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The Brain Set Free - Science News

The Brain Set Free - Science News | Brain Plasticity | Scoop.it

A baby’s brain is a thirsty sponge, slurping up words, figuring out faces and learning which foods are good and bad to eat. Information about the world flooding into a young brain begins to carve out traces, like rushing water over soft limestone.

 

As the outside world sculpts the growing brain, important connections between nerve cells become strong rivers, while smaller unused tributaries quietly disappear.

 

In time, these brain connections crystallize, forming indelible patterns etched into marble. Impressionable brain systems that allowed a child to easily learn a language, for instance, go away, abandoned for the speed and strength that come with rigidity.

 

In a fully set brain, signals fly around effortlessly, making common­place tasks short work. A master of efficiency, the adult brain loses the exuberance of childhood.

 

But the adult brain need not remain in this petrified state. In a feat of neural alchemy, the brain can morph from marble back to limestone.

 

The potential for this metamorphosis has galvanized scientists, who now talk about a mind with the power to remake itself. In the last few years, researchers have found ways to soften the stone, recapturing some of the lost magic of a young brain.

 

“There’s been a very, very significant change,” says Richard Davidson of the University of Wisconsin–Madison. “I don’t think the import of that basic fact has fully expressed itself.”

 

Lifting neural constraints could turn back time, making way for youthful flexibility...

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Ten minutes to mindfulness

Ten minutes to mindfulness | Brain Plasticity | Scoop.it
A new initiative is helping people find time to de-stress in their day.

Via craig daniels
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Tips for making mindfulness part of daily life

"Anything can be done mindfully," says Granger, adding formal mindfulness practice will make it easier for you to bring it into everyday life.

 

Here are some tips, given by both Granger and Bialylew, which should help you start or maintain your own mindfulness practice.


1. At any point in your day, pay attention to your breath.

Simply taking five or 10 minutes out of your day to sit and do the best you can to focus your attention on your breath is a great way to exercise your meditation muscle.

"This allows you to unhook, and stop worrying about the future and the past," says Bialylew.


2. Practice while you eat.

"When we eat we are generally doing other things and we're rushing, we're not in the present, so mindful eating is about bringing awareness to the experience," says Bialylew.

She says concentrate on all the senses – the colours, the sensations of chewing and of course the flavour and smell.


3. Pay attention to "transitions".

Granger says try making a conscious effort to be present during travel or between tasks.

"These are all great opportunities for deliberately shifting gears so that we can wisely choose how we engage with the new context," says Granger.


4. Have a mindful shower.

Bialylew suggests paying attention to the sensation of the water, the temperature, as well as the sound of the water when you take a shower.


5. Turn off.

As hard as it might be to turn away from the television or computer screen or to put down your phone or iPad, Granger says it's important to switch off from technology at least once a day.

"Listen to the ordinary sounds that are present in your environment, rather than always being 'plugged in'," says Granger.



Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/life/money-and-careers/ten-minutes-to-mindfulness-20140429-37ey4.html#ixzz30flk4zut

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Ivon Prefontaine's curator insight, April 30, 2:42 PM

Some straightforward suggestions are mentioned. They are easy to implement and would work easily in classrooms.

Pacific Cove's curator insight, May 1, 5:37 PM

"When you make space for your mind, there is more room for creativity and innovation. That's probably why Google has started bringing mindfulness meditation into their workplace," says Bialylew.

#Seniors #SeniorCare

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Test could spot Alzheimer's early

Test could spot Alzheimer's early | Brain Plasticity | Scoop.it
UK researchers develop a test to detect Alzheimer's disease in its earliest stages - by looking for certain patterns in blood samples.

Via Velvet Martin
Electric Car's insight:

British researchers have developed a test to detect Alzheimer's disease in its earliest stages.

 

It works by looking for a combination of "markers" in the blood which are different in healthy people and those with the disease.

 

Delegates at the Alzheimer's Research UK Conference heard that the University of Nottingham is now developing a quick and easy test to do in clinics.

 

It could mean much earlier diagnosis and better treatments, they said.


The test uses some proteins that have been strongly linked with Alzheimer's disease, such as amyloid and APOE.


But through careful analysis of blood from people with the disease, as well as those with early-stage memory problems, the researchers detected some other markers that were suggestive of the disease.

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William Stone's curator insight, October 14, 2013 7:22 AM

Not quite as simple as the peanut butter test, however...!

Pacific Cove's curator insight, October 15, 2013 4:05 PM

It could mean much earlier diagnosis and better treatments, they said.  The test uses some proteins that have been strongly linked with Alzheimer's disease, such as amyloid and APOE.

Jean Blalock's curator insight, October 18, 2013 8:32 AM

Information to know.......

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This Is 200 Calories

From Broccoli to Big Macs - All of your favourite foods, shown as 200 calories! More examples at WiseGEEK: http://bit.ly/16uAiWg SUBSCRIBE - it's free! http:...
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Jean Blalock's curator insight, October 18, 2013 8:36 AM

What is in your diet?

