Purdue University and Argonne National Laboratory researchers have engineered a new material that can “interpret” the brain’s language. In other words, the material is a portal between electronics and the brain. The study has been published in the journal Nature Communications.
The quantum material (a material that has electronic properties that both can’t be explained by classical physics, and that give it a unique edge over other materials used in electronics, such as silicon) is able to automatically receive hydrogen when placed beneath an animal’s brain slice. This ability makes the material extra sensitive and extra tunable to ionic currents.
Ionic currents help the brain perform a particular reaction – reactions needed for something as basic as sending a signal to breathe. As a bonus, detecting ions means also detecting the concentration of a molecule, which serves as an indicator of the brain’s health. Therefore, this material can help a brain detect its own disease.
Hai-Tian Zhang, a Gilbreth postdoctoral fellow at Purdue’s College of Engineering and first author on the paper, said:
“The goal is to bridge the gap between how electronics think, which is via electrons, and how the brain thinks, which is via ions. This material helped us find a potential bridge.”
The new quantum material is a “nickelate lattice” that the scientists say could directly translate the brain’s electrochemical signals into electrical activity, which could then be interpreted by a computer. The material may make it possible to download your brain someday.
Shriram Ramanathan, a Purdue professor of materials engineering whose lab specializes in developing brain-inspired technology, said:
“Imagine putting an electronic device in the brain, so that when natural brain functions start deteriorating, a person could still retrieve memories from that device. We can confidently say that this material is a potential pathway to building a computing device that would store and transfer memories.”
The research is nowhere near actually downloading thoughts but it does invoke ideas like uploading brains to the cloud or hooking people up to a computer to track deep health metrics. At the moment, the researchers are testing out the materials capabilities on a basic molecular level. They have tested the material on two molecules: Glucose, a sugar essential for energy production, and dopamine, a chemical messenger that regulates movement, emotional responses and memory.
The material was able to detect the activity of these neurotransmitters. “This quantum material is about nine times more sensitive to dopamine than methods that we use currently in animal models,” said Alexander Chubykin, an assistant professor of biological sciences in the Purdue Institute for Integrative Neuroscience, based in Discovery Park.
Being able to detect dopamine levels early would mean sooner treatment of disease – for example, Parkinson’s since the brains of people with Parkinson’s disease have lower levels of dopamine. However, detecting this chemical has been notoriously difficult. The researchers hypothesized that if the tech progresses, it could be used to detect neurological diseases… or perhaps even store memories. “Imagine putting an electronic device in the brain, so that when natural brain functions start deteriorating, a person could still retrieve memories from that device,” Ramanathan said.
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Second Man Cured Of HIV After Successful Stem-Cell Transplant
The donor of the stem cells has an uncommon gene that gives protection against HIV.
Aaron Kesel, The Mind Unleashed
The second man to undergo stem-cell treatment for HIV has been cured for 30 months, according to doctors.
Adam Castillejo is still free of the virus and has no trace of it in his blood, urine, semen, or tissues more than 30 months after stopping anti-retroviral therapy, according to a report in the journal Lancet HIV.
The donors of those stem cells have an uncommon gene that gives protection against HIV. While this isn’t a widely acceptable cure, it is a step forward. However, the doctors involved note that while stem-cell transplants appear to stop the virus from being able to replicate inside the body by replacing the patient’s own immune cells with donor ones that resist HIV infection, the treatment is high-risk.
“It is important to note that this curative treatment is high-risk and only used as a last resort for patients with HIV who also have life-threatening haematological malignancies,” Professor Ravindra Gupta said. Adding, “Therefore, this is not a treatment that would be offered widely to patients with HIV who are on successful anti-retroviral treatment.”
It is worth noting that stem-cell therapy was primarily used to treat the patient’s cancer, not his HIV.
Currently, HIV drugs remain very effective allowing those infected to live healthy normal lives, so most won’t undergo this risky treatment even if it has positive results.
Still, doctors are hopeful that this is a step forward in reaching a universal cure for HIV potentially using gene therapy.
The most commonly used receptor by HIV-1 is CCR5 and scientists believe that those humans who are born with mutated copies of this receptor may be the answer.
A very small number of people who are resistant to HIV have two mutated copies of the CCR5 receptor. This mutation apparently stops the penetration of cells in the body that HIV normally infects.
Researchers say it may be possible to use gene therapy to target the CCR5 receptor in people with HIV.
