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Brain Pacemaker Helps Treat Alzheimer's Disease

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the remember-this dept.

Medicine 62

First time accepted submitter Press2ToContinue writes "Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is the use of a pacemaker-like device implanted in the brain to treat the symptoms of diseases like Parkinson's, or other maladies such as depression. For the first time in the US, surgeons at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland have used this technique to attempt to slow memory loss in a patient suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. The fornix, a vital part of the brain that brings data to the hippocampus, is being targeted with this device. Essentially, the fornix is the area of the brain that converts electrical activity into chemical activity. Holes are drilled into the skull, and wires are placed on both sides of the brain. Then, the stimulator device pumps in small and unnoticeable electrical impulses upwards of 130 times per second. Half of the patients will begin the electrical treatment two weeks post-surgery, but the other half won't have their pacemakers turned on until a full year after the surgery to provide comparison data for the study."

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Wireheads! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42233645)

Louis Gridley Wu, beware!

whatnow?? (-1, Troll)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about a year and a half ago | (#42233651)

You don't treat depression (a symptom) with electric shocks, you treat the cause (usually some traumatic stress which is ongoing). Once the cause is dealt with on a permanent basis, the brain will repair itself.

Yes, I speak as someone who tolerates constant and persistent traumatic stress, I have refused all drugs, I have refused all counselling and I am dealing with the shit myself by inflicting righteous retribution on those who wrong me. The stress fuels me.

Re:whatnow?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42233693)

and there's a good chance you'll end up with permanent brain damage from that - or that the stress isn't really that traumatic since you _can_ tolerate it.
Plenty of cases there's no fixing the thing causing the depression - especially if the cause is alzheimers or some other bug in the design of the body.

Maybe wiring your brain is a better way of going about your day than being high all the time or going on a kamikaze bombing run? huh?

Re:whatnow?? (3, Interesting)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about a year and a half ago | (#42233717)

I don't know, how traumatic is having your children stolen then one of them being told to tell his new school that his parents are dead?

Re:whatnow?? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42234227)

I have to assume you're referring to Child Protective Services or a Divorce? If it were a kidnapping, how could you possibly know that ONE(singular) of your CHILDREN(plural) were being told to "tell his new school that his parents are dead"?

If you had recovered children from a kidnapping it seems unlikely that the depression wouldn't have resolved itself. Also: suck it up you pussy! You crying to slashdot isn't any more manly than crying to a counselor. Just less effective(if that's possible).

Re:whatnow?? (4, Interesting)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about a year and a half ago | (#42235475)

CPS used fraud in a commercial tribunal to "legally" kidnap my children citing "risk of future emotional harm". I have never been arrested, charged, tried or convicted of any crime. I get to see them eight times a year for one hour at a time. IF it suits CPS to allow me to do so. It was during one of these "contact" sessions in 2010 that an unprompted disclosure was made. CPS immediately STOPPED further contact, and I had to drag their arses through a commercial tribunal to *see my own children*. I still do not have letterbox or telephone contact, nor do I even know what schools they go to, although I do know that they have been separated, and the older two are being pumped full of psychotropic drugs.

Next daft question?

Re:whatnow?? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42236149)

Considering your statements on "righteous retribution," it seems CPS was probably right to take your children away.

Having them there to see you dragged off to the pokey when whatever scheme you hatch goes wrong would doubtless be even more traumatizing. Or even worse, what about when the object of your vendetta decides you are fair game and shows up at your house (or your kids') for some retribution of their own?

Re:whatnow?? (2)

sarysaModdedArticle (2791331) | about a year and a half ago | (#42236251)

Seems more Count of Monte Cristo-esque to me. A group of people conspire against an individual under the letter of the law, and when the true victim wants to get back at them, we systematically brand the victim as evil and senseless. Though to be fair, the only affirming righteous retribution I can see is working toward fixing the system and getting justice against whoever railroaded Tastecicles.