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Medical Xpress: Evidence that brains re-wire themselves following damage or injury

Medical Xpress: Evidence that brains re-wire themselves following damage or injury | Brain Plasticity | Scoop.it
Electric Car's insight:

May 15, Neuroscience —Scientists from the United States and Australia have advanced our understanding of brain plasticity by showing that the brain forms complex new circuits after damage, often far from the damaged site, to compensate for lost function.

 

A new study by Drs Moriel Zelikowsky and Michael Fanselow from the University of California Los Angeles , in collaboration with Dr Bryce Vissel, from Sydney's Garvan Institute of Medical Research, identified the exact regions of the brain that take over when a learning and memory centre, known as the 'hippocampus', is damaged.

 

Their analysis identified significant functional changes in two regions of the pre-frontal cortex . "Interestingly, previous studies had shown that these pre-frontal cortex regions also light up in the brains of Alzheimer's patients, suggesting that similar compensatory circuits develop in people," said Dr Vissel.

 

Dr Zelikowsky finds it interesting that subregions in the pre-frontal cortex compensate in different ways, with one subregion – the infralimbic cortex – silencing its activity and another subregion – the prelimbic cortex – increasing its activity. "If we're going to harness this kind of plasticity to help stroke victims or people with Alzheimer's, we first have to understand exactly how to differentially enhance and silence function, either behaviourally or pharmacologically," she said.

 

Dr Michael Fanselow explained that whenever a complex behaviour develops, it always involves multiple parts of the brain talking to each other, one region's message affecting how another region will respond.

 

"So there are many alternate pathways the brain can use – but it normally doesn't use them unless it's forced to. Once we understand how the brain makes these decisions, then we're in a position to encourage pathways to take over when they need to, especially in the case of brain damage."

 

"Behaviour creates molecular changes in the brain – so if we know the molecular changes we want to bring about, then we can try and facilitate those changes to occur through behaviour and drug therapy. I think that's the best alternative we have – future treatments are not going to be all behavioural or all pharmacological, but a combination of both."

 

"While it's probable that the brains of Alzheimer's sufferers are already compensating for damage, this discovery has significant potential for extending that compensation and improving the lives of many," added Dr Vissel.

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Jean Blalock's curator insight, June 23, 2013 2:30 AM

Did you know?..........

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Fast Diet Interview with Dr Michael Mosley (short version) 3:44 Minutes

Scientists have known since the 1940s that intermittent fasting helps us lose weight, and can cut the incidence of diabetes in lab animals.

Recent studies have also confirmed that restricting calorie intake could possibly reverse type 2 diabetes in some people. Researchers measured improved pancreatic function and fewer of the fatty deposits associated with insulin resistance were present in fasting subjects.

 

A link is below to the start of human trials.


"Proponents claim that in addition to weight loss, the diet can lead to longer life, and protection against disease, particularly conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer's disease"

 

"Evidence from clinical trials shows that fasting can limit inflammation, improve levels of sugars and fats in circulation, and reduce blood pressure. Our fasting bodies change how they select which fuel to burn, improving metabolism and reducing oxidative stress"

 

The FULL 1 Hour documentary http://video.pbs.org/video/2363162206.

 

From the doco, intermittent fasting ALSO lowers blood pressure, and causes neurons to GROW!!

 

And it's easy to do!

 

Electric Car's insight:

The basic format of intermittent fasting is to alternate days eating 'normally' with days when calorie consumption is restricted. This can either be done on alternative days, or where two days each week are classed as 'fasting days'.

These types of intermittent fasting have been shown in trials to be as effective as or more effective than counting calories every day to lose weight.

Evidence from clinical trials shows that fasting can limit inflammation, improve levels of sugars and fats in circulation, and reduce blood pressure. Our fasting bodies change how they select which fuel to burn, improving metabolism and reducing oxidative stress.

For people with obesity, only one drug (orlistat) is currently available in the UK, and gastric surgery is a relatively rare and expensive alternative.

Dietary changes remain the most common intervention used for obese people.

Fasting is known to help, but former treatments were based on intermittent starving.

 

Today's intermittent fasting regimes are easier to stick to, and are proven to help excess pounds melt away.

 

Link t news of clinical trials
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-04/sp-fse042613.php

Email - Contact: j.e.p.brown@aston.ac.uk


If you have time, the FULL 1 Hour documentary http://video.pbs.org/video/2363162206

Science Daily story http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130426115456.htm

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#Health NFO

#Health NFO | Brain Plasticity | Scoop.it
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Electric Car's insight:

All parts of the graviola tree are used in natural medicine in the tropics, including the bark, leaves, roots, fruit, and fruit seeds.

 

Three separate research groups have confirmed that these chemicals have significant antitumorous properties and selective toxicity against various types of cancer cells publishing eight clinical studies on their findings.

Four studies were published in 1998 which further specify the chemicals and acetogenins in graviola which are demonstrating the strongest anticancerous, antitumorous, and antiviral properties.

