Scientists are getting closer and closer to creating an interface between the human brain and a computer that can translate what people are thinking. This is especially helpful for people who are unable to communicate, such as those with complete locked-in syndrome.
Some researchers have tried to see if an interface that uses functional near-infrared spectroscopy, or NIRS, would work. Essentially, this method would measure brain hemodynamic responses that are usually associated with neuronal activity.
Scientists have tried to use brain-computer interfaces that depended on neuroelectrical tech, like an electroencephalogram, or EEG. The endeavor ultimately failed in its goal of helping completely locked-in syndrome patients communicate.
This latest technique though seemed to give hope to the study. It is a non-invasive brain-computer interface that combines the NIRS and EEG tech. This technique measures frontocentral blood oxygen levels, as well as electrical changes that occur in the brain. Although brain-computer interfaces in the past have helped patients communicate, the NIRS is the only technique that works on people with complete lock-in syndrome.
This also comes as great news for people who are unable to communicate, such as those with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, which can lead to paralysis later on, or those paralyzed because of a stroke or a spinal cord injury.
Another encouraging fact to note is that this is merely the beginning, as such studies are projected to have broader applications in the future.
Dr. Curtis Cripe is a neuroengineer and the head of the Research and Development department of NTL group for advanced technology for brain and cognitive treatment and repair. To find out more about him and the NTL group, check out the blogs on this site.
Drug abuse and its treatment are very serious, which is why utmost understanding and knowledge are required when dealing with these issues. Any misconceptions have to be clarified. Let us go through a few of the myths associated with drug abuse and treatment.
The myth is that prescription drugs aren’t addictive. This couldn’t be any further from the truth. Any prescribed medication is okay, as long as it’s taken in the prescribed dosage. But more than that, it won’t be just addictive, it can also be very dangerous.
The myth here is that natural, organic drugs such as marijuana and mushrooms are safer than synthetic drugs. That is not entirely accurate. People should keep in mind that marijuana, mushrooms, and other organic drugs that are grown can change a person’s brain chemistry. This can lead to harmful side-effects.
The most prevailing myth about detox is that it “cures” addiction. No, it doesn’t. Detox is actually an early step on the lifelong road to recovery. Take note, addiction needs to be treated throughout one’s life.
This myth depends more on the person than the actual information. Those in recovery would often experience moments of weakness. If he or she relapses, it doesn’t mean he or she’s addicted again. It may very well happen that he or she may realize his or her mistake and strengthen their resolve.
Dr. Curtis Cripe is a neuroengineer with a multi-disciplinary background that includes drug abuse treatment. He is also the head of the Research and Development department of NTL group. Find out more about Dr. Cripe’s work by following this Facebook page.
Let’s take a short moment from all the medical articles to talk about a very important date in human history.
Every April 2, the world celebrates World Autism Awareness Day. It is a day recognized internationally by members of the United Nations. The goal is of course to raise awareness for individuals worldwide who are in the spectrum.
The resolution was passed on the first day of November in 2007 by the United Nations General Assembly, and was adopted on December 18 of that same year. World Autism Awareness Day was originally proposed by the UN representative from Qatar, Her Highness, Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Missned, and it was supported by every member state. The resolution itself was conceived as an addition to already-passed UN initiatives for the sake of human rights. Autism awareness has increased and research, improved, as a result.
The first World Autism Awareness Day was celebrated in 2008, and many of the biggest events took place in UN Headquarters in New York City. The panel discussion, sponsored by Her Highness, Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Missned, also included the World Health Organization (WHO), and the NGO Autism Speaks. Another event was a briefing held for NGOs that have helped increase awareness for the disorder. All these events emphasized the need to raising awareness as well as eliminating negative social stigma.
Dr. Curtis Cripe is a neuroengineer with a multi-disciplined background that includes child neurodevelopment. He heads the Research and Development department of NTL group, for advanced technology for brain and cognitive treatment and repair. Learn more about mental disorders by visiting this blog site.
So much about the human brain has baffled scientists and researchers. Although the advancement of modern science has allowed for more discoveries, a lot about the human brain remains undiscovered. A lot of questions persist. Probably, due to the mix of frustration and eagerness, a few myths have come about, which have misled people about the human brain. Here are two of the most prevalent ones.
The Left- and Right-Brained
Humans use both sides of their brains. It is false that there are people inclined to use one side more. The concept of rational people using the left side while artists using the right side is a huge myth that many have come to believe. Studies show that whether a person is being creative, or is into reading or mathematics, both sides of the brain are being used.
