MIT in the Media - Brain and cognitive sciences Feed about: Brain and cognitive sciences en WBUR <p>A CRISPR-based diagnostic test for Covid-19 developed by researchers from MIT and the Broad Institute could produce results within an hour, reports Deborah Becker for WBUR. "Using these technologies will really allow for much more rapid testing — down from days to sometimes less than an hour," said McGovern fellow Jonathan Gootenberg. "That would enable a drastic change in how the tracing and handling of the pandemic is done."</p> Fri, 18 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0400 Mashable <p>MIT researchers have developed a new wearable device, called Dormio, that can be used to record and even guide a person’s dreams, reports <em>Mashable</em>. Dormio is aimed at providing “insights into how dreams work and their effect on various things like memory, emotion, creativity.”</p> Fri, 31 Jul 2020 00:00:00 -0400 TechCrunch <p><em>TechCrunch</em> reporter Darrell Etherington writes that CSAIL researchers have built a new two-fingered robotic gripper. The researchers “equipped their robotic gripper with fingertips that are not only made out of a soft material, but that also have embedded sensors which help it continually detect the position of a cable between the grippers to better control holding and manipulating them while performing simple tasks like detangling.”</p> Mon, 13 Jul 2020 00:00:00 -0400 WBUR <p>WBUR’s Carey Goldberg explores how MIT researchers developed a new CRISPR-based research tool that can be used to detect Covid-19. "A lot of things that we try fail," says research scientist Jonathan Gootenberg. "And that’s OK. Because sometimes you find these things that are really, really awesome."</p> Fri, 10 Jul 2020 00:00:00 -0400 New Scientist <p>Prof. Ed Boyden speaks with <em>New Scientist</em> reporter Clare Wilson about his work studying the inner workings of the human brain. “I have a deep desire to understand what it means to be human – the meaning of our thoughts and feelings,” says Boyden. “That is really what motivates me to get out of bed in the morning.”<br />  </p> Wed, 31 Jul 2019 00:00:00 -0400 TechCrunch <p>CSAIL’s RoboRaise robot can successfully execute the Bottle Cap Challenge, removing a bottle cap with a well-placed kick, reports Darrell Etherington for <em>TechCrunch</em>. Etherington explains that the robot, “can mirror the actions of a human just by watching their bicep. This has a number of practical applications, including potentially assisting a person to lift large or awkward objects.”</p> Fri, 12 Jul 2019 00:00:00 -0400 Scientific American <p>MIT researchers have developed artificial muscles that can stretch more than 1,000 percent of their size and lift more than 650 times their weight, reports Sid Perkins for <em>Scientific American</em>. The new fibers could have applications in robotics and prosthetic devices, Perkins explains, and “work more like real muscles: they do work by pulling on or lifting objects.”</p> Thu, 11 Jul 2019 00:00:00 -0400 WBUR <p>Reporting for WBUR, Carey Goldberg highlights how MIT researchers have developed a new RNA editing tool that could be used to tweak a gene that raises the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. As the effects of RNA editing are not permanent, “it's almost like a small, pill-like version of gene therapy,” explains research scientist and McGovern Fellow Omar Abudayyeh.</p> Thu, 11 Jul 2019 00:00:00 -0400 CNN <p>Using a tactile sensor and web camera, MIT researchers developed an AI system that allows robots to predict what something feels like just by looking at it, reports David Williams for CNN. “This technology could be used to help robots figure out the best way to hold an object just by looking at it,” explains Williams.</p> Mon, 17 Jun 2019 00:00:00 -0400 Forbes <p><em>Forbes</em> contributor Charles Towers-Clark explores how CSAIL researchers have developed a database of tactile and visual information that could be used to allow robots to infer how different objects look and feel. “This breakthrough could lead to far more sensitive and practical robotic arms that could improve any number of delicate or mission-critical operations,” Towers-Clark writes.</p> Mon, 17 Jun 2019 00:00:00 -0400 TechCrunch <p>MIT researchers have created a new system that enables robots to identify objects using tactile information, reports Darrell Etherington for <em>TechCrunch</em>. “This type of AI also could be used to help robots operate more efficiently and effectively in low-light environments without requiring advanced sensors,” Etherington explains.</p> Mon, 17 Jun 2019 00:00:00 -0400 Fast Company <p><em>Fast Company</em> reporter Michael Grothaus writes that CSAIL researchers have developed a new system that allows robots to determine what objects look like by touching them. “The breakthrough could ultimately help robots become better at manipulating objects,” Grothaus explains.</p> Mon, 17 Jun 2019 00:00:00 -0400 Mashable <p>In this video, <em>Mashable</em> highlights how CSAIL researchers have developed a new system that can help lift heavy objects by mirroring human activity. The system uses sensors that monitor muscle activity and detect changes in the user’s arm.