 

Mode of action studies in three separate laboratories have recently determined that these acetogenins are superb inhibitors of enzyme processes that are only found in the membranes of cancerous tumor cells. This is why they are toxic to cancer cells but have no toxicity to healthy cells.

 

In 1997, Purdue University published information with promising news that several of the Annonaceous acetogenins were " . . . not only are effective in killing tumors that have proven resistant to anti-cancer agents, but also seem to have a special affinity for such resistant cells."

 

As he explains it, cancer cells that survive chemotherapy can develop resistance to the agent originally used as well as to other, even unrelated, drugs. This phenomenon is called multi-drug resistance 

 

One of the main ways that cancer cells develop resistance to chemotherapy drugs is by creating an intercellular pump which is capable of pushing anticancer agents out of the cell before they can kill it.

 

Purdue researchers reported that the acetogenins preferentially killed multi-drug-resistant cancer cells by blocking the transfer of ATP—the chief source of cellular energy—into them.

 

When acetogenins block ATP to the tumor cell over time, the cell no longer has enough energy to operate sustaining processes—and it dies.

They also reported that 13 of these 14 acetogenins tested were more potent against MDR breast cancer cells than all three of the standard drugs they used as controls.

 

The Annonaceous acetogenins discovered in graviola thus far include: annocatalin, annohexocin, annomonicin, annomontacin, annomuricatin A & B, annomuricin A thru E, annomutacin, annonacin, annonacinone, annopentocin A thru C, cis-annonacin, cis-corossolone, cohibin A thru D, corepoxylone, coronin, corossolin, corossolone, donhexocin, epomuricenin A & B, gigantetrocin, gigantetrocin A & B, gigantetrocinone, gigantetronenin, goniothalamicin, iso-annonacin, javoricin, montanacin, montecristin, muracin A thru G, muricapentocin, muricatalicin, muricatalin, muri-catenol, muricatetrocin A & B muricatin D, muricatocin A thru C muricin H, muricin I, muricoreacin, murihexocin 3, murihexocin A thru C, murihexol, murisolin, robustocin, rolliniastatin 1 & 2, saba-delin, solamin, uvariamicin I & IV, xylomaticin

 

In an 1976 plant screening program by the National Cancer Institute, graviola leaves and stem showed active toxicity against cancer cells and researchers have been following up on these findings since.

 

Thus far, specific acetogenins in graviola and/or extracts of graviola have been reported to be selectively toxic in vitro to these types of tumor cells: lung carcinoma cell lines; human breast solid tumor lines; prostate adenocarcinoma; pancreatic carcinoma cell lines; colon adenocarcinoma cell lines; liver cancer cell lines; human lymphoma cell lines; and multi-drug resistant human breast adenocarcinoma.

 

Researchers in Taiwan reported in 2003 that the main graviola acetogenin, annonacin, was highly toxic to ovarian, cervical, breast, bladder and skin cancer cell lines at very low dosages saying; “. . . annonacin is a promising anti-cancer agent and worthy of further animal studies and, we would hope, clinical trials.”

 

Cancer research is ongoing on these important Annona plants and plant chemicals, as several pharmaceutical companies and universities continue to research, test, patent, and attempt to synthesize these chemicals into new chemotherapeutic drugs.

 

From the time researchers first discovered an antitumorous effect in the bark of the pacific yew tree and a novel chemical called taxol was discovered in its bark - it took thirty years of research by numerous pharmaceutical companies, universities, and government agencies before the first FDA-approved Taxol drug was sold to a cancer patient .

 

Now that scientists have the ability to recreate this chemical and several other active acetogenins in the laboratory, the next step is to change the chemical just enough to become a novel chemical which can be patented and turned into a new patented cancer drug.

 

Thus far, scientists seem to be thwarted again—every time they change the chemical enough to be patentable, they lose much of the antitumorous actions.

 

Like the development of taxol, it may well take government agenies like the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute of Health to step forward and launch full-scale human cancer research on the synthesized unpatentable natural plant chemical to be able to make this promising therapy available to cancer patients in a timely fashion.

 

In the meantime, many cancer patients and health practitioners are not waiting… they are adding the natural leaf and stem of graviola as a complementary therapy to their cancer protocols. After all, graviola has a long history of safe use as a herbal remedy for other conditions for many years, and research indicates that the antitumorous acetogenins are selectively toxic to just cancer cells and not healthy cells—and in miniscule amounts.

 

While research confirms that these antitumorous acetogenins also occur in high amounts in the fruit seeds and roots of graviola, different alkaloid chemicals in the seeds and roots have shown some preliminary in vitro neurotoxic effects.

 

As one of graviola’s mechanisms of action is to deplete ATP energy to cancer cells, combining it with other supplements and natural products which increase or enhance cellular ATP may reduce the effect of graviola.

