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Ceturtdiena 30.03.2017 | Name days: Nanija, Ilgmārs, Igmārs

Revolutionary neuroscience research that could potentially improve human life

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUWhat we experience nowadays is true revolution in the field of neuroscience. More than 40 thousand scientists around the globe continue uncovering new secrets of the human brain. They are certain technology can help dive deeper into the brain and reveal even more secrets that will make the lives of humans better, healthier, happier and longer.

«Brains are a fascinating mechanism that requires certainty that the thing its owner thinks of is realistic. It is the belief in the possibility of finding a cure and prolonging one’s life that sometimes keeps people in the land of the living,» – says medicine specialist, founder and owner of RigaBrain Training Centre Peteris Urtans.

He predicts that the next decade will bring about more brain research breakthroughs.

National Geographic has compiled a list of research endeavours that can potentially improve lives for everyone:

Is free will only an illusion?

How many of the things we do are dictated by sub-conscious processes? Using cutting-edge technologies, neuroscientist John Dylan Haynes of Berlin Center for Advanced Neuroimaging has discovered that we make our decisions ten seconds before they end up in our consciousness. He has carries out experiments to prove just how much our consciousness dictates our actions. The objective of his experiments is to prove if there really is a thing called free will.

On/off switch for consciousness

In 2014, George Washington University’s neuroscientist Mohamad Koubeissi announced a shocking discovery. According to his research humans have a sort of on/off switch for consciousness. This switch is located in a small portion of the brain called the claustrum. Now the scientist plans to check if it is possible to use this switch to help people with epilepsy or even bring people back from a state of coma by stimulating that area of the brain. If this experiment proves successful, it will mark a revolutionary turn in our understanding of human consciousness and help develop treatment for thousands of people trapped in their own body.

Artificial memory

Steve Ramirez, expert of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has carried out experiments that show the possibility of rewriting human memories from the outside. Ramirez and his colleague had carried out successful experiments with mice at the end of last year. It turns out that it is possible to turn painful or tragic memories into happy ones by implanting fake memories in the brain. This brings a new era for memory research. It is now possible that some day it will be possible to create medicine to treat depression, post-traumatic stress and Alzheimer’s disease.

However, this research also brings the question: if memories can be manipulated, what does the past mean for a person? If we can erase our bad memories and replace them with happy ones, what does it mean for our true self? Memories are part of who we are.

Innovative MRA machine

33 years ago, American scientist John Shanks helped create the first ever magnetic resonance chamber. It was so powerful, that it provided a full brain image. Shanks was the first person in the world whose brain was scanned using MRA. The now 76-year-old scientist still works in GE Laboratory, hoping to create a new and modernized MRA chamber to read the human brain even more accurately.

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