The lead researcher, Professor Ravindra Kumar Gupta from the University of Cambridge, told BBC News:
“This represents HIV cure with almost certainty.
We have now had two and a half years with anti-retroviral-free remission.
Our findings show that the success of stem-cell transplantation as a cure for HIV, first reported nine years ago in the Berlin Patient, can be replicated.“
In 2011, another patient, Timothy Brown, became the first person reported as cured of HIV three and half years after having a similar treatment to Castillejo. Despite being cured of the virus, both men still have remnants of it inside their bodies so it is impossible to know whether or not the HIV will someday return.
As professor Sharon Lewin, from the University of Melbourne, Australia, stated:
“Given the large number of cells sampled here and the absence of any intact virus, is the London Patient truly cured?
The additional data provided in this follow-up case report is certainly encouraging but unfortunately, in the end, only time will tell.”
A Genetic Study That Challenges Darwin’s Theory Of Evolution
If you have been following genetic and epigenetic studies conducted within the edifices of modern science over the past couple of decades, you likely have suspected what I am about to tell you: Mr. Darwin has already left the building, his dishevelled ‘Theory of Evolution’ in tow.
A massive new genetic study by Mark Stoeckle from The Rockefeller University in New York and David Thaler at the University of Basel in Switzerland puts a few more nails into an already-rotting coffin, opening the door for new theories about our origins and the mechanisms behind the evolution of species on our planet.
Challenges To Convention
In the conventional narrative of how evolution proceeds through survival-of-the-fittest and adaptation to new environments based on random genetic mutations, it is natural to expect that species with large, far-flung populations like ants and humans will become more genetically diverse over time than species that remain in one milieu. But is it true?
“The answer is no,” said Stoeckle, lead author of the study, published in the journal Human Evolution. In fact, the genetic diversity of most species on the planet “is about the same”, no matter their history of migration, relocation or proliferation.
The study’s most startling result, perhaps, is that nine out of 10 species on Earth today, including humans, came into being 100,000 to 200,000 years ago.
“This conclusion is very surprising, and I fought against it as hard as I could,” said David Thaler.
Indeed it is surprising–since it presents a stunning invalidation of the commonplace notion that evolution on the planet has been slow, linear, progressive, and unbroken. Previous challenges to this notion in the form of ‘missing links’ could be perceived as grounded in a lack of physical evidence which one day would be resolved. Now, we are really forced to start looking at things in a completely new way.
The study relies not on an examination of regular ‘nuclear’ DNA, but rather mitochondrial DNA. As this article in AFP explains,
All animals also have DNA in their mitochondria, which are the tiny structures inside each cell that convert energy from food into a form that cells can use. Mitochondria contain 37 genes, and one of them, known as COI, is used to do DNA barcoding.
Unlike the genes in nuclear DNA, which can differ greatly from species to species, all animals have the same set of mitochondrial DNA, providing a common basis for comparison. Around 2002, Canadian molecular biologist Paul Hebert–who coined the term “DNA barcode”–figured out a way to identify species by analysing the COI gene.
“The mitochondrial sequence has proved perfect for this all-animal approach because it has just the right balance of two conflicting properties,” said Thaler. On the one hand, the COI gene sequence is similar across all animals, making it easy to pick out and compare. On the other hand, these mitochondrial snippets are different enough to be able to distinguish between each species.
In analysing the barcodes across 100,000 species, the researchers found a tell-tale sign showing that almost all the animals emerged about the same time as humans. What they saw was a lack of variation in so-called “neutral” mutations, which are the slight changes in DNA across generations that neither help nor hurt an individual’s chances of survival. In other words, they were irrelevant in terms of the natural and sexual drivers of evolution. How similar or not these “neutral” mutations are to each other is like tree rings–they reveal the approximate age of a species.
Alternative Theory Of How We Evolve
Let’s look at the implications of the study, which you can read in full here.
A few points made in the conclusion are of interest.
The same explanation offered for the sequence variation found among modern humans applies equally to the modern populations of essentially all other animal species. Namely that the extant population, no matter what its current size or similarity to fossils of any age, has expanded from mitochondrial uniformity within the past 200,000 years.
Nonhuman animals, as well as bacteria and yeast, are often considered “model systems” whose results can be extrapolated to humans. The direction of inference is reversible. Fossil evidence for mammalian evolution in Africa implies that most species started with small founding populations and later expanded  and sequence analysis has been interpreted to suggest that the last ice age created widespread conditions for a subsequent expansion .
