Getting the dirt on carbon
Flush-Free Fertilizer
Keeping Bugs Away from Food
Tree Frogs
Poison Dart Frogs
Baboons Listen for Who's Tops
A Fallout Feast for Crabs
Chicken Talk
Sugar-pill medicine
Body clocks
Storing Memories before Bedtime
Chemistry and Materials
Butterfly Wings and Waterproof Coats
Watching out for vultures
Undercover Detectives
Nonstop Robot
A Light Delay
The solar system's biggest junkyard
Dinosaurs and Fossils
A Living Fossil
Digging for Ancient DNA
E Learning Jamaica
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
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The Rise of Yellowstone
Polar Ice Feels the Heat
Life trapped under a glacier
Indoor ozone stopper
Toxic Cleanups Get a Microbe Boost
Where rivers run uphill
Finding the Past
Words of the Distant Past
If Only Bones Could Speak
Big Woman of the Distant Past
Food and Nutrition
Chocolate Rules
Packing Fat
Recipe for Health
GSAT English Rules
Order of Adjectives
Who vs. Whom
Who vs. That vs. Which
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
GSAT Practice Papers | GSAT Mathematics | Maths
GSAT stars reap scholarship glory
Mastering The GSAT Exam
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
GSAT Scholarship
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
Access denied - Disabled boy aces GSAT
GSAT Mathematics
How to Slice a Cake Fairly
Prime Time for Cicadas
Math Naturals
Human Body
Remembering Facts and Feelings
A New Touch
Surviving Olympic Heat
Sperm Whale
Polar Bear
Vampire Bats
Children and Media
What Not to Say to Emerging Readers
Choosing a Preschool: What to Consider
Black Hole Journey
IceCube Science
Electric Backpack
White fuzzy mold not as friendly as it looks
Fast-flying fungal spores
The algae invasion
Garter Snakes
Space and Astronomy
Galaxies Divide Sharply Along Color Lines
Older Stars, New Age for the Universe
Pluto's New Moons
Technology and Engineering
Switchable Lenses Improve Vision
Machine Copy
Riding Sunlight
The Parts of Speech
What is a Preposition?
Adjectives and Adverbs
How to Fly Like a Bat
Are Propellers Fin-ished?
Ready, unplug, drive
A Dire Shortage of Water
Antarctica warms, which threatens penguins
Science loses out when ice caps melt
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The Electric Brain

It sounds like a miracle: A man with severe brain damage regained the ability to talk, eat, and move after doctors implanted an electrical device deep inside his brain. Since suffering a brain injury 6 years ago, the man had barely responded to the world around him. He couldn't eat, so tubes delivered nutrients to his body. When asked yes-no questions, he sometimes moved his eyes and thumbs, but his responses were not consistent. During a 10-hour operation, neurosurgeon Ali Rezai put two devices called electrodes deep within the center of patient's brain, in an area called the thalamus. Shaped like a walnut, the thalamus serves as the brain's "grand central station," says Rezai. It helps signals travel between the brain and the body's sensory organs, such as the eyes, skin, and tongue. Electrodes transmit electric currents. Rezai and colleagues proposed that transmitting currents deep in the brain would make the thalamus more active. And firing up the thalamus, they suspected, would wake up the whole brain. "We're essentially jump-starting the brain," Rezai says. Still, the doctors didn't know for sure if the treatment would help the patient. It didn't take them long to find out. Immediately after the surgery, the man opened his eyes and began responding to voices. Over 6 months, his doctors turned the electrical stimulation on and off to see what effects it was having. The patient never knew if the implanted device was on or not. These repeated tests proved that the patient's improvements were due to the stimulation of currents transmitted by the electrodes. The man remains severely disabled. His muscles are extremely weak from years of disuse. Still, he can do some of the motions involved in brushing his teeth and drinking from a cup, which he could not do before. The doctors now plan to test deep-brain electrodes on 11 more patients who also have severe brain damage. The results, they hope, will be just as encouraging.—Emily Sohn

The Electric Brain
The Electric Brain

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