One of the most familiar characteristics of the human brain are its grooves (sulci) and folds (gyri). But not everyone’s brain is the same when it comes to these structures. Roughly 1 out of every 85,470 children are born with a rare brain condition known as lissencephaly, which is characterized by a lack of sulci and gyri. The condition is a result of abnormal neuron migration during the early weeks of embryo development, and most people born with it pass away before
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3-D printing, robotics and other technological advances have been revolutionizing the field of medicine in the past few years. From 3-D printed prosthetics for amputee victims to the bionic pancreas, there is no denying that modern medicine owes many of its recent advances to technology. Now, researchers from Vanderbilt University have designed a robot that can perform brain surgery on people suffering from conditions that affect the hippocampus, a region of the brain that plays a role in inhibition, memory and spatial awareness. Epilepsy is one
In 2008, the American economy fell into a major recession following the collapse of the housing bubble. How did this bubble form? Basically, the government made it extremely easy to get a home loan, even if you didn’t really have the means to pay it back. As a result, everybody started buying and selling houses like hot cakes. Even when real estate prices became clearly higher than the actual value of the properties, people kept buying, in the hopes that they could re-sell at an
They call him the human camera. Stephen Wiltshire was born in London in 1974. As a child, Stephen was a mute. At the age of three he was diagnosed as autistic, and in that same year his father died in a motorcycle accident. At five he was sent to the Queensmill School for the autistic in London. The instructors there discovered that Stephen had an intense passion for art. Even as a child, his skill and attention to detail was exceptional.
I’m no saint. Just like everyone else, I get frustrated with people from time to time. If you catch me after a particularly maddening encounter, you may hear the words “ignorant”, “bigoted”, “close-minded”, and maybe even “asshole”. But one word you will never hear me use to describe a person is “dumb”. The increasingly popular idea that the world is full of stupid people is a basic misunderstanding of what it means to be “smart”. Real intelligence is simply the measure of a person’s curiosity.
Professor Florian Holzapfel and aerospace engineer Tim Fricke are leading a team of researchers at Technische Universität München (TUM), with the goal of creating an aircraft that can be controlled by thought alone. To do this, the team created a highly specialized helmet covered in electroencephalography electrodes, which are able to record the electrical impulses that come from our brain. These signals are then translated into flight commands using a complex computer algorithm created by scientists at the Berlin Institute of Technology. A
Sam Shames is an MIT student who had spent a lot of time dealing with a fairly common problem: he tends to run hot while his mom tends to run cold. Sam realized that there had to be a better way to accommodate them both. He set about doing research on how our bodies regulate temperature. In one particular paper, he found some key information: the study talked about how locally heating or cooling small areas on our body can have major
The average human brain weighs only about 3 pounds, but contains upwards of 80 billion brain cells, or neurons. Nearly every detail about who we are and how we behave is locked in the connections between these neurons. Check out this awesome infographic video from Nicolás Borie Williams which helps you visualize things on the same tiny scale that our brains operate on.
Have you ever been dealing with a particularly difficult situation and decided to take a walk to clear your head? Well, a new study from Stanford suggests that there is real scientific evidence that walking improves your creative thinking. The recently published study was co-authored by Marily Oppezzo, a Stanford doctoral graduate in the field of educational psychology, and Daniel Schwartz, a professor of education at Stanford. To test out the theory, the researchers compared levels of creative thinking under a number of different conditions:
Meet Henry. In his younger days he was a vibrant, fun-loving man who was always full of energy. As Henry grew older and his health began to deteriorate, however, he became more and more depressed and withdrawn. It got to the point where Henry was almost completely unresponsive. Enter Dan Cohen. Dan is a social worker who came up with the genius idea of giving iPods to seniors, customized with music from their era. This video (an excerpt from the documentary