The future of mind control

first_imgCharles M. Lieber and Shaun Patel, a faculty member at the Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, see a field — their own — at a tipping point. In a perspective titled “Precision Electronic Medicine,” published this month in Nature Biotechnology, they argue that neurotechnology is on the cusp of a major renaissance.“The next frontier is really the merging of human cognition with machines,” said Patel, a neurologist at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. And in their article, he and Lieber, the Joshua and Beth Friedman University Professor, write that mesh electronics such as those developed by Lieber are the foundation for machines designed to personalize electronic treatment for just about anything related to the brain.“Everything manifests in the brain fundamentally. Everything. All your thoughts, your perceptions, any type of disease,” Patel said.Right now, scientists can identify the areas of the brain where decision-making, learning, and emotions originate, but tracing behaviors to specific neurons is still a challenge. That means that when the brain’s complex circuitry becomes tangled or degraded by psychiatric illnesses such as addiction, neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, or even natural aging, doctors have only two options: drugs or implanted electrodes, both of which can have effects on more than their intended targets. In some cases side effects can be severe, and while the effects of deep-brain stimulation can be almost instantaneous, over time the brain’s immune system treats the stiff implants as foreign objects: Neural immune cells (glia cells) engulf the perceived invader, displacing or even killing neurons and reducing the device’s ability to maintain treatment.Lieber and Patel believe the current technology is simply a stopgap. In their paper, they write that developing “research focused at the interface between the nervous system and electronics … [can unlock] the potential of implants capable of cellular-level therapeutic targeting.”“Personalized electronic therapies will provide new treatment modalities for neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric illness; powerful control of prosthetics for restorative function in degenerative diseases, trauma and amputation; and even augmentation of human cognition,” they write. “Overall, we believe that emerging advances in tissue-like electronics will enable minimally invasive devices capable of establishing a stable long-term cellular neural interface and providing long-term treatment for chronic neurological conditions.”To that end, Lieber’s lab is designing smaller, more flexible electronic brain implants that move with brain tissue instead of against it. His mesh electronics mimic the size, shape, and feel of real neurons; can record, track and modulate individual neurons and circuits for up to a year or more; and provoke almost no immune response. In addition, Lieber’s electronics have already demonstrated a valuable trick of their own: They encourage neural migration, potentially guiding newborn neurons to damaged areas, like pockets created by stroke.What this means, the researchers said, is that eventually the technology could track how specific neural subtypes talk, which in turn could lead to a cleaner, more precise map of the brain’s communication network. With higher-resolution targets, future electrodes can act with greater precision, eliminating unwanted side effects. And, Patel said, they could be tuned to treat any neurological disorder.Lieber and Patel expect the next steps to be a focus on “highly flexible mesh probes with high densities of recording and stimulation electrodes [that can interface] with mature, silicone-based processor chips,” ultimately leading to “seamless neural-electronic systems,” even treatments for bedeviling and disheveling brain illnesses such as Alzheimer’s.After that, they said, adaptive electrodes could provide better control over prosthetic or even paralyzed limbs, and in time may act like neural substitutes, replacing damaged circuitry to re-establish broken communication networks and recalibrate based on live feedback.“If you could actually interact in a precise and long-term way and also provide feedback information,” Lieber said, “you could really communicate with the brain in the same way that the brain is communicating within itself.”Mesh electronics still has several major challenges to overcome: scaling up the number of implanted electrodes, processing the data flood those implants deliver, and feeding that information back into the system to enable live recalibration.“I always joke in talks that I’m doing this because my memory has gotten a little worse than it used to be,” Lieber said. “That’s natural aging. But does it have to be that way? What if you could correct it?”“The potential for it is outstanding,” Patel said. “In my own mind, I see this at the level of what started with the transistor or telecommunications.”last_img read more

Sergei Prikhodko, Russia’s ex-deputy PM, dies at 64

first_imgMOSCOW (AP) — Sergei Prikhodko, Russia’s former deputy prime minister who played a prominent role in shaping Russia’s foreign policy, has died. He was 64. Russian news agencies reported the death on Tuesday, citing spokespeople of the government. Prikhodko served as deputy prime minister between 2013 and 2018. In January 2020, he was appointed aide to Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin. Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny accused Prikhodko of corruption. In an investigation published in 2018, Navalny alleged that the official received lavish hospitality from billionaire Oleg Deripaska, who is close to President Vladimir Putin and also had a working relationship with Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s former campaign manager.last_img

