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This prosthetic system could restore memory loss

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Scientists have demonstrated the successful implementation of a prosthetic system that uses a person’s own memory patterns to facilitate the brain’s ability to encode and recall memory, an important step towards finding a way to restore memory loss.
In the pilot study, published in the Journal of Neural Engineering, the researchers found that short-term memory performance of the participants showed a 35 to 37 percent improvement over baseline measurements.
“This is the first time scientists have been able to identify a patient’s own brain cell code or pattern for memory and, in essence, ‘write in’ that code to make existing memory work better, an important first step in potentially restoring memory loss,” said the study’s lead author Robert Hampson, Professor at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina, US.
The study focused on improving episodic memory, which is the most common type of memory loss in people with Alzheimer’s disease, stroke and head injury.
Episodic memory is information that is new and useful for a short period of time, such as where you parked your car on any given day.
Reference memory is information that is held and used for a long time, such as what is learned in school.
The researchers enrolled epilepsy patients at Wake Forest Baptist who were participating in a diagnostic brain-mapping procedure that used surgically implanted electrodes placed in various parts of the brain to pinpoint the origin of the patients’ seizures.
Using the team’s electronic prosthetic system based on a multi-input multi-output (MIMO) nonlinear mathematical model, the researchers influenced the firing patterns of multiple neurons in the hippocampus, a part of the brain involved in making new memories in eight of those patients.
First, they recorded the neural patterns or ‘codes’ while the study participants were performing a computerised memory task.
The patients were shown a simple image, such as a colour block, and after a brief delay where the screen was blanked, were then asked to identify the initial image out of four or five on the screen.
In this test, the patients’ episodic memory performance showed a 37 percent improvement over baseline.
In a second test, participants were shown a highly distinctive photographic image, followed by a short delay, and asked to identify the first photo out of four or five others on the screen.
When stimulated with the correct answer codes, study participants showed a 35 percent improvement in memory over baseline.
“We showed that we could tap into a patient’s own memory content, reinforce it and feed it back to the patient,” Hampson said.


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Health

5 Foods That Will Detoxify Your Lungs And Heal Them Naturally

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Are you a chain smoker? Do you live in a polluted area? Our lungs are a vital organ and the most ignored organ of our body. It is through them that we breathe.

Consequently our lungs are also sucking in harmful elements from the air around us. They are exposed to harmful pollutants and microbes that get deposited from the air we inhale. For people who smoke, their healthy lungs turn black with the deposition of tar in their lungs. Regular detoxification of lungs will help in smooth functioning and help in expulsion of toxins. Thus it is important that we choose healthy foods to cleanse our lungs, so as to reduce common lung diseases and respiratory problems such as asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia and cystic fibrosis.

Some foods which are great for good lung health are listed below:

 

1. Garlic: The anti-inflammatory properties along with a high level of allicin helps to fight infections and reduces inflammation. Garlic has also been considered by many as being an effective remedy in improving asthma and can help to reduce the risk of lung cancer.

2. Apples: An apple is healthy, loaded with nutrients, high energy, high fiber, low calorie food. Its flavonoids and the wide variety of vitamins, and antioxidants, particularly vitamin C, helps us to maintain a strong immune system and a healthy respiratory system. When we have healthy respiratory functions, we can fight off lung diseases and prevent them naturally.

3. Ginger: Due to its anti-inflammatory properties ginger will help to clear your lungs naturally. You can add ginger to various dishes as it is a widely used herb. Also you can add it in your morning tea.You can also use it to prepare ginger tea blended with some lemon in it. This is beneficial to remove toxins from the respiratory tract.

4. Green tea: Drink a cup of your favourite herbal green tea before going to bed to release toxins in the intestine that can lead to constipation or other stomach ailments. You should refrain from overloading your lungs with tedious work during this purification process.

5. Lentils: In order to optimize the oxygen transportation faculties of the lungs, healthy hemoglobin levels are absolutely critical. Hemoglobin is a protein molecule that is found in red blood cells and aids in transporting oxygen from the lungs to body tissue. As an added benefit, hemoglobin stimulates the internal processes that returns carbon dioxide back to the lungs to be expelled from the body. Black beans, cow peas, dried peas, lentils, red kidney beans, garbanzo beans, and soybeans are some foods containing properties that raise hemoglobin levels. Additionally, supplement beans and lentils with vitamin-C rich foods to maximize iron absorption.

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Fasting may help keep age-related diseases at bay: Study

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Fasting can boost the body’s metabolism and help protect against age-related diseases, a study has found. The circadian clock operates within the body and its organs as intrinsic time-keeping machinery to preserve homeostasis in response to the changing environment. While food is known to influence clocks in peripheral tissues, it was unclear, until now, how the lack of food influences clock function and ultimately affects the body.

“We discovered fasting influences the circadian clock and fasting-driven cellular responses, which together work to achieve fasting-specific temporal gene regulation,” said Paolo Sassone-Corsi, a professor at the University of California, Irvine in the US. “Skeletal muscle, for example, appears to be twice as responsive to fasting as the liver,” said Sassone-Corsi.

The research, published in the journal Cell Reports, was conducted using mice, which were subjected to 24-hour periods of fasting. While fasting, researchers noted the mice exhibited a reduction in oxygen consumption (VO2), respiratory exchange ratio (RER), and energy expenditure, all of which were completely abolished by refeeding, which parallels results observed in humans.

 

“The reorganisation of gene regulation by fasting could prime the genome to a more permissive state to anticipate upcoming food intake and thereby drive a new rhythmic cycle of gene expression,” he said. “In other words, fasting is able to essentially reprogram a variety of cellular responses. Therefore, optimal fasting in a timed manner would be strategic to positively affect cellular functions and ultimately benefiting health and protecting against ageing-associated diseases,” said Sassone-Corsi.

The study opens new avenues of investigation that could ultimately lead to the development of nutritional strategies to improve health in humans.

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High-fibre diet lowers risk of death, non-communicable diseases: Lancet

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Eating up to 30 grams of naturally-occurring dietary fibre — such as whole grains, pulses, vegetables and fruits — daily may prevent the risks of developing non-communicable diseases, finds a review of studies published in the journal The Lancet.

The results suggest a 15-30 per cent decrease in all-cause and cardiovascular related mortality; and reduced incidence of coronary heart disease, stroke, Type-2 diabetes and colorectal cancer by 16-24 per cent.

Increasing fibre intake is associated with lower bodyweight and cholesterol, compared with lower intake or synthetic and extracted fibre.

 

“Our findings provide convincing evidence for nutrition guidelines to focus on increasing dietary fibre and on replacing refined grains with whole grains. This reduces incidence risk and mortality from a broad range of important diseases,” said Professor Jim Mann, from the University of Otago, New Zealand.

“Fibre-rich whole foods that require chewing and retain much of their structure in the gut increase satiety and help weight control and can favourably influence lipid and glucose levels.

“The breakdown of fibre in the large bowel by the resident bacteria has additional wide-ranging effects including protection from colorectal cancer,” Mann said.

Protection against stroke, and breast cancer also increased. Consuming 25-29 grams each day was adequate but the data suggest that higher intakes of dietary fibre could provide even greater protection.

The researchers included 185 observational studies and 58 clinical trials involving 4,635 adult participants.

The study also found that diets with a low glycaemic index and low glycaemic load provided limited support for protection against Type 2 diabetes and stroke only.

Foods with a low glycaemic index or low glycaemic load may also contain added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium.

However, high intakes might have ill-effects for people with low iron or mineral levels for whom high levels of whole grains can further reduce iron levels, the researchers noted.

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