How team sports change a child’s brain

Adult depression has long been associated with shrinkage of the hippocampus, a brain region that plays an important role in memory and response to stress. Now, new research has linked participation in team sports to larger hippocampal volumes in children and less depression in boys ages 9 to 11.
Child Development News — ScienceDaily

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Brain region discovered that only processes spoken, not written words

Patients in a new study were able to comprehend words that were written but not said aloud. They could write the names of things they saw but not verbalize them. For instance, if a patient in the study saw the word ‘hippopotamus’ written on a piece of paper, they could identify a hippopotamus in flashcards. But when that patient heard someone say ‘hippopotamus,’ they could not point to the picture of the animal.
Child Development News — ScienceDaily

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Emilia Clarke Discusses Surviving Life-Threatening Brain Aneurysms During Her Early Game of Thrones Days

Emilia Clarke has opened up about surviving two life-threatening brain aneurysms during the early days of Game of Thrones.

In an article for the New Yorker, Clarke spoke publicly for the first time about suffering two brain aneurysms, the first of which struck shortly after she finished filming her scenes as Daenerys Targaryen for season 1 of Game of Thrones. She revealed that she experienced her first aneurysm at 24 years old while working out with her trainer.

“I immediately felt as though an elastic band were squeezing my brain. I tried to ignore the pain and push through it, but I just couldn’t. I told my trainer I had to take a break,” she wrote. “Somehow, almost crawling, I made it to the locker room. I reached the toilet, sank to my knees, and proceeded to be violently, voluminously ill. Meanwhile, the pain—shooting, stabbing, constricting pain—was getting worse. At some level, I knew what was happening: my brain was damaged.”

Clarke was rushed to the hospital where she underwent “minimally invasive” surgery for a subarachnoid hemorrhage, a.k.a. bleeding in the brain. A little more than two weeks after her surgery, Clarke discovered that she was suffering from aphasia, a condition that impairs a person’s ability to process language. In Clarke’s case, she couldn’t recall her own name.

“I’d never experienced fear like that—a sense of doom closing in,” she said of that time period. “I could see my life ahead, and it wasn’t worth living. I am an actor; I need to remember my lines. Now I couldn’t recall my name…In my worst moments, I wanted to pull the plug. I asked the medical staff to let me die. My job—my entire dream of what my life would be—centered on language, on communication. Without that, I was lost.”

The aphasia passed after about a week, but before Clarke left the hospital, she was told that she had a smaller aneurysm on the other side of her brain that could “pop” at any time. Two years later, when she went in for a brain scan after finishing season 3 of Game of Thrones, doctors told her that the aneurysm had doubled in size and it would be best to “take care of it.”

Although she was promised a relatively simple operation, the procedure failed and Clarke was left with a massive brain bleed that required a subsequent fully invasive surgery. But in spite of all the complications, Clarke said that she has fully recovered in the years since.

“I have healed beyond my most unreasonable hopes,” she wrote. “I am now at a hundred per cent.”


Entertainment – TIME

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Brain-inspired AI inspires insights about the brain (and vice versa)

Researchers have described the results of experiments that used artificial neural networks to predict with greater accuracy than ever before how different areas in the brain respond to specific words. The work employed a type of recurrent neural network called long short-term memory (LSTM) that includes in its calculations the relationships of each word to what came before to better preserve context.
Child Development News — ScienceDaily

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Differences in brain activity in children with anhedonia

Researchers have identified changes in brain connectivity and brain activity during rest and reward anticipation in children with anhedonia, a condition where people lose interest and pleasure in activities they used to enjoy. The study sheds light on brain function associated with anhedonia and helps differentiate anhedonia from other related aspects of psychopathology.
Child Development News — ScienceDaily

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Expectant mothers can prevent fetal brain problems caused by the flu, study shows

Choline, an essential B vitamin nutrient, can prevent fetal brain developmental problems that often occur after prenatal maternal infections such as colds and influenza (flu), according to a new study.
Infant and Preschool Learning News — ScienceDaily

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Your brain makes decisions before you even realize it

brain decision study

You make countless decisions every day that range from mundane to incredibly important, but what part of you is actually making those decisions? We all assume that our brains are focused on whatever task we’re tackling, but a new study suggests that your brain is usually working a few steps ahead all on its own, and it makes your decisions long before you consciously think about them.

