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Tero Toivanen

YouTube - Neurons and How They Work - 0 views

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    Fantastic video in youtube about neurons and how they work,
Tero Toivanen

Brain Function Cerebellum and Brain Stem - 0 views

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    A Guide to Brain Anatomy, Function and Symptoms: serebellum, midbrain, pons and medulla oblongata.
Tero Toivanen

Wired 14.02: Buddha on the Brain - 0 views

  • Davidson's research created a stir among brain scientists when his results suggested that, in the course of meditating for tens of thousands of hours, the monks had actually altered the structure and function of their brains.
  • Lutz asked Ricard to meditate on "unconditional loving-kindness and compassion." He immediately noticed powerful gamma activity - brain waves oscillating at roughly 40 cycles per second -�indicating intensely focused thought. Gamma waves are usually weak and difficult to see. Those emanating from Ricard were easily visible, even in the raw EEG output. Moreover, oscillations from various parts of the cortex were synchronized - a phenomenon that sometimes occurs in patients under anesthesia.
  • The researchers had never seen anything like it. Worried that something might be wrong with their equipment or methods, they brought in more monks, as well as a control group of college students inexperienced in meditation. The monks produced gamma waves that were 30 times as strong as the students'. In addition, larger areas of the meditators' brains were active, particularly in the left prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for positive emotions.
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  • In the traditional view, the brain becomes frozen with the onset of adulthood, after which few new connections form. In the past 20 years, though, scientists have discovered that intensive training can make a difference. For instance, the portion of the brain that corresponds to a string musician's fingering hand grows larger than the part that governs the bow hand - even in musicians who start playing as adults. Davidson's work suggested this potential might extend to emotional centers
  • But Davidson saw something more. The monks had responded to the request to meditate on compassion by generating remarkable brain waves. Perhaps these signals indicated that the meditators had attained an intensely compassionate state of mind. If so, then maybe compassion could be exercised like a muscle; with the right training, people could bulk up their empathy. And if meditation could enhance the brain's ability to produce "attention and affective processes" - emotions, in the technical language of Davidson's study - it might also be used to modify maladaptive emotional responses like depression.
  • Davidson and his team published their findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in November 2004. The research made The Wall Street Journal, and Davidson instantly became a celebrity scientist.
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    Davidson's research created a stir among brain scientists when his results suggested that, in the course of meditating for tens of thousands of hours, the monks had actually altered the structure and function of their brains
Tero Toivanen

AK's Rambling Thoughts: Nerve Cells and Glial Cells: Redefining the Foundation of Intel... - 0 views

