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Brain Heatsink Could Reduce Epilepsy

CmdrTaco posted about 7 years ago | from the also-prevent-core-dumps dept.

Biotech 181

SimonNight writes "Attaching a heatsink to the brain can reduce the severity of epileptic seizures, Japanese researchers say. They've developed a surgically implanted heat conduit that connects a brain region to a heatsink on the outside of the skull. Seizures get worse when they abnormal activity of brain cells overheats the brain and causes more abnormal firing patterns."

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awesome! (5, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | about 7 years ago | (#20899597)

Now we can start overclocking! Break out the red bull and inject-into-the-heart adrenaline.

Re:awesome! (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | about 7 years ago | (#20899745)

funny you should mention that because quickly injecting a strong depressant would have basically the same effect as cooling the brain.

Re:awesome! (2, Funny)

chord.wav (599850) | about 7 years ago | (#20899777)

A much better project would be to overclock your liver so you can maximize your alcohol drinking limits. No more designated drivers!

Re:awesome! (1)

j-pimp (177072) | about 7 years ago | (#20899985)

A much better project would be to overclock your liver so you can maximize your alcohol drinking limits. No more designated drivers!

People drink to get drunk. Over clocking their liver would make them drink more.

Re:awesome! (2, Insightful)

MrCrassic (994046) | about 7 years ago | (#20900213)

I will attest that not all of them do.

I drink occassionally to "pep" me up, but definitely not to get drunk. It's no fun being "tipsy" and having little coordination over yourself, so I don't even want to imagine how it would feel to be completely out of it. Many enjoy that, but I personally avoid the troubles that it brings (stupid actions, hangovers, embarrassing situations, etc.)

Re:awesome! (3, Funny)

cHiphead (17854) | about 7 years ago | (#20900319)

Well then, you need to learn the proper way to PAR-TAY, sir. ;)


Re:awesome! (1)

toleraen (831634) | about 7 years ago | (#20900337)

You've obviously never been to any sort of alcoholic beverage tasting before. Amazingly, some people actually enjoy the taste of good whiskies, wines, etc. I'd recommend a bottle of Oban for starters.

Re:awesome! (2, Informative)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 7 years ago | (#20900705)

Yes there are some people who enjoy the taste of alcohol, just for the taste. However, the vast majority of people drink the cheapest stuff they can find. Hence half the beer commercials proclaiming they are cheaper than the other guys, or how you get 4 extra bottles, or how you get a free t-shirt. I'm not one of these people, but the vast majority of them are very much only interested in getting drunk.

Re:awesome! (2, Informative)

networkBoy (774728) | about 7 years ago | (#20900817)

For starters Oban is not what I would suggest. It is good, but will reinforce what most people think about Scotch (that it is bog water in a bottle).
I would highly recommend one of the speyside malts to someone new to Scotch. Perhaps Aberlour 15 double cask, or Dalwhinnie 10. Then you start moving them down the hill till you get to Nam Biest.

My preferences run to Bowmore though.

Re:awesome! (1)

toleraen (831634) | about 7 years ago | (#20900963)

I suppose I shouldn't be making suggestions towards a good Scotch, having only tried a handful of them myself. Thanks for the correction (and suggestions!)

Re:awesome! (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | about 7 years ago | (#20899823)

I'd hold off on the self mods and partying if I were you. Put the RedBull down...

In direct sun, could this boil your brain?
In the winter, could this give your brain frostbite?

Re:awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20900149)

your a idiot

Re:awesome! (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | about 7 years ago | (#20900249)

your a idiot
People living in glass houses, Mr. President, people living in glass houses.

Re:awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20900281)

Can you elaborate on that? The GPs post does over-dramatize this a bit, but the general idea seems to be a valid concern.

Re:awesome! (5, Funny)

infestedsenses (699259) | about 7 years ago | (#20899845)

I can see it now... a big, fat heatsink sticking out of the side of my head, with a frikkin' laser attached to it!