The study, which was published in Scientific Reports, reveals that what we often think of as free will and our ability to make decisions on the fly isn’t nearly as cut-and-dry. Your brain, it turns out, might be running the show largely in the background.

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Genetic factors influence human brain expansion

An analysis of brain scans from more than 600 children and adolescents reveals genetically-mediated associations between the size of evolutionarily novel brain regions and intelligence test scores. Genetic influences on the brain follow the patterns of evolutionary expansion of the human brain relative to nonhuman primates.
Child Development News — ScienceDaily

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Traumatic brain injury and kids: New treatment guidelines issued

To help promote the highest standards of care, and improve the overall rates of survival and recovery following TBI, a panel of pediatric critical care, neurosurgery and other pediatric experts today issued the third edition of the Brain Trauma Foundation Guidelines for the Management of Pediatric Severe TBI.
Child Development News — ScienceDaily

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Brain response to mom’s voice differs in kids with autism

For most children, the sound of their mother’s voice triggers brain activity patterns distinct from those triggered by an unfamiliar voice. But the unique brain response to mom’s voice is greatly diminished in children with autism, according to a new study.
Parenting News — ScienceDaily

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Mother’s behavioral corrections tune infant’s brain to angry tone

The same brain network that adults use when they hear angry vocalizations is at work in infants as young as six months old, an effect that is strongest in infants whose mothers spend the most time controlling their behavior, according to a new study.
Infant and Preschool Learning News — ScienceDaily

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Brain clock ticks differently in autism

The neural ‘time windows’ in certain small brain areas contribute to the complex cognitive symptoms of autism, new research suggests. In a brain imaging study of adults, the severity of autistic symptoms was linked to how long these brain areas stored information. The differences in neural timescales may underlie features of autism like hypersensitivity and could be useful as a future diagnostic tool.
Child Development News — ScienceDaily

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Laughter may be best medicine — for brain surgery

Neuroscientists have discovered a focal pathway in the brain that when electrically stimulated causes immediate laughter, followed by a sense of calm and happiness, even during awake brain surgery. The effects of stimulation were observed in an epilepsy patient undergoing diagnostic monitoring for seizure diagnosis. These effects were then harnessed to help her complete a separate awake brain surgery two days later, and then confirmed in two other patients.
Child Development News — ScienceDaily

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Genetic risk for ADHD manifest in brain structure in childhood

There is only scant scientific evidence on whether the genetic risk for developing specific psychiatric disorders or cognitive traits is manifest in brain structure from childhood and, to date, studies have focused primarily on adult populations. The question remains unanswered.
Child Development News — ScienceDaily

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Scientists find genes with large effects on head and brain size

The size of children’s heads is not only related to the growth of their skull, but also their brain. A genome-wide analysis now reports the largest known genetic effects on head circumference and the related measure of intracranial volume.
Child Development News — ScienceDaily

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Brain plasticity restored in adult mice through targeting specific nerve cell connections

Research in mice finds a new molecular mechanism that is essential for maturation of brain function and may be used to restore plasticity in aged brains. Unlike previous research that broadly manipulated brain plasticity and affected the entire brain, this work targets for the first time a specific molecule acting on a single type of neuronal connection to modulate brain function. The findings may advance treatment of human diseases such as autism and stroke.
Child Development News — ScienceDaily

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Tesla urges tariff exemption for Chinese-made car computer ‘brain’

Tesla Inc has asked the Trump administration to exempt the Chinese-made car computer “brain” of its new Model 3 sedan from 25 percent tariffs imposed in August, saying they threaten the electric carmaker’s bottom line.


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A Neuroscientist’s Tips For A New Year Tuneup For Your Brain

An image of the brain's neural network against a black background

Unlike the effervescent bubbles that stream to the top of champagne flutes on New Year’s Eve, what I call brain bubbles are far from celebratory. These bubbles are metaphorical rather than physical, and they distort the stream of reality processed by our brains. Like a real estate bubble that reflects an inflated perception of home values, a brain bubble twists your perception of the world around you. And when either of these bubbles bursts, the results can be devastating.