  • Glia are generally divided into two broad classes, microglia and macroglia. Microglia are part of the immune system, specialized macrophages, and probably don't participate in information handling. Macroglia are present in both the peripheral and central nervous systems, in different types.
  • Traditionally, there were four types of glia in the CNS: astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, ependymal cells, and radial glia. Of these, the one type that's most important to the developing revolution in our ideas are those cells called astrocytes.2 It turns out that there are at least two types of cell (at least) subsumed under this name.24, 25, 31, 32 One, which retains the name of astrocyte, takes up neurotransmitters released by neurons (and glial cells), aids in osmoregulation,10 controls circulation in the brain,1, 31 and generally appears to provide support for the neurons and other types of glia.
  • Although both NG2-glia and astrocytes extend processes to nodes of Ranvier in white matter ([refs]) and synapses in grey matter, their geometric relationship to these neuronal elements is different. Thus, although astrocytes and NG2-glia bear a superficial resemblance, they are distinguished by their different process arborizations. This will reflect fundamental differences in the way these two glial cell populations interact with other elements in the neural network.
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  • Both types of glia are closely integrated with the nervous system, receiving information from action potentials via synapses22 (which, only a few years ago were thought to be limited to neurons), and returning control of neuron activity through release of neurotransmitters and other modulators. Both, then, demonstrate the potential for considerable intelligent activity, contributing to the overall intelligence of the brain.
  • Astrocytes probably (IMO) are limited, or mostly so, to maintaining the supplies of energy and necessary metabolites. They receive action potentials,3, 6 which allows them to closely and quickly monitor general activity and increase circulation in response, even before the neurons and NG2-glia have reduced their supply of ATP.21 They appear to be linked in a network among themselves,2, 5 allowing them to communicate their needs without interfering with the higher-level calculations of the brain.
  • NG2-glia appear to have several functions, but one of the most exciting things about them is that they seem to be able to fire action potentials.33 Their cell membranes, like those of the dendrites of neurons, have all the necessary channels and receptors to perform real-time electrical calculations in the same way as neural dendrites. They have also demonstrated the ability to learn through long term potentiation.
  • Dividing NG2-glia also retain the ability to fire action potentials, as well as receiving synaptic inputs from neurons.23 Presumably, they continue to perform their full function, including retaining any elements of long term potentiation or depression contained in their synapses.
  • Oligodendrocytes are responsible for the insulation of the axons, wrapping around approximately 1 mm of each of up to 50 axons within their reach, and forming the myelin sheath.
  • Although the precise type of neuron formed by maturing cells hasn't been determined, the very fact that cells of this type can change into neurons is very important. We actually don't know whether the cells that do this maturation are the same as those that perform neuron-like activities, there appear to be two separate types of NG2-glia, spiking and non-spiking.26 It may very well be that the "spiking" type have actually differentiated, while the "non-spiking" type may be doing the maturing. Of course, very few differentiated cell types remain capable of division, as even the "spiking" type do.
  • What's important about both dendrites and NG2-glia isn't so much their ability to propagate action potentials, as that their entire cell membranes are capable of "intelligent" manipulation of the voltage across it.
  • While there are many ion channels involved in controlling the voltage across the cell membrane, the only type we really need to worry about for action potentials is voltage-gated sodium channels. These are channels that sometimes allow sodium ions to pass through the cell membrane, which they will do because the concentration of sodium ions outside the cell is very much higher than inside. When and how much they open depends, among other things, on the voltage across the membrane.
  • A normal neuron will have a voltage of around -60 to -80mV (millivolts), in a direction that tends to push the sodium ions (which are positive) into the cell (the same direction as the concentration is pushing). When the voltage falls to around -55mV, the primary type of gate will open for a millisecond or so, after which it will close and rest for several milliseconds. It won't be able to open again until the voltage is somewhere between -55 and around -10mV. Meanwhile, the sodium current has caused the voltage to swing past zero to around +20mV.
  • When one part of the cell membrane is "depolarized" in this fashion, the voltage near it is also depressed. Thus, if the voltage is at zero at one point, it might be at -20mV 10 microns (μm) away, and -40mV 20μm away, and -60mV 30μm, and so on. Notice that somewhere between 20μm and 30μm, it has passed the threshold for the ion channels, which means that they are open, allowing a current that drives the voltage further down. This will produce a wave of voltage drop along the membrane, which is what the action potential is.
  • After the action potential has passed, and the gates have closed (see above), the voltage is recovered by diffusion of ions towards and away from the membrane, the opening of other gates (primarily potassium), and a set of pumps that push the ions back to their resting state. These pumps are mostly powered by the sodium gradient, except for the sodium/potassium pump that maintains it, which is powered by ATP.
  • the vast majority of calculation that goes into human intelligence takes place at the level of the network of dendrites and NG2-glia, with the whole system of axons, dendrites, and action potentials only carrying a tiny subset of the total information over long distances. This is especially important considering that the human brain has a much higher proportion of glial matter than our relatives.
  • This, in turn, suggests that our overall approach to understanding the brain has been far too axon centric, there needs to be a shift to a more membrane-centric approach to understanding how the brain creates intelligence.
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    Our traditional idea of how the brain works is based on the neuron: it fires action potentials, which travel along the axon and, when the reach the synapses, the receiving neuron performs a calculation that results in the decision when (or whether) to fire its own action potential. Thus, the brain, from a thinking point of view, is viewed as a network of neurons each performing its own calculation.

    This view, which I'm going to call the axon-centric view, is simplistic in many ways, and two recent papers add to it, pointing up the ways in which the glial cells of the brain participate in ongoing calculation as well as performing their more traditional support functions.
Tero Toivanen

Left Brain and Right Brain | Boost Your IQ - 0 views

  • The left brain follows a completely different “way” and process of thinking from the right brain. The left brain sees things in an analytical, objective and logical manner. The right brain on the other hand is more symbol and metaphorically orientated.
  • In order to develop a particular brain, it is therefore necessary to focus on doing things which complement its attributes. For example, if I were to develop my left brain, i would embark on logical analysis and maths. If I were to exercise my right brain, i would indulge in art work.
  • do you see the dancer turning clockwise or anti-clockwise?

    If clockwise, then you use more of the right side of the brain and vice versa.