Oh, glee!

Overclocking (1)

monk.e.boy (1077985) | about 7 years ago | (#20899897)


Mind you, we've had speed (amphetamine sulphate) for ages. And it never really caught on with geekers.

Shame. Imagine Einstein on speed? 2x as many MC^2 per year.

Re:Overclocking (3, Funny)

provigilman (1044114) | about 7 years ago | (#20900011)

Yeah, or he would've OD's at 27 and we wouldn't even have E=MC

Re:Overclocking (2, Funny)

somersault (912633) | about 7 years ago | (#20900047)

Nah, we may have E=MC, but he wouldn't have got to the whole squared bit?

Re:Overclocking (1)

SnoopJeDi (859765) | about 7 years ago | (#20900717)

This is science, man! Some sacrifices must be made.

If relativity has to never be invented in order to figure out how to get realtime raytraced holosims running on BrainOS directly, well then so be it.

Help Democracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20900303)

Celebrate Che Guevara [] .

Thanks for your support of freedom.

K. Trout, Marxist

Sounds like a gread DIY project! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20899609)

Just make sure you have health insurance before you sink your electric drill into your temple.

Re:Sounds like a gread DIY project! (4, Funny)

QuickFox (311231) | about 7 years ago | (#20899847)

Just make sure you have health insurance before you sink your electric drill into your temple.
Are you sure opening your brain chassis won't void your warranty?

Re:Sounds like a gread DIY project! (2, Funny)

somersault (912633) | about 7 years ago | (#20900109)

Hi, mom? Yeah, can you find my birth certificate? I want to check up on my warranty. Oh, it's expired? Good. Can I borrow some of dad's powertools this weekend?

Re:Sounds like a gread DIY project! (3, Funny)

jandrese (485) | about 7 years ago | (#20900099)

The scary thing is that there are people out there who drill holes in their head for fun [] . There are claims that it improves your thinking or wellness or something, but I can't help but to think that the people who actually do this aren't the kind of people I want to ask about improving my thinking.

I wonder... (4, Interesting)

torkus (1133985) | about 7 years ago | (#20899613)

...if that means we can start overclocking our brains too.

I can't wait to see people walking around with heat sinks sticking out of their skull. Will they have designer ones? :)

Re:I wonder... (5, Funny)

FireFury03 (653718) | about 7 years ago | (#20899867)

I can't wait to see people walking around with heat sinks sticking out of their skull. Will they have designer ones? :)

Bah, I'm waiting for the transparent-skull with blue cold-cathode brain lighting mod...

Re:I wonder... (1)

wowbagger (69688) | about 7 years ago | (#20900439)

Sorry, but the BBC have the trademark [] on that....

Re:I wonder... (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 7 years ago | (#20899969)

"I can't wait to see people walking around with heat sinks sticking out of their skull. "

How long before they have a 'water cooled' system for the brain?

Re:I wonder... (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 7 years ago | (#20900759)

Isn't that what sweat is? Or your circulatory system?

Watecooled? (1)

RedShoeRider (658314) | about 7 years ago | (#20899619)

Sweet! How much of an overclock can I get versus air cooling?

Liquid cooled (5, Informative)

benhocking (724439) | about 7 years ago | (#20900083)

The funny thing is the brain already is liquid-cooled. That liquid being the blood, of course. (Perhaps you were already going for this in your joke, but if so, it'll go over so many heads that I thought it worthwhile to explain it in more depth.)

Re:Liquid cooled (1)

evilbessie (873633) | about 7 years ago | (#20900827)

No offence but your brain is water _heated_, Humans; and all mammals; being warm blooded...

Re:Liquid cooled (1)

grahamd0 (1129971) | about 7 years ago | (#20900893)

They're not mutually exclusive. Your brain is liquid heated and liquid cooled.

Meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20899631)

Wake me when they have a water cooling option for the brain. Not this boring neuropipe nonsense.

