Photo: A prosthetic limb; Copyright: Jose-Luis Olivares/MIT

Muscle grafts could help amputees sense and control artificial limbs

28/06/2017

A new surgical technique devised by MIT researchers could allow prosthetic limbs to feel much more like natural limbs. Through coordination of the patient’s prosthetic limb, existing nerves, and muscle grafts, amputees would be able to sense where their limbs are in space and to feel how much force is being applied to them.
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Image: Computer generated model of the brain that consists of many small boxes; Copyright: Legato Team/University of Luxembourg

Modeling the brain with "Lego bricks"

20/06/2017

Researchers from the University of Luxembourg, in cooperation with the University of Strasbourg, have developed a computational method that could be used to guide surgeons during brain surgery.
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Image: Greenly colored tissue slice with orange blots in it; Copyright: Kirsti Witter/Vetmeduni Vienna

Gene transfer as a treatment of neurodegenerative diseases

19/06/2017

Gene transfer is seen as a hopeful therapy for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s patients. The approach involves using harmless laboratory-produced viruses to introduce important genes into the brain cells. In a study on mice, a team of researchers from Vetmeduni Vienna for the first time investigated how far these viruses spread in the brain and which cells they infect.
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Image: A blood test; Copyright: panthermedia.net/ktsdesign

Blood test can predict onset and track progression of Huntington's disease

09/06/2017

The first blood test that can predict the onset and progression of Huntington's disease has been identified by a UCL-led study. The researchers say their findings, published in "Lancet Neurology", should help test new treatments for the genetic brain disorder, which is fatal and currently incurable.
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Image: A silhouette of a person, grapping his head; Copyright: panthermedia.net/sangoiri

Researchers find micro-gene that protects the brain from developing epilepsy

06/06/2017

On December 16, 1997, hundreds of Japanese children were brought to hospital suffering from epilepsy-like seizures. They all had one thing in common: they had been watching an episode of the Pokemon TV show when their symptoms began. Doctors determined that their symptoms were triggered by five seconds of intensely bright flashing lights on the popular TV program.
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Image: Microscopic image of fibroblast cells; Copyright: Cincinnati Children's

One gene closer to regenerative therapy for muscular disorders

05/06/2017

A detour on the road to regenerative medicine for people with muscular disorders is figuring out how to coax muscle stem cells to fuse together and form functioning skeletal muscle tissues. A study published "Nature Communications" reports scientists identify a new gene essential to this process, shedding new light on possible new therapeutic strategies.
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Image: A researcher in a lab, holding a small transparent grid; Copyright: David Baillot/UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering

Brain mapping tool produces higher resolution data during brain surgery

31/05/2017

Researchers have developed a new device to map the brain during surgery and distinguish between healthy and diseased tissues. The device provides higher resolution neural readings than existing tools used in the clinic and could enable doctors to perform safer, more precise brain surgeries.
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Image: (Microscopic image) Fusion of ruptured vesicles, colored green and pink; Copyright: Loyola University Chicago

Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and Huntington's diseases share common crucial feature

26/05/2017

A Loyola University Chicago study has found that abnormal proteins found in Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and Huntington's disease all share a similar ability to cause damage when they invade brain cells.
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Image: A game board whith a brain painted on it. Around it lie some cards and pieces; Copyright: KU Leuven - Joris Snaet

Blind people have brain map for 'visual' observations too

22/05/2017

Is what you're looking at an object, a face, or a tree? When processing visual input, our brain uses different areas to recognize faces, body parts, scenes, and objects. Scientists at KU Leuven (University of Leuven), Belgium, have now shown that people who were born blind use a 'brain map' with a very similar layout to distinguish between these same categories.
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Image: Scheme of the human brain an nacrolepsy patient; Copyright: Kanazawa University

Identification of the neuronal suppressor of cataplexy, sudden weakening of muscle tone

15/05/2017

Sleep is of absolute necessity for us humans, although if one falls asleep all of a sudden while being awoken, it would cause a big trouble. The brain is equipped with sleep mechanism and wakefulness mechanism, which are regulated to be on or off in an adequate manner.
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Image: Graphic of a human brain with a tumor highlighted in red; Copyright: panthermedia.net/Sebastian Kaulitzki

Showing brain tumor firmness, adhesion before surgery

11/05/2017

It is not often that a fall saves someone's life. Helen Powell, 74, says that was the case for her. A computerized tomography scan that followed her fall revealed a cancerous brain tumor that led her to Mayo Clinic and surgery using first-in-the-world technology. Brain magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) imaging, showed the precise firmness of her tumor.
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Image: Neurosurgeons performing skull surgery; Copyright: panthermedia.net/Marco Herrndorf

Future surgery may use an automated, robotic drill

10/05/2017

A computer-driven automated drill, similar to those used to machine auto parts, could play a pivotal role in future surgical procedures. The new machine can make one type of complex cranial surgery 50 times faster than standard procedures, decreasing from two hours to two and a half minutes.
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Image: A green network of nerve cells on black ground; Copyright: Dina Popova

Novel method to detect toxic effects of chemicals

28/04/2017

Traditional toxicological investigations performed on animals (in vivo) are expensive, time-consuming and may cause animal suffering. But research from Umeå University demonstrates that a neuronal cell model, derived from mouse, can be used to evaluate the neurotoxic effect of chemicals.
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Image: A tablet, written on it are the words