</p> Thu, 23 May 2019 00:00:00 -0400 Popular Science <p><em>Popular Science</em> reporter Nicole Wetsman writes that MIT researchers have found light pulses could potentially be used to help ease the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers found that “light pulses and gamma oscillations protect against neurodegeneration and change the expression of genes involved with inflammation and neuron health in the brains of mice.”</p> Tue, 07 May 2019 00:00:00 -0400 Boston Globe <p>A gift from alumnus Charles Broderick will enable researchers at MIT and Harvard to investigate how cannabis effects the brain and behavior, reports Felice Freyer for <em>The Boston Globe</em>. Prof. John Gabrieli explains that it has been “incredibly hard” to get funding for marijuana research. “Without the philanthropic boost, it could take many years to work through all these issues,” he notes.</p> Tue, 30 Apr 2019 00:00:00 -0400 Reuters <p>In this video, Reuters explores how MIT researchers have developed a robot that can automatically sort recycling. The robot uses a pressure sensor to squeeze items to determine how they should be sorted.</p> Wed, 17 Apr 2019 00:00:00 -0400 Associated Press <p>MIT is launching a new Down syndrome research center thanks to a gift from the Alana Foundation, reports the AP. The center “will combine the expertise of scientists and engineers in an effort to increase understanding of the biology and neuroscience of Down syndrome.”</p> Wed, 20 Mar 2019 00:00:00 -0400 Forbes <p>Prof. Polina Anikeeva speaks with <em>Forbes</em> contributor Poornima Peiris about her work developing materials that could be used to help explore and better understand the brain and nervous system. “I am not interested in just improving things, I want to work on innovative ideas,” says Anikeeva.</p> Sun, 27 Jan 2019 00:00:00 -0500 Popular Mechanics <p><em>Popular Mechanics</em> reporter David Grossman writes that MIT researchers have developed a new imaging technique that allows entire neural circuits in the brain to be explored at speeds 1,000 times faster than currently available methods. The new technique could allow scientists to “spot where brain diseases originate or even the basics of how behavior works.”</p> Fri, 18 Jan 2019 00:00:00 -0500 Wired <p><em>Wired</em> reporter Robbie Gonzalez highlights Prof. David Rand’s research showing that reasoning and critical thinking skills allow people to differentiate between real and fake news. Rand explains that he thinks “social media makes it particularly hard, because a lot of the features of social media are designed to encourage non-rational thinking.”</p> Fri, 09 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0500 Forbes <p>Getting the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep helps your brain function at its peak on a daily basis, writes Senior Lecturer Tara Swart for <em>Forbes</em>. Sleep helps to remove the by-products of neural activity, so “when sleep is poor and this process is impaired, these waste products build up, leading to cognitive decline,” Swart warns.</p> Fri, 02 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0400 United Press International (UPI) <p>MIT researchers have found that the large size of neurons in the human brain allows for electrical compartmentalization, which may contribute to the human brain’s complex cognitive capabilities, writes UPI reporter Brooks Hays.</p> Fri, 19 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0400 buzzfeed <p>Prof. Earl Miller speaks with <em>BuzzFeed</em> reporter Terri Pous about the problems posed by multitasking. When it comes to juggling two tasks like driving and talking on the phone, Miller notes that "when someone is on the phone with you, they have no idea what’s going on in front of you. That’s just plain dangerous for drivers and anyone around them."</p> Thu, 25 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0400 Newsweek <p>MIT researchers have made electrical recordings of individual brain cells, which may provide insight into human intelligence, reports Hannah Osborne of <em>Newsweek</em>. Researchers discovered that human cells have fewer ion channels, which allow electrical currents to enter and exit cells, potentially increasing “the resistance of human dendrites, making the cell better at processing information,” explains Osborne.</p> Mon, 22 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0400 New Scientist <p>Prof. Mark Harnett has found that each individual cell in the human brain could operate like a mini-computer, reports Clare Wilson for <em>New Scientist</em>. Wilson explains that “the study has revealed a key structural difference between human and mouse neurons that could help explain our superior powers of intelligence.”</p> Thu, 18 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0400 Boston Globe <p>Local biotech companies raised money to help MIT’s Bear Lab study Fragile X syndrome by competing in lawn games, writes Allison Hagan for <em>The Boston Globe.</em> The $30,000 raised provides “a very real chance at a success in this disease, and it’s going to have a much broader impact,” says Prof. Mark Bear.