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    do you see the dancer turning clockwise or anti-clockwise?
Tero Toivanen

How To Keep Mentally Fit As You Age | Boost Your IQ - 0 views

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    When you are young and mentally fit, you will perhaps never be able to comprehend that your memory, intelligence and overall mental fitness can actually decline as you age. However, as we grow older, our mental sharpness will gradually decline (and at an increasing rate) if we fail to keep on top of things.
Tero Toivanen

Music and Intelligence | Boost Your IQ - 0 views

  • Studies indicate that early exposure to musical training helps a child’s brain reach its potential by generating neural connections utilized in abstract reasoning.
  • The reasoning skills required for a test in spatial reasoning are the same ones children use when they listen to music. Children use these reasoning skills to order the notes in their brain to form the melodies. Also, some concepts of math must be understood in order to understand music. Experts speculate that listening to music exercises the same parts of the brain that handle mathematics, logic, and higher level reasoning.
  • In 1997 a study involving three groups of preschoolers was conducted to determine the effect of music versus computer training on early childhood development.
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  • The group that received the piano/keyboard training scored 34% higher on tests measuring spatial-temporal ability than either of the other two groups. These results suggest that music enhances certain higher brain functions, particularly abstract reasoning skills, required in math and science.
  • The use of music in training four and five year old children yielded the highest improvement in the ability to name body parts.
  • Although the three experimental groups displayed an increase in their ability to name body parts the music group exhibited the highest degree of improvement.
  • First grade students received extensive Kodaly training for seven months.
  • At the end of seven months the experimental group had higher reading scores than the control group, which did not receive any special treatment. Not only did the seven month instruction increase reading scores, but continued musical training proved to be beneficial. The experimental group continued to show higher reading scores with continued training.
  • Students who were involved in arts education achieved higher SAT scores. The longer students were involved in arts education, the higher the increase in SAT scores. This study also correlated arts education with higher scores in standardized tests, reading, English, history, citizenship, and geography.
  • The results indicated that students with a relatively lower socioeconomic status, that were exposed to arts education, had an advantage over those students without any arts education which was proportionally equal to the students with a relatively higher socioeconomic status and exposure to arts education.
  • Music exposure affects older students as well. Three groups of college students were exposed to either Mozart’s Sonata for Two Pianos, K448, a relaxation tape, or silence. The group exposed to the Mozart piece was the only group to achieve an increase on the spatial IQ test. Further studies revealed that neither dance music nor taped short stories produced an increase in spatial IQ similar to the Mozart piece. The increase in spatial IQ appears to be related to some unique aspects of the Mozart piece rather than music in general.
  • Music may not only be related to intelligence by its stimulation of the brain, but it may also increase intelligence by the type of attitudes, interests, and discipline it fosters in children.
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    Studies indicate that early exposure to musical training helps a child's brain reach its potential by generating neural connections utilized in abstract reasoning.
Tero Toivanen

Brain Foundation - Healthy Brain - 0 views

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    The Healthy Brain Program, an initiative of the Brain Foundation, aims to assist Australians to keep their brains healthy into old age, through the provision of community education and research. The program aims to address issues such as:

    People are living longer, and the prevalence of degenerative brain disorders is increasing.
    There is little information available about how to keep the brain healthy compared to the wealth of information about a healthy body and heart.
    There is a need for a coordinated approach to education on key indicators and risk reduction strategies.
Tero Toivanen

First Evidence That Musical Training Affects Brain Development In Young Children - 0 views

  • The findings, published today (20 September 2006) in the online edition of the journal Brain [1], show that not only do the brains of musically-trained children respond to music in a different way to those of the untrained children, but also that the training improves their memory as well. After one year the musically trained children performed better in a memory test that is correlated with general intelligence skills such as literacy, verbal memory, visiospatial processing, mathematics and IQ.
  • Researchers have found the first evidence that young children who take music lessons show different brain development and improved memory over the course of a year compared to children who do not receive musical training.
  • While previous studies have shown that older children given music lessons had greater improvements in IQ scores than children given drama lessons, this is the first study to identify these effects in brain-based measurements in young children.
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  • The researchers chose children being trained by the Suzuki method for several reasons: it ensured the children were all trained in the same way, were not selected for training according to their initial musical talent and had similar support from their families. In addition, because there was no early training in reading music, the Suzuki method provided the researchers with a good model of how training in auditory, sensory and motor activities induces changes in the cortex of the brain.
  • Analysis of the MEG responses showed that across all children, larger responses were seen to the violin tones than to the white noise, indicating that more cortical resources were put to processing meaningful sounds. In addition, the time that it took for the brain to respond to the sounds (the latency of certain MEG components) decreased over the year. This means that as children matured, the electrical conduction between neurons in their brains worked faster.
  • Of most interest, the Suzuki children showed a greater change over the year in response to violin tones in an MEG component (N250m) related to attention and sound discrimination than did the children not taking music lessons.
  • Analysis of the music tasks showed greater improvement over the year in melody, harmony and rhythm processing in the children studying music compared to those not studying music. General memory capacity also improved more in the children studying music than in those not studying music.
  • The finding of very rapid maturation of the N250m component to violin sounds in children taking music lessons fits with their large improvement on the memory test. It suggests that musical training is having an effect on how the brain gets wired for general cognitive functioning related to memory and attention.
  • It is clear that music is good for children's cognitive development and that music should be part of the pre-school and primary school curriculum.
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    Researchers have found the first evidence that young children who take music lessons show different brain development and improved memory over the course of a year compared to children who do not receive musical training.
Tero Toivanen

