Tag Archives: Imaging

MRI,CT,Xray,PET scan

Effects of social networking on human brain

In today’s era there is hardly an individual who probably don’t know about face-book. For many people today, these social networking sites are just like some other essential commodities for life like oxygen or water. In present day society, may be in office or a bus stop people seem to be hauled on to these websites. But have you ever wondered why or what make people so crazy about these websites.

To answer it lets glue this fact with a little bit of human anatomy. Recently a paper possibly showed that a region in human brain called ‘nucleus accumbens’ is related to a person’s attraction to the such social networking pages. This particular region of our brain serve as reward center, when we are rewarded this center generally glows with happiness. After receiving positive responses on facebook this region becomes active. Those who get lot of positive feedback in face-book probably have more active nucleus accumbens.

If you browse through most popular social networking websites you may find that they generally have ‘like’ or ‘favorite’ button only. Interestingly the ‘dislike’ type negative response buttons are disappearing from various social web pages and prime cause of such may be that these websites try to feed our reward centers only; because at the end of the day all that matters for a web hosting company is its ‘share prices’ and bucks and for that they need to please you. In real life too there are many individuals who are sensitive to or proud about how many likes they got for a particular facebook post, and invest significant amount of time to cherish.

These are probably called ‘tech-health’ days.

Position of the nucleus accumbens and Ventral ...
Position of the nucleus accumbens and Ventral Tegmental Area (VTA) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Please cross check information from other sources too. For all your health concerns please be guided by your healthcare provider. References: link

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MRI in autism detection and prevention

The list of what causes autism is enlarging rapidly. Recently various environmental factors were blamed too, like pollution. Interestingly the new in this list are antibodies. Like various diseases autism too is suspected due to mother’s antibodies (auto-antibodies) which attack the brain proteins of fetus (when a baby is in mother’s womb its called fetus). Maybe tomorrow autism will be listed in the list of immunological diseases. This may help in future to develop a diagnostic test which can identify this antibodies early in the pregnancy to take appropriate preventive steps to protect a child before taking birth with the burden of autism .

There is another new addition in autism encyclopedia. According to a new study MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging) studies may also predict future chances of autism in infants by detecting the amount of extra fluid around their brains. However, as of now such MRI will only let us know at earlier time (but after birth) if the baby is going to acquire autism in future but not much probably can be done to prevent autism from occurring. Rather if the autoantibodies can be detected much earlier in pregnancy abortion like steps may become a future possibility towards an autism free world.

English: A boy with autism.

For all your health concerns please be guided by your healthcare provider.  Please cross check information from other sources too. Reference: link1 , link2

Reading a felon’s mind

Can machine’s predict what is in a felon’s minds? Of course they can do so in movies and stories but probably not in real life. In real life till date we can’t predict accurately if a felon is going to re-participate in criminal activities. According to a recent research finding using fMRI (a type of MRI scan that studies brain activity by monitoring brain blood flow) we might now be able to predict if a convict is going to redo the criminal activities.

The felon’s with higher chance of repeating crime and getting arrested again showed lesser activity in brain regions related to decision-making and action. To achieve this findings fMRI scans were done on prisoner while they were subjected to some computer based tasks involving quick decision making and avoiding doing certain impulsive activities.

If you read the post  ‘Felt pain? Now you can view it too!‘ this is just a small addition to it. We talked there about what are fMRI’s are and how can they be used to visualize pain activity in brain. It appears fMRI’s are going to play important role in choosing which felons are to be followed in future to track down before they commit crime.

Overall it sounds like criminal mindedness can be revealed easily and police can do job more easily by focusing on the population more likely to do crime. But probably these are not tests what we can call reading machines of the mind of a man/woman.

However, human brain is not like a computer which run following the path of a software program, so how hard may a machine may try predicting what the person is going to do the machine can always fail since, human’s can decide new options, computers can’t. Forget about humans, even the best animal trainers fail to understand the animal’s nature and behavior (with whom they spend their whole life) and sometimes become the victim of the animal. Probably if such complete human brain reading devices are available apart from its benefits it may bring back the dark days of slave and master relation.

Science Days: The Brain

Another recent post you might like reading: Drug Company Reps In Doctor’s Office. Please cross check information from other sources too. For all your health concerns please be guided by your healthcare provider. Reference: LINK

Viewing pain

Does the topic heading sounds bizarre? Yes its a sort of. Interestingly we all feel pain but really can’t show it to anybody to make others believe especially if you work in defence or a private company it’s understandable how hell it is to convince the boss about your pain. Pain can be physical or emotional. Although many a times if you have an external visible sign along with the pain like a swelling, redness, cut on skin or bleeding it might be easy to convince others that you are in agony but when it comes to emotional pain even your sweetheart spouse might not perceive it, forget about convincing the rude boss.

