Computer Sciences

A new strategy to correct imperfections in occupancy grid maps

Researchers at Laboratório de Computação de Alto Desempenho (LCAD) of Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo (UFES), in Brazil, have devised a novel strategy for correcting imperfections in occupancy grid maps by correcting ...

Computer Sciences

Recognizing the partially seen

When we open our eyes in the morning and take in that first scene of the day, we don't give much thought to the fact that our brain is processing the objects within our field of view with great efficiency and that it is compensating ...

Engineering

Revolutionizing everyday products with artificial intelligence

"Who is Bram Stoker?" Those three words demonstrated the amazing potential of artificial intelligence. It was the answer to a final question in a particularly memorable 2011 episode of Jeopardy!. The three competitors were ...

Computer Sciences

Researchers find algorithm for large-scale brain simulations

An international group of researchers has made a decisive step towards creating the technology to achieve simulations of brain-scale networks on future supercomputers of the exascale class. The breakthrough, published in ...

Computer Sciences

Computer approaches human skill for first time in mapping brain

A WSU research team for the first time has developed a computer algorithm that is nearly as accurate as people are at mapping brain neural networks—a breakthrough that could speed up the image analysis that researchers ...

Computer Sciences

IBM going TrueNorth in system lookout for seizures

(Tech Xplore)—IBM researchers are working on a system that may prevent brain seizures. Cade Metz in Wired had a detailed story on Thursday about a Melbourne, Australia, team exploring how a computing can analyze brain waves ...

Computer Sciences

Researchers build first working memcomputer prototype

(Tech Xplore)—A combined team of researchers from the University of California and Politecnico di Torino in Italy has built, for the first time, a working memory-crunching computer (memcomputer) prototype. It is capable, ...

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Human brain

The human brain is the center of the human nervous system and is a highly complex organ. Enclosed in the cranium, it has the same general structure as the brains of other mammals, but is over three times as large as the brain of a mammal with an equivalent body size. Most of the expansion comes from the cerebral cortex, a convoluted layer of neural tissue that covers the surface of the forebrain. Especially expanded are the frontal lobes, which are involved in executive functions such as self-control, planning, reasoning, and abstract thought. The portion of the brain devoted to vision is also greatly enlarged in humans.

Brain evolution, from the earliest shrewlike mammals through primates to hominids, is marked by a steady increase in encephalization, or the ratio of brain to body size. The human brain has been estimated to contain 50–100 billion (1011) neurons[citation needed], of which about 10 billion (1010) are cortical pyramidal cells.[citation needed] These cells pass signals to each other via approximately 100 trillion (1014)[citation needed] synaptic connections.

In spite of the fact that it is protected by the thick bones of the skull, suspended in cerebrospinal fluid, and isolated from the bloodstream by the blood-brain barrier, the delicate nature of the human brain makes it susceptible to many types of damage and disease. The most common forms of physical damage are closed head injuries such as a blow to the head, a stroke, or poisoning by a wide variety of chemicals that can act as neurotoxins. Infection of the brain is rare because of the barriers that protect it, but is very serious when it occurs. More common are genetically based diseases[citation needed], such as Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, and many others. A number of psychiatric conditions, such as schizophrenia and depression, are widely thought to be caused at least partially by brain dysfunctions, although the nature of such brain anomalies is not well understood.

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