Research moves closer to unravelling mystery cause of multiple sclerosis

24/04/2017

A new study has made a major new discovery towards finding the cause of multiple sclerosis (MS), potentially paving the way for research to investigate new treatments. Ahead of MS Awareness Week an international team has discovered a new cellular mechanism that may cause the disease, and a potential hallmark that may be a target for future treatment of the autoimmune disorder.
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Image: Close-Up of the nanowire; Copyright: Integrated Electronics and Biointerfaces Laboratory, UC San Diego

'Neuron-reading' nanowires for neurological diseases

17/04/2017

A team led by engineers at the University of California San Diego has developed nanowires that can record the electrical activity of neurons in fine detail. The new nanowire technology could one day serve as a platform to screen drugs for neurological diseases and could enable researchers to better understand how single cells communicate in large neuronal networks.
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Image: A paper, written on it

Cause of an inherited neurological disorder discovered

12/04/2017

Researchers at the University of Liverpool have identified the basis for how a single gene mutation can cause a rare neurological movement disorder known as dystonia. It can result from an injury or can be an inherited disorder in which patients progressively develop from childhood uncontrollable muscle contractions leading to repetitive movements and awkward and painful postures.
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Image: Two physicians performing a deep brain stimulation; Copyright: Joshua Bright

Deep brain stimulation decreases tics in young adults with severe Tourette syndrome

10/04/2017

A surgical technique that sends electrical impulses to a specific area of the brain reduces the "tics," or involuntary movements and vocal outbursts, experienced by young adults with severe cases of Tourette syndrome, according to a new study led by investigators from NYU Langone Medical Center.
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Image: Zebrafish brain, fluorescence image (left) and 3D image (right); Copyright: private

"A 3D movie of the brain in action"

08/12/2016

Watching millions of neurons in the brain interacting with each other – for a long time this was possible only to a limited extent. The current techniques can visualize only superficial layers or the imaging they use is too slow. But now, Prof Daniel Razansky and his team have found a new method to visualize the brain activity – by using optoacoustics.
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Image: Eileen Stark prepares Dominik Wetzel for a measurement; Copyright: WHZ/Helge Gerischer

Paraplegia: moving muscles using electrical impulses

22/11/2016

It happens about 1,800 times per year: after a sporting or traffic-related accident, a person’s spinal cord is injured to where nerve tracts are severed and he/she becomes paralyzed. Researchers now want to develop software that measures the brain signals of paralyzed patients and sends out electrical impulses via a system to stimulate muscles, causing them to move again.
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Image: Closed eyes of a patient. Electrodes are attached above the eyebrows; Copyright: savir-center.com

Electrical Stimulation: Using Electrical Pulses to Combat Blindness

22/07/2016

Millions of people all over the world suffer from partial blindness – caused by glaucoma, a stroke or traumatic brain injury. For years, the loss of vision was deemed irreversible. But now a new treatment makes it possible to improve eyesight and vision.
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Photo: laboratory mouse eating something

Multiple Sclerosis: does the colon affect the immune system?

01/12/2015

Multiple sclerosis apparently can strike anyone - regardless of age, family history, lifestyle or gender. Yet why then does it not strike everyone? Genetic and environmental factors appear not to be the only reason whether it develops or not. The countless microorganisms that colonize our intestinal tract could also be involved in this.
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ECG measurements: "Our chest strap moistens itself"

01/07/2015

When measuring myocardial activity, it is important for the skin to always stay moist under the electrodes of the ECG. Only then can data be consistently transferred. Athletes have an easier time with this: they are used to sweating. This is a lot harder for older patients.
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Graphic: human sacrum

"Neuromonitoring during lesser pelvis surgery is still uncharted territory"

08/05/2015

The bowel is surrounded by a dense plexus of nervous tissue that presents problems for surgeons. On the one hand, it is difficult to distinguish from the surrounding tissue; while on the other hand, sometimes portions of it need to be removed when parts of the colon are removed. Yet injuring these nerves can result in permanent damage.
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Making Your Own End-of-Life Decisions: “All options of palliative care, pain management and continued life need to have been explained to the patient“

01/12/2014

How does a physician handle a patient, who wants to die and what rights do I actually have as a patient? Legal practitioners do not automatically answer these and other questions. We talked about this subject with MD-PhD Ralf Jox from the Institute of Ethics, History and Theory of Medicine at the Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich, Germany.
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Persistent vegetative state: brain stimulation with laser beams

01/09/2014

The public only notices diseases when celebrities become patients: in the spring of 2014, Formula One driver Michael Schumacher fell into a coma for several months as the result of a head injury caused by a skiing accident. These types of accidents show how delicate the brain responds to injuries. Brain stimulation could possibly support the rehabilitation of vegetative patients.
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Diagnosing Parkinson's: the skin is revealing

01/07/2014

In patients with Parkinson's, neural cells in the brain die off that produce the neurotransmitter dopamine. Certain physical symptoms that can indicate the disease follow years later. But a reliable diagnosis can only be made through examination of the brain after the patient's death, and not during his lifetime.
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