Saturday, June 30, 2007

Social Bookmarking for Great Justice!

I've added social bookmarking links to the bottom of every post, so Digg away! I considered using a nice iconic version, but I know scientists don't always keep up with all the interwebs memes and thought I would use text labels so you can google the sites and figure them out.

Soon my plan of becoming a millionaire off my one AdSense link will be realized!

(More changes coming this week, as time permits.)
(thanks to Something About J)

Friday, June 29, 2007


Starting off with a Nature Neuroscience brief comm out of a lab here:

Bypassing interneurons: inhibition in neocortex
Barry W Connors & Scott J Cruikshank
Nature Neuroscience - 10, 808 - 810 (2007) doi:10.1038/nn0707-808
Full text Download PDF

Electromagnetic power absorption and temperature changes due to brain machine interface operation.
Ibrahim TS, Abraham D, Rennaker RL.
Ann Biomed Eng. 2007 May;35(5):825-34. Epub 2007 Mar 2.
PDF: Entire document HTML: Open Full Text

Learning to control brain rhythms: making a brain-computer interface possible
Pineda JA, Silverman DS, Vankov A, Hestenes J
Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, IEEE Transactions on [see also IEEE Trans. on Rehabilitation Engineering]
Publication Date: June 2003Volume: 11, Issue: 2
Full Text: PDF (423 KB)

Walking through a virtual city by thought
Leeb R, Pfurtscheller G
Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, 2004. IEMBS '04. 26th Annual International Conference of the IEEE
Publication Date: 1-5 Sept. 2004Volume: 2, On page(s): 4503- 4506 Vol.6
Full Text: PDF (456 KB)

Walking from thought
Gert Pfurtscheller, Robert Leeb, Claudia Keinrath, Doron Friedman, Christa Neuper, Christoph Guger and Mel Slater
Brain Research, Volume 1071, Issue 1, 3 February 2006, Pages 145-152.(Link)

Targeted dendrotomy reveals active and passive contributions of the dendritic tree to synaptic integration and neuronal output.
Bekkers JM, Häusser M.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Jun 25

Dual personality of GABA/glycine-mediated depolarizations in immature spinal cord.
Authors: Jean-Xavier, C. - Mentis, G. Z. - O'donovan, M. J. - Cattaert, D. - Vinay, L.
Publication Date: 2007 Jun 25 PMID: 17592145
Journal: Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A

Refining the roles of GABAergic signaling during neural circuit formation.
Akerman CJ, Cline HT.
Trends Neurosci. 2007 Jun 22; [Epub ahead of print]

Activity in the Posterior Parietal Cortex Mediates Visual Dominance over Kinesthesia
Nobuhiro Hagura, Tomohiko Takei, Satoshi Hirose, Yu Aramaki, Michikazu Matsumura, Norihiro Sadato, and Eiichi Naito
The Journal of Neuroscience, June 27, 2007, 27(26):7047-7053; doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0970-07.2007
Full Text Full Text (PDF) Supplemental Data

Humans Trade Off Viewing Time and Movement Duration to Improve Visuomotor Accuracy in a Fast Reaching Task
Peter W. Battaglia and Paul R. Schrater
The Journal of Neuroscience, June 27, 2007, 27(26):6984-6994; doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1309-07.2007
Full Text Full Text (PDF)

Interfacing Neurons with Carbon Nanotubes: Electrical Signal Transfer and Synaptic Stimulation in Cultured Brain Circuits
Andrea Mazzatenta, Michele Giugliano, Stephane Campidelli, Luca Gambazzi, Luca Businaro, Henry Markram, Maurizio Prato, and Laura Ballerini
The Journal of Neuroscience, June 27, 2007, 27(26):6931-6936; doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1051-07.2007
Full Text Full Text (PDF) Supplemental Data

Cortex has a special issue on tool use: Cortex Archive\Volume 43\ Issue 3 - April 2007 p. 285-490

Authors: Satomi Higuchi, Hiroshi Imamizu and Mitsuo Kawato
Cortex April 2007 p. 350-358
download: Higuchi pp. 350-358.pdf

Authors: Shigeru Obayashi, Ryohei Matsumoto, Tetsuya Suhara, Yuji Nagai, Atsushi Iriki and Jun Maeda
Cortex April 2007 p. 389-396
download: Obayashi pp. 389-396.pdf

The mirror neuron system is more active during complementary compared with imitative action
Roger D Newman-Norlund, Hein T van Schie, Alexander M J van Zuijlen & Harold Bekkering
Nature Neuroscience pp817 - 818Published online: 27 May 2007 doi:10.1038/nn1911
Abstract Full text PDF (133K) Supplementary Information

Premotor cortex modulates somatosensory cortex during voluntary movements without proprioceptive feedback
Mark Schram Christensen, Jesper Lundbye-Jensen, Svend Sparre Geertsen, Tue Hvass Petersen, Olaf B Paulson & Jens Bo Nielsen
Published online: 18 March 2007 doi:10.1038/nn1873
Nature Neuroscience pp417 - 419
Abstract Full text PDF (150K) Supplementary Information

Task-related differential dynamics of EEG alpha- and beta-band synchronization in cortico-basal motor structures
Fabian Klostermann, Vadim V. Nikulin, Andrea Annette Kühn, Frank Marzinzik, Michael Wahl, Alek Pogosyan, Andreas Kupsch, Gerd-Helge Schneider, Peter Brown, Gabriel Curio (2007)
European Journal of Neuroscience 25 (5), 1604–1615. doi:10.1111/j.1460-9568.2007.05417.x
Abstract References Full Text HTML Full Text PDF (718 KB)

Predictive remapping of visual features precedes saccadic eye movements
David Melcher Nature Neuroscience - 10, 903 - 907 (2007)
Published online: 24 June 2007; doi:10.1038/nn1917
Full text Download PDF