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The Scientific Power of Thought

Get Your FREE Audio Book - http://bit.ly/10gMVnV TWEET IT - http://clicktotweet.com/mo28x The power of the mind and it's ability to affect physical change ma...
Electric Car's insight:

 

Those who exercise increase their strength by thirty percent what those who imagined doing it increased their muscle strength by twenty two percent

 

This is because the neurons responsible for the movement instruction were still being used and strengthened resulting in increased strength when the muscles actually contracted


So while your thoughts don't have some mystical or magical power mental practice is an effective way to prepare for a physical skill

 

Each thought actually changes the structure and function of the brain by affecting the neurons at the microscopic level

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Dr. Newport's effective work on memory loss and Alzheimer's with coconut oil- Part IV

Visit www.OrganicCoconutOil.info for more on the use of coconut oil....Mini Mental Status Exam (MMSE) and the clock test. Steve Newports symptoms of Alzheime...
Electric Car's insight:

Alzeimer’s and Other Neurological Diseases


• Medium-chain triglyceride (MCT’s) found in coconut oil are readily converted into fuel used by brain cells for improved brain function

 

I looked for a Double blind study that has been done and found two, which shows it appears that dietetic supplementation with coconut oil does not cause dyslipidemia and seems to promote a reduction in abdominal obesity

 

Possibly because Big Pharma can't make money out of coconuts.

 

http://www.organiccoconutoil.info/

Randomised, double-blind, clinical trial

 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19437058

 

Study paper on Coconut fats
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17180807

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Brain Benefits Of Coconut Oil, Coconut Cream

Brain Benefits Of Coconut Oil, Coconut Cream | Brain Plasticity | Scoop.it
Organic Coconut Oil Information (#1 source for organic coconut oil education, research info and recipes)
Electric Car's insight:

Alzeimer’s and Other Neurological Diseases


• Medium-chain triglyceride (MCT’s) found in coconut oil and coconut cream are readily converted into fuel used by brain cells for improved brain function

 

Use Coconut cream for your coffee, coconut oil in your food, in place of butter or margarine and get benefits from both!

 

Organic Coconut Oil is rich in vitamins and minerals and especially rich (60%+) in important fatty acids, the medium chain triglycerides (MCTs).  It has been used by Asian and Pacific populations both as a source of dietary oil and in their traditional medical practices.  

 

Praised for its many and various healing properties, to a Pacific Islander, Coconut Oil is believed to be the cure of all illnesses and is so highly valued they refer to the coconut palm as “The Tree of Life.”  

 

Western modern science has only recently begun to uncover and understand the miracle healing value of the coconut

 

Big Pharma can't patent it, but there is one study

 

http://www.coconutketones.com/pdfs/Kashiwaya_Y_NeurobiolofAging_2012.pdf

 

Daily Mail article

 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2258665/Alzeimers-Can-coconut-oil-ease-Families-whove-given-loved-ones-swear-it.html

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The truth about recovering from a brain injury

The truth about recovering from a brain injury | Brain Plasticity | Scoop.it
Life after a brain injury teaches you a lot about yourself. But mainly it teaches you about the grind of illness and recovery
Electric Car's insight:

Six months earlier, I would have been too unsteady to risk it, and tilting my head to do the repair would have brought on a surge of vertigo and violent sickness.



A year ago, I wouldn't even have attempted it – or cared: I was lying on the sofa, intermittently vomiting and being pumped full of industrial-strength antibiotics to see off a mysterious brain infection that had nearly killed me.

It took four doctors a week to realise I had something worse than an ear infection, by which time I needed emergency surgery, followed by six weeks of intravenous drugs.

I returned to work in October and my health continues to improve, but I still struggle with horrible vertigo when I walk and move my head – it's like being on a funfair ride, but minus the fun and you can't step off.

The experience was comical – it felt like a cruel gameshow – but the result was partially reassuring: everything was working within normal parameters and my lingering symptoms should improve, if not totally pass, in time.

Having a catastrophic illness (the term gives me a slight thrill) is an interesting experience if it doesn't see you off, albeit one you wouldn't wish for.

I now think of it like a stockmarket chart after a crash: the line of health rises from the trough in painfully slow, uneven jags, it plateaus and slips back.

Headway, the charity that supports people affected by brain injury, estimates there are around 500,000 people of working age in the UK living with long-term disability as a result of trauma from, say, a fall or a car accident – and that's not counting people who have had meningitis, haemorrhages, tumours or strokes (the last alone affects 450,000 people a year in England).

"It's notoriously difficult to get hold of stats for brain injury, for a number of different reasons," says the association's Luke Griggs.

People's stories are different, obviously, but have common themes.

"There's no one route to recovery," says Griggs.

Griggs recalls a patient who described recovery as "like eating an elephant – incredibly daunting at first, but if you break it down piece by piece, eventually you'll conquer it".

Griggs likens it to traffic halted by a motorway pileup: you must take an exit and rejoin at a later junction; some people take a shortcut, but others get lost in the countryside.

Part of that was that I had a brain injury.

Now, having reconsidered his priorities, he works four days a week for Headway East London.

You see a lot of people with brain injuries returning to work too soon and that's possibly the worst thing they can do because mood is a huge factor in brain injury recovery.

I'm an awful lot happier than I was before.

I'm a lot healthier person.

