Friday, June 18, 2010

The Neurotechnology Industry 2010 Report: Market Analysis and Strategic Investment Guide of the Global Neurological Disease and Psychiatric Illness Markets

Research and Markets ( has announced the addition of the NeuroInsights "The Neurotechnology Industry 2010 Report" to their offering.
Drugs, Biologics, Stem Cells, Devices and Diagnostics for the Brain and Nervous System: Market Analysis and Strategic Investment Guide of the Global Neurological Disease and Psychiatric Illness Markets
Now in its sixth year, The Neurotechnology Industry 2010 Report is an expanded and updated 500 page report of brain and nervous system markets and treatments. It is the only publication to provide a comprehensive pipeline and market analysis to help investors, companies and entrepreneurs easily identify opportunities, understand the competitive landscape, determine risks and understand the dynamics of rapidly changing CNS markets.
The report includes detailed information on products in development globally for over 18 indications at 800 companies including Alzheimer's, addiction, ALS, anxiety, depressive disorders, epilepsy, migraine, mild cognitive impairment, Huntington's, multiple sclerosis, obesity, pain, Parkinson's, schizophrenia, age-related macular degeneration, sensory disorders, sleep disorders, and stroke.
Report Highlights
The Neurotechnology Industry 2010 Report provides a unified market-based framework to help executives, investors, and governments easily identify opportunities, understand the competitive landscape and visualize the dynamics of these rapidly growing markets.
  • More than 500 profiles of public and private neurotech companies including drugs, devices and diagnostics
  • 12 most active neurotech venture capital firms profiled with investments by market segment and U.S. neurotech venture capital trends (1999-Q12010)
  • Neurotech IPOs (2004-Q12010), M&A (2004-Q12010), Partnering and Licensing deals (2005-Q12010) and public neurotech stock performance
  • Pipelines and market analysis for 18 brain and nervous system illnesses including: addiction, Alzheimer's disease, anxiety, attention disorders, depression, epilepsy, hearing loss, insomnia, mild cognitive impairment, migraine, multiple sclerosis, obesity, pain, Parkinson's disease, retinal disorders, schizophrenia and stroke
  • Analysis of biological basis, current treatment options, and emerging therapeutic strategies-Analysis of compounds, cell therapies and devices in clinical trials (and abandoned) by company, mechanism of action and stage of development for each indication-Global and US market size, worldwide revenues for each indication
  • Extensive discussion of specific technological, demographic, regulatory and intellectual property

cheating Gene in Men -Marriage study revealed the presence of cheating Gene in Men !

In case of men, the presence of a particular type Gene in brain is responsible for the activity of cheating their spouse. A marriage study in Sweden showed that the existence of that particular Gene deviates men from the honest path of marital life and men can remain a faithful loves and committed husband if they lack the particular type of gene in theirbrain.
This study was lead by a behavioural geneticist at Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Hasse Walum. During the research, 552 sets of twin genes were studied thoroughly and it was found that men with a specific kind of gene land in trouble and suffer from misunderstanding in a married relation. The study also revealed that only genes cannot be blamed in this regard. Generally only 28% of behaviour of men is affected by genes and rest 72% of behaviour is controlled by other external factors.
The genes responsible for the cheating behaviour are generally inherited by men from previous generations. Dr Brenda Wade, a married and relationship expert said the key factor in being faithful in a legitimate relation is the conditioning of mind. This is the first time, when scientists have found out the relation between Genes and the behaviour of polygamy attitude.

New medical tech saves life

Stroke victim Lino Ozuna more than likely has a piece of medical technology — a surgical innovation not available locally as recently as a year ago — to thank for his life.
“We are so grateful that it was available for my husband,” said Patricia Ozuna, the wife of the patient who is slowly regaining his full faculties. “If this had happened a year ago, it would have been unavailable.”
Patricia Ozuna referred to the Merci Retrieval System used by Dr. Christopher Koebbe, clinical assistant professor of neurosurgery at San Antonio's University of Texas Health Science Center.
The Merci system features a wire, snake-like implement with a coiled end not unlike a corkscrew that is advanced from the groin through blood vessels just past the site of the clot.
“It's very easy to navigate inside the brain, which can be very torturous because the arteries in the brain have multiple loops and bends in them as opposed to other areas of straight anatomy,” Koebbe said in a recent telephone interview.
He said the Merci system replaces conventional systems based on chemical drugs that are delivered directly to the clot or the use of specialized penetrating balloons that bust a clot open.
An advantage to the system is that it lengthens the window of possible effective stroke treatment, Koebbe noted. In the past, patients like Ozuna were brought into emergency treatment rooms with little hope of effective treatment.
Optimum conditions for treatment came into play the night Ozuna's wife drove the patient to the hospital. When a long-used clot-softening drug proved ineffective, Koebbe knew he had to employ the Merci system to save his patient's life.
“He was a good candidate for the Merci retriever because he still had considerable brain tissue left that was not dead,” the neurosurgeon said.
In a telephone interview, Patricia Ozuna recalled the harrowing moments prior to arriving at the hospital. As the couple lay in bed after a full day of activities, she felt his body leaning into hers and her husband A retired bus mechanic, Ozuna, getting ready for bed, began speaking incoherently.