Scientists capture the first image of memories being made - 0 views

  • A new study by researchers at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital (The Neuro), McGill University and University of California, Los Angeles has captured an image for the first time of a mechanism, specifically protein translation, which underlies long-term memory formation. The finding provides the first visual evidence that when a new memory is formed new proteins are made locally at the synapse - the connection between nerve cells - increasing the strength of the synaptic connection and reinforcing the memory. The study published in Science, is important for understanding how memory traces are created and the ability to monitor it in real time will allow a detailed understanding of how memories are formed.
  • research has focused on synapses which are the main site of exchange and storage in the brain.
  • They form a vast but also constantly fluctuating network of connections whose ability to change and adapt, called synaptic plasticity, may be the fundamental basis of learning and memory.
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  • Using a translational reporter, a fluorescent protein that can be easily detected and tracked, we directly visualized the increased local translation, or protein synthesis, during memory formation.
  • Importantly, this translation was synapse-specific and it required activation of the post-synaptic cell, showing that this step required cooperation between the pre and post-synaptic compartments, the parts of the two neurons that meet at the synapse.
  • This study provides evidence that a mechanism that mediates this gene expression during neuronal plasticity involves regulated translation of localized mRNA at stimulated synapses.
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    A new study by researchers at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital (The Neuro), McGill University and University of California, Los Angeles has captured an image for the first time of a mechanism, specifically protein translation, which underlies long-term memory formation.
Tero Toivanen

The five ages of the brain: Adolescence - life - 04 April 2009 - New Scientist - 0 views

  • Jay Giedd at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland, and his colleagues have followed the progress of nearly 400 children, scanning many of them every two years as they grew up. They found that adolescence brings waves of grey-matter pruning, with teens losing about 1 per cent of their grey matter every year until their early 20s (Nature Neuroscience, vol 2, p 861).
  • This cerebral pruning trims unused neural connections that were overproduced in the childhood growth spurt, starting with the more basic sensory and motor areas.
  • Among the last to mature is the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex at the very front of the frontal lobe. This area is involved in control of impulses, judgement and decision-making, which might explain some of the less-than-stellar decisions made by your average teen. This area also acts to control and process emotional information sent from the amygdala - the fight or flight centre of gut reactions - which may account for the mercurial tempers of adolescents.
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  • These changes have both benefits and pitfalls. At this stage of life the brain is still childishly flexible, so we are still sponges for learning. On the other hand, the lack of impulse control may lead to risky behaviours such as drug and alcohol abuse, smoking and unprotected sex.
  • As grey matter is lost, though, the brain gains white matter
  • Substance abuse is particularly concerning, as brain imaging studies suggest that the motivation and reward circuitry in teen brains makes them almost hard-wired for addiction.
  • since drug abuse and stressful events - even a broken heart - have been linked to mood disorders later in life, this is the time when both are best avoided.
  • Making the most of this time is a matter of throwing all that teen energy into learning and new experiences - whether that means hitting the books, learning to express themselves through music or art, or exploring life by travelling the world.
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    Jay Giedd at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland, and his colleagues have followed the progress of nearly 400 children, scanning many of them every two years as they grew up. They found that adolescence brings waves of grey-matter pruning, with teens losing about 1 per cent of their grey matter every year until their early 20s (Nature Neuroscience, vol 2, p 861).
Tero Toivanen

Lab Notes : The Brains of Early Birds and Night Owls - 0 views

  • There was no real difference between the early birds and the night owls in their performance on the morning test. But the evening test was a different story: night owls were less sleepy and had faster reaction times than early birds.
  • So even though both groups were sleeping and waking according to their preferred schedule, night owls generally outlasted early birds in how long they could stay awake and mentally alert before becoming mentally fatigued. The fMRI supported the behavioral results: 10.5 hours after waking up, the early birds had lower activity in brain regions linked to attention and the circadian master clock, compared to night owls.
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    A new study, in the journal Science, reports some intriguing differences between the brain-activity patterns of the two types that underlie the behavioral differences.
Tero Toivanen