Space and time in visual context
Odelia Schwartz, Anne Hsu & Peter Dayan
Nature Reviews Neuroscience 8, 522-535 (July 2007) doi:10.1038/nrn2155
Full text Download PDF

When the brain plays music: auditory–motor interactions in music perception and production
Robert J. Zatorre, Joyce L. Chen & Virginia B. Penhune
Nature Reviews Neuroscience 8, 547-558 (July 2007) doi:10.1038/nrn2152
Full text Download PDF

Encoding of movement fragments in the motor cortex.
by Hatsopoulos NG, Xu Q, Amit Y
J Neurosci. 2007 May 9;27(19):5105-14
Authors: Hatsopoulos NG, Xu Q, Amit Y

Primate reaching cued by multichannel spatiotemporal cortical microstimulation.
Fitzsimmons NA, Drake W, Hanson TL, Lebedev MA, Nicolelis MA.
J Neurosci. 2007 May 23;27(21):5593-602.
Abstract Full Text (PDF)
Motorcortical excitability and synaptic plasticity is enhanced in professional musicians.
Rosenkranz K, Williamon A, Rothwell JC.
The Journal of Neuroscience, May 9, 2007, 27(19):5200-5206;
Abstract Full Text (PDF)

Finding Our Way around the Sensory-Motor Corner.
Krauzlis RJ, Hafed ZM.
Neuron. 2007 Jun 21;54(6):852-4.
SummaryPlus Full Text + Links PDF (224 K)

Two Distinct Visual Motion Mechanisms for Smooth Pursuit: Evidence from Individual Differences
Jeremy B. Wilmer and Ken Nakayama
Neuron, Volume 54, Issue 6, 21 June 2007, Pages 987-1000
SummaryPlus Full Text + Links PDF (1248 K)

Purkinje cells in posterior cerebellar vermis encode motion in an inertial reference frame.
Yakusheva TA, Shaikh AG, Green AM, Blazquez PM, Dickman JD, Angelaki DE.
Neuron. 2007 Jun 21;54(6):973-85.
SummaryPlus Full Text + Links PDF (1025 K)

Distinct brain networks for adaptive and stable task control in humans.
Dosenbach NU, Fair DA, Miezin FM, Cohen AL, Wenger KK, Dosenbach RA, Fox MD, Snyder AZ, Vincent JL, Raichle ME, Schlaggar BL, Petersen SE.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Jun 26;104(26):11073-8. Epub 2007 Jun 18.
Abstract Full Text (PDF) Supporting Information

Human Medial Frontal Cortex Mediates Unconscious Inhibition of Voluntary Action
Petroc Sumner, Parashkev Nachev, Peter Morris, Andrew M. Peters, Stephen R. Jackson, Christopher Kennard, and Masud Husain
Neuron June 7, 2007: 54 (5)
[Summary] [Full Text] [PDF] [Supplemental Data]

Towards neuro-memory-chip: Imprinting multiple memories in cultured neural networks
Itay Baruchi and Eshel Ben-Jacob
Phys. Rev. E 75, 050901 (2007)
PDF (636 kB)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Surgery gets all touchy-feely

Sensory feedback is one of those annoying little essential aspects to developing good interfaces. Just look at the iPhone. What are people complaining about the most, besides AT&T's general status as a crappy necessity? The lack of buttons. So why is it surprising that surgery should be any different? Routing around in someone's gut with only a poor sense of elasticity seems awfully crude/dangerous/concerning.

Researchers at Concordia University have developed a tactile feedback system for minimally invasive surgery. The development uses some pretty interesting techniques, which i will leave you to read by your lonesome. In the same week, there was also news of a "tangible 3D" touch interface by a Japanese company, caught by Gizmodo. The whole idea of force feedback is obviously nothing new, and if you want some commercial options, check here or here.

Update coming...

I promise! There has been an avalanche of news, and of course it happens as I am gearing up for my prelim. Hopefully tomorrow night I'll have a chance to share some interesting new tidbits!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Old News is still Good News

Still purging my old news items worth noting. So here we go...
  • Human 2.0, H2.0, H2O, whatever you want to call it, it is undeniably cool at all levels. Human 2.0 is a yearly event at the MIT Media Lab which highlights the latest in Human-Machine Interface in the broadest sense. Unlike other such events, H2.0 is actually based on current research and not far flung exaggerations of where things could lead 50 years out. Somewhat 'looser' than other scientific conferences, the event serves as an opportunity to let the imagination run a little further than usual. Wired has a mini-interview with Frank Moss, as well as its own coverage.

  • Doug Smith at U Penn is working on a way to coax neural processes over long distances - up to 1 cm per day. This is only mentioned in New Scientist, and after looking at the lab site and pub med, I can't find any other info on it. If you have more info, please post it in comments.

  • SCLin's blog has a nice thread on keeping up with the literature. He does the same thing I do, for the most part, but one of the comments to the article is a nice little gem. This link to an example of how to use Yahoo Pipes to filter out good articles is really sweet. I'll have to work up to something like that when I revise my current method.

  • Gizmodo had a post on a 3D mouse the size of a ring which could be used to control a computer cursor using standard mouse protocols. $155 worth of parts. The device uses an ultrasonic sound transmitter which is detected by five ultrasonic microphones to interpolate the ring's position. Not too shabby for a bunch of students, and I bet the power requirements are reasonable!

  • There are plenty of theories for how information is storied in neocortex. Neurobot discusses Hierarchical Temporal Memory (HTM) work being done as part of the Numenta project. Groovy.

  • The Neurocritic has a post on DBS in the Nucleus Accumbens for the treatment of depression. I heard a speaker discuss this at the NIH BCI workshop, and the prospects sound amazing.

  • And finally, there is a monster-long PsyBlog series on non-verbal communication and gestures. This is one of those 'bookmark it now, read it in pieces later' type pages.

