USC researchers develop brain implant to improve memory

first_imgA team of university professors tested a brain implant that could improve long-term memory of humans. Diagram courtesy of Dong SongUSC researchers recently demonstrated how brain implants can be used to improve the long-term memory of humans, which has the potential to treat damaging diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. At the Society for Neuroscience conference in Washington, D.C. earlier this month, USC professors Dong Song and Theodore W. Berger and Wake Forest University professors Robert Hampson and Sam Deadwyler presented findings about the brain implant device from the past three years.The overall goal of the project, which has been going on for over 20 years, is to construct a “memory prosthesis” device that restores the memory function of the brain through the hippocampus, a part of the brain that is critical for the formation of long-term memory. According to Song, patients with brain-impairing diseases or injuries were each found to have a malfunctioning hippocampus. “Even though these patients can remember some old memories, they can no longer generate new long-term memory, [and] can remember things for only a short period of time,” Song said. “We are trying to fix that using an engineering approach, so we built a mathematical model to describe how the hippocampus processes information.”Song said the device starts by recording the brain’s activity patterns. After processing this information with a computational model, the implant predicts what the correct signal should be, and through small electric shocks that stimulate the hippocampus, it mimics normal brain activity and writes in that signal back to the hippocampus. “The hippocampus is much like a bridge back to the neocortex [which regulates conscious thought], and what we achieved now is basically proof of that principle,” Song said. “We recorded from the stimulation of a very small number of neurons, [and] we showed that the memory functions at a certain level.”With this device, the researchers conducted hundreds of trials with 20 epileptic patients who had implanted brain electrodes. In each trial, the team had patients perform a simple memory task. First they were introduced to an image, which ranged in complexity from standard clip art to something more abstract and difficult to name. This image then vanishes, and after a variable delay, which increased with every subsequent trial, patients were then shown several images, from which they had to select the correct one.“Based on the performance, [we got] the forgetting curve of the patients’ memory — from a certain length of delay, patients have good memory, [but with] a longer delay, [their memory] is not as good,” Song said. “From this device, we are trying to prove that we can get this curve to go upwards, and the percentage of the correct response was higher.”According to the team’s study, the device can boost memory performance by up to 30 percent, but Song believes that this is only the starting point in the team’s research. He hopes the team will be able to develop a clinical, wired device that patients can wear or have implanted into their brains to improve and restore long-term memory for the rest of their lives. “I personally want to solve a problem, like fix a certain disease,” Song said. “We need to make the device more general, more powerful, [and be able to] last longer, do multiple memory tasks and be truly implantable, so it’s still a long way to go.”last_img read more

Fewer Jamaicans denied entry into T&T

first_imgPiarco International Airport in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago The number of Jamaicans being denied entry into Trinidad and Tobago continues to decline.Jamaica’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kamina Johnson Smith, disclosed that 289 Jamaicans were refused entry by Trinidad and Tobago in 2017, a reduction from the 416 persons refused in 2016. “According to the Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA), 63 Jamaican nationals were denied entry (to Trinidad) in the first quarter of 2018, and while we can’t predict what will happen by the end of the year, certainly, if this trend continues, then the reduction continues,” she said.Training seminars for immigration officers The minister was addressing journalists at a recent press briefing.She said immigration officers’ training seminars implemented by Trinidad and Tobago have also helped to reduce the number of complaints from Jamaicans about their treatment while in Trinidad.Travel tips for Jamaican travelersAdditionally, she informed that the Ministry has been sharing important travel tips to Jamaicans visiting CARICOM countries, “so that they could take responsibility when they travel…..This cooperation between public information as well as training and governmental responsibility among member states will reduce some of the friction that exists.” .The CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) facilitates hassle-free travel for all CARICOM nationals.The CSME is built on five core regimes: free movement of capital, free movement of goods, free movement of skills, the provision of services, and the right of establishment.Johnson Smith said there is still a great level of disparity among CARICOM member states in the implementation of the five regimes.She noted that a protocol to treat with community nationals being denied entry at the borders is being finalized.last_img read more

