science
Shady Stem Cell Therapies Can Cause Tumours, Infections, and Death, Doctors Report

A team of neurologists are raising a red flag over risky and unproven stem cell therapies. Their new study suggests that their fellow doctors are frequently asked about these controversial procedures by desperate patients. Many doctors are also seeing patients with serious complications from stem cell therapy, including seizures, infections, and spinal tumours. Read More >>

science
This Man Sees Numbers as Squiggles

A man’s baffling inability to see certain numerical digits might provide insight into how our brains work. According to the scientists who have studied him, the nature of his condition – which makes him see spaghetti-like shapes in place of the numbers 2 through 9 – suggests that our brains can recognise complex concepts such as numbers before we’re consciously aware of them. Read More >>

science
Researchers Control Monkeys’ Decisions With Bursts of Ultrasonic Waves

High-frequency sound waves aimed at specific brain regions can influence monkey behaviour, according to a new study. The finding complicates our conceptions of free will, but this research could yield new insights into the brain and new treatments for disorders such as addiction. Read More >>

science
Study Shows How Our Brains Replay Recent Experiences During Sleep

While we sleep, our brains are busy organising fresh memories into long-term storage – or at least, that’s the theory. Intriguing new research is bolstering this assertion, with evidence that our brains replay the day’s experiences during sleep, in what is an integral part of the memory-storage process. Read More >>

science
Anaesthetised Monkeys Wake Up Instantly When Researchers Stimulate Brain Region Linked to Consciousness

By prodding a tiny brain region linked to consciousness, scientists caused anaesthetised monkeys to suddenly become awake and alert. This fascinating result is providing new clues about the brain and how it produces conscious awareness – insights that could potentially lead to therapies for patients trapped in a coma. Read More >>

science
We Finally Know Why This 2,600-Year-Old Human Brain Is So Freakishly Well-Preserved

An Iron Age human skull found in 2008 contained an unprecedented amount of preserved brain material, a discovery that has confounded scientists for over a decade. New research finally explains why this brain resisted decay for thousands of years. Read More >>

ai
During Brain Surgery, This AI Can Diagnose a Tumour in 2 Minutes

Expert human pathologists typically require around 30 minutes to diagnose brain tumours from tissue samples extracted during surgery. A new artificially intelligent system can do it in less than 150 seconds – and it does so more accurately than its human counterparts. Read More >>

science
Neuroscientists Discover New Kind of Signal in the Human Brain

Scientists have uncovered a new kind of electrical process in the human brain that could play a key role in the unique way our brains compute. Read More >>

science
Remarkable Scans Show How the Human Brain Rewires Itself After Half Is Removed

In rare cases, patients suffering from severe epilepsy undergo an operation in which an entire brain hemisphere is removed. New research shows the startling degree to which the remaining hemisphere is able to pick up the slack. Read More >>

science
New Brain-Wave Study Shows How DMT Alters Our Consciousness

Scientists have completed the first ever placebo-controlled investigation of the effects of the hallucinogen DMT on resting brain activity, according to a new study. Read More >>

science
What Causes Foggy Brain?

If you’re like me, you can barely read this paragraph right now. I’m amazed I’m even capable of writing it. Most of us suffering from brain fog can recall a time, perhaps illusory, when setting and achieving goals was simple, more or less – when the main impediments to accomplishment, or simply making breakfast, were external to ourselves. We wonder: how did it happen? Is it ageing, or luck, or diet, or what? Can it be reversed? For this week’s Giz Asks, we reached out to a number of experts to find out. Read More >>

science
Scientists Use Lab-Grown Brains to Study What Makes Us Human

Researchers are growing human, ape, and monkey brain tissue in the lab in order to understand what makes us different. Human brains are clearly unique in some way, given that we’re the only animal that can make and post memes online and fly into space. But questions still surround why we’re different from our close relatives, the other great apes, and it’s difficult to access the brain tissue needed to study these differences. One team of scientists hopes to explore the subject in a way that only humans can: with the help of genetic sequencing and organoids, miniature organs grown from stem cells in petri dishes. Read More >>

memory
Can You Forget Things on Purpose?

Memory’s ungovernable, a ceaseless shaming pain: you’re either scrambling to retrieve it (rooting around for keys, or the name of some acquaintance) or you’re scrambling away from it, wishing it wouldn’t toss up, for the seven hundredth time, this or that miserable incident (deaths, bad dates, awkward elevator talk, trauma beyond the scope and tone of this parenthetical, etc.). Eternal Sunshine posited a medical remedy for this latter scourge – but is such a thing actually possible, outside of twee pseudo-indie movies from the early aughts? Can you actually forget things on purpose? For this week’s Giz Asks, we reached out a number of psychologists with different viewpoints to find out. Read More >>

science
Vocal Tract Simulator Translates a Person’s Brain Activity Into Clear Sentences

By capturing brain signals associated with the mechanical aspects of speaking, such as movements of the jaw, lips and tongue, researchers have created a virtual, computer-based vocal tract capable of intelligible speech. The system could eventually be used by people who have lost the capacity to speak. Read More >>

science
Blind People Really Do Have More Sensitive Hearing, MRI Study Finds

A new study out Monday suggests that losing your sight early in life can lead to subtle alterations in the brain circuitry primarily responsible for hearing Read More >>