Biology and Medicine

Advances in the investigation of the physical universe we live in.

Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Typhoon » Wed Nov 19, 2014 6:25 pm

All the world's a stage.
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Parodite » Tue Nov 25, 2014 3:36 pm

Alive Inside (2014)

Dan Cohen, founder of the nonprofit organization Music & Memory, fights against a broken healthcare system to demonstrate music's ability to combat memory loss and restore a deep sense of self to those suffering from it.


Very moving documentary.



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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Parodite » Mon Dec 01, 2014 6:59 pm

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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Doc » Tue Dec 02, 2014 12:01 am

Parodite wrote:
Alive Inside (2014)

Dan Cohen, founder of the nonprofit organization Music & Memory, fights against a broken healthcare system to demonstrate music's ability to combat memory loss and restore a deep sense of self to those suffering from it.


Very moving documentary.



Torrent


Nice

Along the same lines. Sort of.

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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Heracleum Persicum » Tue Dec 02, 2014 5:09 am

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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Doc » Wed Dec 10, 2014 7:04 pm

The mind-bending effects of feeling two hearts

David Robson

When a man was fitted with a new heart, his mind changed in unusual ways. Why? The answer reveals a surprising truth about all our bodies, says David Robson.

Every second or so, Carlos would feel a small “bump” hitting his tummy. It was the beating of his “second heart”.

The small mechanical pump was meant to relieve the burden of his failing cardiac muscles, but Carlos (not his real name) disliked the sensation. The beat of the machine seemed to replace his pulse, a sensation that warped his body image: as the device throbbed above his navel, Carlos had the eerie feeling that his chest had dropped into the abdomen.

It was a strange, unsettling feeling. But when neuroscientist Agustin Ibanez met Carlos, he suspected even odder effects were to come. By changing the man’s heart, Ibanez thought, the doctors might have also changed their patient’s mind: Carlos would now think, feel and act differently as a result of the implant.

How come? We often talk about “following the heart”, but it is only recently that scientists have begun to show that there is literal truth in the cliche; the heaving lump of muscle contributes to our emotions and the mysterious feelings of “intuition” in a very real way. Everything from your empathy for another person’s pain to the hunch that your spouse is having an affair may originate from subtle signals in your heart and the rest of your body.

And the man who feels two hearts offered Ibanez, who is based at Favaloro University in Buenos Aires, a unique opportunity to test those ideas.

“Cranial stuffing”

Ibanez’s work chimes with millennia of speculation about the heart’s role in cognition – which was sometimes thought to supersede the brain’s. Touching the cool, moist grey matter of the cortex, for instance, Aristotle assumed that the brain’s main function was to chill the passions erupting from the heart – which he considered the seat of the soul. For similar reasons, embalmers in ancient Egyptians made sure to leave the heart in the chest, but happily removed the mere “cranial stuffing” from the head.

We now take a more cerebral view of thought, even if the view of the heart as the font of our emotions has lingered; just consider the many metaphors we use to describe feelings today. William James, the founder of modern psychology, helped formalise these ideas in the 19th Century by suggesting that emotions are really a back-and-forth feedback cycle between the body and the brain. According to his theory, the brain might be able to register a threat intellectually – but it is our awareness of the racing heartbeat and sweaty palms that transforms an abstract concept into a visceral emotion.

James’ ideas also raised an important question: if everybody has different bodily awareness, would that shape the emotions they experience? The idea was difficult to test, however, but a hundred years later scientists are now on the case.

The studies first asked subjects to count their heartbeats based solely on the feelings within their chest; they weren’t allowed to put their hand on their heart or actively take their pulse. Try it for yourself, and you’ll see that this kind of “interoception” can be surprisingly difficult; around one in four people miss the mark by about 50%, suggesting they have little to no perception of the movements inside them; only a quarter get 80% accuracy. After testing their cardiac awareness, the researchers then gave the volunteers various cognitive tests.

James, it turned out, was spot on. People with more bodily awareness tend have more intense reactions to emotive pictures and report being more greatly moved by them; they are also better at describing their feelings. Importantly, this sensitivity seems to extend to others’ feelings – they are better at recognising emotions in others’ faces – and they are also quicker to learn to avoid a threat, such as a small electric shock in the lab, perhaps because those more intense bodily feelings saturate their memories, making the aversion more visceral. “It may quickly clue us in to the relative goodness or badness of the objects, choices, or avenues of action that we are facing,” says Daniella Furman at the University of California, Berkeley. In other words, people who are in tune with their bodies have a richer, more vivid emotional life – including both the ups and downs of life. “We may not be able to describe the particular physiological signature of a pleasurable experience, but we would probably recognise the sensations when they occur,” she says.