</p> Fri, 21 Sep 2018 00:00:00 -0400 Boston Globe <p><em>Boston Globe</em> reporter Martin Finucane writes that MIT researchers have developed sensors that can track dopamine levels in the brain. The sensors could eventually be used to monitor “Parkinson’s patients who receive a treatment called deep brain stimulation,” Finucane explains, adding that the sensors could “help deliver the stimulation only when it’s needed.”</p> Wed, 12 Sep 2018 00:00:00 -0400 The New Yorker <p><em>New Yorker</em> contributor Judith Thurman visits the lab of Dr. Ev Fedorenko, an alumna and research affiliate at MIT, who is studying the science of language. Fedorenko explains that she is focused on exploring, “how do I get a thought from my mind into yours? We begin by asking how language fits into the broader architecture of the mind.”</p> Sun, 26 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0400 Radiolab <p>Molly Webster of WNYC’s <em>Radiolab</em> visits the Picower Institute to learn more about how researchers are investigating new techniques that might eventually be used to treat Alzheimer’s disease. Prof. Li-Huei Tsai speaks about her group’s work using flickering light to reduce the beta amyloid plaque found in Alzheimer’s patients, and graduate student Dheeraj Roy discusses his work recovering memories with light.</p> Wed, 22 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0400 ABC News <p>MIT researchers have found that holding back-and-forth conversations with young children may help boost a child’s language development, report Drs. Edith Bracho-Sanchez and Richa Kalra for ABC News. The study found that conversations created “stronger connections between the brain regions responsible for comprehension and production of speech.”</p> Mon, 13 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0400 Reuters <p>Reuters reporter Lisa Rapaport writes about a new study that shows back-and-forth conversations between adults and young children could help build speech and language skills. “We found that the most relevant component of children’s language exposure is not the sheer number of words they hear, but the amount of back-and-forth adult-child conversation they experience,” explains research affiliate Rachel Romeo.</p> Mon, 13 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0400 Stat <p>Writing for<em> STAT</em>, Justin Chen spotlights graduate student Eugene Lee’s work mapping the brain of worms in an effort to gain a better understanding of how worms, and animals in general, learn. “With science,” says Lee, “you might not know exactly where the research will take you, but you trust that when you arrive all the effort will have been worth it.”</p> Mon, 13 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0400 Boston Globe <p><em>Boston Globe</em> reporter Martin Finucane writes that MIT researchers have identified the region of the brain responsible for generating negative emotions. “The findings could help scientists better understand how some of the effects of depression and anxiety arise, and guide development of new treatments,” Finucane explains.</p> Fri, 10 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0400 BBC <p>In this BBC <em>Click</em> video, Prof. Daniela Rus discusses a new technique that she and her colleagues developed that allows people to correct a robot’s actions using brain waves and hand gestures. “Instead of having the humans adapt to the machine, we want the machine to adapt to the humans,” explains Prof. Daniela Rus.</p> Thu, 02 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0400 CommonHealth (WBUR) <p>Carey Goldberg writes for WBUR’s <em>CommonHealth</em> about this year’s USA Memory Championship, which is taking place at MIT. “[M]emory is a skill, it's not an innate capacity," says Robert Ajemian, a research scientist at MIT’s McGovern Institute. "And that's the message that we want to get out, both to the scientific community and to the lay community."</p> Fri, 13 Jul 2018 00:00:00 -0400 Gizmodo <p>CSAIL researchers have created a deep learning system that can isolate individual musical instruments in a video by clicking on the specific instrument, writes Andrew Liszewski for <em>Gizmodo</em>. The researchers suggest the system, “could be a vital tool when it comes to remixing and remastering older performances where the original recordings no longer exist,” explains Liszewski.</p> Thu, 05 Jul 2018 00:00:00 -0400 Time Magazine <p>In a new study from researchers at MIT’s McGovern Institute, “the authors pinpoint a specific way that piano lessons can help young children enhance their language processing skills,” writes Jamie Ducharme for <em>TIME</em>. “There’s evidence that early exposure to piano practice enhances the processing of sounds that extend not only from music, but also into language,” says Prof. John Gabrieli.