This Startup’s Computer Chips Are Powered by Human Neurons

By Victor Tangermann – Re-Blogged From Futurism

Biological “hybrid computer chips” could drastically lower the amount of power required to run AI systems.

Australian startup Cortical Labs is building computer chips that use biological neurons extracted from mice and humans, Fortune reports.

The goal is to dramatically lower the amount of power current artificial intelligence systems need to operate by mimicking the way the human brain.

According to Cortical Labs’ announcement, the company is planning to “build technology that harnesses the power of synthetic biology and the full potential of the human brain” in order to create a “new class” of AI that could solve “society’s greatest challenges.”

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Diabetic Mice “Cured Rapidly” Using Human Stem Cells

By Victor Tangermann – Re-Blogged From Futurism

These insulin-secreting cells cured mice from severe diabetes “within two weeks.”

A team of researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis successfully converted human stem cells into cells capable of producing insulin. These insulin-producing cells were then able to control blood sugar levels in a demonstration involving diabetic mice.

“These mice had very severe diabetes with blood sugar readings of more than 500 milligrams per deciliter of blood — levels that could be fatal for a person — and when we gave the mice the insulin-secreting cells, within two weeks their blood glucose levels had returned to normal and stayed that way for many months,” lead researcher Jeffrey Millman, assistant professor at Washington University, said in a statement.

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Researchers Transplant Lab-Grown Heart Muscle Cells Into Patient

By Kristin Houser – Re-Blogged From Futurism

This first-of-its-kind procedure could replace heart transplants.

On Monday, researchers from Japan’s Osaka University announced the successful completion of a first-of-its-kind heart transplant.

Rather than replacing their patient’s entire heart with a new organ, these researchers placed degradable sheets containing heart muscle cells onto the heart’s damaged areas — and if the procedure has the desired effect, it could eventually eliminate the need for some entire heart transplants.

To create the heart muscle cells, the team started with induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. These are stem cells that researchers create by taking an adult’s cells — often from their skin or blood — and reprogramming them back into their embryonic-like pluripotent state.

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Lab-Grown Minibrains Show Activity Similar to Babies’ Brains

By Shelly Fan – Re-Blogged From Singularity Hub

Neurons are a collective bunch. Although each neuron receives, processes, and passes on information individually, the electrical spikes only make sense when melded together in waves of oscillating activity. Like an orchestra, the notes played from each neuron matter. But only when they synchronize in specific ways do single notes transform into the music of thought, memories, and actions.

By studying animals, scientists have long known that even extremely young brains—say, those still in the mother’s womb—gradually generate neural oscillations as they mature. Genetic mutations that disrupt this synchronicity causes the melody to falter, leading to neurodevelopmental problems including autism, epilepsy, or schizophrenia. Yet those ideas remain educated guesses, mostly because it’s impossible to monitor a developing human fetus’s brain.

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Stem Cell Transplant Helps Some With MS

By Health Day – Re-Blogged From Newsmax Health

A stem cell transplant may help some people with multiple sclerosis when standard drugs fail, a new clinical trial finds.

The study focused on 110 patients with aggressive cases of MS: Their symptoms had flared up at least twice in the past year despite taking standard medication, and they’d already tried an average of three of those drugs.

Researchers randomly assigned the patients to either keep trying other medications or have a stem cell transplant — using cells taken from their own blood.

Over an average of three years, MS progressed in 34 of 55 patients on medication — meaning their disabilities worsened. That compared with only three of 55 patients given a stem cell transplant.

Japan Scientists to Use ‘Reprogrammed’ Stem Cells to Fight Parkinson’s

By Thomson Reuters – Re-Blogged From Newsmax

TOKYO – Japanese scientists said Monday they will start clinical trials next month on a treatment for Parkinson’s disease, transplanting “reprogrammed” stem cells into brains, seeking a breakthrough in treating the neurodegenerative disorder.

Parkinson’s is caused by a lack of dopamine made by brain cells and researchers have long hoped to use stem cells to restore normal production of the neurotransmitter chemical.

Japan Scientists to Use ‘Reprogrammed’ Stem Cells to Fight Parkinson’s

By Thomson Reuters – Re-Blogged From Newsmax Health

TOKYO – Japanese scientists said Monday they will start clinical trials next month on a treatment for Parkinson’s disease, transplanting “reprogrammed” stem cells into brains, seeking a breakthrough in treating the neurodegenerative disorder.

Parkinson’s is caused by a lack of dopamine made by brain cells and researchers have long hoped to use stem cells to restore normal production of the neurotransmitter chemical.