Thursday, January 31, 2008

Reverse Memory Loss

More brain stuffs.

Scientists performing experimental brain surgery on a man aged 50 have stumbled across a mechanism that could unlock how memory works.

The accidental breakthrough came during an experiment originally intended to suppress the obese man's appetite, using the increasingly successful technique of deep-brain stimulation. Electrodes were pushed into the man's brain and stimulated with an electric current. Instead of losing appetite, the patient instead had an intense experience of déjà vu. He recalled, in intricate detail, a scene from 30 years earlier. More tests showed his ability to learn was dramatically improved when the current was switched on and his brain stimulated.


wiki: Deep_brain_stimulation

Autism in a pill

Apparently the ability to unleash and banish the Daniel Tammet in us all is only just around the corner...

Over the past year, researchers have demonstrated several times that they can turn mice autistic by messing with brain chemistry -- and then "cure" them using the same techniques. The discoveries could lead to a scenario similar to the one in Vernor Vinge's novel A Deepness in the Sky, where people are given a brain treatment called "focusing" that essentially turns them autistic and makes them obsessive, detail-oriented workers.

It might also lead to recreational autism, where people who want to take a break from having messy emotions about other people decide to unplug and enter a state where human relationships are no more important than inanimate objects.

Read about how scientists can induce autism [PNAS] and how they can cure it [BBC News].


Daniel's blog:

Friday, January 25, 2008

Australian girl switches bloodtype after liver transplant

An Australian girl spontaneously changed blood groups and adopted her donor's immune system after a liver transplant, in what doctors treating her said Thursday was the first known case of its type...

"It is extremely unusual -- in fact we don't know of any other instance in which this happened," Stormon told AFP from the Children's Hospital at Westmead.

"In effect she had had a bone marrow transplant. The majority of her immune system had also switched over to that of the donor."

An article on the case was published in Thursday's edition of the leading US medical journal The New England Journal of Medicine.

Weed via ATM only in LA