  • And one bonus HCI item. Fresh from YouTube, and complete with description, here's a little machine vision type ditty where hand configurations seen by a webcam become cursor control.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Brain-ChooChoo Interface

"I had a personality. Now I have Hitachi. "

Okay, okay, okay. Hitachi. Yes, we know all experiments that use 'brain signals' are intrinsically cool. We got that. But even I was bored by the optical topography used to control a virtual train. Wow. Forward and back you say? 1D control? I'm sorry. I'm just not amazed. And is it just me, or does that girl NOT look like a willing subject?

Not satisfied with grandiose statement about how this will obviously lead to 40-limb mecha-superhuman cyborgs, the linked article cites Honda, who, in a similar, but far less useful way, used an MRI setup to control a car. That's what I want. A car filled with liquid nitrogen (or is it hydrogen?) that takes a week to power on and can't get close to anything metal, like, say, other cars, street signs, or bridges, or safety rails, or strollers, or dog collars. Though, that would be funny to watch such a car drive by a park, only to be slingshotted across the street, with monkey bars, collared pets, and baby strollers attached.

All bitterness toward over sensationalizing media reports aside, this is interesting from a tele-presence perspective. Of course using "mental calculations" for yes and "no thought" for no doesn't sound like a good plan. What if you ask them a question like, "If I give you $5, will you give the nurse here permission to give me $5000-$4+$40000 of your money?"

Super Paper Friday! Shazzam!

Neuron. 2007 May 3;54(3):352-3.
Comment on: Neuron. 2007 May 3;54(3):479-90.
Functional reorganization in the adult brain.
Chouinard PA, Goodale MA.

Neuron. 2007 May 3;54(3):479-90.
Comment in: Neuron. 2007 May 3;54(3):352-3.
Functionally specific reorganization in human premotor cortex.
O'Shea J, Johansen-Berg H, Trief D, Göbel S, Rushworth MF.

Giacomo Koch, Miguel Fernandez Del Olmo, Binith Cheeran, Diane Ruge, Sven Schippling, Carlo Caltagirone, and John C. Rothwell
Focal Stimulation of the Posterior Parietal Cortex Increases the Excitability of the Ipsilateral Motor Cortex
J. Neurosci. 2007 27: 6815-6822; doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0598-07.2007
[Abstract] [Full Text] [PDF]

Zachary M. Smith and Bertrand Delgutte
Sensitivity to Interaural Time Differences in the Inferior Colliculus with Bilateral Cochlear Implants
J. Neurosci. 2007 27: 6740-6750; doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0052-07.2007
[Abstract] [Full Text] [PDF]

Shari R. Saideman, Dawn M. Blitz, and Michael P. Nusbaum
Convergent Motor Patterns from Divergent Circuits
J. Neurosci. 2007 27: 6664-6674; doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0315-07.2007 [Abstract] [Full Text] [PDF]

Raudel Sánchez-Campusano, Agnès Gruart, and José M. Delgado-García
The Cerebellar Interpositus Nucleus and the Dynamic Control of Learned Motor Responses
J. Neurosci. 2007 27: 6620-6632; doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0488-07.2007
[Abstract] [Full Text] [PDF] [Supplemental Data]

J Cogn Neurosci. 2007 May;19(5):855-65.
Comprehending prehending: neural correlates of processing verbs with motor stems.
Rüschemeyer SA, Brass M, Friederici AD.
PDF (168 KB) PDF Plus (148 KB)

J Cogn Neurosci. 2007 May;19(5):893-906.
Rhythm and beat perception in motor areas of the brain.
Grahn JA, Brett M.
PDF (262 KB) PDF Plus (215 KB)

Integrated mechanisms of anticipation and rate-of-change computations in cortical circuits.
PLoS Comput Biol. 2007 May 11;3(5):e82
Authors: Puccini GD, Sanchez-Vives MV, Compte A

Clin Neurophysiol. 2007 Jun 16; [Epub ahead of print]
Functional overlap between hand and forearm motor cortical representations during motor cognitive tasks.
Marconi B, Pecchioli C, Koch G, Caltagirone C.

Computational aspects of feedback in neural circuits.
PLoS Comput Biol. 2007 Jan 19;3(1):e165
Authors: Maass W, Joshi P, Sontag ED

Nat Neurosci. 2007 Jun 17; [Epub ahead of print]
Mirror-touch synesthesia is linked with empathy.
Banissy MJ, Ward J.
Full text Download PDF

From memory-based decisions to decision-based movements: A model of interval discrimination followed by action selection
Neural Networks, Volume 20, Issue 3, April 2007, Pages 298-311
Prashant Joshi
SummaryPlus Full Text + Links PDF (1554 K)

Eur J Neurosci. 2007 Jun 16; [Epub ahead of print]
Coding of movement- and force-related information in primate primary motor cortex: a computational approach.
Guigon E, Baraduc P, Desmurget M.
Abstract References Full Text HTML Full Text PDF (730 KB)

Feasibility of Prosthetic Posture Sensing Via Injectable Electronic ModulesTan, W.; Loeb, G. E.
Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, IEEE Transactions on [see also IEEE Trans. on Rehabilitation Engineering]
Volume 15, Issue 2, June 2007 Page(s):295 - 309
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/TNSRE.2007.897028
AbstractPlus Full Text: PDF(4265 KB)

Design and Testing of a Functional Arm Orthosis in Patients With Neuromuscular Diseases
Rahman, T.; Sample, W.; Seliktar, R.; Scavina, M. T.; Clark, A. L.; Moran, K.; Alexander, M. A.
Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, IEEE Transactions on [see also IEEE Trans. on Rehabilitation Engineering]
Volume 15, Issue 2, June 2007 Page(s):244 - 251
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/TNSRE.2007.897026
AbstractPlus Full Text: PDF(1316 KB)

