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The eyes have it: how technology allows you to speak when all you can do is blink

Developments in eye-gaze technology – which converts minute movements of the eye into spoken words – are opening up undreamed of opportunities for people with motor neurone syndromeSteve Thomas and I are talking about brain implants. Bonnie Tyler ’s Holding Out For a Hero is playing in the background and for a moment I almost forget that a disease has robbed Steve of his speech. The conversation breaks briefly; now I see his wheelchair, his ventilator, his hospital bed.Steve, a software engineer, was diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a type ofmotor neurone disease) aged 50. He knew it was progressive and incurable; that he would soon become unable to move and, in his case, speak. He is using eye-gaze technology to tell me this (and later to turn off the sound of Bonnie Tyler); cameras pick up light reflection from his eye as he scans a screen. Movements of his pupils are translated into movements of a cursor through infrared technology and the cursor chooses letters or symbols. A speech-generating device transforms these written words into spoken ones – and, in turn, sentences and stories form.Continue reading...
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - Category: Science Authors: Tags: Motor neurone disease Medical research Technology Society Science Health & wellbeing Life and style Source Type: news

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This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. “Intricate and self‐perpetuating cellular interplay underlies amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Disease stage is a key determinant of cell type‐specific molecular mechanisms”.
Source: Stem Cells - Category: Stem Cells Authors: Tags: Embryonic Stem Cells/Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells Source Type: research
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is the neurodegenerative disease of the moment, made famous by the violent and untimely deaths of many retired professional athletes. Repeated blows to the head sustained in contact sports such asboxing and American football can result in abnormal accumulations oftau protein (usually many years later). The autopsied brains from two of these individuals are shown below.Left: courtesy of Dr. Ann McKee inNYT. Right: courtesy of Dr. Bennett Omalu inCNN. These are coronal sections1 from the autopsied brains of: (L) Aaron Hernandez, aged 27; and(R) Fred McNeill, aged 63.Part 1 of this ...
Source: The Neurocritic - Category: Neuroscience Authors: Source Type: blogs
Authors: Matilla-Dueñas A, Corral-Juan M, Rodríguez-Palmero Seuma A, Vilas D, Ispierto L, Morais S, Sequeiros J, Alonso I, Volpini V, Serrano-Munuera C, Pintos-Morell G, Álvarez R, Sánchez I Abstract More than 600 human disorders afflict the nervous system. Of these, neurodegenerative diseases are usually characterised by onset in late adulthood, progressive clinical course, and neuronal loss with regional specificity in the central nervous system. They include Alzheimer's disease and other less frequent dementias, brain cancer, degenerative nerve diseases, encephalitis, epilepsy, geneti...
Source: Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology - Category: Research Tags: Adv Exp Med Biol Source Type: research
Publication date: Available online 17 October 2017 Source:Neuroscience Research Author(s): Koji Yamanaka, Okiru Komine Despite significant progress in understanding the molecular and genetic aspects of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a fatal neurodegenerative disease characterized by the progressive loss of motor neurons, the precise and comprehensive pathomechanisms remain largely unknown. In addition to motor neuron involvement, recent studies using cellular and animal models of ALS indicate that there is a complex interplay between motor neurons and neighboring non-neuronal cells, such as astrocytes, in non-cell a...
Source: Neuroscience Research - Category: Neuroscience Source Type: research
The needle electromyography (EMG) discloses fasciculation potentials (FPs) so frequently in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) that neurophysiologists are reluctant to accept this diagnosis unless FPs are shown (de Carvalho et al., 2008). Their presence has also been associated with hyperexcitability in ALS (de Carvalho et al., 2017), recently confirmed by the finding that the most excitable lower motor neuron is the one more susceptible to fasciculate (de Carvalho and Swash, 2017). Moreover, the presence of FPs is a very early finding in muscles of ALS patients (Lambert, 1969) and antedates morphological changes of the m...
Source: Clinical Neurophysiology - Category: Neuroscience Authors: Tags: Editorial Source Type: research
Source: Respirology - Category: Respiratory Medicine Tags: Clinical Respiratory Medicine 2 Source Type: research
Abstract: This edition of “What is in the Literature?” will focus on motor neuron disease (MND), including adult forms [amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), progressive muscular atrophy (PMA), primary lateral sclerosis (PLS), progressive bulbar palsy (PBA), and monomelic mononeuropathy (MMND)], and childhood forms [spinal muscle atrophy (SMA)].
Source: Journal of Clinical Neuromuscular Disease - Category: Neurology Tags: Review Article Source Type: research
Publication date: December 2017 Source:Stem Cell Research, Volume 25 Author(s): Francesca Sironi, Antonio Vallarola, Martina Bruna Violatto, Laura Talamini, Mattia Freschi, Roberta De Gioia, Chiara Capelli, Azzurra Agostini, Davide Moscatelli, Massimo Tortarolo, Paolo Bigini, Martino Introna, Caterina Bendotti Stem cell therapy is considered a promising approach in the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) seem to be the most effective in ALS animal models. The umbilical cord (UC) is a source of highly proliferating fetal MSCs, more easily collectable than other MSCs. Recently ...
Source: Stem Cell Research - Category: Stem Cells Source Type: research
Clinically-observed fasciculations and fasciculation potentials (FPs) in needle EMG are characteristic findings of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) (Wilbourn, 1998) and have been postulated to reflect the hyperexcitability of the lower motor neuron (Bostock et al., 1995). Decremental responses (hereafter abbreviated as “decrement”) in repetitive nerve stimulation (RNS) are also frequently observed in ALS patients (Mulder et al., 1959; Iwanami et al., 2011; Hatanaka et al., 2017). These are usually thought to reflect immature nerve terminals in newly-formed sprouts (Stålberg et al., 1975), although the ...
Source: Clinical Neurophysiology - Category: Neuroscience Authors: Source Type: research
ConclusionLate age onset of ALS seems to be more common than formerly assumed and is presumably under‐recognized in elderly patients. ALS needs to be considered as a differential diagnosis in older patients. Potential factors accounting for older people being underdiagnosed with ALS relate to frequent presentation with symptoms like dysphagia, frailty or general weakness for other reasons.
Source: Acta Neurologica Scandinavica - Category: Neurology Authors: Tags: ORIGINAL ARTICLE Source Type: research
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