neurosciencestuff
neurosciencestuff:

People with tinnitus process emotions differently from their peers
Patients with persistent ringing in the ears – a condition known as tinnitus – process emotions differently in the brain from those with normal hearing, researchers report in the journal Brain Research.
Tinnitus afflicts 50 million people in the United States, according to the American Tinnitus Association, and causes those with the condition to hear noises that aren’t really there. These phantom sounds are not speech, but rather whooshing noises, train whistles, cricket noises or whines. Their severity often varies day to day.
University of Illinois speech and hearing science professor Fatima Husain, who led the study, said previous studies showed that tinnitus is associated with increased stress, anxiety, irritability and depression, all of which are affiliated with the brain’s emotional processing systems.
“Obviously, when you hear annoying noises constantly that you can’t control, it may affect your emotional processing systems,” Husain said. “But when I looked at experimental work done on tinnitus and emotional processing, especially brain imaging work, there hadn’t been much research published.”
She decided to use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) brain scans to better understand how tinnitus affects the brain’s ability to process emotions. These scans show the areas of the brain that are active in response to stimulation, based upon blood flow to those areas.
Three groups of participants were used in the study: people with mild-to-moderate hearing loss and mild tinnitus; people with mild-to-moderate hearing loss without tinnitus; and a control group of age-matched people without hearing loss or tinnitus. Each person was put in an fMRI machine and listened to a standardized set of 30 pleasant, 30 unpleasant and 30 emotionally neutral sounds (for example, a baby laughing, a woman screaming and a water bottle opening). The participants pressed a button to categorize each sound as pleasant, unpleasant or neutral.
The tinnitus and normal-hearing groups responded more quickly to emotion-inducing sounds than to neutral sounds, while patients with hearing loss had a similar response time to each category of sound. Over all, the tinnitus group’s reaction times were slower than the reaction times of those with normal hearing.
Activity in the amygdala, a brain region associated with emotional processing, was lower in the tinnitus and hearing-loss patients than in people with normal hearing. Tinnitus patients also showed more activity than normal-hearing people in two other brain regions associated with emotion, the parahippocampus and the insula. The findings surprised Husain.
“We thought that because people with tinnitus constantly hear a bothersome, unpleasant stimulus, they would have an even higher amount of activity in the amygdala when hearing these sounds, but it was lesser,” she said. “Because they’ve had to adjust to the sound, some plasticity in the brain has occurred. They have had to reduce this amygdala activity and reroute it to other parts of the brain because the amygdala cannot be active all the time due to this annoying sound.”
Because of the sheer number of people who suffer from tinnitus in the United States, a group that includes many combat veterans, Husain hopes her group’s future research will be able to increase tinnitus patients’ quality of life.
“It’s a communication issue and a quality-of-life issue,” she said. “We want to know how we can get better in the clinical realm. Audiologists and clinicians are aware that tinnitus affects emotional aspects, too, and we want to make them aware that these effects are occurring so they can better help their patients.”

neurosciencestuff:

People with tinnitus process emotions differently from their peers

Patients with persistent ringing in the ears – a condition known as tinnitus – process emotions differently in the brain from those with normal hearing, researchers report in the journal Brain Research.

Tinnitus afflicts 50 million people in the United States, according to the American Tinnitus Association, and causes those with the condition to hear noises that aren’t really there. These phantom sounds are not speech, but rather whooshing noises, train whistles, cricket noises or whines. Their severity often varies day to day.

University of Illinois speech and hearing science professor Fatima Husain, who led the study, said previous studies showed that tinnitus is associated with increased stress, anxiety, irritability and depression, all of which are affiliated with the brain’s emotional processing systems.

“Obviously, when you hear annoying noises constantly that you can’t control, it may affect your emotional processing systems,” Husain said. “But when I looked at experimental work done on tinnitus and emotional processing, especially brain imaging work, there hadn’t been much research published.”

She decided to use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) brain scans to better understand how tinnitus affects the brain’s ability to process emotions. These scans show the areas of the brain that are active in response to stimulation, based upon blood flow to those areas.

Three groups of participants were used in the study: people with mild-to-moderate hearing loss and mild tinnitus; people with mild-to-moderate hearing loss without tinnitus; and a control group of age-matched people without hearing loss or tinnitus. Each person was put in an fMRI machine and listened to a standardized set of 30 pleasant, 30 unpleasant and 30 emotionally neutral sounds (for example, a baby laughing, a woman screaming and a water bottle opening). The participants pressed a button to categorize each sound as pleasant, unpleasant or neutral.