Paste? (1)

popeye44 (929152) | about 7 years ago | (#20899633)

Are they going to use that new Neurotic Silver Ceramic for the heatsink paste?

Fan? (5, Funny)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | about 7 years ago | (#20899635)

Nice diagram. Is that a fan sticking out the side of the guy's head? Should newegg add a new category for 80mm and 100mm brain cooling fans? Or maybe go water cooled for complete silence? The worst that could happen is it leaks and you finally get the shower you're long overdue for...

I'd avoid the liquid nitrogen option at this time.

Re:Fan? (4, Funny)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | about 7 years ago | (#20900273)

Koolance has released an aluminum, water cooled, brain case. It comes with transparent temple windows too.

Re:Fan? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20900473)

I'd avoid the liquid nitrogen option at this time.

That'll bring ice cream "brain freeze" to a whole new level.

AMD? (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | about 7 years ago | (#20899649)

AMD makes brains now? ;-)

It's a joke laugh...

Re:AMD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20900025)

It's a joke laugh...

It is a bit hard to when the joke isn't funny.

I for one... (0, Offtopic)

AmaDaden (794446) | about 7 years ago | (#20899655)

I for one welcome our new temperature regulated cyborg overlords.

Too much heat? (4, Funny)

sucker_muts (776572) | about 7 years ago | (#20899661)

If the problem seems to be too much heat, why do they try to use difficult to install heatsinks?

Underclocking people! Makes the system way more stable.


Re:Too much heat? (4, Insightful)

torkus (1133985) | about 7 years ago | (#20899709)

Nonononono. We've already CLEARLY proven that underclocking produces undesirable results. e.g. country music, "war on terror", wardrobe malfunction paranoia, and "for the children!!!11!1one1oneone" movement.

Re:Too much heat? (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | about 7 years ago | (#20899765)

Underclocking people!

Ever been a teacher? That's pretty much what schoolkids do during class ;-)

They tried that, it is called tv. (2, Interesting)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about 7 years ago | (#20899929)

Apparently there is a fault in the design, you can't underclock it anymore without flatlining when you watch reality tv and still peoples brain heat up. Mostly from its fevered attempts to crawl out your ear hole.

But hey, think of it like this, with proper cooling we can really start poring in the juice and all be geniusses. It will be brilliant, we grow so intelligent cooling our brain and powering it up, we might suddenly realize how stupid that is.

Now that is irony, overclocking your brain to become smart enough to realize it is going to kill you.

Water cooling (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 7 years ago | (#20899997)

I thought all brains were liquid cooled....

No freakin' way! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20899681)



Re:No freakin' way! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20900823)

Indeed it is crazy... but I wonder how many people will be willing to put a heatsink in their head.

i'm against this research (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 7 years ago | (#20899705)

there is nothing more annoying than the whir of a pc fan. now we are going to have epileptics walking around with pc fans whirring on the side of their heads? even those chessy looking "turbo" fans for the processor? uggh, ugly too. how do you accessorize that? earings?

nah, i'd rather they be epileptics. then when they seize, i can just walk away, like any aesthetically responsible citizen. rather that than have to see and hear all of those epileptics walking the street with pc fan assemblies on the side of their heads

Re:i'm against this research (1)

quantum bit (225091) | about 7 years ago | (#20899729)

uggh, ugly too. how do you accessorize that? earings?
Nah dude. It's all about the cold cathode lights.

Re:i'm against this research (1)

Billosaur (927319) | about 7 years ago | (#20899779)

Actually, take the heatsink, wrap tubes filled with glycol around them, run them through a flask of water, and generate some electricity via the steam. Then use the electricity to run a hard drive brain backup.

Heatsink? More like a ground... (2, Interesting)

Sleen (73855) | about 7 years ago | (#20899719)

I doubt the heatsink is contributing anything to the patients ability to regulate cranial temperature. More likely, its providing an electrical ground that helps alleviate the conditions that lead to a seizure.