Problems arise when distorted information results in flawed decisions that negatively affect our lives. As a neuroscientist who’s worked closely with laboratory rats for over three decades, I’ve gleaned from them a few good strategies people can use to burst brain bubbles and enhance well-being in the year ahead. Rat brains are small but have the same general areas and neurochemicals we have, so these rodents are valuable laboratory models for human behavior.

Getting back down to Earth

Psychoactive drug use, aspects of privilege and poverty, psychiatric illness and, in some cases, religious and political beliefs can all create brain bubbles. Even daily excursions to the virtual world of apps, social media and cybergames sever our connections to concrete aspects of the real world and let distorting brain bubbles develop.

This is especially problematic for children’s brains that are still developing. An ongoing National Institutes of Health study suggests that two hours of screen time each day distorts language and thinking abilities in these junior digital users.

As our attention is hijacked by the closest screen while a Roomba cleans the floor and Alexa orders pizza to be delivered to the front door, what’s left for our brains to do? Sure, we likely face cognitive challenges at work each day, but human brains are built for sophisticated and complex activity – even though we’re often lulled into mindlessly scrolling through a virtual feed. In fact, a brain area often associated with reward and pleasure, the nucleus accumbens, is smaller in people who spend more time checking Facebook posts on their smartphones.

Obviously, some of these distortion-generating circumstances are out of our control. But a heightened awareness of our authentic world can move us toward a more reality-based, well-grounded brain – free of those brain bubbles.

The rats that my students and I train in our studies to physically work for coveted treats (Froot Loops cereal is a favorite) develop healthier emotional responses than the animals we call “trust-fund rats” because they’re merely given their sweet rewards. The harder-working rats have healthier stress hormone levels and engage in more sophisticated search strategies when they encounter a surprise challenge – such as when we move their expected Froot Loop rewards. They’re more persistent as they spend time trying to solve the problem, rather than quickly giving up and walking away.

So whereas one popular New Year’s resolution involves saving up to build financial capital, we can keep our brains in peak condition for the year ahead by building up experiential capital. Real-world experiences represent the best currency for our brain circuits, providing neural security for our future decisions in the coming year. Spending time engaged in hobbiessuch as knitting or gardening, for example, with complex movements and rich sensory experiences, provides a valuable yield for our brains.

Savor the anticipation

When the calendar flips to a new year, it’s common to reflect on the past and look to the future. According to the neuroscience literature, this anticipation could be one of the most pleasurable – and healthy – tasks our brains engage in all year long.

Dopamine is the poster neurotransmitter for the cognitive endeavor of anticipating. Traditionally known for its role in pleasure, this neurochemical system can be hijacked by psychoactive drugs such as cocaine that serve as potent creators of reality-distorting brain bubbles.

Rodent research provides fascinating insights here, however. Researchers use sophisticated techniques to measure dopamine activity as rats press laboratory levers that reward them with drugs. Surprisingly, this neurochemical system surges when the animal merely anticipates taking the drug as it approaches the drug lever, as well as when the drug is actually infused into the brain.

Anticipating a new start and a new year may be a scaled-down version of approaching the experimental lever for a hit of cocaine – a legal and healthy dopamine dose in this case. You can try to keep this emotional high going through the year by amping up the anticipation in your daily life: Focus more on delayed than immediate gratification. Buying and planning for experiences is more satisfying than material purchases. Mapping out a menu, shopping for ingredients and cooking a meal provides more dopamine time – and brain-engaging behaviors – than nuking a frozen meal and eating it three minutes later.

Seize the reins of your stress

Another way to enhance our well-being through the year is to gain some sense of control over the stress in our lives. Real-time and authentic interactions with the environment can help us gain a sense of control over the inevitable uncertainty and unpredictability we face each day.

