What are Computational and Systems Neuroscience?

One of the fundamental questions motivating neuroscientists is to understand the relationship between brain activity and lived experience: how the different parts of the brain work together to produce the key ingredients for behavior: memory, feeling, thinking and imagination. These motivating issues have been pretty much inaccessible for most of the history of neuroscience, because we could not observe very much of the brain in action in enough detail to identify individual circuits or on the time scale on which they work. That is starting to change.

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Posted in by Mark Reimers, Technologies
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Listening with Light:  Deaf Can Hear Using Lasers

Cochlear implants have restored hearing to thousands of deaf people, but what about when deafness is caused by a damaged cochlea or nonfunctional auditory nerve?  A possible solution is to bypass the cochlea and stimulate the brain directly.  Scientists are developing a new technology that uses laser light instead of electricity to stimulate brain cells to restore hearing.

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Posted in Animal Research, by Douglas Fields, Neural Network Function, Senses and Perception, Uncategorized
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Begging for Food from Mr. President and the First Lady

No, not that President!  Thousands of people are captivated by the live video stream of a pair of bald eagles, named Mr. President and The First Lady, nesting on top of a Tulip Poplar tree at the U.S. National Arboretum.  The reality peek into the life of a pair of breeding eagles, together with new research just published in the journal Nature Communications, show how parents decide which of their hungry chick gets fed.  Begging is important, but sometimes begging is ignored and the parents feed their favorite.  Now we know why . . .

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Posted in Animal Research, Awareness and Attention, by Douglas Fields, Sensing, Thinking & Behaving
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Zika: Ten things to know about a new public health emergency

The Zika virus is a global health threat. Despite renewed urgency because of the evidence suggesting that Zika causes birth defects, science has known of the virus for some time. It’s a deadly and debilitating virus for some newborns, so it’s important to have an accurate picture of the science behind it, the risks of infection and how it affects developing brains. Continue reading

Posted in About Neuroscience, Animal Research, Awareness and Attention, Brain Development, by Dwayne Godwin, Childhood, Childhood Disorders, Neuroethics, Policymakers, Pregnancy and Parenting, Press
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How the Neurotoxin in Dungeness Crab Causes Brain Damage

The California Fish and Game Commission has banned crab fishing until further notice after detecting high levels of a neurotoxin in Dungeness and rock crabs. The toxin, domoic acid, is produced by certain types of planktonic algae, and it becomes concentrated in tissue of crabs and other marine organisms during plankton blooms. People who consume sufficient quantities of the toxin develop amnesic shellfish poisoning, so named because it kills neurons in a part of the brain that is critical for memory. Here’s how it works.

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Posted in Animal Research, by Douglas Fields, Cell Communication, Chemicals, Diet and Exercise, Diseases & Disorders, Epilepsy, Learning and Memory, Policymakers, Uncategorized
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