Re:Heatsink? More like a ground... (3, Interesting)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 7 years ago | (#20899937)

Maybe. Or, it could be that the higher the temp in your brain, the greater metabolism has effect with neural firing.

Re:Heatsink? More like a ground... (2, Interesting)

ajlitt (19055) | about 7 years ago | (#20900063)

That makes perfect sense, since the salts in blood and cranial fluid are such excellent insulators.

Here is what it looks like (5, Funny)

JackMeyhoff (1070484) | about 7 years ago | (#20899741)

Re:Here is what it looks like (1)

Sven-Erik (177541) | about 7 years ago | (#20900385)

Wouldn't something more like the coolant rod systems Scorpius in Farscape use be a better solution than an external heatsink and fan?

What? I thought these never went out of style (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | about 7 years ago | (#20900457)

Examples: cool hats []

Re:Here is what it looks like (1)

Delkster (820935) | about 7 years ago | (#20900951)

The first thought to cross my mind when I read the summary was that this gives a whole new meaning to the word "propeller head".

Tinfoil Hat (1)

MadKeithV (102058) | about 7 years ago | (#20899769)

"No, I swear it's not a tinfoil hat! It's a brain heatsink!"

Re:Tinfoil Hat (3, Funny)

Anonymous Monkey (795756) | about 7 years ago | (#20899891)

It is only logical that the heatsink would be the visible component. After all, foil keeps the heat in. Therefore the logical setup is aluminum foil hat with a small gap for heatsink connection, and only aluminum components in the heatsink, thus covering the gap in the aluminum foil hat. That way you could have all the benefits of the aluminum foil hat and a heatsink. Also THEY would never know you had shielding under your heatsink.

Joke Ingredients (2, Insightful)

ajs318 (655362) | about 7 years ago | (#20899775)

Didn't Cuddy the dwarf build a "thinking cap" for Detritus the troll, with a clockwork cooling fan to help cool his silicon brain so he could think faster? There's got to be a joke in there somewhere, what with trolls, cooling fans and everything else, but I'm too lazy to put the bits into the right order. Sort of like the maths teacher who, seeing the corridor on fire and an extinguisher on the wall, returned to bed satisfied that a solution existed.

Re:Joke Ingredients (1)

somersault (912633) | about 7 years ago | (#20900177)

In Soviet Russia, troll think faster than you! At least in winter.

What about making the brain too cold? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20899793)

Couldn't this be dangerous if the person was exposed to cold temperatures? Cool the brain down too much?

Re:What about making the brain too cold? (1)

macdaddy357 (582412) | about 7 years ago | (#20900393)

I doubt it. I think the article was a joke, not something that is being seriously considered.

Re:What about making the brain too cold? (1)

Verteiron (224042) | about 7 years ago | (#20900623)

And since it seems that cooling the brain induces a form of hibernation... that means that just sitting in front of an air conditioner could knock you cold.

aren't heat sinks 2 way? (1)

netsavior (627338) | about 7 years ago | (#20899799)

It seems like most (all?) heat sinks can transmit heat back (or remove heat by being too cold).

It seems like haveing a slug on your head that could directly cool/heat your brain accidentally according to weather/environmental factors would be dangerous and scary... or at the least hard to manage.

Re:aren't heat sinks 2 way? (1)

Loke the Dog (1054294) | about 7 years ago | (#20900029)

Good point. However, mechanical power can be used to transport heat from a colder place to a warmer place. In other words, with batteries, this system could be made more advanced and cool the brain even if the environment is hotter than body temperature.

Cool! (1)

chord.wav (599850) | about 7 years ago | (#20899811)

He is just desperately trying to be a cool guy. You get it? Cool.

Re:Cool! (1)

Repossessed (1117929) | about 7 years ago | (#20900753)

I'm not sure if you should be modded funny or troll...

Science fiction becoming science fact ... (3, Informative)

haluness (219661) | about 7 years ago | (#20899819)

Interesting developement. An analogous idea was used by Alastair Reynolds in Redemption Ark where one of the characters was genetically modified to have high neural processing speeds and required a 'heatsink' (made of bone and blood vessels) to dissipate the extra heat.