Language learning process
Many people (wrongly) believe that a person should speak a language before they learn a different one. This theory is mostly utilized when observing children and how learning one language may interfere with the acquisition of another, and that the areas of the brain are competing. The opposite is true, though, as it has been found that children who learn multiple languages early generally become smarter later on.
Dr. Curtis Cripe is the head of the NTL Group and a neuroengineer with a vast knowledge in several other disciplines. He uses this approach to study brain development and come up with a number of practical and cutting-edge applications. Learn more about him and his work by checking out this blog.
Very few things intrigue people as much as the human brain. How come people can do the things they do? What compels people to feel the way they do? How come some people are born with disabilities such as autism? And how can these disabilities be cured? Here are some of the facts about the human brain that people may not know.
Amazingly, there are no nerves in the human brain. No other human organ can claim the same. It cannot feel any pain.
The human brain consumes a fifth of the energy generated by the human body. That is the largest portion of energy to any body part. What’s unbelievable about this is that the brain is only 2 percent of a person’s body weight. This energy can even light up a light bulb.
There are approximately 100 billion neurons in the brain. That’s over 15 times the human population of the world.
Around 60 percent of the brain is fat, which is why it the fattest (or fattiest) human organ.
Three-fourths of human brain mass is made up of water.
The neocortex makes up over 75 percent of the human brain. This part is where language and consciousness come from.
When the heart pumps blood, around 750ml of it heads towards the brain every 60 seconds.
Dr. Curtis Cripe is a neuroengineer and the current director of Research and Development at NTL Group. For more on Dr. Cripe and the work he does, click here.
The neurons in the brain constantly make new connections in response to every new experience or memory a person makes. As the brain familiarizes with the new experience and stimuli, the more connections are made. Thus, a task that seems overwhelming at first gradually becomes easier over time.
This flexibility in accommodating new connections is one of the driving factors behind neuroengineering, which explores the ways that the brain’s connections can be trained to perform better or overcome limitations set by neurocognitive and behavioral disorders.
While the connections of the brain are in constant flux, the links between them are far from arbitrary. Several key locations govern crucial aspects of behavior and cognitive function. Neuroengineering allows doctors and other experts to use computer technology to observe or directly interact with the connection patterns within the brain.
When these connections do not form correctly or are somehow impeded due to damage, these would affect an assortment of motor, cognitive, and behavioral functions. This is especially noticeable among survivors of traumatic head injury, who may find everyday tasks significantly more difficult.
Neuroengineering technology also holds a lot of potential in helping individuals with mental disorders, problematic behavioral patterns, or lost or impaired motor or cognitive functions due to traumatic brain injury. Neuroengineering tools can diagnose potential sources of neurological dysfunction and train the brain’s neurons to gradually create new, more effective connections, which in some cases could help the brain heal itself.
Dr. Curtis Cripe’s work in neuroengineering and neurofeedback laid the foundation of the NTL Group’s proprietary neuroengineered therapies for cognitive repair. Visit this website for more information on the application of his work.
The brain goes through a lot over the course of an average lifetime. It is a remarkably adaptable organ capable of repairing and rerouting connections over the course of a human lifetime. This also means that, when properly care for and trained, it can resist quite a lot of curveballs life can throw at it.
The brain is a very resilient organ. Even in the face of all but the most extensive damage, the brain can create new connections and maintain functionality, and damaged connections can be repaired. It retains the same level of connectivity even when parts of an existing pathway are damaged, and are only impaired or lost when the damage is complete.
In these cases, such as those found in traumatic brain injury, the damage is often so severe that it compromises many mental faculties, slowing down the ability of the brain to repair the connections. The proper training and conditioning, however, would allow the brain to speed up the process of self-restoration, by guiding it to the connections that have been lost or compromised.
Indeed, it is this ability to create new connections and maintain old ones that have sparked interest in utilizing brain resilience and plasticity for rehabilitative medicine. Findings have consistently shown that an active, engaged brain is a very resilient one. Mental activity has been found to reduce the rigors of stress and prevent or counteract the onset of degenerative mental conditions come old age.
The brain’s own ability to repair itself with proper guidance lies at the core of the neuroengineering principles pioneered by Dr. Curtis Cripe. Learn more about his work from the NTL Group website.