The OAS Calls Current Guyanese Government to Move Out

first_imgHe said approximately 55 per cent of all votes cast for general elections stand to be impacted due to “either anomalies and/or voter impersonation or unreconciled ballot boxes. “OAS reiterates that there is no reason not to support the results of the recount process. OAS further takes note and wholly supports the findings of the CARICOM team of scrutineers that the results of the recount were transparent and credible, and nothing prevents the Chair of the Guyana Elections Commission from now declaring the election, based on these results,” it added. “Following the very irregular occurrences in the tabulation process for District Four, which undermined the credibility of the results for that electoral District – the largest in Guyana – a national recount of all ballots was deemed the best approach to ensure a result that was acceptable to all stakeholders.” CMC “Specifically, 7.2 per cent of the votes cast were impacted by anomalies, 39.2 per cent were impacted by voter impersonation, 3.4 per cent impacted by both anomalies/irregularities and voter impersonation, and 5.7 per cent impacted by unreconciled ballot boxes,” said Lowenfield, whose report, like that of the three-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Observer team that observed the recount, will be discussed by GECOM before an official announcement of the election results are given. In its statement, the OAS said that the decision by GECOM to proceed with the national recount and the eventual initiation of the process on May 6, were welcome developments in the ongoing electoral process in Guyana. The OAS said that on June 4 it issued a statement in which its observers present on each day of the national recount have reported that the process was conducted in a “professional, transparent and impartial fashion, which allowed GECOM, political parties and other stakeholders to accurately determine the results for each polling station. WASHINGTON – The Organization of American States (OAS) Monday called on the Guyana government to “to begin the process of transition, which will allow the legitimately elected government to take its place” as the country awaits the official announcement of the winner of the disputed March 2 regional and general election. “OAS notes that the report submitted by the Chief Elections Officer on June 13, records multiple “allegations” of irregularities by a contesting party in each District, which are then used as a basis for determining that the electoral process in each of the ten Districts was not credible.” The OAS said that I has noted that the decision to proceed with the recount had the full support of all stakeholders in the elections and that the Official Order of the Recount, No. 60/2020, gazetted on May 4, 2020 notably states “ the President and the Leader of the Opposition and all contesting parties agreed to a CARICOM proposal for a total recount of all electoral districts as a means of assuaging the contesting parties and determining a final credible count…”center_img Current President of Guyana, David Granger The PPP/C said that following the end of the national recount on June 9, it had won the polls by more than 15,000 votes while the ruling coalition, a Partnership for National Unity (APNU) claimed there were many irregularities and anomalies. In a statement, the OAS, which was among international and regional organisations that sent observers to monitor the polls, said elections are held to determine the will of the people and once the people’s wishes are clearly stated they must be upheld, not only in instances where they favour the incumbent. The OAS said that the Order of the Recount required that “ascertained and verified” matrices of the results for each of the ten electoral districts be submitted to the Chief Elections Officer, who would then tabulate these results and submit them to GECOM, along with a summary of the observation reports prepared for each District. “In this case, the results published in the report of the Chief Elections Officer himself make it clear that the opposition PPP/C (People’s Progressive Party/Civic) has won the favour of the majority of Guyana’s eligible voters. Their will must be respected,” the OAS said. “This support was reiterated in public statements by the President of Guyana and other key stakeholders as the recount proceeded.” In his report over the last weekend, he Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfiel, said that the results did not meet the standard of fair and credible elections. But it said “there is little evidence in the CEO’s report of efforts to investigate or otherwise address any of the alleged irregularities presented. His contention that the entire election be set aside on this basis alone is astonishing”.last_img read more

Takeaways from A’s 2-1 win over Kansas City Royals

first_imgOAKLAND — The A’s were left scratching their heads after six innings as Kansas City starting pitcher Jorge Lopez stifled the Oakland’s offense by limiting them to just two hits and no runs.With one swing to lead off the seventh inning, however, A’s first baseman Matt Olson sparked Oakland’s bats.“Massive,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said when asked about Olson’s 450-foot blast to center field. “It inspired [the offense]. No doubt.”Olson’s solo-shot triggered a two-run seventh inning that pushed …last_img read more

Raiders mailbag: Beating the rush and bashing Carr now

first_imgALAMEDA — Fielding some Raiders questions before taking to the road with a game Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings:Q: When are the Raiders going to admit Carr isn’t a franchise QB? Look at the A-22. Raiders had guys open deep as much as KC. The difference was KC has Mahomes. Here are 2 of them. The 1st pic. is the one Carr ran & went air born on 3rd. The 2nd he goes to the flat instead of long. — @MyBoysKaosHavoKNot sure what has made more fans play-callers and coaches — All-22 or playing …last_img read more

Argentina Coach Demands Perfection

first_imgTweetPinShare0 Shares RIO DE JANEIRO — Perfection is hard to attain in football. Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella says that’s what his team needs to achieve to have a chance of beating Germany in the World Cup final on Sunday.Describing the Germans as “very powerful” rivals physically, mentally and tactically, Sabella on Saturday said there’s no room for error for Argentina.Sabella says: “We must play a perfect game.”The coach said injured winger Angel Di Maria’s condition was improving, though it was still unclear whether he would be fit to play on Sunday.He also dismissed a question about whether he would step down as Argentina coach after the match, saying the issue was “irrelevant” and that he was only thinking about the final.KARL RITTER, Associated Presslast_img read more