Medical implications (2, Informative)

the_kanzure (1100087) | about 7 years ago | (#20899825)

In invasive BCIs, a big problem is getting information out of the head, so many researchers have been using wireless transmission of power and data either by RF (popular) and less commonly IR. The reason they do this is because of infections- and you do not want a brain infection. So how does this heat conduit really work? A direct link from inside the skull to outside the skull is not a good idea, and if there's any skin in between the heat sink and the conduit then that skin is going to die. Maybe it's causing more problems than it solves. If it does what it says it does, then we could easily throw in some more BCIs and not have to worry about too much heat dissipation, which has this nasty tendency to kill brain cells. I maintain a small page on neurotech [] .

Cooking Breakfast (1)

retupmoca (932711) | about 7 years ago | (#20899909)

Does this mean I can cook breakfast on my head now?

More Implants (1)

bostons1337 (1025584) | about 7 years ago | (#20899919)

For only $10,999 you can upgrade that implant to include a HDD, L1 and L2 caches, and a 3.0 GHZ dual core processor!

Jack's Tats, Now Featuring Treps! (1)

JackSpratts (660957) | about 7 years ago | (#20899975)

this is just gonna make trepanation advocates that much more insufferable, if that's even possible.

- js.

Military use (1)

Bob-taro (996889) | about 7 years ago | (#20899991)

This is from Japan, so obviously this is just another step toward a direct brain interface for battle mechs.

PRIOR ART! (2, Funny)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about 7 years ago | (#20900023)

I made one for my brother when I was in High School. He was complaining about the thermostat temperature. My room was always 10 degrees colder, so I didn't want the AC cranked anymore than it was. So I took an old Pentium heat sink fan combo, attached a headband and 9 volt. He used it for a while. I'll ask my parents if they still have it.

Strange solution. (1)

Valdrax (32670) | about 7 years ago | (#20900271)

Smart people would've adjusted the vents throughout the house to control the air-flow better. (My room was closest to the AC unit, so I'm familiar with the problem.)

Blood-Brain Barrier Breach? (2, Interesting)

Zymergy (803632) | about 7 years ago | (#20900079)

How does this not open the brain cavity up to Serious Infections? Re: Meninges: [] Aren't our brains "water cooled" (by blood) in the first place?

If we're attaching heatsinks to brains... (1)

FreddyKnockout (1114959) | about 7 years ago | (#20900105)'s only a matter of time before we'll be able to buy clear brain casings to mod our heads! I for one welcome our brain-modded overlords.

My Canine Experience (4, Interesting)

Scot Seese (137975) | about 7 years ago | (#20900183)

Years ago our family had a Brittany Spaniel that started Grand Mal epileptic seizures at around 1 year of age. Phenobarbitol only moderately increase the time period between seizure clusters by a week or so.

  While comforting the dog immediately post-seizure one evening, I noticed that he felt warm - his entire body was overheated, as though he'd just come in from a long walk on a hot summer day. To me, the obvious thing to do was to crush 10-15 ice cubes, dump them in a ziploc bag and apply it to the crown of his head. The effect was immediate, and amazing. His anxiety and discomfort disappeared immediately, and the "brain chiller" icepack seemed to lessen the severity of any subsequent cluster seizures, and reduce the number of seizures in a cluster (to almost petit mal effect.)

  To me, this feels like another forehead smacking "well, DUH" discovery. ;]

Not in charge (1)

Captain Zep (908554) | about 7 years ago | (#20900187)

Just to be clear, the Japanese brain heatsink is not in charge of Gundam.


Zohhhhhmg! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20900235)

Fristy prostt

That's one way (1)

bperkins (12056) | about 7 years ago | (#20900237)

You could also try to develop a temperature sensitive neural inhibitor. That seems more feasible since you don't necessarily have to identify the region you want to be affected.