The picture we get here is that somewhere in the past, no farther back than 200,000 years ago, most or all animal species ‘got started,’ with a mitochondrial clock set to 0. There is evidence that these species ‘started with small founding populations and later expanded,’ and that extreme conditions — like the last ice age — can give rise to a subsequent expansion.
It almost resembles the Noah’s Ark scenario, doesn’t it? A cataclysmic flood wipes out all humans and animals on the planet except a small few of each species, who begin again to proliferate anew once the flood ends and the Earth becomes habitable.
But to really make this idea fit, we would not be taking species from the previous world before the catastrophe, because their mitochondrial clocks would not be set to 0. Rather, we have to see it as a new ‘seeding’ of species on the planet after a catastrophe wipes out most or all of the species that were there before. And who would be the ones doing the seeding? You guessed it. One or more advanced extraterrestrial races.
It was back in my grade 8 history class that I first came across claims that extraterrestrial races were prevalent in molding the history of the planet, as we were all asked to do a critical analysis of Erich Von Daniken’s ‘Chariots of the Gods.’ I recall being perplexed that we were actually reading this in school, and I certainly didn’t have the discernment at the time to notice that it was part of a campaign to make us all work on discrediting Von Daniken’s claims based on a lack of scientific evidence. I remember being not-so-subtly persuaded by the teacher that this was the only reasonable line of analysis, but given that at the time I would write whatever would give me the best mark, I followed suit. It seems to me that this was an experimental ‘pre-emptive strike’ on our minds by the scientific establishment. Whether or not this actually succeeded in making people have a more sceptical bent about such matters, I’m not sure.
Today, the idea that extraterrestrial civilizations are and have always been involved in our physical, mental/emotional and spiritual evolution is quite common within the awakening community. More highly evolved beings are seen to be able to work directly in the genetic manipulation of species. For example, the idea that we are part of a ‘Grand Experiment’ has been proposed by whistleblower/speaker Corey Goode, who says that a ‘Super Federation’ of extraterrestrial beings are conducting 22 genetic experiments on the Earth that are purportedly designed to enhance humanity’s evolution.
Is it possible that the evolution of the human race has been fostered in part by the genetic seeding of today’s human and animal kingdom by advanced extraterrestrial civilizations almost 200,000 years ago? Well, at least there is some new scientific evidence that leads us to ponder this possibility.
This article (A Genetic Study That Challenges Darwin’s Theory of Evolution) was originally created for Collective Evolution and is published here under Creative Commons.
Freeing Ourselves From Religious Dogma
Julian Rose, Guest Writer
One must go back further than religion. That is the starting point of the great reassessment we undertake in freeing ourselves from the burden of false knowledge. Freeing ourselves from unquestioned assumptions of truth! We need to get back to the roots of mankind, and in so doing, re-establish a direct and reciprocal relationship with nature and the universe, of which we are a part.
Religion is a man-made and once removed interpretation of the life force – and a false one at that. Whereas the life force (nature and the universe) works directly through man! There is no place for a ‘middle man’ to censor our experiences.
Religion placed an invisible wall between man and nature and between man and God, setting conditions for ‘orderly behaviour’ according to a doctrine of obedience. So now, as these walls crumble, we should stand proud in saying “Nature not Religion.” “Truth not Dogma”.
But that is merely the first step in our journey of a thousand miles. As the scales fall from our eyes we do not only recognise the truth ‘nature not religion’, we also recognise God to have given birth to nature. We recognise nature as an expression of the Creator. So with nature as our base, our next step up is to strive to come ever closer to our Creator. To realise the God within us. These are the stepping-stones of our emancipation as human beings.
“We must go down to the very foundations of life. For any merely superficial ordering of life, that leaves its deepest needs unsatisfied, is as ineffectual as if no attempt at order had ever been made”. ~I Ching, The Well
In terms of historical time, that event which is called ‘pagan’ came before religion and is superior to it, in that it encompassed a direct response to nature. So the progression I favour moves through pagan to the state of higher consciousness we call Godly – leaving out religion completely. Let there be no barriers to the free-flow of the energetic life force as it gathers momentum in a universal quest for divine expression.
We humans are a vector for this divine energy. It is we who stand at the mid-point between the dawn of life on Earth and the supreme realisation of the potentiality contained within that dawn.
We are beings of pure movement and we are beings of pure stillness. We are a Divine Paradox. We juggle universality of spirit with red-blooded earthiness. Our drama unfolds as a journey through the myriad expressions of the eternal exigence we call Life.