Emotional barometer

These secret bodily signals may also lie behind our intuition – the indefinable hunches that you have the winning hand in poker, say, according to an elegant study by Barney Dunn at the University of Exeter. The task was simple: the volunteers were asked to choose cards from four decks, and they would win money if it matched the colour of another, upturned card.

The game was rigged so that you were slightly more likely to win from two of the decks, and lose if you picked from the other two. Dunn found that the people who could track their heartbeat with the most accuracy would tend to pick from certain decks, whereas those with poor interoception were more likely to choose at random.

The bodily-aware people weren’t always correct – they were the worst losers as well as the best winners – but the point was that they were more likely to follow their hunches.

So the folklore may be right: people who are in touch with their heart are more likely to be swayed by their instincts – for good or bad. All of which prompted Ibanez to wonder what would happen when you are fitted with an artificial heart? If Carlos experienced substantial changes, it would offer important new evidence that our mind extends well beyond the brain.

And that is exactly what he found. When Carlos tapped out his pulse, for instance, he followed the machine’s rhythms rather than his own heartbeat. The fact that this also changed other perceptions of his body – seeming to expand the size of his chest, for instance – is perhaps to be expected; in some ways, changing the position of the heart was creating a sensation not unlike the famous “rubber hand illusion”. But crucially, it also seemed to have markedly altered certain social and emotional skills. Carlos seemed to lack empathy when he viewed pictures of people having a painful accident, for instance. He also had more general problems with his ability to read other’s motives, and, crucially, intuitive decision making – all of which is in line with the idea that the body rules emotional cognition. “It is a very interesting, very intriguing study,” says Dunn of the findings.

“A lifeless shell”


Sadly, Carlos died from complications during later treatments – but Ibanez now hopes to continue his studies with other patients. He is currently performing tests on people undergoing a full heart transplant to see how it could influence interoception. Damage to the vagal nerve should cut off some of the internal signals sent from the heart to the brain, which might then impact their cognition.

Away from the cardiac clinic, he has is also looking at whether a fault in the link between body and brain could lead to strange depersonalisation disorders, in which patients have the eerie feeling that they don’t inhabit their own body. “I feel as though I'm not alive, as though my body is an empty, lifeless shell,” one patient told researchers. “I seem to be walking in a world I recognise but don't feel.” Ibanez has found that they tend to show worse interoception, and brain scans suggest that this results from a breakdown in communication across the anterior insula – a deep fold of the cortex that is, tellingly, implicated in body awareness, emotion perception, empathy, decision making – and the sense of self.

Dunn, who is a clinical psychologist, is more concerned about its relevance to depression. “At the moment therapy is very much in the head – we change what the client thinks and trust that their emotions will follow up,” he says. “But I often hit a wall: they say that they know these things intellectually, but emotionally they can’t feel it.”

Even after therapy has trained more positive thinking, the patient may still struggle to feel joy, for example – a problem that Dunn suspects may come from poor interoception. He gives the example that when you are walking around the park, your body might give you all sorts of pleasant feedback that shows you are relaxed and peaceful. “But depressed clients seem to walk around the park without being engaged with the sensory experience,” he says, “and then they come back and say it was flat and empty”.

Along these lines, Furman has found that people with major depressive disorder (but without other complications like anxiety) struggle to feel their own heart beat; and the poorer their awareness, the less likely they were to report positive experiences in their daily life. And as Dunn’s work on decision making would have suggested, poor body perception also seemed to be linked to measures of indecision – a problem that blights many people with depression. Furman stresses, however, that there may be many different kinds of depression, and poor bodily awareness may only influence some of them.

It’s not clear why some people may have reduced bodily awareness, but Dunn thinks it can be trained, with practice. He is currently looking into the use of mindfulness-based therapy, which encourages people to focus on the sensations in their body. He says the challenge is to try to recognise the feelings, even if they are unpleasant, without reacting to them in a knee-jerk way. You should then be better equipped to use the body as the “emotional barometer” to inform you about your state of mind and decide how to act. Another group has designed a rudimentary computer game that asks you to tap a key with every four heartbeats, and flashes red when you are wrong, offering feedback that should boost body awareness.

So what are you waiting for? You can enjoy a richer, more emotional life; tune into the sensory pleasures of the world, and make better decisions. And all you have to do is listen to your heart.