This is a really interesting thread. I mentioned my problems elsewhere but I look like a whining baby compared to Tastecicles' problems. (my anger/hatred is directed toward someone who messed up a relationship between both me and a community of hobbyists re: something I'm passionate about, and the fallout killed an intimate relationship that was developing) So what Tastecicles is saying he's getting this: "hey, yeah, we railroaded you. Sorry you're depressed! Why don't you see our counselors and take psychotropic drugs for the rest of your life!" Ouch.

Anyway, I think Tastecicles' original post is HUGELY underrated. Everyone else (including me!) let this slip by: "We'll cure your depression by drilling holes into your brain and shocking it in regular intervals."

What. The. Fuck?!? What is this, the 1950s?

Re:whatnow?? (1)

sarysaModdedArticle (2791331) | about a year and a half ago | (#42236283)

ahem, holes into the skull, not brain. (lack of edit function) But still, quite messed up.

Re:whatnow?? (2)

SomePgmr (2021234) | about a year and a half ago | (#42236883)

I'd say we all know far too little to judge one slashdotters life situation with any real certainty.

But back on topic, EST/ECT does still work for a lot of people, and considerable work has been done to make the process less barbaric. This sounds like a very benign version of that.

Here's an interesting TED talk on severe depression and electroshock, from someone that was fortunate enough to benefit from it...

http://www.ted.com/talks/sherwin_nuland_on_electroshock_therapy.html [ted.com]

Re:whatnow?? (1)

pnutjam (523990) | about a year and a half ago | (#42244419)

Britain? Just going by your word usage. If British in the US, are they afraid you will flee the country?

Re:whatnow?? (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about a year and a half ago | (#42247387)

yep, Britain.

Re:whatnow?? (1)

pnutjam (523990) | about a year and a half ago | (#42251715)

good luck

Re:whatnow?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42234025)

The brain is still largely a mystery. If they really knew how it worked, then mind reading equipment, or things that catch images as you view them, would appear. But no, there's still very little known, and this seems a lot like the shock therapy in insane asylums practiced half a century ago.

The problem ... it's a horrible disease, for both the patient and family, and honestly, even with very small chances of success I can see why it would seem as a very attractive alternative.

I wish them luck, but I don't think that's the way to go.

Re:whatnow?? (2)

flaming error (1041742) | about a year and a half ago | (#42234525)

So it's your conviction that mitigating the effects of brain disease is not possible until we have "mind reading equipment" and optical nerve sniffer ports?

And that medical treatments involving electrical impulses are scientifically baseless and barbarian?

Re:whatnow?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42233737)

Save your macho self-reliance BS for when you go to prison after your upcoming murder spree.

It will probably serve you much better there than in society at large.

Re:whatnow?? (1, Troll)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about a year and a half ago | (#42233747)

careful, you're projecting.

Besides, there are far more satisfying methods than murder.

Re:whatnow?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42233819)

This needs to be commercialized and made interactive..

Think tv remote that can apply shock therapy to presenters on FOX News.

Re:whatnow?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42233993)

Or it could electro shock the idiots that cried about how bad Bush is, then voted a president that has done 10x worse back into office?

Re:whatnow?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42234767)

Isn't it good enough to go on FaceBook and see how badly your enemies turned out? Yeah, some do better than you but you can rest assured that they are all corrupt douche bags who will eventually get caught and do time in Federal prison.

Re:whatnow?? (2)

sarysaModdedArticle (2791331) | about a year and a half ago | (#42234887)

I was with you except the "righteous retribution" part. (I even modded you up before checking that, haha) Depression is such an abused term, seldom used for people with something chemically wrong with them. Some individuals are just terrible at letting things go -- it's always been that way and always will be. I'm one of them.

That said, when I'm wronged, the hatred for those who wronged me does fuel me -- but not for righteous retribution, but to: prove them wrong, show them up, surpass them, surpass their preconceived notions, or otherwise knock them down a couple pegs, socially speaking. Who knows, maybe you meant that when you said "righteous retribution" but you let your passion get the best of your phrasing?

BTW, I can speak about this with a recent passion, and hopefully I'll get a chance to confront the individual but otherwise (be it with choice words or indiscriminate 4 letter words), it's become much about proving this individual wrong. Regardless of what happens, it'll be a lot more therapudic than handing out C-notes to shysters like candy.