I see evidence of this in the lab. When I furnish my rats’ housing with natural elements such as dirt, hollowed-out logs and rocks, they’re busier and less likely to sit around the edge of the cage than animals in boring empty cages. After building their experiential capital, these enriched rats have healthier stress and resilience hormone profiles and engage in bolder behaviors, such as diving to the bottom of swim tanks instead of staying on the top doing their best impression of a dog paddle. As I watch these animals in various tasks, they appear to be gaining control over the challenges they encounter.

Perhaps this is why retired U.S. four-star admiral William McRaven emphasized simple life strategies in his 2014 University of Texas commencement speech, declaring that “if you want to change your life and maybe the world, start off by making your bed.” Then, even if you have a terrible day, you will come home to a made bed, evidence that you had a positive impact in at least one area of your life that day.

And, considering that over 70 percent of the brain’s nerve cells are in the cerebellum, which is involved in movement coordination, any activity that gets us up and moving – whether household chores or hitting the gym – engages the brain in healthy ways.

Starting your brain’s year off right

Lessons from the laboratory rats also provide potential explanations for some of my own personal favorite New Year’s Day traditions – including the mundane tasks of cooking a familiar southern meal, cleaning my closet and watching HGTV’s Dream House giveaway with my family while we all declare what we would do if we won the beautiful house. Move in? Sell it? Make it an Airbnb rental?

Thinking like a neuroscientist, I know that cooking and cleaning are active endeavors with clear outcomes that allow me to gain a small sense of control, decreasing stress hormones. Playfully anticipating winning a new home taps into that feel-good dopamine system as we contemplate more serious options for the new year. And, perhaps the best neurochemical hit of all is the spike in oxytocin, the neurochemical involved in positive social connections, as I spend time with loved ones.

Although it’s common to turn to pharmaceuticals to lift our emotions and improve our mental health, the emotional benefits of many New Year’s traditions remind me that basic responses can serve as what I call “behaviorceuticals” that enhance well-being. New Year’s resolutions may take the form of New Year’s Rx’s as we consider healthy lifestyle choices for the coming year: Shrink those distorting brain bubbles and build realistic connections to enrich life’s simple pleasures.

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High-powered brain scanner may find the human ‘soul’

Chinese scientists are developing a $ 126 million state-of-the-art brain scanner to try and find the human soul. They will use powerful magnetic forces to observe the structure and activities of every neuron in a living brain. The aim is to build the world’s most powerful MRI device — which may one day be able to…
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Parents’ brain activity ‘echoes’ their infant’s brain activity when they play together

Research shows for the first time that when adults are engaged in joint play together with their infant, the parents’ brains show bursts of high-frequency activity, which are linked to their baby’s attention patterns and not their own.
Child Development News — ScienceDaily

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Widespread brain alterations in children with callousness

Children with elevated levels of callous traits — such as a lack of remorse and disregard for other people’s feelings — show widespread differences in brain structure compared with children with lower levels of the traits, according to a new study.
Child Development News — ScienceDaily

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How bullying affects the structure of the teen brain

The effects of constantly being bullied are more than just psychological. Research now shows that there may be physical structural differences in the brains of adolescents who are regularly victimized, and this could increase the chance that they suffer from mental illness.
Child Development News — ScienceDaily

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Attention training improves intelligence and functioning of children’s brain

Being able to voluntarily regulate our attention is crucial for mental processes such as intelligence and learning in children. With this in mind, researchers have carried out a study in which they evaluated the influence of a computer-based attention-training intervention on intelligence scores and brain functioning on a group of pre-school age children.
Child Development News — ScienceDaily

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Brain responses to language in toddlers with Autism linked to altered gene expression

Scientists have identified a previously unknown, large-scale association between molecular gene expression activity in blood leukocyte cells and altered neural responses to speech in toddlers with autism as measured with functional magnetic resonance imaging.
Child Development News — ScienceDaily

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Sequential imaging of Zika-exposed fetuses reveals most have normal brain development

Ultrasound (US) imaging performed during pregnancy and after childbirth revealed most Zika-related brain abnormalities experienced by infants exposed to the Zika virus during pregnancy. Some Zika-exposed infants whose imaging had been normal during pregnancy had mild brain abnormalities detected by US and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) after they were born.
Infant and Preschool Learning News — ScienceDaily

