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BrainFacts.org

Introduction

Might researchers one day design prosthetic limbs that respond to the brain’s signals? Will brain scans someday allow researchers to read a person’s thoughts? Recent advances in neuroscience are spurring the development of technology to address long-standing challenges. And the development of new technologies — such as ways to trace connections between our 100 billion nerve cells, decode activity patterns in neural circuits, and turn cells on and off with light — are guiding scientists to new understanding of the brain and nervous system. New technologies also aim to improve doctors’ abilities to diagnose neurological or psychiatric illness earlier and expand treatment options for people with brain disease or injury. For instance, therapies aimed at identifying and replacing defective genes or nerve cells are currently being tested. With each discovery, scientists uncover new details about brain function and how it differs in health and disease.

Discoveries

Source: Society for Neuroscience
Scientists are using color to visualize neurons and build better maps of the brain.
Source: Society for Neuroscience
Techniques that increase the resolution of microscopes are revolutionizing the ability to peer at brain structures in ever-increasing detail.
Source: Dana Foundation
The cochlear implant is a near-miraculous device, widely considered the most effective brain-machine interface technology yet developed. Now, researchers are working to make this very good implant even better.

Technologies in the News

Source: The Guardian
Date: 15 Jan 2015

A new method allows researchers to visualize brain tissue at the nanoscale using ordinary light microscopes.

Source: MIT Technology Review
Date: 14 Jan 2015
A wireless transmitter could give paralyzed people a practical way to control TVs, computers, or wheelchairs with their thoughts.
Source: NPR Shots Blog
Date: 7 Jan 2015
Brain imaging can help researchers tell if people are more likely to be able to quit smoking or have trouble with reading. But those tests aren't yet ready for the doctor's office or classroom.
Search for a researcher with Find a Neuroscientist.