Re:whatnow?? (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year and a half ago | (#42236997)

you treat the cause (usually some traumatic stress which is ongoing)

Except that traumatic stress on its own doesn't necessarily lead to depression.

Re:whatnow?? (1)

dhomstad (1424117) | about a year and a half ago | (#42246575)

I have family who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

They treated my mother and brother the same way. Waited for a psychotic episode (proper term would be a VERY extreme mixed-state). Have family members agree the individual is a "risk to themself or others." Police bring individual to hospital. Treat individual with anti psychotics and lithium. Worked relatively well for my mother. I think she only went to the hospital 2 or 3 times. She has been holding a steady job, presumably enjoying life without depression, for many years. Constantly on medication.

They tried the same thing with my brother. Now he's pumped up on anti-psychotics and lithium. He can carry on a conversation, smile, laugh, etc, but it seems like he will never be the same. Currently he is living with my parents, without the desire to seek a job, exercise, or connect with old friends. They will switch up his anti-psychotic sometimes, maybe increase the dose. He will never be cured with this method. Some company is going to profit off his condition, and there's a group of professionals and government employees that have little incentive to seek alternative treatment.

What my brother needs is not some device implanted into his brain that gives stimulation. It's whatever unique experience my mother had, sometime in between going completely psychotic and starting to live a normal life again. They were both apprehended, drugged, and released in similar fashions. They had two very dissimilar results. Once someone finds out WHY, it will make a great difference in my family. I'm not saying that drugs can't be used, but continual treatment with antipsychotics is not treatment at all, it's harm reduction.

I realize they are treating Alzheimer's patients with this. However, if it works at reducing brain denigration in Alzheimer's patients, it wouldn't be bad to assume THEY will use it for other treatments.

What about a healthy brain (3, Interesting)

James McGuigan (852772) | about a year and a half ago | (#42233713)

Now could you use this in a happy healthy brain to become even more happy and healthy?

Re:What about a healthy brain (0)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year and a half ago | (#42233909)

Ah yes...

Someone who is depressed all the time is obviously sick, but someone who is happy all the time isnt sick.

This is the same sort of bullshit logic that labels introverts as somehow broken.

Re:What about a healthy brain (3, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year and a half ago | (#42234061)

Being introverted is different from being depressed. A very introverted person (someone who doesn't interact with the outside world) is may appear depressed to a lot of people since most humans tend to run towards the middle of the introversion / extroversion axis. Extremely extroverted people tend to be regarded as 'crazy' or some other pejorative. But said introvert can be happy and feel that life is good in that respect.

A hallmark of depression is increasing introversion - a breaking of ties to the external world, but the normative curve for introversion is pretty broad. On top of that, different societies have different tolerances for all sorts of human personality traits so it gets ... complicated.

Re:What about a healthy brain (3, Insightful)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year and a half ago | (#42234601)

Being introverted is different from being depressed.

No shit Sherlock. Doesn't defeat the point, does it?

Now tell us, why isn't someone that is happy all the time not considered sick?

Apparently being locked in an emotional or behavioral state is only evidence of a problem if its not an emotional or behavioral state on the approved list.

Re:What about a healthy brain (1)

The Raven (30575) | about a year and a half ago | (#42235361)

Introversion is not unhealthy. Being introverted means preferring a small group of close friends over a wide group of more casual friends. It is not the same as agoraphobic, which is what many people wrongly conflate introversion with. They are not the same thing.

Introverts tend to be more creative and intellectual; would you seek to 'fix' them all with mental electroshock therapy (logical fallacy used deliberately)? Differences are fine. I have no problem with fixing serious diseases with techniques such as this, but it seriously bothers me when instead people start talking about stamping out difference and individuality. Not everyone needs to fit in. We are stronger as a race for our variety.

Re:What about a healthy brain (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year and a half ago | (#42235771)

Introversion is not unhealthy.

Neither is depression.

Re:What about a healthy brain (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year and a half ago | (#42235841)

Introversion is not unhealthy.

Neither is depression.