Studying the Use of Fuzzy Inference Systems for Motor Imagery Classification
Fabien, L.; Anatole, L.; Fabrice, L.; Bruno, A.
Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, IEEE Transactions on [see also IEEE Trans. on Rehabilitation Engineering]
Volume 15, Issue 2, June 2007 Page(s):322 - 324 Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/TNSRE.2007.897032
AbstractPlus Full Text: PDF(120 KB)

Performances Evaluation and Optimization of Brain Computer Interface Systems in a Copy Spelling Task
Bianchi, L.; Quitadamo, L. R.; Garreffa, G.; Cardarilli, G. C.; Marciani, M. G.;
Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, IEEE Transactions on [see also IEEE Trans. on Rehabilitation Engineering]
Volume 15, Issue 2, June 2007 Page(s):207 - 216
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/TNSRE.2007.897024
AbstractPlus Full Text: PDF(928 KB)

Science. 2007 Jun 15;316(5831):1609-12.
Modulation of neuronal interactions through neuronal synchronization.
Womelsdorf T, Schoffelen JM, Oostenveld R, Singer W, Desimone R, Engel AK, Fries P.

Science. 2007 Jun 15;316(5831):1578-9.
Neuroscience. Neural networks debunk phrenology.
Knight RT.

Science. 2007 Jun 15;316(5831):1612-5.
Neural mechanisms of visual attention: how top-down feedback highlights relevant locations.
Saalmann YB, Pigarev IN, Vidyasagar TR.

Trends Neurosci. 2007 Jun 6; [Epub ahead of print]
Analysis of dynamic brain oscillations: methodological advances.
Le Van Quyen M, Bragin A.

Neuroscience. 2007 Jun 12; [Epub ahead of print]
Thalamic connections of the dorsal and ventral premotor areas in New World owl monkeys.
Stepniewska I, Preuss TM, Kaas JH.

J Comput Neurosci. 2007 Jun 14; [Epub ahead of print]
Exact Bayesian bin classification: a fast alternative to Bayesian classification and its application to neural response analysis.
Endres D, Földiák P.

Keir Pearson, Orjan Ekeberg and Ansgar Buschges
Assessing sensory function in locomotor systems using neuro-mechanical simulations
Trends in Neurosciences, Volume 29, Issue 11, November 2006, Pages 625-631.

Durk Talsma, Albert Kok, Heleen A. Slagter and Giuseppe Cipriani
Attentional orienting across the sensory modalities
Brain and Cognition, In Press, Corrected Proof, Available online 5 June 2007

J Neurophysiol. 2007 Jun 20; [Epub ahead of print]
Reference Frames for Reach Planning in Macaque Dorsal Premotor Cortex.
Batista AP, Santhanam G, Yu BM, Ryu SI, Afshar A, Shenoy KV.

Neuropsychologia. 2007 Apr 9;45(8):1931-8. Epub 2007 Jan 19.
Sensorimotor memory for fingertip forces during object lifting: the role of the primary motor cortex.
Berner J, Schönfeldt-Lecuona C, Nowak DA.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Kiss biology good-bye!

The Free Geek sent me a heads up an article on his site titled "The DIY Guide to Becoming a (Real) Cyborg". It's a nice mix of real/existent technology, things on the horizon, and the first steps in other directions. I love these types of articles, and had a [warning: confession ahead!] Extropianism obsession when I was in High School. Now I'm more cynical, but I like to support that sort of unrelenting optimism. I'm what Robert Anton Wilson called an 'angry optimist'.

How do you keep up?

I thought I'd pose a quick question. Besides my glorious Super Paper Fridays, how do YOU keep up on the literature?

I use Google Reader and subscribe to journal RSS feed, along with feeds created on PubMed for common searches (same with Science Direct). I've been thinking about trying out Yahoo! Pipes to filter staff better as well. Any thoughts?

Synesthesia redux

The Nature Neuroscience synesthesia study cited by the post a few days ago was this one. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Coffee redux

In case you were salivating over yesterday's post, here's a good reason that just made the media for why you should be drinking more.

Cup o' Joe

I figured I'd make a quick deviation into a common passtime of grad students and professors alike. Coffee. Mmmmm Mmmmm coffee. Why? Because I saw the above shirt on Boing Boing, and doesn't it really speak the truth.

If you are like me, and love coffee/espresso, be sure to check out Coffee Geek. Here you will find some of the best advice on crafting everything related to your favorite caffeinated beverage, from picking machines to crafting the "God Shot". But if you want the basics, here they are.

The most immediate way to improve the quality of your coffee at home is to actually drop some decent cash on a good grinder. Avoid the "whirly blade" variety, as they slice the beans at odd angles. You want a uniform, spherical grind by a machine that doesn't heat the beans too much as they go through. Go for a solid quality burr grinder and you will see an immediate improvement in your cafe. For home use, a doser, the part you see teh barista smack to the side to drop grounds into the holder, is not necessary. 'Stepped' refers to whether there are set increments that the grinder is 'stepped' to for the grind size. Some people swear by steppless grinders because they, in theory, have an infinite number of steps, but as long as each step is small, most people agree it isn't a big deal.
Next, try using a gold filter - the reusable type that need to be washed after each use. These don't absorb the oils, like paper filters, and are probably the cheapest way to get better coffee.
Consider french press instead of fancy coffee machines. You can adjust the strength to your liking, though you risk getting grinds in your teeth. It requires more attention, but the setup costs very little and can easily be tweaked.

Next, for espresso, the grind should take about 27 seconds, and the shot pour should take 26-30 seconds. Any less and you lose some of the bean flavor, any more and you begin to get the bitter components. You should tamp to 30 pounds of pressure - use a bathroom scale to get a feel for it or buy a clicky tamper. Any more and you risk blowing out the machine's pump and extending the shot time, and less and you get channeling (which is when the water digs a path through the grounds, and a disproportionate amount takes the same path).