Recognizing stroke

BROOKSVILLE - The following Hernando Today health partner content is provided by Oak Hill Hospital, an HCA affiliate facility.
Recognizing the signs of stroke is the first step to getting lifesaving treatment.
Stroke is the third-leading cause of death in America and the number-one cause of adult disability.
Nearly 80 percent of strokes are preventable by reducing risk factors, such as smoking, hypertension, and physical inactivity. But if stroke does attack, it is imperative to know what it looks like. With timely stroke treatment, the likelihood of survival increases, and victims stand a better chance of limiting debilitating aftereffects.
"Roughly 2 million brain cells die per minute during stroke," says Rita Sivil, DO, ER medical director at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point. "Such a devastating toll can result in permanent brain damage, mental and physical disability, or even death. Knowing stroke symptoms and getting immediate medical attention can save a life."
Signs of Stroke
If you or a loved one suddenly demonstrates these symptoms, it is crucial to call 911 for immediate care: confusion or trouble speaking and understanding, difficulty seeing out of one or both eyes, numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg— especially if confined to one side of the body, trouble walking, loss of balance or coordination, or dizziness, unexplained severe headache.
Your Primary Destinations for Stroke Treatment
Community Hospital, Oak Hill Hospital, and Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point have all been certified as Primary Stroke Centers by The Joint Commission, meaning advanced, lifesaving stroke care is now closer than ever.
At a Primary Stroke Center, a highly skilled medical team is prepared to swiftly assess symptoms and administer treatment. Achieving this designation requires exceeding national standards for the treatment of stroke patients and demonstrating high-quality patient outcomes for several years.
Each facility possesses a Stroke Team comprised of clinicians and nurses who are available around the clock to assess patients within minutes of arrival using advanced technology such as computed tomography (CT) scans or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
At Our Best When Every Second Counts
If a blockage is found to be restricting blood flow to the brain, a patient may receive clot-busting drugs, which must be administered within three hours of the onset of stroke symptoms to prevent significant brain damage and give patients the best chance of recovery.
Primary Stroke Centers offer comprehensive programs of care. In addition to acute response, the Centers assist patients on the journey to recovery. Services such as speech and physical therapy promote a faster return to normal life.

Manganese Levels Important for Brain Development

BOSTON—Getting too much or not enough manganese may mean infants will be slower to reach neurological milestones, according to a study published in the journal Epidemiology (doi: 10.1097/EDE.0b013e3181df8e52). The researchers in the study said the data are consistent with manganese as both an essential nutrient and a toxicant.
Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health noted recent evidence suggests low-level environmental exposure to manganese adversely affects child growth and neurodevelopment. These previous studies addressed the effects of prenatal exposure, but little was known about developmental effects of early postnatal exposure.
Therefore, they studied 448 children born in Mexico City from 1997 through 2000, using a longitudinal study to investigate neurotoxic effects of early-life manganese exposure. Archived blood samples, collected from children at 12 and 24 months of age, were analyzed for manganese levels.  The researchers also measured mental development and muscular activity associated with mental processes at six-month intervals between 12 and 36 months of age.
At 12 months of age, they found the children who were in the lowest 20 percentile, with blood manganese levels below 20 mcg/L; and those who were in the highest 20 percentile, with levels higher than 28 mcg/L, did not do as well on the mental development tests.
However, as children aged, the connection between manganese levels and brain development diminished, and at 24 months of age, the researchers found no association between manganese and neurodevelopment.
This study was supported in part by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and by a STAR (Science to Achieve Results) Research Assistance Agreement awarded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Low, high manganese levels may affect the infant brain