Battletech (1)

UberHoser (868520) | about 7 years ago | (#20900349)

This kinda reminds me of the cooling vest worn by mechwarriors.

Mohawk Fan (1)

Galaga88 (148206) | about 7 years ago | (#20900383)

I'm getting this mental image of an aluminum mohawk coming out of somebody's head, like the sail on the back of ol' Dimetrodon [] .

I'm certain this has probably been done in some anime already. Most likely in the late 80's/early 90's.

Scorpius (2)

Odyss (593049) | about 7 years ago | (#20900389)

,,goes best with black rubber suit

Re:Scorpius (1)

QuasiEvil (74356) | about 7 years ago | (#20900479)

Wow, ~80 posts and only one small Scorpius reference? I'm woefully disappointed...

Rise of the Conjoiners (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20900411)

Anyone else reminded of the Conjoiners [] from Alastair Reynolds' Revelation Space series? There's definitely mention of Skade [] having a modified skull like a crest to increase the surface area for blood cooling purposes.

Simpler solutions (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 7 years ago | (#20900453)

1. Blow air through the ears. 2. Put a radiator on the neck and cool the whole brain down. 3. Wear an ice-togue 4. Move to a northern clime and live in an igloo. 5. No profit - solutions are too cheap.

MRI (1)

RandoX (828285) | about 7 years ago | (#20900463)

Would an MRI rip this thing out by the roots?

Unfortunately (1)

Dachannien (617929) | about 7 years ago | (#20900541)

Too bad there's only one slot in the head for a heatsink. I wonder if stacking the arms and torso full of them would work.

Re:Unfortunately (1)

grahamd0 (1129971) | about 7 years ago | (#20900977)

You really want them in the legs. Way more slots and you dissipate a lot more heat when you're standing in the water.

Nothing self-conscious about that - not (1)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | about 7 years ago | (#20900543)

What a great idea. A very visible device that announces to the entire world that the unfortunate wearer is an epileptic. Epilepsy is a disease that many people are ashamed of because it makes them "different" from everyone else. Can you imagine a child being taunted for such a device? I certainly can.

Even adults are reluctant to admit that they have the disease for fear of being different. About 9 years ago I played in a recreational coed volleyball league run every fall by my apartment complex. I was a team captain and I complained to the league organizer about halfway through the season about a very strange young lady on my team who didn't drive a car and didn't have normal reflexes. Public transportation is very poor where I lived at the team, so it was definitely quite abnormal for someone to live there and not drive a car. She had to get rides from other people for everything - to go to games, to go to work, etc. I was told by the league organizer that she didn't drive because she had epilepsy. I was quite shocked because this young woman never mentioned it to me when I took her to our games and she acted like she never drove because she never needed to in the past. In reality she couldn't get a driver's license because her epilepsy was too severe. So if even adults are afraid to admit that they have it, I'm having a hard time believing that very many people are going to volunteer for such an obvious display to the world that something is different about them.

mohawk heat sink? (2, Funny)

bryny (183816) | about 7 years ago | (#20900641)

I'm thinking a passive radiator might work. Say something like an aluminum mohawk -- perhaps shaped like stegasaurus dorsal plates.....

XBox (1)

PrimordialSoup (1065284) | about 7 years ago | (#20900755)

but does it cook an egg yet ??

ice cream brain freeze .... good..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20900809)

ice cream brain freeze .... good.....!

When I get to heaven... (1)

GigaHurtsMyRobot (1143329) | about 7 years ago | (#20900849)

I'm going to tear God a new asshole for doing such a crappy job with the thermal paste.

Stock heatsinks are terrible. (1)

VTMarik (880085) | about 7 years ago | (#20900859)

Everyone knows that the default heatsink never works as well as it needs to.

Look for a boom in tower and pipe-style heatsink sales among epileptics in the near future.

Collective (1)

Dylon (1167429) | about 7 years ago | (#20900919)

For those of you opposed to systens controlling the physiology of our brains, resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.
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