If you are making a drink with milk, add the milk to the espresso within 30 seconds of the pour for the best results, and heat the milk to between 150-160 degrees F - 60-65 C (right below the boiling point, which would denature the proteins and reduce the naturally sweet taste).

Coffee beans should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature out of direct sunlight. Only refridgerate if you don't expect to use your beans within 6 months. Avoid Starbucks. They overroast the beans so that their taste remains consistent regardless of how old they are. If you find a local roaster, they will have MUCH better, freshly roasted beans. Coffee shouldn't taste burnt! Buy whole bean and grind yourself. If you grind them when you buy them, you expose a greater surface area to the air, and thus your precious bounty will go stale quicker. If you want some excellent espresso, and you live in the US, order some of the Black Cat blend from Intelligentsia. Also try the Berkeley's Blend for coffee. Two of my favorites. (If you live in Providence, RI by chance, the Edge cafe serves Intelligensia beans.)

My current setup, which will probably last me decades, is a Capresso CoffeeTEAM Therm for coffee (I like being able to set a timer and having the machine grind and make a pot), a Racilio Rocky grinder, and Rancilio Silvia. I love 'em and have yet to master them.

There are all sorts of finer issues - convex vs flat tampers, single vs dual boiler machines, time until stale, roasting your own beans, etc - but the information above is pretty spot on as far as general first steps. Enjoy! Oh, and sorry about your wallet. Once you start looking into this stuff, you get sucked in. Enjoy some espresso porn (SFW)...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

In the News Recently

I'm cleaning out the Yahoo! alerts that have been piling up in my inbox, so here are some interesting stories (this will be updated throughout the next few days):

- A Halifax researcher got funding to do motor perturbation experiments. It looks like David Westwood will be using a KinArm type device (it might even be a KinArm) to look at the role vision plays during movements when outside forces are applied. Nifty.

- ABC News has a story on the role of observing sensation in some synesthetes. Mirror-touch synesthesia? Kinda playing off the mirror neurons system success in popular science mags. Still, I have to support the media when they actually tackle a neuroscience concept and don't completely mangle it. Also covered at New Scientist, Reuters and LiveScience. (Will link to the Nature Neuro paper they refer to later.)

- Medical News Today has an (depressing) overview or ALS.

- has an article discussing the benefits of video game systems, like the Nintendo Wii, for seniors. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Video games will teach us much more about the future of BCI than most people think.

(more to come!)

Monday, June 18, 2007

Get it while you can!

Michael Moore's new movie Sicko is on Google Video. The whole thing. Moore has been public about his wanting people to see it whether they "pirate" it or not (his word), so I don't feel bad passing it along. Having worked in "Big Pharma" for 3 years, I was surprised how little flack the pharma companies got. They deserve much more, but I guess the point of the film is much bigger than your usual "greedy business tries to dupe customers" line.

While it doesn't relate exactly to BCI, I have to wonder how things at small research based medical device companies would be under socialized healthcare, and how that would impact research money (in the US, if you tell someone you do research, they immediately ask about what kinds of medical conditions, not what subject

On a related note... after watching that, can someone explain why I still live in the US? Any of you Euro spending types wanna chime in on what was skewed?

[Update: Looks like Google removed it. Poo on them. The torrent will be up until the end of the Earth, though.]

Watch it at Google Video here (dead).
Download the torrent here.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Odd title for the day

I can understand stupid titles in the mass media when they cover science, but when Science publishes an article titled...

"Neural networks debunk phrenology"

... what can you really say?
(No, no, common sense debunked phrenology. I don't even know if I want to read the damn article!)

Neuroscience. Neural networks debunk phrenology.
from Science
Publication Date: 2007 Jun 15
PMID: 17569852
Authors: Knight, R. T.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Intersections, compilations, trepanations

I thought some might find this useful. Data? Data? We don't need no stinking data!!!! Oh wait. Yes, yes we need data... [taken from Mind Hacks]

Of particular interest is this nice list of available software. What a gold mine!

And Jebus, Medgadget has so many nice posts, maybe I should just auto-mirror their site! Just kidding, but be sure to check out this article on PEDOT, which offers the possibility of highly molded interfacing surfaces for future implants. Keep your eyes on this technology - I would give it an 80% chance that it will work its way into devices within 12 years. (Please note that if you make money on this suggestion, you owe me half, and if you lose money, hey, that's too bad for you!) Conductive polymers rock! Oh lawd, did I really just say that?

And lastly, for a little Friday fun, the Neurophilosopher has an article that is getting lots of attention, and dang nabbit if it isn't really interesting. Remember hearing from random people how The Ancient People of (insert some random place here) performed brain surgery 20 million years ago? Well, he's got the history of trepanation, complete with some wicked pictures, all laid out for you. I promise you will cringe at least one during the read.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Super Paper Friday!

J Neurosci:
Katharina A. Quinlan and Ole Kiehn
Segmental, Synaptic Actions of Commissural Interneurons in the Mouse Spinal Cord
J. Neurosci. 2007 27: 6521-6530; doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1618-07.2007 [Abstract] [Full Text] [PDF]

J Neurophys:

Hiroshi Okamoto, Yoshikazu Isomura, Masahiko Takada, and Tomoki Fukai
Temporal Integration by Stochastic Recurrent Network Dynamics With Bimodal Neurons J Neurophysiol 97: 3859-3867, 2007. First published March 28, 2007; doi:10.1152/jn.01100.2006 [Abstract] [Full Text] [PDF]

Nicholas P. Shapiro and Robert H. Lee
Synaptic Amplification Versus Bistability in Motoneuron Dendritic Processing: A Top-Down Modeling Approach J Neurophysiol 97: 3948-3960, 2007. First published April 4, 2007; doi:10.1152/jn.00084.2007 [Abstract] [Full Text] [PDF]