Well, that's not generally true. Depressed individuals score lower on assessments of health or happiness. Depressed individuals have higher rates of illness across the board. There seems to be some indication that depressed individuals are more creative and / or productive and again, you have the issue of a fairly broad and imprecise definition of depression (or normal for that matter) but most people would 'fix' their depression if given the chance (and given effective means of doing so).

But it is safe to say that severe depression increases your risk of disease and decreases perception of health and happiness which is a pretty good working definition for 'unhappy'.

Re:What about a healthy brain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42236055)

Most of us would not like feeling so crappy all the time that it is difficult to get out of bed, instead sleeping or lying around 10-16 hours a day, then when awake be unable to do anything we have interest in other than just watching TV or reading webpages (often ones not even really interested in, because the more interesting ones take too much effort). Most of us have hobbies, or even just random entertainment or games that we would like to engage in from time to time, instead of spending time unable to break from the most basic and primitive forms of positive emotional feedback to try and stop just feeling horrible about nothing and everything. Most of us rather dislike feeling sad and bad for no reason at all, for all portions of the day. However, if you like depression so much, you are welcome to wallow in it all you want, although a few real world issues might get in the way, like getting rent paid and getting food and clothing taken care of. If you have the necessities covered, and aren't just stealing from others to get it, than you can do what you want though, as you don't have to get any such treatment. The rest of us on the other hand, at our discretion, can ask for help when we feel like our lives are being destroyed, and can try to find some one to talk to, find new routines to try to break the cycle, or if appropriate, try something like drugs to give time to fix more immediate problems and allow us to find a better situation to deal the soucre of depression.

(This assumes you are actually talking about clinical depression, as it almost sounds like you are confusing having clinical depression with some generic use of the word "depressed" to mean feeling down from time to time. It is ok, and healthy to feel sad, and especially after something big and bad happens in your life. Hence why clinical depression usually excludes people that recently lost a loved one or suffered a recent trauma, as they are usually dealing with something immediate and specific. And people will have their ups and downs from time to time. Clinical depression is instead about having the sadness take over and rule your life, blocking you from doing or living other aspects of your life. It is a continual, chronic, major issue at that point and devastating to people on varying time scales.)

Re:What about a healthy brain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42239785)

Clinical depression is unhealthy, as a matter of diagnosis. We're talking about debilitating, prolonged, irrational sense of helplessness, sorrow, etc., often accompanied by serious suicidal ideation. Nobody is talking about occasional sadness.

When your girlfriend dumps you, you're sad. When you can't make yourself get out of bed and go to work for weeks or months on end, your condition is only degenerating, you feel sick because you know there's no reason to feel the way you do, but you can't stop it and make yourself right... then you're experiencing serious depression.

Now stop fucking with words. People have been here and had this conversation, intelligently, long before you shit out some ridiculous, uneducated thoughts on the subject.

Re:What about a healthy brain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42235637)

Now tell us, why isn't someone that is happy all the time not considered sick?

Being in a single emotion is not what makes people "sick," it is only really considered a condition worth curing when it interferes with a person's life and typically when it prevents them from doing what they want (trying to figure out what people want, especially if in an atypical mind state, does go wrong sometimes, it is far from perfect). Most people don't like being sad, unmotivated and in a downward spiral all the time, hence it is something that gets treated. Most people like being happy, and can get more of what they want to do done when happy than sad, hence it is usually not something that is considered to be treated. .

That said, there are conditions where people are too happy and too optimistic that can be treated. Some forms of things like mania involve someone being so energetic and potentially over-optimistic, it messes up their life and prevents them from getting things done. Other people have issues with addiction that just amounts to them being happy all the time in a way that stops them from doing anything else, and that is usually a problem if such people want to do something else.

Re:What about a healthy brain (1)

ultranova (717540) | about a year and a half ago | (#42236981)

No shit Sherlock. Doesn't defeat the point, does it?

It kinda does, since it makes it a false analogy.

Now tell us, why isn't someone that is happy all the time not considered sick?

Mania is considered a sickness. Being non-manic but happy isn't, because why would it be? The poor happy bastard doesn't suffer from it.

