Sanchez – Brian Otis – Bryan Johnson – Zhenan Bao – Nathan Intrator – Carla Pugh – Jamshid Ghajar – Mark Kendall – Robert Greenberg – Darin Okuda – Jason Heikenfeld – Bob Knight – Phillip Alvelda – Paul Nuyujukian –  Peter Fischer – Tony Chahine – Shahin Farshchi – Ambar Bhattacharyya – Adam D’Augelli

Registration rates increase November 17th, 2017

Optogenetic technique controls single neurons

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MIT’s Ed Boyden and Paris Descartes University’s Valentina Emiliani have developed a new optogenetic technique, combined with new opsins, that stimulates individual cells with precise control over both the timing and location of the activation.

This will allow the study of how individual cells, and connections among those cells, generate specific behaviors such as initiating a movement or learning a new skill.

The study‘s lead authors are Or Shemesh from MIT and Dimitrii Tanese and Valeria Zampini from CNRS.


Join ApplySci at Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Silicon Valley on February 26-27, 2018 at Stanford University. Speakers include:  Vinod Khosla – Justin Sanchez – Brian Otis – Bryan Johnson – Zhenan Bao – Nathan Intrator – Carla Pugh – Jamshid Ghajar – Mark Kendall – Robert Greenberg – Darin Okuda – Jason Heikenfeld – Bob Knight – Phillip Alvelda – Paul Nuyujukian –  Peter Fischer – Tony Chahine – Shahin Farshchi

Registration rates increase – November 17th, 2017

 

Silicon probes record hundreds of neurons simultaneously

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Neuropixels, developed by HHMI’s Tim Harris, are electrodes that record brain activity from hundreds of neurons. Previously, it was not possible to measure the joint activity of individual neurons distributed across brain regions. Recording methods could either resolve the activity of individual neurons or monitor multiple brain regions.

UCL, Allen Institute for Brain Science, IMEC researchers collaborated on the study. The team is now developing a four-shank probe with a smaller base, for chronic recordings, and optrodes that combine recording with optical stimulation, for optogenetic experiments.


Join ApplySci at Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Silicon Valley on February 26-27, 2018 at Stanford University. Speakers include:  Vinod Khosla – Justin Sanchez – Brian Otis – Bryan Johnson – Zhenan Bao – Nathan Intrator – Carla Pugh – Jamshid Ghajar – Mark Kendall – Robert Greenberg – Darin Okuda – Jason Heikenfeld – Bob Knight – Phillip Alvelda – Paul Nuyujukian –  Peter Fischer – Tony Chahine

Registration rates increase November 10th.

AI detects suicidal thoughts from brain scans in small study

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David Brent and PIttsburgh and Carnegie Mellon colleagues used machine learning to identify suicidal thoughts in subjects based on fMRI scans.

In a recent study, 18 suicidal participants and 18 members of a control group  were presented with three lists of 10 words related to suicide, positive, or negative effects. Previously mapped neural signatures  showing  brain patterns of emotions like “shame” and “anger” were incorporated.

5 brain locations, and 6 words, were distinguished suicidal patients from the controls. Using those locations and words,  a machine-learning classifier was trained and able to identify 15 of the 17 suicidal patients and 16 of 17 control subjects.

Suicidal patients were divided into those that had attempted suicide (9) and those that had not (8). Another classifier was then able to identify 16 of the 17 patients.

If healthy patients and those with suicidal thoughts are proven to have such different reactions to words, this work could impact therapy and, it is our hope, prevent lost lives.


Join ApplySci at Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Silicon Valley on February 26-27, 2018 at Stanford University. Speakers include:  Vinod Khosla – Justin Sanchez – Brian Otis – Bryan Johnson – Zhenan Bao – Nathan Intrator – Carla Pugh – Jamshid Ghajar – Mark Kendall – Robert Greenberg – Darin Okuda – Jason Heikenfeld – Bob Knight – Phillip Alvelda – Paul Nuyujukian –  Peter Fischer

Video: Ed Boyden on technologies for analyzing & repairing the brain

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Recorded at ApplySci’s Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech conference on September 19th at the MIT Media Lab.


Join ApplySci at Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Silicon Valley on February 26-27, 2018 at Stanford University. Speakers include:  Vinod Khosla – Justin Sanchez – Brian Otis – Bryan Johnson – Zhenan Bao – Nathan Intrator – Carla Pugh – Jamshid Ghajar – Mark Kendall – Robert Greenberg – Darin Okuda – Jason Heikenfeld – Bob Knight – Phillip Alvelda

3D neuron reconstruction reveals electrical behavior

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Christof Koch and Allen Institute colleagues  have created 3D computer reconstructions of living human brain cells using discarded surgical tissue.  As the tissue is still alive when it reaches the lab, the virtual cells are able to capture electrical signals, in addition to cell shape and anatomy.

This is the first time that scientists have been able to study the electrical behavior of living brain cells in humans.

Koch believes that this will enhance our understanding of how brain diseases, including Alzheimer’s and schizophrenia, impact the behavior of brain cells.

The institute has captured electrical data from 300 living neurons, taken from 36 patient brains.  100 cells have been reconstructed in 3D.  Genetic information about some of the cells will eventually be added to the database.

Click to view the  Allen Institute video.


Join ApplySci at Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Silicon Valley on February 26-27, 2018 at Stanford University. Speakers include:  Vinod Khosla – Justin Sanchez – Brian Otis – Bryan Johnson – Zhenan Bao – Nathan Intrator – Carla Pugh – Jamshid Ghajar – Mark Kendall – Robert Greenberg – Darin Okuda – Jason Heikenfeld – Bob Knight

Teleneurology for remote, underserved populations

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Neurodegenerative disease cases have, unfortunately, far outpaced the number of neurologists able to diagnose and treat patients, particularly in rural areas. A recent study highlighted 20 states that were or would become “dementia neurology deserts,”

Remote tele-neurology is being introduced to fill the gap.

The American Academy of Neurology has announced a new curriculum to train students and providers to use video conferencing, sensors, and text and image communication tools to connect  with patients. Five training areas, developed by the University of Missouri, are the focus: technology; legal and ethical issues; “webside” manners; privacy; and, of course, neurology expertise

The University of Texas, Vanderbilt University, and Tufts Medical Center are already using teleneurology..


Join ApplySci at Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Silicon Valley on February 26-27, 2018 at Stanford University, featuring:  Vinod KhoslaJustin SanchezBrian OtisBryan JohnsonZhenan BaoNathan IntratorCarla PughJamshid Ghajar – Mark Kendall – Robert Greenberg Darin Okuda Jason Heikenfeld

Video: Boston VC’s on funding digital health innovation

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Video:  Flare Capital’s Bill Geary, Bessemer’s Steve Kraus, Oak HC/FT’s Nancy Brown, and Optum Ventures’ Michael Weintraub on funding and commercializing innovation.

Recorded at ApplySci’s Digital Health + Neurotech conference at the MIT Media Lab, September 19, 2017


Join ApplySci at Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Silicon Valley on February 26-27, 2018 at Stanford University, featuring:  Vinod KhoslaJustin SanchezBrian OtisBryan JohnsonZhenan BaoNathan IntratorCarla PughJamshid Ghajar – Mark Kendall