Where does consciousness come from? According to Koch, consciousness arises within any sufficiently complex, information-processing system. All animals, from humans on down to earthworms, are conscious; even the internet could be. That’s just the way the universe works.
You may not have heard of “the peanut butter test,” but it could become a fantastically low-cost and non-invasive way to test for Alzheimer’s. After all, what’s less invasive than asking someone to smell some delicious peanut butter?
Nerve cells communicate through short, fleeting pulses of electrical activity. Yet some memories stored in the brain can persist for decades. Research into how the nervous system bridges these two radically different time scales has been going on for decades, and a number of different ideas have picked up some experimental support.
Alzheimer researchers in Spain have taken a step closer to finding a blood test to help in the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. With approximately 75% of the estimated 36 million Alzheimer’s sufferers worldwide yet to receive a reliable diagnosis, the potential impact on the lives of possible sufferers, present and future, could be huge.
Researchers have pinpointed a catalytic trigger for the onset of Alzheimer’s disease — when the fundamental structure of a protein molecule changes to cause a chain reaction that leads to the death of neurons in the brain.
A Sandia National Laboratories-supported workshop in Albuquerque called NICE, for Neuro-Inspired Computational Elements workshop, discussed ways to use the brain’s superior ability to send electrical signals along massively parallel channels, with multiple intersections at downstream nodes, to handle rapidly changing, high-volume information.
The hope is that rather than using the limited “if this, then that” logic of conventional computer architectures to absorb steadily increasing yet often incomplete data, cognitive systems will be able—like the brain—to learn, adapt, hypothesize, and then suggest answers.
A drug developed by scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, known as J147, reverses memory deficits and slows Alzheimer’s disease in aged mice following short-term treatment. The findings, published May 14 in the journal Alzheimer’s Research and Therapy, may pave the way to a new treatment.