Pulse 151: Kernel Brain Interface May Revolutionize Neuroscience

11 May 2020
Giulio Prisco

Neuroscience

Kernel, a neuroscience company based in Culver City, will soon unveil devices that can see and record brain activity, enabling scientists to more easily analyze neurons as they fire and reveal more about how the mind works, Bloomberg reports. The Kernel brain interface devices, which will be revealed to the public later this year, have been tested by neuroscientists including Christof Koch.

“This triggers a new era of access to the mind and the ability to ask all sorts of new questions about ourselves,” said Kernel’s founder Bryan Johnson, adding the Kernel devices can play a role similar to the fast, cheap gene-sequencing machines that made it possible for thousands of people to study DNA.

“What is revolutionary here is not the fact that you can do it, but how quickly and inexpensively it can be done - and with so few constraints,” said Koch. “It lets people do experiments vastly easier and gets you much more direct access to the brain.”

According to a Kernel post titled “Hello Humanity,” Kernel technologies “will revolutionize the capture of high-quality neural signals for the study of the brain.”

Thrivous CEO Lincoln Cannon hints at long-term possibilities. “Pull out a science fiction novel,” he says. “Or maybe read those dusty scriptures. A sufficiently advanced neurotechnology may be indistinguishable from resurrection.”

In related news, Elon Musk revealed that his secretive brain science startup Neuralink is close to starting human testing, Futurism reports. “We may be able to implant a neural link in less than a year in a person I think,” Musk told Joe Rogan.

Designed Diets May Reduce Cancer

Scientists at Luxembourg Institute of Health have revealed a mechanism that controls the function of regulatory T cells.

T cells are a type of white blood cell that acts as a brake on the immune system. They determine the balance between autoimmunity and anti-cancer activity.

An elucidation of the metabolic mechanism of a disease is outlined in a research paper published in Cell Metabolism. According to the scientists, it sets a new direction for future treatment of metabolic diseases. And it can lead to disease reduction by a rationally-designed diet that specifically addresses these metabolic alterations.

Focused Ultrasound for Treatments in the Brain

University of Virginia researchers are pioneering the use of focused ultrasound to defy the brain's protective barrier. Doctors may, at last, deliver many treatments directly into the brain to battle neurological diseases.

This approach is detailed in a study published in Science Advances. According to the researchers, it could revolutionize treatment for conditions from Alzheimer's to epilepsy to brain tumors. And it may even help repair the devastating damage caused by stroke.

Electrical Link from the Atmosphere to the Body

Tel Aviv University scientists have shown evidence for a direct link between electrical fields in the atmosphere and those found in living organisms, including humans.

The findings are detailed in a study published in International Journal of Biometeorology. They may change established notions about electrical activity in living organisms, and pave the way for revolutionary medical treatments.

Illnesses such as epilepsy and Parkinson's are related to abnormalities in the electrical activity of the body.

Active Estrogen Receptors Stop Pancreatic Cancer

Scientists at University of Pennsylvania and Abramson Cancer Center have shown that activating the G protein-coupled estrogen receptor (GPER) may stop pancreatic cancer from growing. It may also make tumors more visible to the immune system and thus more susceptible to modern immunotherapy.

GPER is a receptor found on the surface of many normal and cancer tissues.

The scientists reported their first encouraging results in a study published in Cellular and Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Antibody Blocks COVID-19 Infection

Researchers at Utrecht University, Erasmus Medical Center, and Harbour BioMed have identified a fully human monoclonal antibody that prevents the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) virus from infecting cultured cells.

The discovery was reported in a paper published in Nature Communications. It is an initial step towards developing a fully human antibody to treat or prevent the respiratory disease COVID-19 caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.

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