Dancing Tango helped aid Sarah Cardwell's recovery from a cyst in her brain.

Teaching in the evening meant the days were just knocked out completely." Ah, the tiredness.

John Horan, a 42-year-old barrister specialising in employment and discrimination, battled it for years after he suffered a brain injury when he was 31: he had a major stroke on the eve of the millennium.

He went back to work nine months later, but it was just paperwork while he learned to cope with public transport again.

The Bar Council has a disability equality policy but he thinks it could do better.

That's about it.

The urge to get back to work can get in the way of recovery, but can also be a powerful motivator – it certainly lifted my spirits after four months staring at the living room walls.

For Cardwell, it was key.

It felt like I could recover faster because I already knew how to do those things."

"It was me hobbling backwards three steps towards the sofa.

It wasn't to music but it was still tango.

It counted a lot.

It had been achey for a long time, maybe a year or so, and one day I did this movement and it didn't hurt, it was natural."

It was horrible."

The people who do thoughtful, kind, unexpected things, who bring lunch, send a homemade pie or arrive in the evening to cook.

The steadfast friends who slog through it all with you offering cheery support.

TV personality Richard Hammond, who suffered serious head injuries in a 2006 crash, said last year: "From the very outset of the recovery process, I'd get to the end of the week and think, God, I'm better, I'm fixed and then I'd get to the end of the next week and look over the previous one and think, bloody hell, I wasn't but now I am, and that process would go on, and it goes on now."

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15 Sensational Tricks For Your Health

15 Sensational Tricks For Your Health | Brain Plasticity | Scoop.it

1.) If you've got an itch in your throat, scratch your ear. When the nerves in the ear get stimulated, they create a reflex in the throat that causes a muscle spasm, which cures the itch.

 

2.) Having trouble hearing someone at a party or on the phone? Use your right ear it's better at picking up rapid speech. But, the left is better at picking up music tones.

 

3.) If you need to relieve yourself BADLY, but you're not anywhere near a bathroom, fantasize about RELATIONS. That preoccupies your brain and distracts it.

 

4.) Next time the doctor's going to give you an injection, COUGH as the needle is going in.

The cough raises the level of pressure in your spinal canal, which limits the pain sensation as it tries to travel to your brain.

 

5.) Clear a stuffed nose or relieve sinus pressure by pushing your tongue against the roof of your mouth then pressing a finger between your eyebrows. Repeat that for 20 seconds it causes the vomer bone to rock, which loosens your congestion and clears you up.

 

6.) If you ate a big meal and you're feeling full as you go to sleep, lay on your left side. That'll keep you from suffering from acid reflux it keeps your stomach lower than your esophagus, which will helps keep stomach acid from sliding up your throat.

 

7.) You can stop a toothache by rubbing ice on the back of your hand, on the webbed area between your thumb and index finger. The nerve pathways there stimulate a part of the brain that blocks pain signals from your mouth.

 

8.) If you get all messed up on liquor, and the room starts spinning, put your hand on something stable. The reason: Alcohol dilutes the blood in the part of your ear called the cupula, which regulates balance. Putting your hand on something stable gives your brain another reference point, which will help make the world stop spinning.

 

9.) Stop a nose bleed by putting some cotton on your upper gums right behind the small dent below your nose and press against it hard. Most of the bleeding comes from the cartilage wall that divides the nose, so pressing there helps get it to stop.

 

10.) Nervous? Slow your heart rate down by blowing on your thumb. The vagus nerve controls your heart rate, and you can calm it down by breathing.

 

11.) Need to breathe underwater for a while? Instead of taking a huge breath, HYPERVENTILATE before you go under, by taking a bunch of short breaths. That'll trick your brain into thinking it has more oxygen, and buy you about 10 extra seconds.

 

12.) You can prevent BRAIN FREEZE by pressing your tongue flat against the roof of your mouth, covering as much surface area as possible. Brain freeze happens because the nerves in the roof of your mouth get extremely cold, so your brain thinks your whole body is cold. It compensates by overheating which causes your head to hurt. By warming up the roof of your mouth, you'll chill your brain and feel better.

 

13.) If your hand falls asleep, rock your head from side to side. That'll wake your hand or arm up in less than a minute. Your hand falls asleep because of the nerves in your neck compressing so loosening your neck is the cure. If your foot falls asleep, that's governed by nerves lower in the body, so you need to stand up and walk around.

 

14.) Finally, this one's totally USELESS, but a nice trick. Have someone stick their arm out to the side, straight, palm down. Press down on his wrist with two fingers. He'll resist, and his arm will stay horizontal. Then, have him put his foot on a surface that's half an inch off the ground, like a stack of magazines, and do the trick again. Because his spine position is thrown off, his arm will fall right to his side, no matter how much he tries to resist.

 

15.) Got the hiccups? Press thumb and second finger over your eyebrows until the hiccups are over - usually, in a short while.