Vincent S. Huang and Reza Shadmehr
Evolution of Motor Memory During the Seconds After Observation of Motor Error J Neurophysiol 97: 3976-3985, 2007. First published April 11, 2007; doi:10.1152/jn.01281.2006 [Abstract] [Full Text] [PDF]

Jeremy L. Emken, Raul Benitez, Athanasios Sideris, James E. Bobrow, and David J. Reinkensmeyer
Motor Adaptation as a Greedy Optimization of Error and Effort J Neurophysiol 97: 3997-4006, 2007. First published March 28, 2007; doi:10.1152/jn.01095.2006 [Abstract] [Full Text] [PDF]

Lourdes Martínez, Toni Pérez, Claudio R. Mirasso, and Elias Manjarrez
Stochastic Resonance in the Motor System: Effects of Noise on the Monosynaptic Reflex Pathway of the Cat Spinal Cord J Neurophysiol 97: 4007-4016, 2007. First published April 11, 2007; doi:10.1152/jn.01164.2006 [Abstract] [Full Text] [PDF]

H. A. Raptis, E. Dannenbaum, N. Paquet, and A. G. Feldman
Vestibular System May Provide Equivalent Motor Actions Regardless of the Number of Body Segments Involved in the Task J Neurophysiol 97: 4069-4078, 2007. First published April 11, 2007; doi:10.1152/jn.00909.2006 [Abstract] [Full Text] [PDF]

Geneviève Bernard, Laurent Bouyer, Janyne Provencher, and Serge Rossignol
Study of Cutaneous Reflex Compensation During Locomotion After Nerve Section in the Cat J Neurophysiol 97: 4173-4185, 2007. First published March 28, 2007; doi:10.1152/jn.00797.2006 [Abstract] [Full Text] [PDF]

Erik J. Schlicht and Paul R. Schrater
Impact of Coordinate Transformation Uncertainty on Human Sensorimotor Control J Neurophysiol 97: 4203-4214, 2007. First published April 4, 2007; doi:10.1152/jn.00160.2007 [Abstract] [Full Text] [PDF]

Wei Wang, Sherwin S. Chan, Dustin A. Heldman, and Daniel W. Moran
Motor Cortical Representation of Position and Velocity During Reaching J Neurophysiol 97: 4258-4270, 2007. First published March 28, 2007; doi:10.1152/jn.01180.2006 [Abstract] [Full Text] [PDF]

Colum D. MacKinnon, Dennis Bissig, Julie Chiusano, Emily Miller, Laura Rudnick, Candice Jager, Yunhui Zhang, Marie-Laure Mille, and Mark W. Rogers
Preparation of Anticipatory Postural Adjustments Prior to Stepping J Neurophysiol 97: 4368-4379, 2007. First published April 25, 2007; doi:10.1152/jn.01136.2006 [Abstract] [Full Text] [PDF]

Isaac Kurtzer and Troy M. Herter
Contrasting Interpretations of the Nonuniform Distribution of Preferred Directions Within Primary Motor Cortex J Neurophysiol 97: 4390-4390, 2007; doi:10.1152/jn.00032.2007 [Full Text] [PDF]

Apostolos P. Georgopoulos, Thomas Naselaris, Hugo Merchant, and Bagrat Amirikian
Reply to Kurtzer and Herter J Neurophysiol 97: 4391-4392, 2007; doi:10.1152/jn.00140.2007 [Full Text] [PDF]

Matthew B Spraker, Hong Yu, Daniel M. Corcos, and David E Vaillancourt
Role of individual basal ganglia nuclei in force amplitude generation J Neurophysiol (June 13, 2007). doi:10.1152/jn.00239.2007 [Abstract] [PDF]


Something from these no-names ;)
Med Health R I. 2007 Jan;90(1):12-5.
Neuromotor prosthesis development.
Donoghue JP, Hochberg LR, Nurmikko AV, Black MJ, Simeral JD, Friehs G.

Biology and mathematics: A fruitful merger of two cultures
Biological Cybernetics
J. Leo van Hemmen
Received: 26 April 2007 Accepted: 9 May 2007 Published online: 14 June 2007

Electrochemical polymerization of conducting polymers in living neural tissue
Sarah M Richardson-Burns, Jeffrey L Hendricks and David C Martin
J. Neural Eng. 4 No 2 (June 2007) L6-L13
Abstract References
Full text: Acrobat PDF (1.84 MB)

Trends Neurosci. 2007 Jun 5; [Epub ahead of print]
The gamma cycle.
Fries P, Nikolić D, Singer W.

Neuron. 2007 Jun 7;54(5):669-670.
A Paradoxical Role for Inhibition in Initiation.
Rushworth MF, Taylor PC.

Neuron. 2007 Jun 7;54(5):677-96.
Brain States: top-down influences in sensory processing.
Gilbert CD, Sigman M.

Neuron. 2007 Jun 7;54(5):697-711.
Human medial frontal cortex mediates unconscious inhibition of voluntary action.
Sumner P, Nachev P, Morris P, Peters AM, Jackson SR, Kennard C, Husain M.

Nature. 2007 Jun 7;447(7145):640.
Brain botch.
Striedter G.

Neural Netw. 2007 Apr;20(3):298-311. Epub 2007 May 3.
From memory-based decisions to decision-based movements: A model of interval discrimination followed by action selection.
Joshi P.

J Physiol. 2007 May 1;580(Pt.3):701-2. Epub 2007 Mar 1.
Motor cortical network oscillations driven by voltage- and ligand-gated currents.
Ramos RL, Khatri V.

Brain Res Bull. 2007 Jul 12;73(4-6):155-202. Epub 2007 Apr 17.
Muscle proprioceptive feedback and spinal networks.
Windhorst U.