Babies with either relatively high or relatively low levels of manganese in their blood may be slower to hit certain developmental milestones in their first year than other infants, a new study suggests.
The findings do not prove that manganese -- which is present in food, water, air and soil -- is the reason for the slower development. But they are in line with the general understanding of manganese -- that small amounts in the diet are necessary for normal nervous system function, while high amounts can be harmful.
What's new in this study is that it focused on manganese levels in the first few years of life, and whether there might be any effects of relatively low-level environmental exposure on the still-developing brain.
Most of what's been known about the health effects of elevated manganese levels has come from studies of workers heavily exposed to the element on the job, explained lead researcher Dr. Birgit Claus Henn, of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.
In their study, Henn and her colleagues found that at the age of 12 months, children in either the bottom 20 percent or the top 20 percent for blood manganese levels had lower scores on a standard test of mental development than those whose manganese levels fell in between.
On the other hand, blood manganese at age 2 was not related to mental development scores. And while there was still a relationship between manganese levels at age 12 months and mental-development scores at older ages, the connection was weaker, the researchers report in the journal Epidemiology.
Because the study is the first to look at blood manganese levels and brain development in children this age, the findings should be "interpreted cautiously," Henn told Reuters Health in an email.
However, she said, "if our findings are confirmed in other studies, the results suggest that both low and high manganese levels may have adverse effects on neurodevelopment among young children, especially at 1 year of age, which may be a sensitive time point."
Manganese is a natural component of rock and soil, and people are routinely exposed to it through air, water and food, including grains, fruits and vegetables. It is also used in industry, mainly in steel production, and heavy occupational exposure to manganese can be toxic to nerve cells -- leading to symptoms such as difficulty concentrating and Parkinson-like problems like slowed movement and coordination problems.
For the current study, Henn and her colleagues followed 448 Mexican children from birth to age 3. Every six months, the children were given standard tests of mental development, including measures of vocalization and communication, memory and problem-solving -- such as tackling simple goals like reaching a toy.
In general, children in the bottom and top 20 percent for blood manganese at the age of 12 months scored about three points lower than their peers on the mental development.
According to Henn, that difference is akin to what has been seen when young children's blood levels of lead -- which is known to harm early brain development -- rise from 10 micrograms per deciliter of blood (mcg/dL) to 30 mcg/dL. (Lead levels of 10 mcg/dL or higher are considered to be potentially dangerous in young children.)
According to U.S. health officials, the "normal" range of manganese levels in the blood is between 4 and 14 micrograms per liter (mcg/L) of blood. However, that range is not age-specific, Henn and her colleagues point out, and there is currently no clear "normal" for young children.
In this study, children in the bottom 20 percent for manganese at the age of 12 months had levels below roughly 20 mcg/L. In the top 20 percent, levels were higher than 28 mcg/L.
It is not certain that the manganese levels themselves were responsible for the relatively lower mental-development scores. The researchers did account for a number of other factors -- including blood lead levels and mothers' IQ and education levels -- and the connection remained.
However, Henn said that it is still possible that other factors, such as exposures to other environmental toxins, could explain the findings.
For now, she said, there are some steps parents can take to limit young children's exposure to manganese while ensuring that they also get enough of it. Manganese is present in some fertilizers and fungicides, for instance, so parents can try to limit their children's exposure to those products.
Henn also noted that while manganese levels in public drinking water are regulated, there can be high levels in well water. So avoiding that water source may be helpful.
On the other hand, Henn said, it is rare for people to be overexposed to manganese through food. So parents should make sure that their children get the healthful foods -- including whole grains and green, leafy vegetables -- that contain manganese.

Naturally occuring protein reverses brain damage caused by meningitis

Scientists have discovered an important role for a small, naturally occurring protein called interleukin-10 (IL-10) in removing bacteria from the blood of infected mice and reversing damage to the brain.
This bacterium, Escherichia coli K1, is the most common cause of meningitis in premature infants and the second most common cause of the disease in newborns.
"The ineffectiveness of antibiotics in treating newborns with meningitis and the emergence of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria require new strategies," explains Nemani V. Prasadarao, Ph. D, associate professor of infectious disease at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA).
One of a class of proteins known as cytokines, IL-10 is involved in immune function.
Rahul Mittal, lead author on the paper and a post-doctoral fellow in Prasadarao's lab, said: "We found that during an episode of bacteremia, when a large number of bacteria are circulating in normally sterile blood, IL-10 acts to clear antibiotic-sensitive as well as antibiotic-resistant E. coli from the circulation of infected mice."
They also determined that E. coli infection produced damage to the mouse brain comparable to that seen in humans. Three-dimensional imaging studies of infected animal and human infant brains showed similar gross morphological changes.
"When we gave IL-10 to mice 48 hours after infection, those changes to the brain were reversed," said Mittal.
Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) is a cytokine active in producing inflammation. When the researchers replicated these experiments using antibiotic or anti-TNF, brain damage resulting from E. coli infection was not prevented.
The team also discovered a mechanism of action for IL-10 protection. In culture, using mouse and human white blood cells called neutrophils, they found that exposing these cells to IL-10 produced an increase in the number of a certain type of receptor on the surface of the neutrophils. An increase in the CR 3 receptor led to enhanced killing of bacteria.
Another white blood cell, called a macrophage, works to clear bacteria from the blood by engulfing or "eating" the pathogen. Similar to what was seen in neutrophils, macrophages treated with IL-10 showed an increase in CR 3 receptors that enhanced their ability to destroy invading bacteria.
To confirm that the CR 3 receptor is critical to the protective effect of IL-10 against E. coli, CR 3 expression was suppressed in a group of mice. Before exposing the animals to bacteria, white blood cells were examined and the CR 3 receptor was determined to be absent. These animals were exposed to E. coli and then treated with IL-10.
The mice were found subsequently to have bacteria in the CSF and morphological changes indicating brain damage. The protective effect of IL-10 during bacteremia was absent in animals without CR 3 receptors. The researchers further concluded that the crucial increase in CR 3 receptor was a result of IL-10 suppressing an important inflammatory agent, prostaglandin E-2.
"Since diagnosing meningitis is difficult until bacteria reach the central nervous system, finding an agent that can clear the bacteria while also preventing or restoring the damaged brain is very exciting," said Mittal.
The study, conducted in collaboration with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California and the Universite Auvergne, France, has been published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