Apparently being locked in an emotional or behavioral state is only evidence of a problem if its not an emotional or behavioral state on the approved list.

That's literally true since mental illnesses are enumerated, which is a good thing since it various quacks from just arbitrarily declaring that someone they disagree with is ill and needs to be treated.

On a non-trivial level, for something to be illness it must cause some kind of problem, such as suffering. Depression causes suffering and usually other problems too, non-manic happiness doesn't.

Yet another way to look at this is that the whole point of treating anything is to get happier. Being generally happy is the desired end goal of most (all?) human activity, so why would it be considered a mental problem?

Re:What about a healthy brain (1)

dhomstad (1424117) | about a year and a half ago | (#42246281)

What happens when "generally happy" isn't universally agreed upon?

Re:What about a healthy brain (1)

sjames (1099) | about a year and a half ago | (#42237153)

Actually, someone perpetually locked in a state of happiness will be subject to any number of diagnosis. Hypomania is one probable one.

In general though, hypomaniacs aren't troubled by their condition where depressed people generally are.

Re:What about a healthy brain (1)

dhomstad (1424117) | about a year and a half ago | (#42246239)

The whole Myerrs-Briggs type indicator test is a sham.

And here's why. It only captures one snapshot in time, and that snap shot has relatively low resolution(poor questions).

Now let's make a big assumption, and assume the MBTI test has great resolution (great questions) on Introversion/Extroversion. It can tell exactly how introverted someone is at a PARTICULAR MOMENT IN TIME. Then, the people who made the test, assign you to a unique category.

A whole entire field could be dedicated to the RATES at which human beings travel between introversion an extroversion. You could also look at the relative peaks of introversion/extroversion, and the typical RANGES at which an individual moves in a week, month, year, etc.

However, people aren't doing this. They are just wasting time subjecting people to the MBTI test, once here, once there, and looking at the individual results. And here's the problem with MBTI, it's preventing us from studying someone that's better at understanding people. It's a really simple test and it's being embraced too widely. Studying rates, ranges, and etc would help you predict when your neighbor will transition from ISTJ to ISFJ, how long they are going to stay there, and here's the BIG ONE - what will make them switch.

Maybe it was just my MBTI administrator, but she claimed you are more or less a particular type (ISTJ, etc) from birth. She explained there was some natural movement from one category to another, but we didn't dwell too much on the topic.

It's similar to IQ tests. We're always stressing on a particular person's IQ. Why not stress on IQ change. I would like to work with people who are actively trying to increase their IQ, as opposed to those that are probably on the decline. Further more, isn't it weird how we have to ask different age groups different questions to gauge IQ? Why is this? It's probably because the brain is going through a time period of (relatively) rapid development. But if we keep on testing people's IQ, we're probably going to learn very little about the brain development process.

Re:What about a healthy brain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42247979)

There have been studies of how Myers-Briggs types change, and found that many of the categories do shift with time. Although other studies have found those categories don't really correlate with anything much of use either. This has been seen at least twenty years ago, and many groups recommend against the use of the test. About the only part that seemed to have some use was the Introversion/Extroversion scale, but with the same caveat that other scales have: the words used for ends of the scales don't mean the same thing as in every day use, and evolved to mean what studies suggested those categories actually correlate while retaining the original names.

Re:What about a healthy brain (2)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year and a half ago | (#42234363)

Now could you use this in a happy healthy brain to become even more happy and healthy?

All you need to do, is to increase the levels of serotonin in the brain: "It is popularly thought to be a contributor to feelings of well-being and happiness", http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serotonin [wikipedia.org]

Then again, maybe you don't want to be too happy . . . http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serotonin_syndrome [wikipedia.org]

But I don't see how Alzheimer's patients could be depressed. They can't remember anything to get depressed about. And as one patient ironically quipped, "I meet new people who I don't know every day!"