Eur J Neurosci. 2007 May;25(9):2927-34.
How does a short history of spinal cord injury affect movement-related brain potentials?
Castro A, Díaz F, van Boxtel GJ.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Flipping the bird, sans finger - Part 2

Gizmodo has an animation of the mechanical artificial finger which requires no power. It looks like at least part of the missing finger needs to be present to apply pressure to the articulating lever. Pretty neat! Even better, I found the above YouTube video! With the silicone sleeve, you can barely tell it isn't flesh.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Well, there's your problem!

Mind Hacks has a little ditty on the Center for Neuro Skills animation gallery. I've been looking for a good resource for neuroscience animations, and it looks like I need to keep looking (these are about the quality of my high school AP reports over a decade ago). Seriously, these look like someone whipped out MS Paint and went to town while blindfolded. Still, maybe someone could get some use out of them...

If you want a REAL animation, take a look at this. Absolutely amazing! Post any good animations you have found in the comments!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Site changes

Hello everyone. I've changed some of the site options. The following might be of interest:

- Comments are open to everyone without registration necessary
- RSS feed has been shortened, so those long Friday paper posts won't clog the internet tubes

I'm hoping to spur some conversation, and I know the hassle of registering a GMail account is a major turn off. So post away! Comments are unmoderated, as long as there is no abuse.

Please email me if you spot any abuse of the commenting, including blogspam. Please contact me before throwing up links, unless you have been cited or mentioned previously. As the admin for a tech site, I see many people who post comments like, "That's great. *my blog address*" just to promote. I'll be more loose about it here, but on the other site it gets you an instant ban. Comments are for the exchange of ideas, not free promotion without contribution.

Beauty and prosthetics

I cannot imagine how it feels to deal with the loss of an appendage, and how that alters the image a person might have of their own body. It must be one of the most difficult challenges a person can face in the way it impacts them in day-to-day life. But, there are those that have taken this taboo topic and really shown beauty is more than just skin and bones. It gets me thinking. Is trying to hide the issue actually causing the insecurity? Does amputation amplify preexisting insecurities and provide something to blame for one's poor self-image? We've become so used to trying to cover up our blemishes with a never-ending contortionist's game of makeup, surgery, and fads that maybe just being 'real' is refreshing.

Gizmodo and MedGadget have featured Lisa Bufano's dance stylings this past week (pictured above, video at Gizmodo), but I thought I would also point to some photos of the beautiful Aimee Mullins (pictured below). Do a quick Google image search for some of her racing and fashion pictures, and prepare to be awestruck!

Self-healing artificial skin

U of I(llinois) researchers have developed a multi-layered material that can be damaged in the same spot repeatedly and 'heal' the damaged area. I would describe it, but gives a great synopsis:
To create their self-healing materials, the researchers begin by building a scaffold using a robotic deposition process called direct-write assembly. The process employs a concentrated polymeric ink, dispensed as a continuous filament, to fabricate a three-dimensional structure, layer by layer.

Once the scaffold has been produced, it is surrounded with an epoxy resin. After curing, the resin is heated and the ink – which liquefies – is extracted, leaving behind a substrate with a network of interlocking microchannels.

In the final steps, the researchers deposit a brittle epoxy coating on top of the substrate, and fill the network with a liquid healing agent.

In the researchers’ tests, the coating and substrate are bent until a crack forms in the coating. The crack propagates through the coating until it encounters one of the fluid-filled “capillaries” at the interface of the coating and substrate. Healing agent moves from the capillary into the crack, where it interacts with catalyst particles. If the crack reopens under additional stress, the healing cycle is repeated.

Squeek I tell you!

For all you mice researchers out there... (warning: this is an audio link!) No wonder I never got along with that bunch. Sick monkeys.

Friday, June 8, 2007

It's Super Paper Friday!

Kicking things off with a new IEEE paper from Gerry Loeb...

(Just copy and pasted from Pubmed and other sources. Am I the only one that HATES the online access schemes for journals? There are a couple more papers I wanted to post, but apparently we don't have a subscription, even though the paper below it is accessible and not marked as free. Yes, I'm sure we subscribe to PNAS. Frustrating.)

IEEE Biomedical Engineering:

Development of a BIONic Muscle Spindle for Prosthetic Proprioception
Sachs, N. A.; Loeb, G. E.Page(s): 1031-1041
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/TBME.2007.892924
AbstractPlus Full Text: PDF (2480 KB)

A Multichannel Semicircular Canal Neural Prosthesis Using Electrical Stimulation to Restore 3-D Vestibular Sensation
Della Santina, C. C.; Migliaccio, A. A.; Patel, A. H.Page(s): 1016-1030
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/TBME.2007.894629
AbstractPlus Full Text: PDF (1399 KB)

Chronic Vestibulo-Ocular Reflexes Evoked by a Vestibular Prosthesis
Merfeld, D. M.; Haburcakova, C.; Gong, W.; Lewis, R. F.Page(s): 1005-1015
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/TBME.2007.891943
AbstractPlus Full Text: PDF (597 KB)

A Fully Integrated Mixed-Signal Neural Processor for Implantable Multichannel Cortical Recording
Sodagar, A. M.; Wise, K. D.; Najafi, K.Page(s): 1075-1088
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/TBME.2007.894986
AbstractPlus Full Text: PDF (2072 KB)

Extraction Force and Cortical Tissue Reaction of Silicon Microelectrode Arrays Implanted in the Rat Brain
McConnell, G. C.; Schneider, T. M.; Owens, D. J.; Bellamkonda, R. V.Page(s): 1097-1107
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/TBME.2007.895373
AbstractPlus Full Text: PDF (1150 KB)

Neurotrophic Factors and Neural Prostheses: Potential Clinical Applications Based Upon Findings in the Auditory System
Pettingill, L. N.; Richardson, R. T.; Wise, A. K.; O'Leary, S. J.; Shepherd, R. K.Page(s): 1138-1148
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/TBME.2007.895375
AbstractPlus Full Text: PDF (1971 KB)

The Tendon Network of the Fingers Performs Anatomical Computation at a Macroscopic Scale
Valero-Cuevas, F. J.; Yi, J. W.; Brown, D.; McNamara, R. V.; Paul, C.; Lipson, H.Page(s): 1161-1166
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/TBME.2006.889200Abstract Full Text: PDF (211 KB)

Frequency Recognition Based on Canonical Correlation Analysis for SSVEP-Based BCIs
Lin, Z.; Zhang, C.; Wu, W.; Gao, X.Page(s): 1172-1176
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/TBME.2006.889197Abstract Full Text: PDF (172 KB)

+ a number of papers in IEEE BME on cochlear implants in the above issue.