g Crayfish brain offers new insight into human decision-making

Washington,  Crayfish, just like organisms of higher complexity, observe their environment, and then make value-based decisions- a trait that could offer new insights into human decision making.
According to a University of Maryland study, crayfish make surprisingly complex, cost-benefit calculations.
The researchers concluded that crayfish make an excellent, practical model for identifying the specific neural circuitry and neurochemistry of decision making.
They believe their study is the first to isolate individual crayfish neurons involved in value-based decisions.
Currently, there’s no direct way to do this with a human brain.
“Matching individual neurons to the decision making processes in the human brain is simply impractical for now,” said Jens Herberholz, the study’s senior author.
“History has shown that findings made in the invertebrate nervous systems often translate to more complex organisms. It’s unlikely to be exactly the same, but it can inform our understanding of the human brain, nonetheless. The basic organization of neurons and the underlying neurochemistry are similar, involving serotonin and dopamine, for example,” he added.
Herberholz added that his lab’s work may inform ongoing studies in rodents and primates.
“Combining the findings from different animal models is the only practical approach to work out the complexities of human decision making at the cellular level.”
The experiments offered the crayfish stark decisions – a choice between finding their next meal and becoming a meal for an apparent predator.
In deciding on a course of action, they carefully weighed the risk of attack against the expected reward, said Herberholz.
“We have now shown that crayfish, similar to organisms of higher complexity, integrate different sensory stimuli that are present in their environment, and they select a behavioural output according to the current values for each choice,” he added.

Seizure warning implant for epileptic

A Tasmanian epilepsy sufferer has become the first person in the world to be implanted with a device that gives patients early warnings of a seizure. Jason Dent, 26, from Hobart, last week had an implant similar to a pacemaker fitted into his chest and wired to his brain by doctors at St Vincent's Hospital in Melbourne who are trialling the device.
The implant will monitor electrical activity 24 hours a day from the brain's surface and send the information back to a wireless pager-type device Mr Dent now carries with him.
Mr Dent, who has put up with severe regular seizures since the age of four, hopes the implant will give him more freedom at work and while playing sport.
The supermarket worker is now more confident he will be able to get to a safe place before the seizures take hold.
"There are some periods in my life where I wouldn't have any seizures for up to two or three months and then I might have two or three in one week," he told AAP.
"Just recently I nearly got hit by a car on the road, and there have been times when I've had to come off the cricket field when I've been batting because of my seizures."
If the risk of seizure is high, a red light will show on the pager, while a white light indicates a moderate risk and a blue light signals only a low risk.
The pager can also be set to vibrate or sound a warning to alert a patient if that risk level changes.
Doctors hope the early warning system will reduce uncertainty in patients concerned about when a seizure may strike.
St Vincent's neurosciences head Professor Mark Cook said the impact on epilepsy patients' quality of life can be profound.
"Patients whose epilepsy is poorly controlled by medication, or who aren't suitable for surgery, currently live with the prospect of having a seizure at any time with little or no warning," Professor Cook said.
"This not only severely compromises their quality of life, participating in sport and undertaking certain jobs can be out of the question.
"It can also pose a threat to their life if they have a seizure while crossing the street, operating machinery or even walking up stairs."
The device, which has not yet been turned on while it collects data and builds a picture of Mr Dent's brain during a seizure, is expected to start sending warnings from next month.
Mr Dent is one of 10 patients in three Victorian hospitals who will participate in the two-year trial and if successful, the device may be widely available in three to five years.

