New Technologies in Brain Research – Recent Trends In Brain Research
Decoding the Mysteries of Human Brain
How is that we use our brain to understand everything but we understand so little of the brain itself? Quite the mystery indeed! This complex organ consisting of a spongy mass of fat and protein has been studied by tens of thousands of extremely smart people for over a hundred years; and yet there is so much more of brain decoding to do!
Brain – The Most Complex Mystifying Organ
The brain is the quintessence of all our indispensable functions, from helping us visualize to managing our movements. The brain is a mystifying organ, and even with progress in brain research over the decades, numerous details of how it works remains a conundrum. For example, the basic causes of Alzheimer’s, a disease that is thought to currently affect around 5.7 million Americans, still haven’t been established. Altogether the vivid brain diseases that are understood in a better way today, lacks heal which forces patients to completely rely on therapies to somehow control their symptoms.
Recent research efforts on the BRAIN embellish its convolution!
Even though there is so much more to explore and understand the brain, there has also been a significant amount of valuable and interesting information deciphered from extensive brain research using many advanced technologies.
Is gum disease playing a key role in Alzheimer’s? Alzheimer’s plaques can be cleared during sleep! Brains suffering from Schizophrenia-related disorders aren’t all the same! Researchers take a step closer to create technology that can read minds!
What is the Current State of Brain Research and Technology?
There have been many recent trends in brain research. Currently, researchers are determined to reveal all the hidden myths or mysteries of the BRAIN which will definitely trigger a wave of a novel technology that will allow us to have a better understanding of our brains and to find solutions to ameliorate our state of health. Adjacently ongoing drug discovery experiments and research efforts by our great researchers are targeting brain disorders. Outcomes are very astonishing- novel technologies have emerged, counting trailblazing technologies like implantable brain devices and artificially-grown mini-brains.
It is the central point of the body controlling all the various structures that allows you to function in all ways – Mentally, Physically as well as cognitively. It is involved in affecting all the aspects of your health whether it is heartbeat regulation or ensuring your movements/motor functions. As you can imagine, Brain is a CRUCIAL ORGAN to understand as it is the central point of all the connections of your body. Any kind of abnormality in the Brain can cause extensive health consequences.
A wide group of startups and numerous Drug companies are targeting this threat with goals of not only better understanding the role of Brain in relation to treatment and prevention of diseases but also grasping brain activity to enhance your everyday lives. They are developing digital therapies for these purposes.
By the combination of human-centered design techniques with leading-edge technologies, the way we engage with machines, data, and each other is transforming as the new interfaces are moving from keyboards to touchscreens, voice commands, and beyond.
It seems a bit implausible that machines might also be able to recognize the goal behind a deceitful eyebrow and respond in contextually relevant ways! Obviously!
Various Innovative Technologies Used to Reimagine Brain Research, Recent Trends In Brain Research :
- Artificial intelligence
- Medical devices
- Digital therapeutics
- Virtual reality
- Brain organoids
Despite gigantic marches made over the past decades in the Medical Field, understanding the Human Brain remains one of the prominent provocations, as does searching various solutions for brain-related diseases or disorders. As has been discussed earlier in this article and it is also known that considerable neuroscience research initiatives have been launched at a cost of a billion dollars all over the world and researchers are acquiring innovative digital technologies to handle a large amount of health data being generated today. Altogether, these efforts are already establishing fruit.
Let’s discuss some of the emerging themes in digital technology, the recent trends in brain research that may impact brain health :
- Big Data: Researchers are continuously inclined towards genomics- the study related to the structure as well as a function of the genetic material to understand the causative agents of Alzheimer’s disease. Nowadays researchers/scientists are using their best way to acquire, store, analyze and distribute the growing sources of precious data. Examiners believe that the computing sources required for proper handling of genome data will soon exceed those for social media sites, throwing a great challenge of technology for scientists who are undertaking more comprehensive studies linking all the genetic variations to disorders, locating genetic risk signals in brain-related disorders. Enormous data is required for such identification and recently it has been possible by some technical advancements in the acquisition and handling of genetic information. Cloud Technology is used nowadays for imaging as well as for genetic analysis and it made storing and sharing of enormous data easily.
- Machine Learning: It can be considered as a branch of Science where certain sets of programs are enabled to self learn various prediction methods from complex data. A number of Machine Learning models are generated with the help of highly advanced hardware like graphics processing units. In Brain Research, Machine learning is supposed to be pre-owned for disease risk signals identification from bulk behavioral and biological data of patients. Several ML data in the form of algorithms are being developed for keeping track of the state of a patient by detecting early signs of depression, psychosis, and bipolar disorder.
- AI and Neuroscience: A virtuous Circle– Apart from these hardware and computational advancements based on machine learning models and algorithms, other technologies are also involved in reimagination of Brain Research like Improved Speech Recognition Software, used for patient interaction and Amplified Visualization in medical imaging enabling information from multiple imaging sources and techniques to be combined in real-time. All these machine learning models are linked to AI -Artificial Intelligence. The recent development in AI has been remarkable although it is not easy to digest for some reason. As far as I see, rather than AI, the goal should be augmented intelligence where technology should be used to magnify human elucidation and decision – making. With so much at stake, the requirement of neuroscience and AI to come together is now more crucial than ever before.
- Continuous Monitoring: It has been calculated and estimated that around 50% of the patients with persistent diseases in developed countries have fewer treatment consequences as they fail to follow medical instructions. Due to these outcomes, it has been further analyzed that billions of dollars are ruined every year through the meaningless escalation of treatment and recrudescence of disease. To avoid this type of wastage, a proper channel has to be used that can monitor your health and body behavior automatically. This is possible by numerous wearable sensors available nowadays in the market like smartphones, fitness trackers, physiological monitors, smart skin patches. By continuously monitoring your body fitness and health, collected data can be transferred to doctors to have greater insights into their disease or disorders. In Brain disorders or any neurological disorders, the patient’s body state often fluctuates. In these cases, continuous monitoring might provide an accurate and clear image of patient’s conditions that can further improve the care effectiveness whenever required by patients. Remote sensors have the potential for improving the data resolution and data quality in addition to reducing the costs of clinical trials.
- Consumerization: You must have seen several groups of people suffering from mental depression, illness, addiction. Do you know they have to cope in silence for fear of stigma or they are devoid of care? Now you must be thinking of how this is related to digital platform & Brain Research? Vivid technologies are combined with the human touch that can provide an economical and attainable way for patients suffering from neural disorders to experience care. Additionally, these tools are helping in maintaining transparency to cost and care quality to make patients more informed and updated about their care.
- Open Science: Brain works at multiple levels showing its complexity and dynamicity. Even at a basic level to understand about Brain, remains a question and challenge in itself / to neuroscience. One retaliation is the birth of community-wide knowledge, cast back in the steady growth of open depot for data and technology. Recently, so many Public as well as Private organizations invested in the creation of big depots of data for Brain Research. As these repositories enlarge and the data shared diversify, Accreditation and Curation become a great challenge. As Science will become more open, various privacy and cognitive questions remain regarding human data. Neurologists, Scientists, Researchers, Patients, and lawmakers all should work hand in hand to focus on the benefits of open data and open science.
These recent trends in brain research, the advancements of technologies are attributed to several factors, counting the implementation of new statistical approaches and the increased processing power of computers.
Forget about supercomputers or all the latest technologies, new robots and what not!
The world’s most magnificent machine is right there in YOUR HEAD!