Getting the dirt on carbon
Growing Healthier Tomato Plants
Flush-Free Fertilizer
Frogs and Toads
Insects Take a Breather
A Meal Plan for Birds
Mating Slows Down Prairie Dogs
Honeybees do the wave
Memory by Hypnosis
Monkeys in the Mirror
Flightless Birds
A Meal Plan for Birds
Chemistry and Materials
Moon Crash, Splash
Sticking Around with Gecko Tape
A Butterfly's Electric Glow
The solar system's biggest junkyard
A New Look at Saturn's rings
Seen on the Science Fair Scene
Dinosaurs and Fossils
From Mammoth to Modern Elephant
Meet your mysterious relative
Message in a dinosaur's teeth
E Learning Jamaica
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
The Pacific Ocean's Bald Spot
Farms sprout in cities
Deep Drilling at Sea
Alien Invasions
Bald Eagles Forever
Animal CSI or from Science Lab to Crime Lab
Finding the Past
Fakes in the museum
If Only Bones Could Speak
Little People Cause Big Surprise
Electric Ray
Skates and Rays
Mako Sharks
Food and Nutrition
Healing Honey
How Super Are Superfruits?
The Color of Health
GSAT English Rules
Finding Subjects and Verbs
Who vs. That vs. Which
Subject and Verb Agreement
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
Preparing for the GSAT Exam
GSAT Practice Papers | GSAT Mathematics | Maths
GSAT Exam Preparation
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
42,000 students will sit for the GSAT Exam in two weeks
GSAT stars reap scholarship glory
GSAT Exam Preparation
GSAT Mathematics
Math of the World
Deep-space dancers
Math is a real brain bender
Human Body
Smiles Turn Away Colds
Sea Kids See Clearly Underwater
The tell-tale bacteria
What Not to Say to Emerging Readers
Children and Media
Choosing a Preschool: What to Consider
Electric Backpack
The Particle Zoo
Spin, Splat, and Scramble
Springing forward
When Fungi and Algae Marry
Stalking Plants by Scent
Komodo Dragons
Space and Astronomy
Ready, Set, Supernova
Return to Space
Evidence of a Wet Mars
Technology and Engineering
Spinach Power for Solar Cells
Crime Lab
Shape Shifting
The Parts of Speech
Problems with Prepositions
What is a Noun
Adjectives and Adverbs
Reach for the Sky
Where rivers run uphill
Ready, unplug, drive
A Change in Climate
Watering the Air
Earth's Poles in Peril
Add your Article

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

Designed and Powered by™