Biomedical engineering students develop brain-powered device

Megan Long (left) and Kelsey Wiggin

Megan Long (left) and Kelsey Wiggin
LEWISBURG, Pa. — Megan Long sits perfectly still in the rolling office chair with her chin turned up slightly. Three gold electrodes are affixed firmly to the center of her forehead and the back of her head, and two green and red plastic monitors are positioned on her neck.
"OK, close your eyes, Megan," her classmate Kelsey Wiggin says. Several seconds later, a toy car-sized motor on wheels borrowed from a Lego set begins to crawl across a set of strings suspended above the table.
"Now open your eyes," Wiggin says. The motor crawls to a stop.
"Flex your neck" she says. The motor switches directions.
Long and Wiggin are testing a brainwave- and muscle-activated mechanism they developed with fellow rising senior and biomedical engineering major Ben Geib for a Fundamentals of Biomedical Signals and Systems class at Bucknell University. Their hope is that the technology, if further developed, could be used in prosthetic devices or with stroke patients, for example, to help them better control their movements and motion.
Signals and systems
Assistant Professor of Biomedical and Electrical Engineering Joseph Tranquillo asked the students in the class to develop devices that incorporated the theory and practical uses of biomedical signals and systems. The students were to define a problem on their own and come up with a solution.
Other class projects included a prototype for an automatic insulin pump that turns on when needed rather than manually; a device to simulate the effects of varying red blood cell counts and measure how the body reacts to those variations; and a mechanism to monitor how the body over time learns to react to nicotine from cigarettes, snuff and chewing tobacco.
Long, Wiggin and Geib wanted to pursue a project that explored brain power, Wiggin said. Geib had conducted research in the summer of 2009 on neuroprosthetics and was familiar with such devices. Similar mechanisms in development by others include brain-powered wheelchairs and computer word processors.
Tranquillo conceded he was skeptical when the students proposed the project, noting that isolating a particular brainwave is similar to picking out an individual alto voice in the Halleluiah Chorus.
"When you record a signal from the body, especially from the brain, it is tiny and needs to be hugely amplified," he said. "On top of that, there are thousands of little processes occurring all at once, and we may only want to pick out one of them. The question for the students was: How do you isolate the signal you want?"
Before developing the device, Wiggin, Long and Geib researched how to identify specific signals based on their range of frequency. They consulted Psychology Professor David Evans about EEG and EMG technology and asked Professor of Mechanical Engineering Steve Shooter for advice about robotic motors.
The students chose to isolate signals from the occipital lobe or vision center for the EEG readings, Long said, because it produces a pronounced signal.
The results, Tranquillo said, came through following "an excellent engineering design process combined with a good dose of hard work."
"The device is pretty primitive, but this is what it looks like when someone builds a first prototype to show proof of the concept," he said. "What is impressive about this is that the students did this entirely on their own."
How it works
The device is in principle very simple, but because it involves isolating brain signals, it includes several electrical devices.
Electrode sensors are attached to a human subject and an amplifier, which magnifies the brain and muscle signals up to 10,000 times. The magnified signals are then filtered to remove non-biological noise such as lights and radio waves. The signal is then sent to a laptop computer where it is further filtered to isolate the specific brainwave and muscle twitches of interest. The presence of these particular signals is what triggers the motion of the motor through another series of electronic amplifiers.
Each person has different peaks and valleys in their brainwaves, and those patterns vary depending on the day, Wiggin noted.
"Every time we come in, there are variables depending on hours of sleep and how much caffeine they have had," Wiggin said.
"Today, my earrings were interfering," Long said, holding up a pair of silver hoops. "If someone is doing an experiment upstairs, it also can affect the readings."

Once they discern a pattern in the brainwaves, the students instruct the computer to send signals to the motor to switch it on or off or change its direction from left to right, Wiggin explained. The group has had about a 75 percent success rate.
Future development
The students hope someday to have the chance to further develop their device.
"In the future, we would hope to add four or five dimensions to the movement of the motor," Wiggin said. "With time and money, we could adapt this. It is just the very beginning of something that could be used for a prosthetic limb."
"I think we created a really good base," Long agreed.
Shooter, the professor who offered the group advice about robotics, commended the students for their ingenuity.
"We tend to think of engineering and our fields as acting in a silo, but they're all integrated," he said. "The students start thinking about it and they realize, 'Hey, they are doing the same kinds of things in psychology, too, just from a different perspective.'"
Dan Cavanagh, chairman of the biomedical engineering department, said the project demonstrated to the students how taking risks can pay off in engineering.
"What makes this most exciting is that here are three students who chose to go outside the boundaries of what we thought the project was and to answer something we did not know the answer to," he said. "Instead of following a recipe step by step, it was a real discovery process."

