Probing Brain’s Depth, Trying to Aid Memory

The Department of Defense on Tuesday announced a $40 million investment in what has become the fastest-moving branch of neuroscience: direct brain recording. Two centers, one at the University of Pennsylvania and the other at the University of California, Los Angeles, won contracts to develop brain implants for memory deficits. Their aim is to develop new treatments for traumatic brain injury, the signature wound of the wars in Iraq and in Afghanistan. Its most devastating symptom is the blunting of memory and reasoning. Scientists have found in preliminary studies that they can sharpen some kinds of memory by directly recording, and stimulating, circuits deep in the brain. Unlike brain imaging, direct brain recording allows scientists to conduct experiments while listening to the brain’s internal dialogue in real time, using epilepsy patients like Ralph or people with Parkinson’s disease as active collaborators.

Brain regions ‘tune’ activity to enable attention

Attention deficits in brain injury have been thought of as a loss of the resources needed to concentrate on a task. However, this study shows that temporal alignment of responses in different brain areas is also a very important mechanism that contributes to attention and could be impaired by brain injury.

Surgeons Explore New Treatment For Tourette Syndrome

A neurosurgical team at University Hospitals of Cleveland (UHC) has, for the first time in North America, applied a new surgical approach to the treatment of Tourette syndrome, resulting in the immediate and nearly complete resolution of symptoms for the patient, who has suffered from this neurologic disorder since he was a child.