Eyes work without connection to brain: Ectopic eyes function without natural connection to brain

If you could have extra eyes somewhere on your body, where would you put them and why?

Feb. 27, 2013 — For the first time, scientists have shown that transplanted eyes located far outside the head in a vertebrate animal model can confer vision without a direct neural connection to the brain.

Biologists at Tufts University School of Arts and Sciences used a frog model to shed new light — literally — on one of the major questions in regenerative medicine, bioengineering, and sensory augmentation research.

“One of the big challenges is to understand how the brain and body adapt to large changes in organization,” says Douglas J. Blackiston, Ph.D., first author of the paper “Ectopic Eyes Outside the Head in Xenopus Tadpoles Provide Sensory Data For Light-Mediated Learning,” in the February 27 issue of the Journal of Experimental Biology. “Here, our research reveals the brain’s remarkable ability, or plasticity, to process visual data coming from misplaced eyes, even when they are located far from the head.”

Blackiston is a post-doctoral associate in the laboratory of co-author Michael Levin, Ph.D., professor of biology and director of the Center for Regenerative and Developmental Biology at Tufts University.

Levin notes, “A primary goal in medicine is to one day be able to restore the function of damaged or missing sensory structures through the use of biological or artificial replacement components. There are many implications of this study, but the primary one from a medical standpoint is that we may not need to make specific connections to the brain when treating sensory disorders such as blindness.”

via Eyes work without connection to brain: Ectopic eyes function without natural connection to brain.


The Cat Eaters | Articles | Features | Fortean Times UK

For some unfathomable reason, the 17th and 18th centuries threw up a formidable clutch of prodigious eaters. Nothing was safe from their terrible appetites or too disgusting to refuse, as Jan Bondeson gleefully describes.

Antiquaries and historians now recognize Lysons’ Collecteana as a valuable source of cultural history and, while studying them, I came across a startling newspaper cutting from the World, of March 13, 1788: “Amongst the curious Betts of the day, may be reckoned the following: The Duke of Bedford has betted 1000 guineas with Lord Barrymore, that he does not – eat a live Cat! It is said his Lordship grounds his chances upon having already made the experiment upon a Kitten. The Cat is to be fed as Lord Barrymore may chose.”

But what of Lord Bedford’s bet that Lord Barrymore could not eat a cat? Surely practices of the kind described by the ancients had not survived into 18th-century Britain? The unusual bet certainly attracted considerable public attention and several letters and articles appeared in the World under the headline ‘Cat Eating’. One authority on blood sports pointed out that it was “not without precedents in the annals of sporting.” He had himself, he wrote, at a racecourse near Kildare, witnessed an Irishman devouring five fox cubs for a bet of £50. Another said he had, in 1777, seen a Yorkshire shepherd eat a live black tom cat to win a bet of two guineas.

via The Cat Eaters | Articles | Features | Fortean Times UK.

BBC News – One rat brain ‘talks’ to another using electronic link

It’s only a matter of time before Logitech applies this technology to mice.

We need to keep Iran away from this technology.

Scientists have connected the brains of lab rats, allowing one to communicate directly to another via cables.

The wired brain implants allowed sensory and motor signals to be sent from one rat to another, creating the first ever brain-to-brain interface.

As the ultimate test of their system, the team even linked the brains of rats that were thousands of miles apart.

Details of the work are outlined in the journal Scientific Reports.

One replication of the experiment successfully linked a rat at Duke with one at the University of Natal in Brazil. Nicolelis foresees eventually extending the system to larger numbers of animals. “We are already building the setup… You could actually have millions of brains tackling the same problem and sharing a solution.”

via BBC News – One rat brain ‘talks’ to another using electronic link.