Surgeons claim Michelangelo painting of God contains diagram of the brain that was a hidden dig at the Vatican

Subtle: From a distance, the diagram that the two surgeons claim is a brain cannot be seen above the vertical line in God's robe that they say is meant to represent the spinal columnA Dan Brown-style Da Vinci Code mystery has emerged from within a Michelangelo fresco painted in the Vatican's Sistine Chapel.
Brown's blockbuster book described a hidden message in Leonardo Da Vinci's Last Supper that suggested Christ had married Mary Magdalene, causing fury at the Vatican.
Now two neurosurgeons have claimed to have uncovered a 500-year-old mystery involving his Renaissance rival Michelangelo - in which he painted a brain inside a painting of God to hide it from then Pope Julius II.
Subtle: From a distance, the diagram that the two surgeons claim is a brain cannot be seen above the vertical line in God's robe that they say is meant to represent the spinal column
God's neck is painted to appear as the human brain when viewed closely, with the verical line in his robe representing the spinal column
Writing in the scientific journal Neurosurgery, Ian Suk and Rafael Tamargo of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, claim Michelangelo painted a brain within an image of God.
In the fresco The Separation of Light from Darkness, Suk and Tamargo say that leading up the centre of God's chest and forming his throat, there is a precise depiction of the human spinal cord and brain stem.
Subtle: From a distance, the diagram that the two surgeons claim is a brain cannot be seen above the vertical line in God's robe that they say is meant to represent the spinal column
Art critics and historians have often questioned the strange anatomical irregularities in Michelangelo's depiction of God's neck in the panel and the uneven lighting in the area as well.
The figures in the fresco are illuminated diagonally from the lower left, but God's neck, highlighted as if in a spotlight, is illuminated straight-on and slightly from the right.  Some have suggested it is a mistake but Suk and Tamargo are convinced it is a hidden message as in no other figures did Michelangelo make such a serious error.
In their paper they write: 'Did Michelangelo, at the peak of his abilities, intend to portray something else? We submit that he did.'
They claim by superimposing a detail of God's odd 'lumpy neck' in the Separation of Light and Darkness onto a photograph of the human brain, the lines of God's neck trace precisely the features of the human brain.
Also unusual, they say, is the roll of material that rises up the centre of God's robe in an unnatural manner. The clothing is bunched up and the fold clashes with what would be the natural drape of fabric over God's torso and they insist it is the human spinal cord, ascending to the brain stem in God's neck.
They conclude by saying: 'Being a painter of genius, a master anatomist, and a deeply religious man, Michelangelo cleverly enhanced his depiction of God in the... panels on the Sistine Chapel vault with concealed images of the brain and in this way celebrated not only the glory of God, but also that of His most magnificent creation.'
Michelangelo was well known as a painter, sculptor and inventor but he kept his interest in anatomy secret for fear of punishment from Pope Julius and he even destroyed sketches and notes for fear of being discovered.
While working on the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican, Michelangelo had several rows with Pope Julius II and even depicted himself in two self portraits in the frescoes as being tortured. After Michelangelo died a subsequent Pope, Paul IV, ordered fig leaves to be put over nudes in the work because he felt they were an insult.

Brain Cells in Lab Dish Keep Time

Brain cells don't need to be in your head in order to learn something, a new study suggests. The results show brain cells living in a lab dish can be taught to keep time.
The neurons, relocated from the outer layer of a rat brain to the inside of a lab dish, could fire for specific amounts of time depending on how they were trained.
The findings shed light on a puzzle scientists are still grappling with — exactly how the brain tells time. Much of what humans do in their everyday lives relies on the brain's ability to perceive and process short intervals of time. For instance, understanding speech requires that people recognizes pauses between words and intervals between syllables. 
The researchers used an electrical current to stimulate networks of cultured brain cells, similar to giving the cells an electric shock. While these networks contained tens of thousands of neurons, they make up only a small fraction of the 100 million or so neurons present in a rat brain. (The human brain contains about 100 billion neurons.)  
The cells were stimulated at specific time intervals, ranging from one-twentieth of a second (50 milliseconds) to half a second (500 milliseconds).
After two hours of cell shocking, the scientists tested to see how each cell responded to just a single electrical pulse. They saw the network activity — the way the neurons fire, and whether or not this firing spreads or propagates throughout the network — differed depending on the training interval.
In the networks that had been trained on the short intervals, say 50 ms, the activity lasted for about 50 ms before dying out. But in the networks trained at 500 ms, the activity lasted for longer, around 500 ms.
"In a manner of speaking, those circuits could tell time in the range that they were stimulated with or trained with," said Dean Buonomano, professor of neurobiology and psychology at UCLA. "In other words if you needed to tell time, [to] tell 500 milliseconds, it would not really be possible to do that with the [brain] slices trained on 100 milliseconds, but it would be with brain slices trained with 500 milliseconds."
Scientists don't know whether this ability to tell time depends on a single part of the brain, a sort of centralized clock, or whether the function is more generalized, so networks of neurons throughout the brain are inherently capable of keeping time on their own without an orchestrator.
The results give weight to the latter hypothesis, since the segregated neurons could learn to keep time without tapping into a centralized brain area.
Ultimately, learning how the brain tells time will help us better understand how he brain works, which is important for figuring out what goes wrong when the brain has problems, Buonomano said.
"If we don’t understand how the brain works, we don't understand how to fix it," he said.
Interestingly, there are no known diseases in which a person's ability to keep time is completely lost, Buonomano said, although certain conditions, such as dyslexia, appear to have time-keeping deficits. This is in contrast to something like forming memories, where legions in certain parts of the brain can prevent people from making long-term memories, he said.
This further supports the idea that timing keeping is generalized rather than centralized, he said.