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/2014120 ... two-hearts
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Doc » Sat Dec 20, 2014 7:09 pm

A Virus Which Can Make You Dumb: ATCV-1

Image

by Jeffrey Rowland / Health & Lifestyle / 03 Dec 2014


Researchers from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the University of Nebraska have discovered a virus that can attack human DNA. The attack can be so severe that the person may lose his memory, intelligence and even his learning ability. The virus has been dubbed as a stupid virus and can make a person completely dumb.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the University of Nebraska working jointly have located and identified a virus which has been named ATCV-1. Later it was experimented on normal individuals and later on some of the subjects lost a section of their mental capacity.

A Virus Which Can Make You Dumb

The research teams were looking into throat microbes when they accidently came across some traces of the virus ATCV-1 found in the DNA samples of humans. The microbes were unknown and formed the basis of a study led by Dr. Robert Yolken from Johns Hopkins and he conducted a virus database search to know more information about the unknown virus.

It was discovered that the ACTV-1 causes infections in the green algae found in the lakes. The virus was never found to infect any humans. The researchers discovered traces of algal virus in the volunteers and screened them. The virus affected about half of the volunteers.

The team found that the subjects affected by the virus performed the visual processing tests poorly as compared to healthy ones. The virus also lowered attention spans and spatial awareness.
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby YMix » Sun Dec 28, 2014 4:13 pm

When the doctor’s away, the patient is more likely to survive
Deaths due to heart problems drop during major cardiology gatherings.

by John Timmer - Dec 26, 2014 2:30 pm UTC

"Don't get sick on a weekend." That advice is also part of a title of a research paper that evaluates the fates of patients who go through the emergency room on a weekend. These patients are more likely to die. It's just one of a number of studies that suggests patients who enter the hospital while the staffing is lower or the staff more relaxed end up with worse results.

But the precise cause of this enhanced weekend mortality has been hard to determine; is it the reduced staff, a more leisurely approach to care, or some other factor? To try to get at the cause, some researchers obtained records of heart patients who had a critical event during a time when hospitals were at full staff, but heart specialists were likely to be out of town. Unexpectedly, they found that the patients did significantly better when the relevant specialists were unavailable.

The study relied on medicare records to track patients that were admitted to a hospital with a serious heart condition: acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, or cardiac arrest. The key measure was simply whether the patient was still alive 30 days later.

That may sound simple, but the rest of the analysis was remarkably sophisticated. To figure out when heart specialists were most likely to be present at hospitals, they selected two large cardiology meetings: the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology, both of which attract over 10,000 participants. Patients admitted during the meetings were compared with groups admitted three weeks before and after. Reasoning that researchers are more likely to attend these meetings, they analyzed teaching hospitals separately from regular ones.

As additional controls, they checked a number of additional meetings for oncology, gastroenterology, and orthopedics specialists. They also looked at the impacts of additional critical injuries, like gastrointestinal bleeding and hip fractures, as well as non-critical cardiac problems.

In total, there were tens of thousands of patients involved. And the trends were clear. At teaching hospitals, the rate of death after heart failure was 24.8 percent on non-meeting days. While the cardiologists were out of town, it dropped to 17 percent. A similar trend was apparent with cardiac arrests, where death rates fell from 68.6 percent to 59 percent while cardiology meetings were happening. There was no significant difference with acute myocardial infarction patients.

So, having specialists in town appeared to make matters worse for patients—the exact opposite of the hypothesis the researchers set out to examine. The various controls suggested the effect was robust, and it persisted after adjusting for other potential influences, like age and sex.

In a press release accompanying the report, one of its authors, Anupam Jena, said "That's a tremendous reduction in mortality, better than most of the medical interventions that exist to treat these conditions." What could possibly be causing it? The authors consider three possibilities. First, there's something involved with the changes in cardiology staffing that occur when specialists go out of town that actually increases care. The second is that there are fewer people having outpatient or same-day procedures, given that doctors wouldn't schedule these when they knew they'd be absent. This would allow the remaining physicians to better focus care on the serious cases.

The final possibility that they consider is that the doctors that remain behind are more cautious about the care they give, avoiding aggressive procedures such as the use of angioplasty or stents to re-open clogged heart vessels. This would be consistent with the lack of effect in acute myocardial infarction patients, where this procedure is used less often.

Although their analysis can't distinguish among these possibilities, it's clear that this effect warrants further attention. Both because it's possible that the long-term survival evens out thanks to more aggressive treatment, and because we might find out that we've been acting a bit too aggressively.
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Typhoon » Fri Jan 02, 2015 7:15 am

'Bad luck' of random mutations may play the predominant role in cancer

Scientists from the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center have created a statistical model that measures the proportion of cancer incidence, across many tissue types, caused mainly by random mutations that occur when stem cells divide. By their measure, two-thirds of adult cancer incidence across tissues can be explained primarily by "bad luck," when these random mutations occur in genes that can drive cancer growth, while the remaining third are due to environmental factors and inherited genes.

