How well can you focus your brain?

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Seven digits is the "magic number" for neuroscientists. It's just about the maximum your short-term memory can retain. Can you remember a seven-digit number? Find out with Barbara Shinn-Cunningham, head of the NSF-funded CELEST Science of Learning Center at Boston University​. Shinn-Cunningham and other leaders from the Science of Learning Centers provided a Capitol Hill briefing June 24, 2015 on their work studying how the brain learns and develops. Rep. Chaka Fattah hosted the...

Searching for Answers: Mysteries of the Brain

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For more than a century, scientists have studied the brain, and yet there is still so much about it that remains a mystery. New research is underway to develop and use cutting-edge technologies, and scientists across disciplines are working together to better understand the brain and how it works. "Mysteries of the Brain" is produced by NBC Learn in partnership with the NSF.

Brain-Computer Interface: Mysteries of the Brain

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Neuroengineer Rajesh Rao of the University of Washington is developing brain-computer interfaces, devices that can monitor and extract brain activity to enable a machine or computer to accomplish tasks, from playing video games to controlling a prosthetic arm. "Mysteries of the Brain" is produced by NBC Learn in partnership with the NSF.

Perceiving Brain: Mysteries of the Brain

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Sabine Kastner, a professor of neuroscience and psychology at Princeton University, is studying how the brain determines what information is most important in everyday scenes. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, Kastner is able to peek inside the brain and see what areas are active when a person sees a face, place or object. "Mysteries of the Brain" is produced by NBC Learn in partnership with the NSF.

Building a Brain: Mysteries of the Brain

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Carlos Aizenman, a neuroscientist at Brown University, is studying the brains of tadpoles to understand how neural circuits develop and absorb information from the surrounding environment. "Mysteries of the Brain" is produced by NBC Learn in partnership with the NSF.

Emotional Brain: Mysteries of the Brain

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For years, researchers have struggled to understand how emotions are formed and processed by the brain. Now, neuroscientist Kevin LaBar and his graduate students at Duke University are using a virtual reality room to study how the brain reacts to both negative and positive emotions. "Mysteries of the Brain" is produced by NBC Learn in partnership with the NSF.

Expansion microscopy brings the brain in 3-D into focus

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While most efforts to understand the brain focus on new technologies to magnify small anatomical features, engineers at the MIT-based Center for Brains, Minds and Machines have found a way to make brains physically bigger. The technique, which the researchers call expansion microscopy, uses an expandable polymer and water to swell brain tissue to about four and a half times its usual size, so that nanoscale structures once blurry appear sharp with an ordinary confocal microscope. Expansion...

Paraplegic will walk again wearing exoskeleton at the World Cup

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Built with funding for basic research from the National Science Foundation, Dr. Miguel Nicolelis and the Walk Again Project have built an exoskeleton that will allow paraplegics to walk again. The exoskeleton uses computer algorithms to interpret the user's brain activity, which powers the exoskeleton forward.

A thought requires roughly a million different brain neurons

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Theoretical biophysicist William Bialek discusses how all of the parts in our brain work together to produce all of the simple and complex thoughts that humans have.

Observing multiple neurons simultaneously

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Theoretical biophysicist William Bialek discusses the BRAIN Initiative and how his team plans to study neuron activity.