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Mohseni and Nudo's research on traumatic brain injuries was inspired by the number of soldiers who suffer from this every day  (Source: Military Times)
A microchip on a circuit board could bring axons together restoring physical and emotional abilities

Researchers are working to recover normal movement and behavior within patients who have suffered brain damage by creating microelectronic circuitry that will promote the reconnection of neurons and growth of axons.

This type of work was inspired by the brain injuries and trauma the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan face. Pedram Mohseni, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at Case Western Reserve University, along with Randolph J. Nudo, professor of molecular and integrative physiology at Kansas University Medical Center, are the top researchers on this project who recognize that head trauma/injury is common in injured soldiers, despite their use of armor and helmets.

Brain damage comes with side effects that can drastically alter a person's normal reality, such as loss of mobility, balance, coordination and problem-solving skills. Emotional side effects include depression, anxiety, social inappropriateness, emotional outbursts, mood swings and aggression.

But now, further research of these injuries indicates that a healthy brain, as it develops, creates and maintains communication pathways that allow neurons to "repeatedly fire together." So Mohseni and Nudo's new research revolves around the repeated communications between neurons who are distant only weeks after injury, which could lead to the reconnection of distant axons as well. 

Researchers note that the month following an injury is a crucial time period in their research because the brain is redeveloping at this point. This allows them to perform extensive rewiring where the brain cannot do so itself.

"The month following injury is a window of opportunity," said Mohseni. "We believe we can do this with an injured brain, which is very malleable."

Both researchers are able to do this by bringing their separate projects and expertise together. Mohseni has been developing a multichannel microelectronic device called a brain-machine-brain interface, which is capable of bypassing gaps left after injury. This device works through a microchip, which is smaller than a quarter, on a circuit board where the microchip amplifies neural action potentials, which are signals created by one part of the brain. An algorithm is then used to separate signals, which indicate brain spike activity from noise. 

When brain spike activity is found, the microchip delivers a "current pulse" to activate neurons in another part of the brain, thus reconnecting both regions of the brain. 

Nudo contributed his expertise on brain activity, after studying and mapping brain activity in rats, then testing the new device and the neuroanatomical rewiring theory on a traumatic brain injury model. 

The brain-machine-brain interface is a miniature device that connects to microelectrodes implanted in two regions of the brain, and stays outside of the body. 

In the future, Mohseni and Nudo hope to test their ability to rewire the brain further on rat models. If this process turns out well, they would like to move on to testing this procedure on non-human primates. If the primates are able to recover from brain injuries after extensive rewiring, Mohseni and Nudo see human patients using this in approximately 10 years.



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RE: Soul
By eggman on 9/28/2010 3:33:38 PM , Rating: 2
Actually the brain is a very slow and inefficient analog computer.


RE: Soul
By RugMuch on 9/28/2010 3:52:38 PM , Rating: 3
I am going to argue with you, not because I actually disagree with you.

You say it is slow, because of visual FPS 30 distinct 60 partial images?

We know that brain actualization is easily calculated?

The brain is able to represent everything in binary and some sort cubit state?

Or, even the deprecation of resistive memory?

can you elaborate, again don't disagree just want reason.


RE: Soul
By abel2 on 9/28/2010 5:51:19 PM , Rating: 2
I believe he is saying it is slow, because compared to a computer, it is slow. The average action potential takes one millisecond, which is quite slow relative to a computer. Motor neurons are even slower.


RE: Soul
By YashBudini on 9/28/2010 6:21:42 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Actually the brain is a very slow and inefficient analog computer.

Yeah but when it's running on a Venti with a triple shot of espresso and the appropriate heat sinks it overclocks like crazy.


RE: Soul
By dark matter on 9/29/2010 12:58:37 PM , Rating: 2
First of all the Brain isn't a computer, it's an organ.

And if you wish to compare it to a computer it is in fact a highly complex massively parallel multi-tasker that can put any computer to shame. Consider the math that goes into catching a ball and then get me a computer that can do that along with processing all the other information the brain receives about its environment.

And I haven't even begun to mention art or emotion....


RE: Soul
By eggman on 9/29/2010 1:34:03 PM , Rating: 2
I did not say it was not the most incredible accomplishment of evolution on earth just that it was slow in its signal propagation capability and inefficient in that it has a lot of evolutionary baggage in it. Nature is inherently lazy, and thus evolution is not exactly an optimization process.


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