Re:What about a healthy brain (2)

dandelionblue (2757475) | about a year and a half ago | (#42234859)

I know you're just being flippant regarding depression in Alzheimer's, but one of the big problems with Alzheimer's can be what you do remember. It's not total retro- and anterograde amnesia. My great-uncle developed dementia after a stroke, and was somehow forced into nearly constantly reliving his part in the battle of Stalingrad and subsequent interment in a Russian POW camp. He was unable to recognise some of his own family but remembered more than enough of the events of WW2.

Easy, follow setion 3 of the manual (1)

hackingbear (988354) | about a year and a half ago | (#42235117)

which says:

1. put the device in your pant

2. setup wi-fi password

3. open your favorite browser

4. type www.xvideo.com

5. ???

6. more happiness!

Re:What about a healthy brain (1)

gtall (79522) | about a year and a half ago | (#42240709)

Already been invented, the Orgasmatron (see Woody Allen).

No, no, no. (3, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | about a year and a half ago | (#42233723)

The only thing that terrifies me more than getting something like Alzheimer's and being robbed of my memories and experiences and personality is the idea of having any form of brain surgery. Thinking about this story is the kind of shit that keeps me up at night. :)

Re: No, no, no. (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42233757)

Loosing your memories is only a problem if you know you've lost them. From the sufferers point of view, they don't know.

Re: No, no, no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42233893)

If you were told you're suffering from Alzheimer's, that you're symptoms would get progressively worse, that this is likely the thing that will kill you...wouldn't be a fantastic day.

Re: No, no, no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42233943)

Yeah but you forget all about it a moment later...

Re: No, no, no. (4, Informative)

GLMDesigns (2044134) | about a year and a half ago | (#42234493)

My father went through Alzheimers. He knew that he should know something and could not recall it. It's a horrifying disease and the person knows it (at least for the first few stages.) At the end, maybe you're right. But you have years of misery before that point.

Re: No, no, no. (2)

Paradise Pete (33184) | about a year and a half ago | (#42237175)

Loosing your memories

Loosing one's memories sometimes results in an autobiography.

Re:No, no, no. (1)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | about a year and a half ago | (#42236473)

Brain surgery is often followed by depression. It's one of the things they guard against post-op.

Politicians (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42233847)

Could this work on politicians? If anybody needs a brain pacemaker, it would be them.

Re:Politicians (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year and a half ago | (#42234083)

Could this work on politicians? If anybody needs a brain pacemaker, it would be them.

Not sure of this particular tech, but I think you need higher cortical functions in order for this to work. Most politicians seem to be moved only by the basest of emotions and certainly not logic or other 'higher' functions. In short, I don't think there is anything to 'pace'.

Now, an AICD [wikipedia.org] implanted in the brain. That's another thought entirely. One that I kinda like. Fills me with all sorts of tingly joy.

The Terminal Man (3, Interesting)

mu22le (766735) | about a year and a half ago | (#42233947)

Isn't this the plot of an old Michael Crichton novel [wikipedia.org] ? The only difference is that the protagonist was affected by epilepsia rather than parkinson.

Re:The Terminal Man (2)

Pollardito (781263) | about a year and a half ago | (#42234059)

It's not terribly far from Flowers for Algernon [wikipedia.org] either

Fornix (4, Informative)

venicebeach (702856) | about a year and a half ago | (#42235369)

"Essentially, the fornix is the area of the brain that converts electrical activity into chemical activity."

That is an egregious description of the fornix. All of the brain's electrical activity is electro-chemical, and the fornix has no special role that relates to converting electrical activity into chemical activity.

The fornix is a bundle of axons (i.e. a white matter tract) that connects the hippocampus with the hypothalamus.

Gross inaccuracy in summary (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42235429)

Essentially, the fornix is the area of the brain that converts electrical activity into chemical activity.

This description is complete balderdash (not Slashdot's fault -- the poppycock is taken verbatim from the original article). I can say so with some authority since I have an earned doctorate in Neural Science, with a specialty in neuroanatomy.

The fornix is a fiber tract from the septal nuclei to the hippocampal formation, a region associated with long term memory storage. Fiber tracts do not particularly convert electrical activity into chemical activity; they are merely active conduits for the electrical activity. The conversion into chemical activity happens at the ends of the fibers, in this case in the hippocampal formation, where the arrival of a nerve impulse triggers the release of neurotransmitters into the synaptic cleft. This conversion doesn't happen in any one place, but anywhere there is gray matter.