</p> Tue, 03 Jul 2018 00:00:00 -0400 Scientific American <p>Prof. Robert Desimone speaks with Christopher Intagliata of <em>Scientific American</em> about his new research that shows how piano lessons can help improve a child’s language skills. Desimone and his colleagues found that, “piano lessons can heighten the brain's response to changes in pitch. And kids who got piano lessons were also better at telling apart two similar-sounding Mandarin words.” </p> Tue, 26 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0400 Newsweek <p>A new study by MIT researchers shows that music lessons can help develop a child’s language skills by improving their ability to differentiate between different pitches, reports Kashmira Gander for <em>Newsweek</em>. The researchers concluded that, “musical training helps to improve language skills, and could even be more beneficial than giving children additional reading lessons.”</p> Tue, 26 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0400 ABC News <p>ABC News reporter Denise Powell highlights a new study by MIT researchers that shows that music education could help a child’s language skills. Powell explains that, “the results of this study give a boost to the idea of music training in kindergarten students as a method of enhancing the way brain cells and neurons process and respond to pitch.”</p> Mon, 25 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0400 Xinhuanet <p>A new study co-authored by MIT researchers uncovers evidence that music lessons can help improve a child’s language skills, according to <em>Xinhua</em>. The researchers found that, “musical training is at least as beneficial in improving language skills, and possibly more beneficial, than offering children extra reading lessons.”</p> Tue, 26 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0400 Fast Company <p><em>Fast Company</em> reporter Steven Melendez writes that CSAIL researchers have created a new system that allows a robot to detect human brainwave patterns so it knows when it made a mistake. Melendez explains that, “Teaching robots to understand human nonverbal cues and signals could make them safer and more efficient at working with people.”</p> Thu, 21 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0400 TechCrunch <p>MIT researchers have developed a system that allows people to use a combination of brain waves and muscle signals to stop and redirect a robot, writes John Biggs for <em>TechCrunch</em>. “The machine adapts to you, and not the other way around,” explains graduate student Joseph DelPreto.</p> Thu, 21 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0400 <p>MIT researchers have developed a system that “lets a person control a robotic arm with brainwaves and subtle hand gestures,” reports Jesus Diaz for <em>Co.Design</em>. According to Prof. Daniela Rus, the goal is “to develop robotic systems that are a more natural and intuitive extension of us.”</p> Wed, 20 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0400 Wired <p>In an article published by <em>Wired</em>, Jordana Cepelewicz highlights a study co-authored by Prof. Earl Miller that examines the capacity limit for the human brain’s working memory. Cepelewicz explains that the research, “not only provides insights into memory function and dysfunction, but also offers further evidence for a burgeoning theory of how the brain processes information.”</p> Sat, 09 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0400 Boston Globe <p>Cate McQuaid of <em>The Boston Globe</em> reviews an MIT Museum exhibit showcasing the drawings of neuroscientist Santiago Ramón y Cajal. Paired with contemporary brain imaging, the exhibition lets observers, “vault through illuminated brain matter as if you were the USS Enterprise shifting into warp drive,” writes McQuaid.</p> Wed, 06 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0400 Xinhuanet <p>A new study by MIT scientists shows how two proteins work to ensure that memory is encoded within minutes, according to Xinhua. The study, “also provided new hints about how problems involving these two proteins in other parts of the brain, such as the frontal cortex, could undermine cognition in those diseases.”</p> Tue, 05 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0400 Boston Globe <p>Professors Edward Boyden and Feng Zhang have been named to the 2018 class of Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigators, reports Jonathan Saltzman for <em>The Boston Globe</em>. “We selected these scientists because they know how to ask hard and interesting questions with skill and intellectual courage,” says David Clapham, vice president and chief scientific officer of the institute.</p> Wed, 23 May 2018 00:00:00 -0400 WBUR <p>WBUR’s Maria Garcia explores an exhibit at the MIT Museum of Santiago Ramón y Cajal’s drawings of the human brain. Prof. Robert Desimone, director of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research, explains that, “there's no question that these kinds of circuit diagrams that Cajal was giving us are telling us a great deal about what makes us, us."</p> Tue, 22 May 2018 00:00:00 -0400 Quartz <p>“The Beautiful Brain: The Drawings of Santiago Ramón y Cajal” is currently on exhibit at the MIT Museum through the end of 2018. The show features drawings by Cajal that “so effectively illustrate now-basic neurological concepts that they are still used in neuroscience textbooks today,” writes Zoë Schlanger for <em>Quartz</em>.</p> Mon, 14 May 2018 00:00:00 -0400