Women more 'prone to stress because of brain differences'

The brain chemistry in men and women could explain why women tend to be more prone to stress, new research claims.

A study by scientists from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia found women may be more sensitive to an important stress hormone than men.

For the research, rats were subjected to swim stress tests, which revealed that the brains of female rats were more sensitive to a key stress hormone known as corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF). This organises stress responses in mammals.

"This may help to explain why women are twice as vulnerable as men to stress-related disorders," said US study leader Dr Rita Valentino.

"Although more research is certainly necessary to determine whether this translates to humans, this may help to explain why wom¬en are twice as vulnerable as men to stress-related disorders," she added.

Earlier this year, a study by Mind found that one in ten workers have begun taking antidepressants for stress and mental health problems, caused by the pressures of the recession on their workplace.

When a woman doesn't want sex

Cyndi says she misses passion, and that the past 20 years have been a struggle.
Cyndi says she misses passion, and that the past 20 years have been a struggle.
When Cyndi met her husband at a picnic on the beach nearly 20 years ago, the two had instant physical chemistry. "We would kiss and my hormones would go riding. I'd want it to last forever, more and more and more." But shortly before her marriage, she noticed something had changed. "It took a few weeks for me to realize. But, I said, 'Hey wait a minute. For the last few weeks, I haven't responded when we kissed.' "
A 2008 survey of more than 30,000 U.S. women published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology found that nearly 40 percent reported that they'd had a sexual problem at some point in their lives, with low desire being the most common issue. Although it usually is a private matter, more women are sharing their frustrations online on sites like the Circle of Moms. The progress toward a drug that could boost women's libido has also sparked more conversation, including responses to a recent CNNHealth blog. Now that possible solution may be one vote away.
Friday, a committee of reproductive health experts at the Food and Drug Administration will vote on the efficacy and safety of a drug called flibanserin, a type of antidepressant medication that works by balancing the brain chemicals linked to sexual desire. If approved, this drug -- which some call the "female Viagra" -- will be the first available to treat premenopausal women hypoactive sexual desire disorder or HSDD, an umbrella term for many forms of female sexual dysfunction.
Anticipation over the approval of flibanserin was tempered on Wednesday after an FDA review of studies found that when compared with a placebo, the response rate of flibanserin was "not compelling," and the drug yielded only slight improvements for treating the condition. A spokesperson from the manufacturer, Germany-based Boehringer Ingelheim, said the company remains confident the drug is effective and safe and will be approved. The FDA decision is expected late Friday afternoon.
Cyndi, 24 at the time, was in the process of planning her wedding and had just switched jobs. She attributed her low sex drive to stress. But when, months into her marriage, she still did not want to have sex with her husband, she knew the problem was greater.
"The hormones weren't doing anything," she said. "All I wanted to do was cry because I mourned what I had."
Over the past 20 years, Cyndi said, she has explored various treatment options, including counselors, who told her to "just relax, have some wine, watch some porn," and gynecologists who suggested she switch birth control pills. She even signed up for clinical trials, submitting her body to uncomfortable and probing tests. But in the end, nothing helped.
"Something in my body just stopped working the way it was supposed to," Cyndi said through tears. "I've tried everything. I'm looking for a different level of solution here."
The quest for the "female Viagra"
Flibanserin is not the only treatment making headway. An Illinois company called BioSante Pharmaceuticals is conducting phase III clinical trials on a testosterone based product called LibiGel.
Testosterone, considered to be the principal male sex hormone, also appears in the ovaries of women. Studies show that women with low levels, especially women going through menopause, are more likely to experience lagging libido. According to BioSante Pharmaceuticals, preliminary studies of LibiGel show that women who applied a pea-sized amount of the gel to their forearm reported a 238 percent increase in satisfying sexual events during the four weeks of the trial. The maker is looking at the possible cardiovascular risks associated with the testosterone increase and hopes to submit a drug application to the FDA by the end of 2011.
In the meantime, there are very few options for women who experience problems with HSDD. Other products, including a prescription-only clitoral therapy vacuum device designed to increase blood flow to the clitoris, have not been widely successful.
What's the delay?
It's been 12 years since Viagra came on the market to treat male erectile dysfunction, so why has it taken so long to find help for women?
The short answer: It's complicated.
"For men, the problem was with their genitals, and that was a lot easier to fix than fixing a problem in the brain," said Sheryl Kingsberg, a clinical psychologist and professor in both the departments of reproductive biology and psychiatry at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. She said the cause of HSDD in women can be multifaceted. "For some women that's going to be biologic, so a pharmacologic option will be really important. For others, what they really need is to focus on the psychological factors that create their willingness to be sexual. Some women will be both," she said.
Dr. Leah Millheiser, director of the Female Sexual Medicine Program at the Stanford University School of Medicine, has been conducting studies looking at the MRI images of women with extremely low libido. She shows women erotic material while they undergo MRI exams and looks at the impact on neurotransmitters in their brains.
"What we found was really interesting. Women with low libido were different in terms of their brain activity while watching the sexual scenes." In the MRI images of the brains of women with low libido, the bilateral putamen was activated. That's an area of the brain associated with identifying negative facial expressions, unhappiness or neutrality. On the other hand, the MRI images of women with normal libido showed activity in the entorhinal cortex, an area of the brain where positive emotions are registered.
Millheiser said these findings are exciting because they help her counsel patients who feel as if they are the problem.
"For women with chronic low libido, it doesn't change when they meet a new partner and it doesn't change when they go on vacation. It absolutely can be a problem in their brain and they should not feel guilty."
Cyndi, now a 44-year-old mother of two, has had sex with her husband only about once every three months -- at his request -- for the entirety of their marriage. She said she is glad researchers are finally offering more concrete data, because for her the past 20 years have been a struggle. "I miss it. I miss passion. For me there's none of that because my body does not respond," she said. "I keep hoping that something will happen someday and we'll know how to fix it."