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If you are suffering from ‘stress brain,’ you might be making some bad financial decisions

To safeguard or drive financial portfolio gains, it's key to pay attention to how stress caused by everyday life affects our financial decision-making.
Health and Science

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Traumatic brain injuries can lead to long-term neurological and psychiatric disorders

New research suggests that children who suffer traumatic brain injuries are at significantly increased risk of developing new post-traumatic neuropsychiatric disorders, and may benefit from ongoing outpatient follow-up to facilitate early detection and intervention.
Child Development News — ScienceDaily

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Studies highlight lasting effects of early life stress on the genome, gut, and brain

Excessive stress during fetal development or early childhood can have long-term consequences for the brain, from increasing the likelihood of brain disorders and affecting an individual’s response to stress as an adult to changing the nutrients a mother may pass on to her babies in the womb. The new research suggests novel approaches to combat the effects of such stress, such as inhibiting stress hormone production or ‘resetting’ populations of immune cells in the brain.
Parenting News — ScienceDaily

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Slowed brainwaves linked to early signs of brain cells going haywire due to dementia

To turn back the clock on Alzheimer’s disease, many researchers are seeking ways to effectively diagnose the neurodegenerative disorder earlier. One potential way to do this is by tracking a person’s brainwave activity, which slows down in certain brain regions that are likely to be affected by the disease next, according to recent findings.
Child Development News — ScienceDaily

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North Carolina man’s runny nose turned out to be a brain fluid leak

brain fluid leak

A runny nose is usually a sign that you have a cold coming on, but for one North Carolina man, that cold never actually arrived. His sniffles persisted for over a year, with doctors diagnosing him with a variety of possible ailments. As it turned out, none of the suggested causes were actually correct.

With such long-running symptoms, the man, Greg Phillpotts, assumed he had developed some unusually severe allergies. During the days, his nose would run, and at night, he developed a nasty cough due to what he thought was mucus running down this throat. After a visit to New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital, he learned that it wasn’t snot at all, but brain fluid leaking out of his skull.

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Brain learns to recognize familiar faces regardless of where they are in the visual field

A new study finds that recognition of faces varies by where they appear in the visual field and this variability is reduced by learning familiar faces through social interactions. The findings suggest that repeated social interactions may tune populations of visual neurons in the face processing network to enable consistent and rapid recognition of familiar faces.
Child Development News — ScienceDaily

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WATCH: World News 10/29/18: Pittsburgh Rabbi: Congregants’ Screams ‘Seared In My Brain’

Judge: No bail for suspect in Pittsburgh synagogue massacre; Student captures panic on video as teen shot in high school
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Brain cells called astrocytes have unexpected role in brain ‘plasticity’

Researchers have shown that astrocytes — long-overlooked supportive cells in the brain — help to enable the brain’s plasticity, a new role for astrocytes that was not previously known. The findings could point to ways to restore connections that have been lost due to aging or trauma.
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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Brain circuits for successful emotional development established during infancy

Researchers tracking the development of the brain’s emotion circuitry in infancy found that adult-like functional brain connections for emotional regulation emerge during the first year of life. And the growth of these brain circuits during the second year of life predicted the IQ and emotional control of the children at 4 years old, suggesting new avenues for early detection and intervention for children who are at risk for emotional problems.
Child Development News — ScienceDaily

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Reading is a team-lift as different brain parts work together to predict proficiency

The extent to which sensory-specific parts of the brain are able to connect as a network, not necessarily anatomically, but functionally, during a child’s development predicts their reading proficiency, according to a new neuroimaging study.
Child Development News — ScienceDaily

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Unlocking the secret of how the brain encodes speech

People like the late Stephen Hawking are unable to speak because their muscles are paralyzed. Scientists want to help these individuals communicate by developing a brain machine interface to decode the commands the brain is sending to the tongue, palate, lips and larynx. New research has moved science closer by unlocking new information about how the brain encodes speech. They discovered the brain controls speech in a similar way to how it controls arm movements.
Child Development News — ScienceDaily

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