PLoS ONE: Scale-Free Music of the Brain - 0 views

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    In this study, audibly recognizable scale-free music was deduced from individual Electroencephalogram (EEG) waveforms. The translation rules include the direct mapping from the period of an EEG waveform to the duration of a note, the logarithmic mapping of the change of average power of EEG to music intensity according to the Fechner's law, and a scale-free based mapping from the amplitude of EEG to music pitch according to the power law.
Tero Toivanen

Online Neuroscience Lectures - 0 views

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    Online Neuroscience Lectures
Tero Toivanen

Let me sleep on it: Creative problem solving enhanced by REM sleep - 0 views

  • "Participants grouped by REM sleep, non-REM sleep and quiet rest were indistinguishable on measures of memory," said Cai. "Although the quiet rest and non-REM sleep groups received the same prior exposure to the task, they displayed no improvement on the RAT test. Strikingly, however, the group improved by almost 40 percent over their morning performances."
  • The study by Sara Mednick, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry at UC San Diego and the VA San Diego Healthcare System, and first author Denise Cai, graduate student in the UC San Diego Department of Psychology, shows that REM directly enhances creative processing more than any other sleep or wake state. Their findings will be published in the June 8th online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
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    "Participants grouped by REM sleep, non-REM sleep and quiet rest were indistinguishable on measures of memory," said Cai. "Although the quiet rest and non-REM sleep groups received the same prior exposure to the task, they displayed no improvement on the RAT test. Strikingly, however, the REM sleep group improved by almost 40 percent over their morning performances."
Tero Toivanen

Tests find benefit of sleeping on job - Science, News - The Independent - 0 views

  • A type of dreamy sleep that occurs more frequently in the early morning is important for solving problems that cannot be easily answered during the day, a study has found.
  • The discovery could explain many anecdotal accounts of famous intellectuals who had wrestled with a problem only to find that they have solved it by the morning after a good night's sleep.
  • Scientists believe that a form of dreaming slumber called rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep, when the brain becomes relatively active and the eyes flicker from side to side under closed eyelids, plays a crucial role in subconscious problem solving.
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  • In a series of tests on nearly 80 people, the researchers found that REM sleep increases the chances of someone being able to successfully solve a new problem involving creative associations – finding an underlying pattern behind complex information.
  • Those people who had enjoyed REM sleep improved significantly, by about 40 per cent, while the other volunteers who had not had REM sleep showed little if any improvement, according to the study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
  • The researchers suggest that it is not merely sleep itself, or the simple passage of time, that is important for the solving of a new problem, but the act of being able to fall into a state of REM sleep where the brain slips into a different kind of neural activity that encourages the formation of new nerve connections.
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    A type of dreamy sleep that occurs more frequently in the early morning is important for solving problems that cannot be easily answered during the day, a study has found.
Tero Toivanen

YouTube - Cognitive Neuroscience of Mindfulness Meditation - 0 views

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    Speaker: Philippe Goldin. Mindfulness meditation, one type of meditation technique, has been shown to enhance emotional awareness and psychological flexibility as well as induce well-being and emotional balance. Scientists have also begun to examine how meditation may influence brain functions.
Matti Narkia

How to unleash your brain's inner genius - life - 03 June 2009 - New Scientist - 0 views

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    Savants - individuals with conditions that result in remarkable mathematical, artistic or musical talents - are extremely rare. But new findings about how their formidable brains work hint that we might all be able to develop similar abilities
Tero Toivanen

Jeff Hawkins on how brain science will change computing | Video on TED.com - 0 views

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    Treo creator Jeff Hawkins urges us to take a new look at the brain -- to see it not as a fast processor, but as a memory system that stores and plays back experiences to help us predict, intelligently, what will happen next.
Tero Toivanen

Innovation: Mind-reading headsets will change your brain - tech - 23 April 2009 - New S... - 0 views

  • This week, engineer Adam Wilson made global headlines by updating Twitter using his brainwaves. "USING EEG TO SEND TWEET" he explained.
  • Escaping the lab

    Researchers have developed systems that read brainwaves – in the form of electroencephalogram (EEG) signals – in order to help people suffering from disabilities or paralysis control wheelchairs, play games Movie Camera, or type on a computer. Now, two companies are preparing to market similar devices to mainstream consumers.

  • Compatible with any PC running Windows, it will ship later this year for $299 (see image). They have shown off a game where the player moves stones to rebuild Stonehenge using mind power alone (see video).
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  • Californian company NeuroSky has also built a device that can detect emotions: the firm says it can tell whether you are focused, relaxed, afraid or anxious, for example.
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    This week, engineer Adam Wilson made global headlines by updating Twitter using his brainwaves. "USING EEG TO SEND TWEET" he explained.
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