Shared Opinions Light Up Brain's 'Reward Center'

Finding your thoughts validated by others brings mental satisfaction, study finds
HURSDAY, June 17 (HealthDay News) -- Finding common ground with others often leads to a sense of satisfaction, and a new study suggests that the reason why is because the "reward" area of the brain is activated when people agree with our opinions.
A research team from England and Denmark used functional MRI scans to monitor activity in the ventral striatum area of the brain in 28 volunteers who listened to two experts' opinions about songs the participants liked. There was increased activity in the ventral striatum when the participant and the expert had a shared opinion, according to the report in the June 17 issue of the journal Current Biology.
"We all like getting rewards and this is reflected in brain activity in the ventral striatum," first author Dr. Daniel Campbell-Meiklejohn, from the Center of Functionally Integrative Neuroscience at Aarhus University in Denmark, said in a Wellcome Trust news release. "Our study shows that our brains respond in a similar way when others agree with us. One interpretation is that agreement with others can be as satisfying as other, more basic, rewards."
The researchers also found that most participants were likely to increase their positive opinion of a song if the experts also liked it, and lower their rating of a song if the experts didn't like it. This shift in opinion was reflected in ventral striatum activity.
"It seems that not only are some people more influenced by the opinions of others, but by looking at activity in the brain, we can tell who those people are," study author Chris Frith, of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at University College London, England, said in the news release.

Monkeys like TV too, brain scan study finds

Humans are not the only primates that enjoy watching TV - this was the discovery of a research team that monitored a monkey's brain activity while it watched TV and confirmed the animal was enjoying itself.

Feelings of anger and fear were evident from the monkey's facial expression, but feelings of joy could only be induced.

The Kyoto University Primate Research Institute team published its findings in a Swiss specialist journal June 13.

The team, led by Professor Nobuo Masataka, used optical topography to observe what parts of a rhesus monkey's brain were activated when it watched TV. Optical topography uses near-infrared light to record brain activity.

The team found the frontal lobe of the monkey's brain was activated by watching TV. This is the same part that is activated in humans when they feel joy, such as when a baby sees its mother smile.

In the experiment, the monkey watched a video of an elephant and a giraffe performing in a circus, and another of a monkey grooming itself. Its brain showed more activity when it watched the circus.

An increasing number of zoos have been showing their animals TV to break up the monotonous living environment. The research team has scientifically confirmed the effectiveness of the zoos' strategy, observers said.