Recreating the images of the mind

On “Back to the future” day, October 21st, 2015, Luís Seoane, member of the Complex Systems Lab at the IBE (UPF-CSIC) led by Ricard Solé, wrote a blog post called “Images of the mind”. In it, he discusses how much technology has advanced in the last 30 years. Our present is not quite the ‘future’ of the characters of the film directed by Robert Zemeckis, produced by Steven Spielberg and starring Michael J. Fox. But we have gone a long way. In this post, Seoane focuses on Brain Computer Interfaces, which are bringing back motility and communication to injured patients, and on which he himself has worked prior … Continue reading Recreating the images of the mind

Interdisciplinary conference on neural engineering at the PRBB this September

Next 21-23 September 2015 an International Conference on System Level Approaches to Neural Engineering (ICSLANE) will take place at the PRBB. Organised by the Neural Engineering Transformative Technologies (NETT) Consortium, the conference presents an outstanding list of invited speakers. Maciek Jedynak and Alessandro Barardi, both research fellows at the Jordi Garcia-Ojalvo group (CEXS-UPF), and local organisers of this exciting conference, tell us a bit more about it. ————- Neural Engineering is an inherently new discipline that brings together engineering, physics, neuroscience and mathematics to design and develop brain-computer interface systems, cognitive computers and neural prosthetics. Neural Engineering Transformative Technologies (NETT) is a Europe-wide consortium of … Continue reading Interdisciplinary conference on neural engineering at the PRBB this September

Changes in the brain in patients with ADHD

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder ADHD involves robust alterations in the cortical cerebral mantle, as shown in a recent article by Òscar Vilarroya and colleagues from the Neuroimaging Research Group at the IMIM-Hospital del Mar. These alterations are most prominent in brain regions involved in attention processing, and are more common in the childhood form of the disorder than in the adult one. ADHD is a psychiatric and neurobehavioral disorder characterized by either significant difficulties of inattention or hyperactivity and impulsiveness or a combination of the two. Although it was initially regarded as a disorder exclusive to childhood – affecting about 3 to 5 percent of children globally -, nowadays its prevalence in adulthood is … Continue reading Changes in the brain in patients with ADHD

“Memory is built on concept neurones”

So, here’s the interview to Rodrigo Quian Quiroga, who came recently to give a talk at the PRBB. The title “The Jenifer Anniston neurone” was interesting… the content was much more so! This interview was published in the PRBB monthly newspaper, Ellipse. You can also read an earlier post about his talk here. Figuring out how the brain works is the obsession of Rodrigo Quian, professor at the University of Leicester (UK). This challenge led him to apply his physics training and a PhD in maths to neuroscience. With the discovery of the “Jennifer Aniston neurone”, or concept cells, it … Continue reading “Memory is built on concept neurones”

Effects of chemical exposure and social environment on the developing brain

The developing brain is exceptionally sensitive to environmental influences, and two recent papers lead by scientists at the CREAL have analysed the effect of several variables – chemical exposure and social environment – in neurodevelopment of infants. In the specific cases studied, the effect didn’t seem to be very substantial. One of the articles was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, and it focuses on the potential effect of prenatal exposure to mercury, since it is known that vulnerability of the central nervous system to this metal is increased during early development. The scientists examined 1,683 children who are … Continue reading Effects of chemical exposure and social environment on the developing brain

“Alzheimer’s is the price we pay for a life of thinking” – Ageing brain research group of the CEXS-UPF

All four of the PhD students in the ageing brain research group of the CEXS-UPF studied biology at the UPF. “It is our direct source of students!”, says Paco Muñoz López, head of the group and professor at that university. A postdoctoral researcher completes the group, which focuses on nitro-oxidative stress and its link to Alzheimer’s disease. “The most important risk factor in Alzheimer’s disease is age –says Muñoz–. About 10% of the population over 65 suffer Alzheimer’s, but the percentage goes up to 50% in over 80 year-olds. I think it’s just the price to pay for a life … Continue reading “Alzheimer’s is the price we pay for a life of thinking” – Ageing brain research group of the CEXS-UPF