Somebody somewhere has been taking dictation from a PR flack who knows squat about the brain. Or doesn't have one.

There's not much of a story here, because there are no results. They're just starting to try something, and they've only done it in one patient. Call me back if it works.

Re:Gross inaccuracy in summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42244983)

Seriously. Idea is cool, writeup is terrible.
    Every cell in the brain converts chemical activity(at the dendrite) into electrical activity(which propagates from the cell body down the axon where the electrical activity is converted back into chemical activity(at the synapse) to communicate with the next cell. This happens with every cell, whether we're talking about grey matter or white matter. Electrical activity communicates information within each cell, chemical activity between cells. There is probably some intracellular chemical communication too, but the bottom line is that there is no intercellular electrical communication.

we need to... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42236345)

We need to get one of these into Terry Pratchett STAT!

can brain stimulation bring back brain mass? (1)

Khashishi (775369) | about a year and a half ago | (#42236673)

I thought Alzheimer's sufferers had serious deterioration in brain mass. I don't understand how brain stimulation can help when so much of the brain is physically destroyed.

reply (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42239411)

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Brand positioning is the core of the brand buildin (1)

tengying001 (2791447) | about a year and a half ago | (#42240097)

Such as reserves Learners recruitment. Recruitment countries of college students to the United States to participate in summer training and practice activities. Successful completion of training and trainee,to buy Abercrombie and Fitch clothes on sale [ukabercrom...outlet.com] company examinations, have the opportunity to become a member of the company, at the same time have the opportunity to more senior positions as a manager trainee, assistant manager at the participant's home branch. For example: in May 2011 in China, Zhejiang University recruitment activities. These ancillary activities to maintain the the brand long endurance and high-end. But also the ability of the A & F is difficult to imitate by competitors. The brand positioning is the core of brand building,to buy Abercrombie and Fitch clothes on sale [ukabercrom...outlet.com] but at the same time need publicity in order to improve the visibility and reputation of the brand. A & F's advertising is fascinating. A & F in TV commercials, print ads, shopping bags, brand Quarterly has a breakthrough design: no dress bright dress models, but in style against the background of the black and white photo in the open outdoors,to buy Abercrombie and Fitch clothes on sale [ukabercrom...outlet.com] some fit and full of sensational sex wore cool model's photo. Not only that, A & F this advertising style on the storefront, and often have the same good shape male model clothing display outside the shop. Publicity due to such an open way, it also brings a hot public opinion. This breakthrough advertising not only exposure,to buy Abercrombie and Fitch clothes on sale [ukabercrom...outlet.com] but also the brand meaning "leisure, adventure, unfettered" further interpretation. Bankruptcy in 1977, the company uses good crisis management, did not conceal the fact of imminent bankruptcy, but then expanded the brand slogan "the adventure goes on" This a real actual operating status presents adventurous brand slogan. A & F crisis it is the way of self-brand connotation expansion,to buy Abercrombie and Fitch clothes on sale [ukabercrom...outlet.com] not only the brand but also ourselves up, also making it the adventurous spirit of the brand in addition to fashion, the young culture.

Anyone (still) play Rifts? (1)

Theranthrope (637884) | about a year and a half ago | (#42240225)

This sounds like the M.O.M. (Mind Over Matter) implants for the "Crazies" OCC from the Palladium "Rifts" dice-and-paper RPG.

Where electrical implants to stimulate the brain to treat mental-illness were found to have the unintentional beneficial side-effect of stimulating latent psychic powers in patients... which naturally (this being an 80's cyberpunk-with-magic hybrid RPG) led to weaponization.
However, the implants used to artificially stimulate psychic super-powers in psycho-normative people, would over time, create mental instability in users, and as delicious irony, would eventually lead to insanity, hence: "crazies".

New Brain from Curry's (1)

wcrowe (94389) | about a year and a half ago | (#42242095)

I read the headline and the old Monty Python "New Brain" sketch came to mind.

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