CU 1 extends financial services to pot businesses

first_img continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr An Alaska credit union has launched a pilot program to provide financial services to marijuana businesses, which among other benefits will relieve state workers from counting $1.5 million in cash tax payments each month.James Wileman, President/CEO of Credit Union 1 ($1 billion in assets, 84,064 members) said the decision fits with its history of serving the underserved, and will relieve the state’s businesses and agencies from the burdens of handling too much cash.Alaskans voted to legalize marijuana in 2014, the first licenses were granted in 2016 and marijuana retail sales are on-track to reach $200 million in 2018.Alaska’s Alcohol & Marijuana Control Office has licensed 262 businesses from the Alaska Bud Brothers Aerogardens in Kasilof to the Zenzic Gardens in Palmer. About 150 other businesses are awaiting approval.last_img read more

Muslims in Jakarta rejoice as mosques open for Friday prayers

first_img“Earlier, [I participated in] Friday prayer in the Bangka Raya area of [South] Jakarta. My temperature was checked when I entered the mosque and I was given a plastic bag to carry my footwear,” another Twitter user @naavyyk posted on Friday.Tadi sholat jumat di wilayah Bangka Raya Jakarta, masuk halaman masjid dicek suhu dan diberi kantong plastik buat bungkus alas kaki— navy’ fanani (@naavyyk) June 5, 2020President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo also performed the prayer in the Baiturrahim mosque situated in the presidential palace also reported that Governor Anies Baswedan performed Friday prayer in the Fatahillah mosque located in the City Hall compound.Read also: Jakarta takes risk of rebound by moving to ‘transitional’ restrictionsSome mosques in the city such as Al Azhar Mosque in South Jakarta were also packed with congregations, among them was former Vice President Jusuf Kalla who is also the chairman of the Indonesian Mosque Council (DMI), as reported by prevent overcrowding in mosques during the weekly prayer, the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) had issued a fatwa allowing the prayer to be conducted in turns in two groups, rather than the usual simultaneous prayer at noon.Besides mosques, the Jakarta Administration has also allowed other houses of worship to operate during the transition phase.The Jakarta archdiocese, for example, had been gearing up to open its churches by preparing a new worship protocol following the Religious Affairs Ministers’ announcement that houses of worship would be gradually reopened.“We are making sure that our parishes are ready to follow the worship protocol,” Jakarta archdiocese secretary Adi Prajoso said in a letter issued on Wednesday.“When the new protocol and our parishes are ready, we will gradually open the church.”Topics : “Alhamdulillah [thank God], I can perform Friday prayers again. I feel very happy,” Denny told The Jakarta Post on Friday.“I hope that we can continue holding Friday prayers in mosques and that the PSBB will be over soon.”Many Jakartans have also shared their experience participating in Friday prayers with the additional physical distancing measure and health protocols trough social media.“Alhamdulillah, this afternoon I performed Friday prayer in congregation at the Masjid Raya Al-Azhar in Sentra Primer, East Jakarta. It was conducted with health protocol to prevent COVID-19 [transmission], such as maintaining physical distance, temperature checking, and requirement to wear a face mask,” Twitter user @azzam_satriawan posted on Friday.Alhamdullilah, tadi siang saya baru saja melaksanakan ibadah Sholat Jumat secara berjamaah di Masjid Raya Al-Azhar, Sentra Primer, Jakarta Timur. Dilakukan protokol kesehatan untuk mencegah Covid-19 seperti menjaga jarak, pengecekan suhu dan wajib memakai masker saat Sholat.— Muhammad Azzam Satriawan (@azzam_satriawan) June 5, 2020 After months of praying at home, Muslims in Jakarta are now able to perform the first Friday prayers in mosques on Friday following the transitional period in the capital city that starts to ease restrictions in public spaces in the capital city.Denny Faizal, a 22-year-old university graduate, joined the Friday prayer, a weekly congregational prayer mandatory for Muslim men, in Teladan Mosque in Tebet, South Jakarta. It was his first Friday prayer in a mosque after only performing it at home since mid-March, weeks before the official implementation of the large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) in April amid the social distancing measures taken to curb the spread of COVID-19.He said the mosque followed the protocols mandated by the city administration, namely body temperature check before entering the premise, assigning the 1-meter distance policy between participants and requiring them to wear a face mask. The congregations must also bring their own prayer mats and a bag to store their footwear. In addition, the sermons given before the prayer was quicker compared to normal times, he said.last_img read more