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Seeing the light: Ed Boyden's tools for brain hackers

Seeing the light: Ed Boyden's tools for brain hackers | Brain Plasticity | Scoop.it

Ed Boyden, 33, makes tools for brain hackers. From his lab at MIT, he is building technology that will vastly expand the range of experiments that other scientists can pull off. His latest invention is a classic example: a robot that patch-clamps as well as a human scientist, with none of the fatigue or variability. It works all day. It does not need lunch breaks. It has transformed a technique that had only been mastered by an elite few into something that anyone can do, and hundreds of labs are queuing up to buy or make an auto-patcher of their own. Boyden published a description of the robot in May this year. He says, "After our paper came out, I got an email saying, 'I just spent a year learning how to do that. Thanks. There goes that'."

 

Boyden's ambition is audacious," says Craig Forest from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Boyden's partner on the auto-patcher project. Other colleagues agree. "It's regular to hear him say something like, 'I want to solve the brain.' Period. Nothing after that," says Anthony Zorzos, one of Boyden's graduate students. "But for a guy who says things like that, he's pretty down to earth." "Solving the brain" is as difficult as it sounds. A cubic millimetre of brain tissue can house 100,000 neurons, sending signals across a billion connections in mere thousandths of a second.

 

This cross-talk is what turns a lump of spongy tissue into the most sophisticated computer in existence. It is also impenetrable to modern methods. We can zoom out to scan broad regions encompassing millions of cells, or zoom in to dissect the traits of individual ones, but the intermediate world of circuits still eludes us.

 

Boyden likens our current technology to studying one pixel on a computer screen at a time. "Even if you buy a million screens, you won't understand how a computer works by looking at that one pixel," he says. "I'd rather have one computer and look at everything in it." The auto-patcher is one of the tools that Boyden is developing to observe neural circuits in detail, to better understand how the brain computes.

 

But voyeurism is not enough. Boyden is also designing tools to tweak, trigger and silence neural circuits, offering a degree of control that neuroscience has always lacked. For a long time, studying the brain meant finding correlations. Scientists measured how blood flow or electrical activity changed as we carried out mental tasks, and they noted how injuries and disease affected those abilities. But to establish causality, you have to stimulate neural circuits, as well as watch them. A movie, drug or electric shock will do the trick, but we need tools to stimulate specific sets of cells, not vast swathes of neurons.

 

The most famous of these is the one that made Boyden's name: optogenetics. By implanting neurons with light-sensitive proteins called opsins, harvested from algae, microbes and other creatures, scientists can stimulate or silence them with a simple optic fibre. Boyden pioneered optogenetics in 2005, with Karl Deisseroth from Stanford University. Now, it is used by thousands of scientists around the world.

 

The opsins can be loaded into neurons within just one part of the brain, or into neurons that secrete a certain type of signalling chemical. Flash the right set and you can steer an animal's movements, send it to sleep or make it aggressive. Silence the right ones and you could potentially calm the hyperactivity that accompanies epilepsy and Parkinson's disease.

 

"I'm wary of using the term revolutionary but I don't think it's an overstatement for optogenetics," says Robert Desimone, director of MIT's McGovern Institute for Brain Research and one of Boyden's collaborators. "It has affected virtually every lab working in neuroscience."


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Augmentative & Alternative Communication Devices

This video introduces viewers to the concept of augmentative and alternative communication and how speech communication devices can help people who have trouble speaking


Via Toby Churchill Ltd
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Metastatic cancer cells implode on protein contact using E-selecting and TRAIL

Metastatic cancer cells implode on protein contact using E-selecting and TRAIL | Brain Plasticity | Scoop.it

 By attaching a cancer-killer protein to white blood cells, Cornell biomedical engineers have demonstrated the annihilation of metastasizing cancer cells traveling throughout the bloodstream.

The study, “TRAIL-Coated Leukocytes that Kill Cancer Cells in the Circulation,” was published online the week of Jan. 6 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

 

“These circulating cancer cells are doomed,” said Michael King, Cornell professor of biomedical engineering and the study’s senior author. “About 90 percent of cancer deaths are related to metastases, but now we’ve found a way to dispatch an army of killer white blood cells that cause apoptosis – the cancer cell’s own death – obliterating them from the bloodstream. When surrounded by these guys, it becomes nearly impossible for the cancer cell to escape.”

 

King and his colleagues injected human blood samples, and later mice, with two proteins: E-selectin (an adhesive) and TRAIL (Tumor Necrosis Factor Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand). The TRAIL protein joined together with the E-selectin protein stick to leukocytes – white blood cells – ubiquitous in the bloodstream. When a cancer cell comes into contact with TRAIL, which becomes unavoidable in the chaotic blood flow, the cancer cell essentially kills itself.

 

“The mechanism is surprising and unexpected in that this repurposing of white blood cells in flowing blood is more effective than directly targeting the cancer cells with liposomes or soluble protein,” say the authors.

In the laboratory, King and his colleagues tested this concept’s efficacy. When treating cancer cells with the proteins in saline, they found a 60 percent success rate in killing the cancer cells. In normal laboratory conditions, the saline lacks white blood cells to serve as a carrier for the adhesive and killer proteins. Once the proteins were added to flowing blood, which models forces, mixing and other human-body conditions, however, the success rate in killing the cancer cells jumped to nearly 100 percent.