Reus You wont see me playing at Bayern Munich I promise

first_imgBorussia Dortmund captain Marco Reus reiterated his commitment to the club and assured everyone that they will never see him in a Bayern Munich jerseyBVB have an unfortunate history for selling their best players to rival clubs with star duo Robert Lewandowski and Mats Hummels leaving for Bayern in recent years, while Mario Gotze rejoined them in 2016 following a three-year spell at the Bundesliga champions.But Reus, who performances this season have earned him three Player of the Month awards this term, announced he will not be following in the footsteps of his former teammates.“You won’t see me playing at Bayern, I promise,” Reus told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.“Also I’m nearly 30 years old and they want to rejuvenate their squad.”In his new attacking midfield role, Reus has played a vital role in Dortmund’s stunning campaign this season with his 11 goals and five assists helping the club establish a six-point lead over Bayern at the top of the Bundesliga table.Jadon SanchoMerson believes Arsenal should sign Sancho Manuel R. Medina – September 14, 2019 Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho might be the perfect player to play for the Gunners, according to former England international Paul Merson.And the 29-year-old is well aware that BVB are in a great position to end Bayern’s six-season dominance in Germany and claim a first league title for themselves since 2012 in the process.“It’s in our hands, we have to take each game like the first of the season and then we’ll have a chance,” said Reus.The 29-year-old missed Dortmund’s 1-0 win at RB Leipzig over the weekend after sustaining a knock in training on Friday, but will likely return to action this week.Since rejoining his boyhood club from Borussia Monchengladbach in 2012 in a €17.1m deal, Reus has managed a total of 110 goals and 69 assists in 228 appearances across all competitions for Dortmund.The Germany international has won the DFB-Pokal and two DFL-Supercups at Signal Iduna Park and reached the Champions League final in 2013, which Dortmund lost narrowly lost 2-1 to Bayern at Wembley.last_img read more

Cal Fire lifts evacuation orders from Lilac Fire

first_img December 10, 2017 Cal Fire lifts evacuation orders from Lilac Fire Posted: December 10, 2017 , center_img ESCONDIDO (KUSI) — All evacuation orders for the Lilac Fire were lifted Sunday after crews managed etch fire lines around 60 percent of the blaze.All roads were re-opened by about 4 p.m., including state Route 76, which was completely re-opened between Oceanside and Interstate 15.Officials were still restricting access to two areas badly damaged by the fire: the Rancho Monserate Country Club in Fallbrook, as well as an area between 5200 Olive Hill Rd and 5800 Olive Hill Road in Fallbrook.The number of firefighters and other personnel battling the Lilac Fire reached a peak of 1,409 today and officials at the central command centersay they’re likely to begin releasing crews from duty now that the fire has reached 60 percent containment.The majority of those crews Sunday worked on strengthening containment lines and putting out hot spots. The fire has largely been contained on its east side near Interstate 15.Their efforts today focused on clearing lines of brush to stop the fire in its tracks on its western side near Bonsall, officials said.”The fire’s looking really good, despite the wind,” Cal Fire public information officer and Battalion Chief Henry Herrera said. “If we can get through today I think we’ll be in pretty good shape for the remainder of this incident.”Firefighters learned about their duties at a 7 a.m. briefing Sunday at Kit Carson Park in Escondido, where a miniature city has been set up with one purpose: To support everything needed to completely extinguish the Lilac Fire.Meals, hoses, breathing masks, office supplies and medical care are all available at the camp.The “trailer city” was set up shortly after the fire broke out, Herrera said. The blaze began at around 11:15 a.m. on Thursday, just west of I- 15 and north of Lilac Road in Pala Mesa, amid gusty, arid winds.The fire has held at 4,100 acres since Thursday night. It has destroyed at least 182 structures and damaged 23 others. Thousands of North County residents were forced to evacuate their homes after the blaze broke out.At least 1,500 structures remain threatened, authorities said.Santa Ana winds will gradually weaken this afternoon though humidity will remain very low, according to the National Weather ServiceThe agency’s red flag warning will be lifted at 8 p.m. Sunday.Fire officials began setting up the command center after determining the blaze would need massive man power.It’s a joint command center, which means all decisions are made jointly by leaders from Cal Fire, the North County Fire District and the Vista and Oceanside fire departments.Firefighters from those companies are joined by crews from across the west and as far away as Alaska.They all speak the same firefighting language, Herrera said, which means once new crews arrive they can quickly learn about their assignments and get out in the field without having to learn local jargon.Fire departments and other agencies from in and out-of-state brought with them 22 bulldozers, 163 engines, 24 water tankers and 14 helicopters.The equipment not being used was lined up in parking lots at the Escondido park Sunday afternoon as the camp buzzed with activity preparing for firefighters’ return home that evening.Thousands of breakfasts and dinners are prepared by state prison inmates. Bagged lunches, including vegetarian options, are distributed to crews before they head out to fight the fire.The meals clock in at about 2,000 calories each and are meant to sustain firefighters during the entirety of their grueling shifts, Herrera said.Crews either sleep in hotels or pitch tents in one of the park’s designated sleeping areas.The camp’s “Main Street” consists of a row of trailers that serve every function. One houses the command bosses and another handles accounting for the incident. There’s even one just for making copies of documents.Herrera said that many of the firefighters expected to be released today will be assigned to fight other blazes ravaging Southern California, such as the Thomas Fire in Ventura County, which is at 170,000 acres and growing. Categories: Local San Diego News FacebookTwitterlast_img read more