The tinnitus and normal-hearing groups responded more quickly to emotion-inducing sounds than to neutral sounds, while patients with hearing loss had a similar response time to each category of sound. Over all, the tinnitus group’s reaction times were slower than the reaction times of those with normal hearing.

Activity in the amygdala, a brain region associated with emotional processing, was lower in the tinnitus and hearing-loss patients than in people with normal hearing. Tinnitus patients also showed more activity than normal-hearing people in two other brain regions associated with emotion, the parahippocampus and the insula. The findings surprised Husain.

“We thought that because people with tinnitus constantly hear a bothersome, unpleasant stimulus, they would have an even higher amount of activity in the amygdala when hearing these sounds, but it was lesser,” she said. “Because they’ve had to adjust to the sound, some plasticity in the brain has occurred. They have had to reduce this amygdala activity and reroute it to other parts of the brain because the amygdala cannot be active all the time due to this annoying sound.”

Because of the sheer number of people who suffer from tinnitus in the United States, a group that includes many combat veterans, Husain hopes her group’s future research will be able to increase tinnitus patients’ quality of life.

“It’s a communication issue and a quality-of-life issue,” she said. “We want to know how we can get better in the clinical realm. Audiologists and clinicians are aware that tinnitus affects emotional aspects, too, and we want to make them aware that these effects are occurring so they can better help their patients.”

neurosciencestuff

neurosciencestuff:

New Device Allows Brain To Bypass Spinal Cord, Move Paralyzed Limbs

For the first time ever, a paralyzed man can move his fingers and hand with his own thoughts thanks to an innovative partnership between The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and Battelle.

Ian Burkhart, a 23-year-old quadriplegic from Dublin, Ohio, is the first patient to use Neurobridge, an electronic neural bypass for spinal cord injuries that reconnects the brain directly to muscles, allowing voluntary and functional control of a paralyzed limb. Burkhart is the first of a potential five participants in a clinical study.

“It’s much like a heart bypass, but instead of bypassing blood, we’re actually bypassing electrical signals,” said Chad Bouton, research leader at Battelle. “We’re taking those signals from the brain, going around the injury, and actually going directly to the muscles.”

The Neurobridge technology combines algorithms that learn and decode the user’s brain activity and a high-definition muscle stimulation sleeve that translates neural impulses from the brain and transmits new signals to the paralyzed limb. In this case, Ian’s brain signals bypass his injured spinal cord and move his hand, hence the name Neurobridge.

Burkhart, who was paralyzed four years ago during a diving accident, viewed the opportunity to participate in the six-month, FDA-approved clinical trial at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center as a chance to help others with spinal cord injuries.

“Initially, it piqued my interested because I like science, and it’s pretty interesting,” Burkhart said. “I’ve realized, ‘You know what? This is the way it is. You’re going to have to make the best out of it.’ You can sit and complain about it, but that’s not going to help you at all. So, you might as well work hard, do what you can and keep going on with life.” 

This technology has been a long time in the making. Working on the internally-funded project for nearly a decade to develop the algorithms, software and stimulation sleeve, Battelle scientists first recorded neural impulses from an electrode array implanted in a paralyzed person’s brain. They used that data to illustrate the device’s effect on the patient and prove the concept.

Two years ago, Bouton and his team began collaborating with Ohio State neuroscience researchers and clinicians Dr. Ali Rezai and Dr. Jerry Mysiw to design the clinical trials and validate the feasibility of using the Neurobridge technology in patients.

During a three-hour surgery on April 22, Rezai implanted a chip smaller than a pea onto the motor cortex of Burkhart’s brain. The tiny chip interprets brain signals and sends them to a computer, which recodes and sends them to the high-definition electrode stimulation sleeve that stimulates the proper muscles to execute his desired movements. Within a tenth of a second, Burkhart’s thoughts are translated into action.

“The surgery required the precise implantation of the micro-chip sensor in the area of Ian’s brain that controls his arm and hand movements,” Rezai said. 

He said this technology may one day help patients affected by various brain and spinal cord injuries such as strokes and traumatic brain injury.

Battelle also developed a non-invasive neurostimulation technology in the form of a wearable sleeve that allows for precise activation of small muscle segments in the arm to enable individual finger movement, along with software that forms a ‘virtual spinal cord’ to allow for coordination of dynamic hand and wrist movements.