Recently a breakthrough research found that our physical pain probably make it’s signature in our brain and that can be seen, yes through our naked eyes. At present the team was successful to detect only pain signatures in brain due to heat only. The participants in the study were given physical heat on skin to induce pain (since heat is also a type of pain stimuli) and their brain scans were taken and the pain signature in their brains were seen. The scan they used is called Functional magnetic resonance imaging or functional MRI (fMRI). For now the work seems to be in its infancy since they have only been successful enough to detect heat pain signature only in future they might be able to detect pain of postoperative patients or in cases of fibromyalgia and various other type of chronic pains.

fMRI is a type of MRI scan which detect brain activity by monitoring change in brain blood flow.

So in future a day might come when your boss who don’t want to grant you a leave based on your health ground (suppose pain), you might show him your brain scan to evidence your pain (although the researchers aren’t willing it to be used for lie detection type purpose). Offices tomorrow might be fitted with such brain scanners like today fitted with printers, air coolers etc. Also parents may think of using it for their young school going kid who makes excuse of pain abdomen and want to skip classes.

Although for such use of common man fMRI are very expensive to use and it’s almost impossible to keep such a machine in home and problem is who will read those scans, not everyone is an expert in radiology. But this point don’t disappoint me, think of computers, giant computers used during second world war, then came the modern desktop-pc then more small version laptop and then net-book and then tablets and smartphones. Could have Adolf Hitler ever imagined that today a kid sitting thousand miles away from Germany can read about all his heinous biography by just a click in a search engine in those small hand-held smartphone devices. So tomorrow such pain detecting machines might not be far away from use of common man.

Finally such machines will definitely benefit to specific group of people who really are unfortunate and can’t communicate properly because of their sufferings like people in coma, unconsciousness or other vegetative stages of life. Since I believe humans are the god’s best and worst creation, misuse of such pain detecting device is also a possibility, think how abusers or torturers can use it, now they got a pain scale to scale their torturing activities.
May god give us a good mind to be humane besides being human.

Brain scanning technology is quickly approachi...
Brain scanning technology is quickly approaching levels of detail that will have serious implications (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You may share your opinions below in the comments section. For all your health concerns please be guided by your healthcare provider. Please cross check information from other sources too. Reference: LINK

Digital human body!

Here is a good food for thought. Lets imagine what will happen if human civilization gets abolished due to a holocaust and thousand year later archaeology department (if such department or humans exist at that time at all) finds the remains of today. Quite alike the geniuses present today who dig their minds too find what were the ancient stories of mummies in Egypt the future archaeologists too might try figuring something same about us. Didn’t get the hint what am I talking about, well talking about digital human bodies!

We already know about various digital implants which are available these days, one such popular is probably a pacemaker, a digital gadget to pace our heart. For the sake of imagination let’s think that a person implanted with a pacemaker also is morbidly obese and has asthma too. Now in this digital era this person might be fitted with two microchips one for treatment of obesity and one for asthma. Scientists recently made a microchip, if implanted to the vagus nerve (responsible for sensations of hunger) will send signals to brain to decrease our appetite therefore decreasing the eating impulse, hence reducing body weight. One of the currently available  important weight loss procedure is called gastric bypass surgery in which vagus nerve is cut by surgeons; once those microchips get introduced the need of these cumbersome operations might evaporate.

Researchers have similar plans for asthma management too, they are planning to introduce similar microchip in the nerve tree related to expansion of our windpipe (respiratory) muscles and during an asthma attack that microchip will help release adrenaline to dilate the airway muscles.

So coming back to the person with pace maker we imagined before, when his/her body will be found thousand years later, the generation then might spend days, months or years scratching head or plucking hairs, what are these electronic devices scattered in the cadaver, in the meantime more such implantable devices might get invented for various diseases and our bodies might become a showroom of electronic gadgets. Even a day might come when cadavers will not be sold to medical schools for anatomy dissection rather to  technology world for more money and demand; because the person dies but not the digital gadgets implanted in his/her body, so take them out and reprogram on a laptop and they are ready to use in another human, something alike reuse of computer parts or car parts. If you buy an old car it will be bit cheap than a new car, same rule might apply for such implantable human devices, choose based on your economic capacity, new microchip verses an used old one. The devices I mentioned above to decrease appetite and to comfort asthma aren’t available in market yet, still in labs and brains of researchers (LINK).

Whatsoever, fun apart, if such devices give us a good quality of life, probably nothing more is important. Let good technology pour in to ease our sufferings!

Human Anatomy Study Room

You may share your opinions below in the comments section. For all your health concerns please be guided by your healthcare provider. Please cross check information from other sources too.