August 29, 2015
The best in neuroscience from around the web this week:
BBC News – Laser detects brain tumour cells during surgery [MEDIUM SCIENCE / MEDIUM READ]
HAIR TUMOUR REMOVAL: For the first time in Europe, surgeons have used a non-invasive laser technique to find cancerous tissue during brain surgery. The technique allows surgeons to remove abnormal tissue and spare healthy cells, and it has been touted as the future of neurosurgery.
Brain Decoder – ‘Mind Control’ Might Be Our Best Bet to Understand the Brain [MEDIUM SCIENCE / MEDIUM READ]
LET THERE BE LIGHT: Optogenetics is a neuroscience tool that lets researchers turn selected neurons on and off by flicking a light switch. It’s a powerful way to figure out how different types of neurons interact to produce behaviour, and the field is rife with exciting developments. Still, calling it ‘mind control’ might be stretching it…
New Scientist – Suicidal behaviour predicted by blood test showing gene changes [SIMPLE SCIENCE / MEDIUM READ]
SPOTTING THE SIGNS: Is it possible to predict when a person is at high risk of suicide? Researchers now believe it is—they have identified 11 genes that could be biological markers for spotting people who could be contemplating suicide. A simple questionnaire and blood test has the potential to save lives, as it would signal to doctors about patients who would benefit the most from preventative measures.
New York Times – Your Brain, Your Disease, Your Self [SIMPLE SCIENCE / MEDIUM READ]
LOSING YOUR SELF: I’ve always thought that memories make us who we are, because they guide our current and future behaviours. I still think that’s true, but in the study described here, researchers find that in people with a neurodegenerative disease, the strongest indicator of a loss of ‘self’ is an abnormal moral compass.
The Guardian – How to Optimise Your Brain’s Waste Disposal System [MEDIUM SCIENCE / MEDIUM READ]
IN DEFENSE OF SPOONS: Why do we need to sleep? Because we’re sleepy. But probably also because it helps consolidate our memories, and helps the brain get rid of waste products. New research now suggests that the position we sleep in affects how well the brain cleanses itself, with sleeping on your side working best, at least for rats.