Before religion, we were on our way in that expression of eternal exigence. After religion, we are once again on our way. But during religion we were trapped in a cul-de-sac of tantalising truths, authoritarian lies and dogma. How they clung to our skin. How they pasteurised our appetite. How they brought us to our knees. How they shamed our ecstasy. How they shackled our true God!
These chains are falling away now; you feel it don’t you? The links are rusting and disintegrating, even as the shoots of new life push upwards to embrace the call of the infinite.
Do not be afraid of your earthiness; fear not your free flying spirit. Rejoice in the downward pull of gravity; dance with the up-thrust of aspiration.
In our pagan days we saw and explored the beauty and power of nature; named gods after the forces that moved through water, plants, trees and seas. We performed rituals in honour of the changes of the seasons; decorated our bodies; wove colourful wreathes around our heads. We leaped with the flames of the fire and ran with the current of the wind. We meditated in quiet earnest; we danced in ecstasy.
“Yes” I hear you say “Then we were just a few thousand on vast tracts of unspoiled land – look at the world today!”
Yes, I look, and what I see is the devastation brought about by our turning away from the life force that offered – and continues to offer – such bounty. I see deserts of sterility where once fecundity was dominant. I see division within humanity where once was community. I see fear where once was joy.
But thankfully, I do not only see these failings of the human race. I also see long dormant seeds reawakening once again. I see the Great Spirit of nature and the universe being rediscovered within more and more aspirants of something so much more uplifting than the standard working week. I see and feel the power of that which is ‘beyond religion’ seeping ever deeper into the cracks of a failed status quo. Rising, Phoenix like, out of the dying embers of the old order’s decaying dogma. Spreading outward, penetrating the darkness of unawareness; lifting the spirit and casting light on the outlines of the world to come.
For at the centre, within each one of us, is that eternal agitator for the realisation of all latent potential. The infinite spark of creation, itself forever urging us on! So if you should find yourself still vainly clutching at the apron strings of a worn-out dogma, release your hold. Experience yourself as that which was – Is – and always will be. That which soars way beyond the great deviation from truth that goes under the title ‘religion.”
About the Author
Julian Rose is an early pioneer of UK organic farming, a writer, actor and international activist.
Julian Rose is an international activist who, in 1987 and 1998, led a campaign that saved unpasteurised milk from being banned in the UK; and a ‘Say No to GMO’ campaign in Poland which led to a national ban of GM seeds and plants in that country in 2006. Julian is currently campaigning to ‘Stop 5G’ WiFi. He is the author of two acclaimed titles: Changing Course for Life and In Defence of Life and is a long time exponent of yoga/meditation. See Julian’s web site for more information and to purchase his books www.julianrose.info
The views in this article may not reflect editorial policy of Collective Spark.
Study Shows People Can Transmit Coronavirus Without Showing Symptoms
It’s official: the coronavirus can be spread by people who show no symptoms.
In the two months since the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak began, numerous studies have been published about the virus. Unfortunately not all of the studies have been peer-reviewed and many of them contradict each other. Even the studies that are peer-reviewed have still been controversial, and it appears that different studies have rendered different results. However, numerous case studies of infected patients have shown that the outbreak may be even more challenging to contain than previously thought.
A case study published this week by Chinese researchers in the journal JAMA has shown that a 20-year-old woman from Wuhan passed the illness on to five of her family members but never became sick herself. To make matters even more confusing, the young woman initially tested negative for the illness before testing positive days later.
A report from the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention last week suggested that around 1.2% of the officially confirmed cases in China showed no symptoms.
Meanwhile, over half of the people who tested positive on the Diamond Princess Cruise ship were asymptomatic. On the cruise ship, 322 of the 621 people tested did not show any symptoms. This is leading many researchers to suggest that there are more asymptomatic cases than we realize, since the numbers counted in the Chinese CDC report did not include people who did not go through the hospitals.
In a briefing earlier this month, Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases suggested that many of the asymptomatic cases were not being counted since they weren’t checking themselves into the hospital.
“It’s very clear that the people who are getting caught in that umbrella of reporting are the people that present themselves to a hospital. There’s another whole cohort that is either asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic,” Fauci said.
Doctors believe that the woman from the recent case study had an incubation period of 19 days. Other studies have suggested that the time of incubation could be up to 24 or even 27 days. Due to the complicated nature of the illness and its symptoms, Harvard University epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch recently predicted that the illness would infect between 40% and 70% of the global population.
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