European J of Neuro:

Layer and frequency dependencies of phase response properties of pyramidal neurons in rat motor cortex
Yasuhiro Tsubo, Masahiko Takada, Alex D. Reyes and Tomoki Fukai
European Journal of Neuroscience, Volume 25, Issue 11: 3429-3441. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2007.05579.x
Abstract References Full Text HTML Full Text PDF (1008 KB) Rights and Permissions

Homeostatic plasticity in human motor cortex demonstrated by two consecutive sessions of paired associative stimulation
J. Florian M. Müller, Yuriy Orekhov, Yali Liu and Ulf Ziemann
pages 3461–3468
Abstract References Full Text HTML Full Text PDF (675 KB) Rights and Permissions

Factors influencing the relation between corticospinal output and muscle force during voluntary contractions
F. Gelli, F. Del Santo, T. Popa, R. Mazzocchio and A. Rossi
pages 3469–3475
Abstract References Full Text HTML Full Text PDF (654 KB) Rights and Permissions

Human limb-specific and non-limb-specific brain representations during kinesthetic illusory movements of the upper and lower extremities
Eiichi Naito, Tokuro Nakashima, Tomonori Kito, Yu Aramaki, Tomohisa Okada and Norihiro Sadato
pages 3476–3487
Abstract References Full Text HTML Full Text PDF (1090 KB) Rights and Permissions

J Neurosci

The Influence of Expected Value on Saccadic Preparation
David M. Milstein and Michael C. Dorris
The Journal of Neuroscience, May 2, 2007, 27(18):4810-4818;

Dissociating Timing and Coordination as Functions of the Cerebellum
Jörn Diedrichsen,1,2 Sarah E. Criscimagna-Hemminger,1 and Reza Shadmehr1
The Journal of Neuroscience, June 6, 2007, 27(23):6291-6301; doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0061-07.2007

The Relation of Brain Oscillations to Attentional Networks
Jin Fan,1,2 Jennie Byrne,1 Michael S. Worden,3 Kevin G. Guise,1 Bruce D. McCandliss,4 John Fossella,1 and Michael I. Posner4,5
The Journal of Neuroscience, June 6, 2007, 27(23):6197-6206; doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1833-07.2007

Awfully Afraid? Dissociating Decision- from Motor- and Sensory-Related Brain Activation during Perceptual Choices
Philippe N. Tobler1 and Tobias Kalenscher2
The Journal of Neuroscience, June 6, 2007, 27(23):6081-6082; doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1478-07.2007

Trends in Neuro:

The topographic brain: from neural connectivity to cognitionPages 251-259Jean-Philippe Thivierge and Gary F. MarcusSummaryPlus Full Text + Links PDF (1008 K)

Thalamic synchrony and dynamic regulation of global forebrain oscillationsIn Press, Corrected Proof, Available online 4 June 2007, John R. Huguenard and David A. McCormickSummaryPlus Full Text + Links PDF (271 K)

(Plus several papers on oscillatory activity...)

J Neurophys:

Marc A Pizzimenti, Warren Darling, Diane L Rotella, David McNeal, James L Herrick, Jizhi Ge, Kimberly Stilwell-Morecraft, and Robert J. Morecraft
Measurement of Reaching Kinematics and Prehensile Dexterity in Non-Human Primates

J Neurophysiol (June 6, 2007). doi:10.1152/jn.00354.2007 [Abstract] [PDF]

Laura Dipietro, Hermano I. Krebs, Susan E. Fasoli, Bruce T. Volpe, Joel Stein, Chris T Bever, and Neville Hogan
Changing motor synergies in chronic stroke

J Neurophysiol (June 6, 2007). doi:10.1152/jn.01295.2006 [Abstract] [PDF]

Sara A Winges, John F Soechting, and Martha Flanders
Multi-digit control of contact forces during transport of hand-held objects

J Neurophysiol (June 6, 2007). doi:10.1152/jn.00267.2007 [Abstract] [PDF]


Local shaping of function in the motor cortex: Motor contrast, directional tuningIn Press, Corrected Proof, Available online 8 May 2007, Apostolos P. Georgopoulos and Costas N. Stefanis Brain Res RevSummaryPlus Full Text + Links PDF (456 K)

Probabilistic reasoning by neurons
Tianming Yang & Michael N. Shadlen
doi:10.1038/nature05852Abstract Full Text PDF (428K) Supplementary information

Anticipatory response control in motor sequence learning: evidence from stimulus-response compatibility.
Hum Mov Sci. 2007 Apr;26(2):257-74Authors: Koch I

Cortex. 2007 Apr;43(3):338-49.
Reorganization of brain activity for multiple internal models after short but intensive training.
Imamizu H, Higuchi S, Toda A, Kawato M.

Direct and Indirect Cortico-Motoneuronal Pathways and Control of Hand/Arm Movements
Tadashi Isa1,2,3, Yukari Ohki4, Bror Alstermark5, Lars-Gunnar Pettersson6 and Shigeto Sasaki7
Physiology 22: 145-152, 2007; doi:10.1152/physiol.00045.2006 1548-9213/07