 

In addition to King, the paper’s researchers include first author Michael Mitchell, a Cornell doctoral candidate in the field of biomedical engineering; Elizabeth C. Wayne, a Cornell doctoral student in the field of biomedical engineering; Kuldeepsinh Rana, a Cornell Ph.D. ’11; and Chris Schaffer, associate professor in biomedical engineering. The National Cancer Institute (Physical Sciences-Oncology program) of the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md. funded the research through Cornell’s Center for the Microenvironment and Metastasis.

 

 

 

Metastasis is the spread of a cancer cells to other parts of the body. Surgery and radiation are effective at treating primary tumors, but difficulty in detecting metastatic cancer cells has made treatment of the spreading cancer problematic, say the scientists.

 


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Human artificial chromosome (HAC) vector with a conditional centromere for correction of genetic deficiencies in human cells

Human artificial chromosome (HAC) vector with a conditional centromere for correction of genetic deficiencies in human cells | Brain Plasticity | Scoop.it
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We also show that phenotypes arising from stable gene expression can be reversed when cells are “cured” of the HAC by inactivating its kinetochore in proliferating cell populations, a feature that provides a control for phenotypic changes attributed to expression of HAC-encoded genes. This generation of human artificial chromosomes should be suitable for studies of gene function and therapeutic applications.

 

Human artificial chromosomes represent another extrachromosomal gene delivery and gene expression vector system . Although this technology is less advanced than virus-derived vectors, HACs have several potential advantages over currently used episomal viral vectors for gene therapy applications.

 

Several groups have reported successful expression of full-length genes in HACs . However, in most cases, genes to be expressed were cotransfected with an alphoid DNA array into human cells and were incorporated into the forming HAC in vivo.

 

We report a complete cycle starting with selective gene isolation, followed by gene loading into the HAC, and eventually leading to complementation of gene deficiencies in a human cell line . This approach is useful for studies of gene function and potentially for gene therapy.

 

As a proof of principle, genomic copies of two average-size cancer-associated genes—VHL mutated in von Hippel–Lindau syndrome and NBS1 mutated in Nijmegen breakage syndrome —were isolated by TAR cloning and loaded into the unique loxP site of the alphoidtetO-HAC in CHO cells.

 

Therefore, the ability to eliminate the HAC along with any stem cell-inducing genes carried on it could provide a strategy to avoid insertional mutagenesis and cell transformation, complications that are frequently observed during cell reprogramming .

 

We also demonstrate the benefit of coupling the TAR gene cloning technology, which provides an effectively unlimited resource of full-length human genes, with the tetO-loxP-HAC gene delivery and expression system.

 

 

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Stem-cell treatment restores sight to blind man - health - 20 May 2013 - New Scientist

Stem-cell treatment restores sight to blind man - health - 20 May 2013 - New Scientist | Brain Plasticity | Scoop.it
A man blinded by the degeneration of his retinal cells can see well enough to get a driver's licence after receiving a stem-cell transplant
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An experimental stem-cell treatment has restored the sight of a man blinded by the degeneration of his retinal cells.

 

The man, who is taking part in a trial examining the safety of using human embryonic stem cells to reverse two common causes of blindness, can now see well enough to be allowed to drive.

 

"There's a guy walking around who was blind, but now can see," says Gary Rabin, chief executive officer of Advanced Cell Technology, the company in Marlborough, Massachusetts that devised the treatment. "With that sort of vision, you can have a driver's licence."

 

In all, the company has so far treated 22 patients who either have dry age-related macular degeneration , a common condition that leaves people with a black hole in the centre of their vision, or Stargardt's macular dystrophy, an inherited disease that leads to premature blindness.

 

The company wouldn't tell New Scientist which of the two diseases the participant with the dramatic improvement has.

 

These are essential for vision as they recycle protein and lipid debris that accumulates on the retina, and supply nutrients and energy to photoreceptors – the cells that capture light and transmit signals to the brain.

 

The company is testing treatments for both conditions by turning hESCs into fresh RPE cells, then giving each trial participant a transplant of the cells beneath the retina in one eye. Although the aim of the trial is primarily to check that the stem cells are safe, participants have reported improvements in their sight.

 

 

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Fast Diet - Living with Disability

Fast Diet - Living with Disability | Brain Plasticity | Scoop.it

Interview about the intermittent fasting diet, also called the Dom Joly diet, 5:2 diet and the Fast Diet or the ADF diet (Alternate Day Fast)

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The benefits of intermittent fasting lie far beyond simple weight loss – most importantly research that has proven that not only does a intermittent fasting lifestyle help control insulin levels that burn fat and keep your energy balanced, but in turn can help protect you against diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s Disease.


As most diets usually only concentrate on weight-loss benefits, what makes the effects of the Fast Diet special, is the proactive benefits on your long-term mental and physical health also.

