Scientists Regrow Damaged Nerve Cells in Rats

In an amazing new discovery (ScienceDaily), Researchers at Johns Hopkins and the University of Michigan have been able to regrow damaged nerve cells in lab rats. The researchers used an enzyme called sialidase from bacteria to treat the rats’ spinal cords.

There is hope that the proceedure will also work on other types of spinal cord injuries.
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Twofer of Machine/Brain Interfaces

The ever quickening pace of technology is leading to more and more good news! The first bit is a great story from New Scientist.

cyborg illustration by Renegade Zen

A man named Matt Nagle controls a computer cursor by ‘thinking’ about it much like you would ‘think’ about moving your arm, despite being totally paralyzed. A brain implant the size of a pill with 96 electrodes allows the man to control the computer or a robotic arm through a system developed by the company Cyberkinetics.

The second bit of good neuroscience news comes from Wired magazine, and is all about a wild new DARPA project called the “cortically coupled computer vision system” or C3 Vision. The system uses an electrode cap to pick up the ‘aha!’ signal that your brain generates when it sees something interesting. As images flicker past the user, the ones that generate the ‘aha!’ signal are saved for later inspection by the user.

There are many commercial applications in military and law enforcement/security sectors, but one could imagine all sorts of other novel uses for the technology such as culling good designs from bad ones.

Readers of TAG will remember the story last month about Japan’s bionic hand

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