Can you remember what it was like when you were a toddler, ferried in a pram with your favourite toy, unable to understand your parents? Sadly, many of us will lose precious memories, stored as they are in dementia-prone neurons and synapses. Yet scientists hope they will help you recall them by stimulating the parts of the brain that memories are made of (red), using deep-brain stimulation: implanted electrodes (white rods) deliver electric signals that encourage brain cell growth to aid recall. In the 1970s, the inventor of a brain-stimulator he dubbed the 'stimoceiver' (what else?) showcased its power by halting the gallop of a bull at full charge at the flick of a switch, neutralising the bull’s aggressive impulses. Today, the US military research funder DARPA is looking at more sophisticated brain stimulators interfaced with computers, to help to correct memories and feelings in war veterans with mental illness.
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.