"All cancers are caused by a combination of bad luck, the environment and heredity, and we've created a model that may help quantify how much of these three factors contribute to cancer development," says Bert Vogelstein, M.D., the Clayton Professor of Oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, co-director of the Ludwig Center at Johns Hopkins and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Typhoon » Sun Jan 04, 2015 8:42 pm

Quanta | A new physics theory of life

The aspect of the 2nd law of thermodynamics that the creationists consistently get wrong:

Although entropy must increase over time in an isolated or “closed” system, an “open” system can keep its entropy low — that is, divide energy unevenly among its atoms — by greatly increasing the entropy of its surroundings. In his influential 1944 monograph “What Is Life?” the eminent quantum physicist Erwin Schrödinger argued that this is what living things must do. A plant, for example, absorbs extremely energetic sunlight, uses it to build sugars, and ejects infrared light, a much less concentrated form of energy. The overall entropy of the universe increases during photosynthesis as the sunlight dissipates, even as the plant prevents itself from decaying by maintaining an orderly internal structure.
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NanoMedicine

Postby Heracleum Persicum » Sun Jan 18, 2015 2:57 am

.


The International Institute of New England was proud to honor Iranian Omid Farokhzad,
award-winning scientist and entrepreneur,
with the 2014 Golden Door.






.
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Re: NanoMedicine

Postby Parodite » Sun Jan 18, 2015 8:53 am

Heracleum Persicum wrote:.


The International Institute of New England was proud to honor Iranian Omid Farokhzad,
award-winning scientist and entrepreneur,
with the 2014 Golden Door.






.


I wouldn't take AngloZionists handing out prizes too seriously. There always is a hidden agenda.
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Re: NanoMedicine

Postby noddy » Sun Jan 18, 2015 9:31 am

Parodite wrote:I wouldn't take AngloZionists handing out prizes too seriously. There always is a hidden agenda.


i cant make up my mind if the trophy contains a listening device or poision gas.
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Typhoon » Tue Jan 20, 2015 3:37 pm

Too much sitting can be deadly—even if you exercise, review finds

Regular exercise doesn't erase the higher risk of serious illness or premature death that comes from sitting too much each day, a new review reveals.
Combing through 47 prior studies, Canadian researchers found that prolonged daily sitting was linked to significantly higher odds of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and dying.

And even if study participants exercised regularly, the accumulated evidence still showed worse health outcomes for those who sat for long periods, the researchers said. However, those who did little or no exercise faced even higher health risks.


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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby noddy » Wed Jan 21, 2015 4:29 am

woohoo, the choice between cancer and heart disease versus starving broke on the streets.

isnt modern life grand.
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Re: NanoMedicine

Postby Simple Minded » Wed Jan 21, 2015 1:15 pm

noddy wrote:
Parodite wrote:I wouldn't take AngloZionists handing out prizes too seriously. There always is a hidden agenda.


i cant make up my mind if the trophy contains a listening device or poision gas.


I suspect both. The anglo-zionist always win cause "we" always underestimate "them." ;)

Maybe it is time we just open our eyes to the reality that "they" are smarter than "us?" :(

And probably always will be? :(
Experts differ on data interpretation........
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Typhoon » Fri Jan 30, 2015 8:19 pm

noddy wrote:woohoo, the choice between cancer and heart disease versus starving broke on the streets.

isnt modern life grand.


Indeed. However, I'd like to see the statistics behind this recent meta-analysis.

I set my computer alarm to go off at three hour intervals and get up and do some calisthenics:
that seems to strike a balance between concentration and activity.
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Typhoon » Fri Jan 30, 2015 8:21 pm

Q | Networks Reveal the Connections of Disease

Network maps reveal hidden molecular connections between disparate diseases.
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Typhoon » Thu Feb 05, 2015 10:12 pm

History and ethics of male circumcision:

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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Typhoon » Fri Feb 06, 2015 9:04 pm

noddy wrote:woohoo, the choice between cancer and heart disease versus starving broke on the streets.

isnt modern life grand.


Health Experts Recommend Standing Up At Desk, Leaving Office, Never Coming Back
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Azrael » Sun Feb 08, 2015 1:43 am

noddy wrote:woohoo, the choice between cancer and heart disease versus starving broke on the streets.

isnt modern life grand.

