Sep 04

Flashback:

‘Brain’ in a dish flies flight simulator (CNN):

A Florida scientist has developed a “brain” in a glass dish that is capable of flying a virtual fighter plane and could enhance medical understanding of neural disorders such as epilepsy.

The “living computer” was grown from 25,000 neurons extracted from a rat’s brain and arranged over a grid of 60 electrodes in a Petri dish.


Neuroscientists successfully control the dreams of rats. Could humans be next? (io9, Sep 3, 2012):

Researchers working at MIT have successfully manipulated the content of a rat’s dream by replaying an audio cue that was associated with the previous day’s events, namely running through a maze (what else). The breakthrough furthers our understanding of how memory gets consolidated during sleep — but it also holds potential for the prospect of “dream engineering.”Working at MIT’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, neuroscientist Matt Wilson was able to accomplish this feat by exploiting the way the brain’s hippocampus encodes self-experienced events into memory. Scientists know that our hippocampus is busy at work replaying a number of the day’s events while we sleep — a process that’s crucial for memory consolidation. But what they did not know was whether or not these “replays” could be influenced by environmental cues.

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Oct 29

Scientists think it will be possible to record people’s dreams and then interpret them, according to a new report.


Scientists think it will be possible to record people’s dreams and then interpret them, according to a new report. Photo: ALAMY

They claim to have developed a system which allows them to record higher level brain activity.

Dr Moran Cerf told the journal Nature: “We would like to read people’s dreams.”

Previously the only way to access people’s dreams is for psychologists to ask about them after the event and try to interpret them.

Dr Cerf hopes to eventually compare people’s memories of their dreams with an electronic visualisation of their brain activity.

He told the BBC: “There’s no clear answer as to why humans dream. And one of the questions we would like to answer is when do we actually create this dream?”

The scientist believes his latest research shows that certain neurons or individual brain cells are linked with specific objects or concepts.

He found that a particular neuron lit up when a volunteer thought about Marilyn Monroe.

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