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.

Evolving Brain: Mysteries of the Brain

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Using amazing new technologies, evolutionary neuroscientist Melina Hale and her graduate students at the University of Chicago are discovering that the basic movements of one tiny fish can teach us big ideas about how the brain's circuitry works. "Mysteries of the Brain" is produced by NBC Learn in partnership with the NSF.

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.

Optogenetics relies on biodiversity

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How two unlikely microbes (that don’t even have brains) led to the development of one of today’s most promising brain research techniques—which is being used to study many diseases including schizophrenia and Parkinson’s.

Melina Hale explains how her research of zebrafish is helping to advance brain research

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Melina Hale of the University of Chicago is studying neuronal circuits in zebrafish that generate startle responses. Because little is known about how circuits operate in any organism and because startle responses are controlled by relatively simple circuits, an improved understanding of the circuitry of the zebrafish's startle responses is expected to help lay the groundwork for research on more complicated circuits.

Clifton Ragsdale reveals why octopuses are such successful predators

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Clifton Ragsdale of the University of Chicago is researching the nervous system of the octopus, which is a successful predator partly because it has excellent eyesight--the best of any invertebrate. The octopus's excellent eyesight enables it to visually zero in and focus on prey.