During the summer of 2014, a promotion for ALS charity swept the nation with an ice bucket challenge. Millions of videos were contributed within days of the initiation. ALS has no cure, but the funding will permit extensive experiments such as those currently explored that will provide more quality of life and extended life to the ALS patients. We are indeed standing in the age of neuroscience.
This extreme memory tournament is to encourage aspirations to build better memory functions in humans. The use of regimen and memory training contribute to building better memory neurons in the human brain, and the accompanying education to stimulate increased memory is a vital conduit for increasing memory.
Amazing Recent Breakthroughs
“Mini-Computers” Hidden in Nerve Cells
For more than 100 years of brain research, scientists thought dendrites were passive receivers of information. In 2013, researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill demonstrated they do more than passively relay signals. They perform active processing. The brain’s computer powers may be much greater than thought. This will be major in neuroscience research discoveries.
Human connectomics, the science of constructing cellular-level wiring schematics for the human brain, was previously ridiculed. But in 2013, an effort by researchers at MIT with another team at Germany’s Max-Planck Institute for Medical Research used a combination of computerized rendering and human tracing to map precise shapes and points of contact between all 940 neurons in mouse retina and did so in 1/100th of the time at fraction of the predicted cost. It’s a proof-of-concept for a cheap, efficient process that can be applied throughout the entire brain. The neuroscientist’s dream of a complete human connectome isn’t out of reach in our lifetimes.
The Human Brain-to-Brain Interface
In 2012, researchers at Harvard discovered when electrodes were stuck into certain points in the brains of two rats they could enable the first rat to control the physical movement of the second by using only thoughts. Human-to-rat experiments ensued but it wasn’t until 2013 that two scientists at University of Washington, Rajesh Rao and Andrea Stocco, created the first human wireless brain to brain interface. Sitting on one side of campus, Rao thought, “Tap the spacebar,” and at the other end, Stocco’s hand activated his computer spacebar involuntarily. It’s a simple interface, but the implication is clear. Movement impulses and someday, perhaps, thoughts and memories will be transmitted directly from one human brain to another.