 

I mean it’s been studied now for 20 years by some of the world’s leading scientists. Indeed one of the guys behind it is the most cited scientist in his area, which is neuroscience, in the world. So it’s not new. What’s new is that I came along and promoted it and did it, and also what is new is the fact there are human trials underway at the moment of it. So it’s not a gimmick, it’s based on a huge amount of science.

 

You semi-fast, for two days out of seven and the other five days you can eat absolutely normally?


What I actually do is every Monday and every Thursday I eat 500 calories or 600 calories around there. So I have breakfast which consists of a couple of scrambled eggs and a piece of ham, that’s about 300 calories. I drink loads of black tea, water, black coffee until the evening about 7 O’clock when I have a pile of vegetables, enormous pile of vegetables, with a slice of salmon or something like that.

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Quantum Cell Culture System Or "Cell Expansion" by Terumo BCT

© 2013. Terumo BCT. Terumo BCT partnered with XVIVO in Fall 2010 about developing a program for one of their newest products, the Quantum Cell Expansion System

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"As the cell therapy industry continues to grow, an increasing number of cell therapies and the new possibilities they promise, rely on large-scale cell culture, or cell expansion, to meet the required therapeutic dose.

The Quantum system answers this need with unique controls that streamline cell culture and reduce the risk of contamination for clinical cell manufacturing. This new technology brings automation, a closed environment and process reproducibility to those expanding cell populations for research, clinical trial and commercial cell therapies."

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Obama Announces $100M Brain-Mapping Project

The goal of the 'BRAIN Initiative' is to learn more about disorders like Alzheimer's disease and epilepsy.
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Twitter / theprojecttv: A sugary drink campaign launched ...

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16 Packs Of Sugar Per Can Of Soda?

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Our story; Alzheimers' and Coconut Oil: Ian Blair Hamilton and Cassie Bond

How coconut oil gave me back my brain. More info on best places to get coco oil, free download of my book, at http://www.alkaway.com.au/blog/talk-to-me/ PLEA...
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Alzeimer’s and Other Neurological Diseases


• Medium-chain triglyceride (MCT’s) found in coconut oil are readily converted into fuel used by brain cells for improved brain function

 

I looked for a Double blind study that has been done and found two, which shows it appears that dietetic supplementation with coconut oil does not cause dyslipidemia and seems to promote a reduction in abdominal obesity..

Possibly because Big Pharma can't make money out of coconuts.

 

http://www.organiccoconutoil.info/

Randomised, double-blind, clinical trial

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19437058

Study paper on Coconut fats
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17180807

 

Video showing the two pictures that were drawn by the patient

 

http://youtu.be/X2jp7BhDFrU

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Trojan horse 'eliminates' cancer

Trojan horse 'eliminates' cancer | Brain Plasticity | Scoop.it
An experimental 'Trojan-horse' cancer therapy has completely eliminated prostate cancer in experiments on mice, according to UK researchers.
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An experimental "Trojan-horse" cancer therapy has completely eliminated prostate cancer in experiments on mice, according to UK researchers.

Once inside, a study in the journal Cancer Research showed, tens of thousands of viruses were released to kill the cancerous cells.

Dr Kate Holmes, head of research at Prostate Cancer UK, said: "It demonstrates that this innovative method of delivering a tumour-killing virus direct to the cancer site is successful at reducing the development of advanced prostate tumours in mice which have been treated with chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

https://plus.google.com/101701263979248309987
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The Psychology Of Facebook #infographic

The Psychology Of Facebook #infographic | Brain Plasticity | Scoop.it
The Psychology Of Facebook, is addiction affecting our minds?

 

How exactly is Facebook and Internet addiction affecting our minds? Or is it something you’ve even thought about?

 

Chances are it hasn’t even crossed your mind that constantly checking for new notifications or spending hours a day on the Internet is actually an addiction in the making.

 

Every time you receive a notification on Facebook it could mean a new professional, social, or even sexual opportunity. Once you answer the little red box signaling a notification, it results in a hit of dopamine.

 

The same dopamine that recharges our addictive compulsion and is similar to people who have addictions to abusive substances such as heroin, meth, or crack. However, as you probably know, these notifications are hard to resist.

 

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Puts it all in perspective » Interactive Graphics: Magnifying the Universe

Puts it all in perspective » Interactive Graphics: Magnifying the Universe | Brain Plasticity | Scoop.it

A joint project of Killer Infographics and Mandril Design.

 

Interactivity creates greater reader engagement, which, in turn, generates interest and educates a wide spectrum of people.

 

This particular interactive infographic was picked up by hundreds of websites, including National Geographic!

 

The precision of the interactive scalability highlight the importance of accuracy in successful infographics - Killer Infographics will never publish any data they won't stand behind!


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Szabolcs Kósa's comment, November 24, 2012 4:19 PM
amazing.
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Gratitude

Gratitude | Brain Plasticity | Scoop.it

If nothing else, work on your gratitude on your own for the next 90 days.

 

While we would love to help and support you as much as we are able, for some people, this is a very personal exercise that they prefer to do alone.

 

Whatever you decide, just do it!

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