Use a standing desk?
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Doc » Sun Feb 08, 2015 5:22 am

Typhoon wrote:History and ethics of male circumcision:




A very circumspect discussion on male genital mutilation
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Simple Minded » Thu Feb 19, 2015 1:09 pm

Today, I am taking my German Shepard (the dog kind, not the kind Endo fears) in for stem cell therapy treatment to help with arthritis/old age problems. It will be interesting to see the results.

I told the veterinarian, "If this works for him, I'm going to have you do me next."

He laughed and said, "So far, after seeing the improvements in their animals, every single one of my clients has said the same thing. Unfortunately, there is this thing called the FDA standing in our way."

I laughed and said, "Well it will be a one time cash payment, and I don't see a need to keep any records. I'll consider it the same as buying a lottery ticket....."

Some oligarch or king should set up a tax free, regulation free zone in their kingdoms for medical R&D and treatment. The best and the brightest would flock to work there, the 0.001% would gladly finance the endeavor.

almost like a free market.... caveat emptor....
Experts differ on data interpretation........
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Typhoon » Sun Mar 01, 2015 7:52 am

Nature | Food preservatives linked to obesity and gut disease

Mouse study suggests that emulsifiers alter gut bacteria, leading to the inflammatory bowel condition colitis.
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Doc » Tue Mar 10, 2015 7:22 pm

Paralyzed woman pilots F-35 fighter jet simulator using mind control

By Walt Bonner
·Published March 10, 2015

It reads like something out of a sci-fi flick, but new technology created by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has recently enabled a paralyzed woman to fly an F-35 fighter jet and a single-engine Cessna in a simulator using only her mind. Speaking in Washington, DC at the recent New America Foundation’s Future of War forum on February 24th, DARPA Director Arati Prabhakar revealed to the crowd that 55 year-old Jan Scheuermann, who has suffered paralysis since 2003 due to a neurodegenerative condition, was able to fly a Joint Strike Fighter simulator without the use of any joystick or handheld device.

“We can now see a future where we can now free the brain from the limitations of the human body,” Prabhakar said, “and I think we can all imagine amazing good things and amazing potentially bad things on the other side of that door.”

In 2012, Scheuermann volunteered to undergo surgery to have two small probes placed on the surface of her brain — the left motor cortex. Her neurosignals were then picked up, enabling Scheuermann to control a pair of left and right prosthetic arms using only her mind.

“Jan was implanted with small electrode grids containing 96 tiny contact points in the region of her brain that would normally control her right arm and hand movement,” Jared B. Adams, DARPA’s director of media relations, told FoxNews.com. “Each electrode point picked up signals from an individual neuron, which were then relayed to a computer to identify the firing patterns associated with particular observed or imagined movements, such as raising or lowering the arm, or turning the wrist.”

Jan would watch animations and imagine the robotic prosthetic arm’s movements as a team of researchers recorded the signals sent from her brain.


“She thinks [and then] she can shake your hand or offer you a stack of cookies,” Prabhakar told the crowd. “It’s amazing functionality for someone who’s been paralyzed for this time.”

However, it wasn’t long until she set her sights a little higher.

“Jan decided she wanted to try flying a Joint Strike simulator,” Prabhakar said. “So, Jan got to fly in the simulator.”

Most pilots who train in simulators have to use a joystick to control the plane’s movements. Not so with Jan — all she had to do was simply think about piloting the jet and it would move accordingly. DARPA has been working with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center on the project, and it seems that, at least so far, the sky’s the limit.

As for whether or not pilots will soon be able to control physical aircraft with their minds, Prabhakar said it’s a long way off, while also noting the technology’s possibly dangerous future implications.

“I think we’re a long way from [piloting physical jets with mind control] becoming real, but we’ve opened this door,” Prabhakar said. “You can see some amazing, positive things, but of course we’re talking about crossing some major ethical boundaries when you start talking about people being able to [utilize] this very different way of connecting their brains to the rest of the world. So we think it’s an important time to think about what those next steps in research are going to be to engage in a bigger community.”

Though mind-controlled physical jet flying remains far off in the future, another cool facet of this technology, which is straight out of films like “Starship Troopers” and “Robocop,” may be here before we know it.

“The research Jan was involved in is part of the agency's Revolutionizing Prosthetics program, which is ongoing and aims to continue increasing functionality of systems so service members with arm loss may one day have the option of choosing to return to duty,” Adams added.

This may mean that mind-controlled robotic replacement prosthetics could be ready for issue in the near future. Adams said that the dexterous hand capabilities developed under the program have already been applied to small bomb disposal robotics, which should help keep soldiers out of life-and-limb-threatening situations.


http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2015/03/10/ ... d-control/
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