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Biotech Science

Monkeys Made Smarter With Prosthetic Device 102

An anonymous reader writes "Scientists have successfully restored and, in some cases, enhanced decision-making ability in brain-damaged monkeys on cocaine by connecting a prosthetic device to their brains. 'In the study, the scientists trained five monkeys to match multiple images on a computer screen until they were correct 70 to 75 percent of the time. First, an image appeared on the screen, which the animals were trained to select using a hand-controlled cursor. The screen then went blank for up to two minutes, followed by the reappearance of two to eight images, including the initial one, on the same screen. When the monkeys correctly chose the image they were shown first, the electronic prosthetic device recorded the pattern of neural pulses associated with their decision by employing a multi-input multi-output nonlinear (MIMO) mathematical model, developed by researchers at the University of Southern California. In the next phase of the study, a drug known to disrupt cognitive activity, cocaine, was administered to the animals to simulate brain injury. When the animals repeated the image-selection task, their decision-making ability decreased 13 percent from normal. However, during these "drug sessions," the MIMO prosthesis detected when the animals were likely to choose the wrong image and played back the previously recorded "correct" neural patterns for the task. According to the study findings, the MIMO device was exceedingly effective in restoring the cocaine-impaired decision-making ability to an improved level of 10 percent above normal, even when the drug was still present and active.'"
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Monkeys Made Smarter With Prosthetic Device

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  • Re:Great News (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Required Snark ( 1702878 ) on Friday September 14, 2012 @07:44PM (#41341791)
    You've got it backwards. The Occupy movement has had a significant real world impact. It brought the issue of effective tax rates for the rich into the presidential race, including the obscenely low 15% tax rate paid by Romney. []

    Now that Mitt Romney's confirmed what we've long suspected about his effective federal tax rate -- "It's probably closer to the 15 percent rate than anything" -- we have a fact worth contextualizing. Though it could easily be less, assume Romney effectively pays 15 percent in taxes on all his income to the federal government. How does he stack up to the rest of us, most of whom are regular wage earners? When you account for the fact that most people also pay payroll taxes, and don't enjoy enormous deductions, credits or other benefits, you see that Romney's making out about as well as a taxpayer who makes $50,000 a year. Not bad for a man whose net worth is estimated to be in the neighborhood of a quarter billion dollars.

    Meanwhile, the Republican controlled House has voted 33 times in 18 months to repeal Obamacare. []

    Breaking news!! The House of Representative voted to repeal all of Obamacare – for the 33rd time.

    In a recurring political ritual, Republicans in the chamber denounced the law as a government takeover and said that all of it has to go. Then they backed up their statements with a vote.

    The action has virtually no chance of becoming law. The Democratic majority in the Senate is certain to block it. And if for some reason it does not, Obama has promised to veto it.

    So who is acting more like a troupe of cognitively impaired monkeys? I would bet that after so many failed attempts the monkeys would have given up and moved on to something more useful.

    Score: Monkeys 1, Republicans 0. It's not fair to compare either monkeys or Republicans to the Occupy movement because they are not playing in the same league.

  • WTF? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mordejai ( 702496 ) on Friday September 14, 2012 @08:05PM (#41341991)

    Am I the only one that finds it disturbing that a scientific study gives a dangerous drug to primates in 2012?

  • Re:Great News (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sjames ( 1099 ) on Friday September 14, 2012 @08:55PM (#41342435) Homepage Journal

    The Democrat's action in that case is actually working. It isn't retarded to apply a successful strategy successfully multiple times.

  • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jrumney ( 197329 ) on Friday September 14, 2012 @10:35PM (#41343125)
    Yes. The rest of us realise that controlled clinical administration of drugs has no relation to the hysteria surrounding street drugs, regardless of whether the substances are the same.
  • Re:Applications? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Hal_Porter ( 817932 ) on Saturday September 15, 2012 @06:25AM (#41345005)

    Well it might improve the editing on slashdot.

A committee takes root and grows, it flowers, wilts and dies, scattering the seed from which other committees will bloom. -- Parkinson