The Ohio State and Battelle teams worked together to figure out the correct sequence of electrodes to stimulate to allow Burkhart to move his fingers and hand functionally. For example, Burkhart uses different brain signals and muscles to rotate his hand, make a fist or pinch his fingers together to grasp an object, Mysiw said. As part of the study, Burkhart worked for months using the electrode sleeve to stimulate his forearm to rebuild his atrophied muscles so they would be more responsive to the electric stimulation.

“I’ve been doing rehabilitation for a lot of years, and this is a tremendous stride forward in what we can offer these people,” said Mysiw, chair of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Ohio State. “Now we’re examining human-machine interfaces and interactions, and how that type of technology can help.”  

Burkhart is hopeful for his future.

“It’s definitely great for me to be as young as I am when I was injured because the advancements in science and technology are growing rapidly and they’re only going to continue to increase.”

personalfactory

personalfactory:

Arup Develops 3D Printing Technique for Structural Steel ~ archdaily.com

A team lead by Arup has developed a method of designing and 3D Printing  joints which will significantly reduce the time and cost needed to make complex nodes in tensile structures. Their research is being touted as “a whole new direction for the use of additive manufacturing” which provides a way of taking “firmly into the realm of real-world, hard hat construction.”

neurosciencestuff
neurosciencestuff:

Electrical stimulation of brain alters dreams
Nighttime dreams in which you show up at work naked, encounter an ax-wielding psychopath or experience other tribulations may become a thing of the past thanks to a discovery reported on Sunday.
Applying electrical current to the brain, according to a study published online in Nature Neuroscience, induces “lucid dreaming,” in which the dreamer is aware that he is dreaming and can often gain control of the ongoing plot.
The findings are the first to show that inducing brain waves of a specific frequency produces lucid dreaming.
Read more

neurosciencestuff:

Electrical stimulation of brain alters dreams

Nighttime dreams in which you show up at work naked, encounter an ax-wielding psychopath or experience other tribulations may become a thing of the past thanks to a discovery reported on Sunday.

Applying electrical current to the brain, according to a study published online in Nature Neuroscience, induces “lucid dreaming,” in which the dreamer is aware that he is dreaming and can often gain control of the ongoing plot.

The findings are the first to show that inducing brain waves of a specific frequency produces lucid dreaming.

Read more

vicemag
vicemag:

RIP HR Giger
Today it was announced that Swiss surrealist HR Giger, who designed the monster and sets for Alien, has died at the age of 74. Back in 2009, VICE paid him a visit in his house in Zurich and talked to him about his life, inspiration, and work. You can read the interview below.
HR Giger, regardless of how many museum or galleries he fills with volumes of his other work, will almost certainly go down in history as that strange Swiss guy behind the Alienmovie. During the 1970s, Giger produced a book called Necronomicon, which established him as the foremost fantastical artist at the time. Salvador Dali was so impressed by his work that he invited him over to Spain for a visit and stole Giger’s girlfriend in the process.In the 1980s, Giger got involved in the movies and got an Oscar for his work on Alien, but after a couple of awful cinematic collaborations in the 1990s he pretty much disappeared to everyone except the goths and metalheads raiding his back catalogue for tattoos.
He’s 69 now. Loathed by feminists and obscenity sticklers, Giger, the one-time king of darkness and the person Ridley Scott confessed to being petrified of meeting, is now no more scary than a grumpy old neighbor. He wears Crocs. He potters around the garden, mumbles to the cat, drops himself in front of the tube for the afternoon, and cracks open a bottle whenever he feels like it. His wife Carmen lives next door. Giger punched a hole through the wall to join the buildings. Giger’s side is painted black from floor to ceiling; Carmen’s, one assumes, ain’t so bad.
He divides his time between a castle in the Alps and his house in Zurich where he has a little train track running round the garden and right through the kitchen. When he sketches, he still likes to draw strange alien figures with hefty packages pinning fragile looking ladies to the floor, but his days of nightmarish visions and brutal hallucinations are over. He goes to bed at 5 AM and wakes at noon. The night before the interview, Giger had overdone it at the dinner table.

