Tag Archives | rats

Signs Of Consciousness Found In Rats Brains After Death

ratsDo rats go to heaven? Via Ghost Theory:

Jim Borjigin of the University of Michigan’s team implanted electrodes on the surface of the brains of nine rats, then injected the animals with potassium chloride, stopping their heart and blood flow. At that point the rats are considered “clinically dead”.

Yet for up to 30 seconds, the researchers’ electrodes detected patterns of synchronized, high-frequency activity known as gamma waves. In humans, some scientists have suggested that gamma waves could play a role in the interplay of perception, awareness, and intent known as consciousness.

“By presenting evidence of highly organized brain activity and neurophysiologic features consistent with conscious processing at near-death, we now provide a scientific framework to begin to explain the highly lucid and realer-than-real mental experiences reported by near-death survivors,” wrote Borjigin’s team.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Animal Study Suggests That Ancestral Fears Cause Brain Changes

Skibbereen_by_James_Mahony,_1847Is it possible that you fear something for no other reason beyond that your grandfather feared it as well?

Via BBC:

A new study published in Nature Neuroscience has shown that rats taught to fear a certain smell could pass that fear onto their offspring.

Marcus Pembrey, emeritus professor of paediatric genetics, says it has implications for our understanding of the “nature versus nurture” debate.

Prof Pembrey told the Today programme “sperm can carry information about the ancestral environment or experiences, in this case the conditioning shocks of the grandfather.”

Keep reading. Read the rest

Continue Reading

Humans Successfully Control Rats’ Movements Telepathically In Experiment

What orders will you give to your rat army? Via New Scientist:

Telepathic control of another person’s body is a small step closer – human volunteers were able to trigger movement in a rat’s tail using their minds.

Recently, researchers linked the brains of two rats so that they worked together. Such techniques are unlikely to be applied to humans any time soon because they require invasive surgery to implant electrodes into the brain. But now Seung-Schik Yoo of Harvard Medical School and colleagues have created a system that connects a human to a rat via a computer, without the need for the human or the rat to have brain implants.

The human volunteers wore electrode caps that monitored their brain activity using electroencephalography (EEG). Meanwhile, an anaesthetised rat was hooked up to a device that made the creature’s neurons fire whenever it delivered an ultrasonic pulse to the rat’s motor cortex.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Iran Battles Plague Of Giant Genetically Mutated Rats

SINA English reports on the perils of city living:

Iran has sent in sniper teams to clear Tehran’s streets from the massive rodents weighting up to five kilos plaguing 26 district of the Iranian capital, the city’s environmental agency said.

“They seem to have had a genetic mutation, probably as a result of radiations and the chemical used on them,” said Ismail Kahram, Teheran city council environment adviser.

“They are now bigger and look different. These are changes that normally take millions of years of evolution. They have jumped from 60 grams to five kilos, and cats are now smaller than them.”

The “mutated rats” have been running rampant in the capital, as traditional poison appear to have no effect on them. To stop them, the council has deployed ten snipers teams armed with infra-red sighted rifles. So far 2,205 rats have been shot dead.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Experiment Gives Lab Rats The Ability To Communicate Telepathically

There’s something a bit dark about this impressive experiment, in which one rat telepathically gives orders to the other. New Scientist reports:

The world’s first brain-to-brain connection has given rats the power to communicate by thought alone. “Many people thought it could never happen,” says Miguel Nicolelis at Duke University. Nicolelis’s team has demonstrated a direct interface between two brains – with the rats sharing both motor and sensory information.

The feat was achieved by first training rats to press one of two levers when an LED above that lever was lit. A correct action opened a hatch containing water to drink. The researchers wired up the implants of an encoder and a decoder rat. The pair were given the lever-press task, but only the encoder rats saw the LEDs come on. Brain signals from the encoder rat were transmitted to the decoder rat. The team found that the decoders, despite having no visual cue, pressed the correct lever.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Researchers Give Lab Rats A ‘Sixth Sense’

In the near future, people could be augmented with the ability to feel magnetic fields, radio waves, or infrared light, reports the BBC:

US researchers have effectively given laboratory rats a “sixth sense” using an implant in their brains. An experimental device allowed the rats to “touch” infrared light – which is normally invisible to them.

The team at Duke University fitted the rats with an infrared detector wired up to microscopic electrodes that were implanted in the part of their brains that processes tactile information.

Lead author Miguel Nicolelis said this was the first time a brain-machine interface has augmented a sense in adult animals. The experiment also shows that a new sensory input can be interpreted by a region of the brain that normally does something else.

“We could [make the rats] sensitive to any physical energy,” said Prof. Nicolelis. “It could be magnetic fields, radio waves, or ultrasound.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Bio-Robot Walks With Aid of Rat Heart Cells

What’s that? You’re all out of nightmare fuel? Here’s an undead-cyborg-slime-bot cobbled together out of rat heart cells and gel. Possible use? Drug screening. Fill er’ up.

Via NBC:

With the aid of a 3-D printer, researchers have fashioned soft, quarter-inch-long biological robots out of gel-like material and rat heart cells. When the cells beat, the bio-bots take a step.

The robots resemble tiny springboards, each with one long, thin leg resting on a stout supporting leg. The thin leg is covered in the heart cells. When the cells beat, the long leg pulses, propelling the bio-bot forward, according to the research team from the University of Illinois.

Keep reading.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

MIT Scientists Successfully Control Rats’ Dreams

Our dreamtime seems to be ripe for tinkering. Via io9:

Researchers working at MIT have successfully manipulated the content of a rat’s dream by replaying an audio cue that was associated with the previous day’s events, namely running through a maze (what else). The breakthrough furthers our understanding of how memory gets consolidated during sleep — but it also holds potential for the prospect of “dream engineering.”

Wilson and his team trained a group of rats to run through a maze using two distinct audio cues…and…recorded their neural activity. Later, while the rats were sleeping, the researchers once again recorded the neural activity of their brains [and] confirmed that the rats were dreaming of their maze navigating exploits from the day before.

But when the researchers played the audio cues from the experiment, they noticed a very interesting thing: the rats would dream about the section of the maze previously associated with the audio cue.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Rats for Supper: An Interview with Survivalist and Artist Laura Ginn

Photo Courtesy of Laura Ginn

If you weren’t outside enjoying the weekend then you may remember Saturday’s post (“Let Them Eat Rat! Artist Serves $100 Rat Dinner“) about artist Laura Ginn. Ginn received no small amount of attention  about a performance art piece in which 20 attendees paid $100 each to dine on rat.

The piece, titled “Tomorrow We Will Feast Again on What We Catch”, has been a lightning rod for conversation online. Many of those commenting on a story about the piece at the NY Times referred to Ginn as “talentless” and a “hipster” and criticized her work as superficial and meaningless. We felt that there was probably more to her art than just a few dismissive comments can encompass, so We reached out to Laura for a quick interview about the piece, the response and what she plans on doing next.

I understand that “Tomorrow We Will Feast Again on What We Catch” was only one part of a longtime art project centering on survivalism and related practices.Read the rest

Continue Reading