How was your fondue last night? Heavy. Oh so heavy. After, I always say, “Oh my God, why have I done that?” But it’s so good.
What are you doing with yourself these days?You know I haven’t painted since the 90s? I’m quiet now. I like watching television. I like theWire, and the Sopranos is so good.
Yesterday we met your good friend Walter Wegmüller, who helped Timothy Leary when he was on the run. He spoke about the “freaky times” back in Switzerland in the 1970s. What were they like? Ah, the freaky times. When Timothy Leary was in Switzerland, he was hoping to get asylum so he could stay here and not go back to prison in America. I was collecting signatures for him. My father was a pharmacist, you know? “What are you doing with this guy?” he asked me. It was funny. Timothy Leary was a very nice man. I didn’t meet him back then in Switzerland, but I met him later in Los Angeles when he wrote two articles for my books. They were very good and he was a very fine person.
Did you exchange ideas?Oh not much. What could I say? He was a very intelligent man with a lot of knowledge and I’m, well, I’m just an artist.
Did you ever take LSD with him?Ah, you know you can’t talk about that on record. LSD is still forbidden, so it’s not good to talk about those things.
You’ve said before that much of the inspiration for your art comes from dreams, and more specifically nightmares?Everyone always wants to know about my dreams. The inspiration is mostly from literature actually. I have read so many things that have inspired me. Beckett was very much an inspiration for me. His theater, especially. I made paintings as a homage to Samuel Beckett [Homage to S. Beckett I,II,III]. They were some of the very few colored paintings I’ve done.
Continue

vicemag:

RIP HR Giger

Today it was announced that Swiss surrealist HR Giger, who designed the monster and sets for Alien, has died at the age of 74. Back in 2009, VICE paid him a visit in his house in Zurich and talked to him about his life, inspiration, and work. You can read the interview below.

HR Giger, regardless of how many museum or galleries he fills with volumes of his other work, will almost certainly go down in history as that strange Swiss guy behind the Alienmovie. During the 1970s, Giger produced a book called Necronomicon, which established him as the foremost fantastical artist at the time. Salvador Dali was so impressed by his work that he invited him over to Spain for a visit and stole Giger’s girlfriend in the process.

In the 1980s, Giger got involved in the movies and got an Oscar for his work on Alien, but after a couple of awful cinematic collaborations in the 1990s he pretty much disappeared to everyone except the goths and metalheads raiding his back catalogue for tattoos.

He’s 69 now. Loathed by feminists and obscenity sticklers, Giger, the one-time king of darkness and the person Ridley Scott confessed to being petrified of meeting, is now no more scary than a grumpy old neighbor. He wears Crocs. He potters around the garden, mumbles to the cat, drops himself in front of the tube for the afternoon, and cracks open a bottle whenever he feels like it. His wife Carmen lives next door. Giger punched a hole through the wall to join the buildings. Giger’s side is painted black from floor to ceiling; Carmen’s, one assumes, ain’t so bad.

He divides his time between a castle in the Alps and his house in Zurich where he has a little train track running round the garden and right through the kitchen. When he sketches, he still likes to draw strange alien figures with hefty packages pinning fragile looking ladies to the floor, but his days of nightmarish visions and brutal hallucinations are over. He goes to bed at 5 AM and wakes at noon. The night before the interview, Giger had overdone it at the dinner table.

How was your fondue last night? 
Heavy. Oh so heavy. After, I always say, “Oh my God, why have I done that?” But it’s so good.

What are you doing with yourself these days?
You know I haven’t painted since the 90s? I’m quiet now. I like watching television. I like theWire, and the Sopranos is so good.

Yesterday we met your good friend Walter Wegmüller, who helped Timothy Leary when he was on the run. He spoke about the “freaky times” back in Switzerland in the 1970s. What were they like? 
Ah, the freaky times. When Timothy Leary was in Switzerland, he was hoping to get asylum so he could stay here and not go back to prison in America. I was collecting signatures for him. My father was a pharmacist, you know? “What are you doing with this guy?” he asked me. It was funny. Timothy Leary was a very nice man. I didn’t meet him back then in Switzerland, but I met him later in Los Angeles when he wrote two articles for my books. They were very good and he was a very fine person.

Did you exchange ideas?
Oh not much. What could I say? He was a very intelligent man with a lot of knowledge and I’m, well, I’m just an artist.

Did you ever take LSD with him?
Ah, you know you can’t talk about that on record. LSD is still forbidden, so it’s not good to talk about those things.

You’ve said before that much of the inspiration for your art comes from dreams, and more specifically nightmares?
Everyone always wants to know about my dreams. The inspiration is mostly from literature actually. I have read so many things that have inspired me. Beckett was very much an inspiration for me. His theater, especially. I made paintings as a homage to Samuel Beckett [Homage to S. Beckett I,II,III]. They were some of the very few colored paintings I’ve done.

Continue