A Call for Wisdom: Graphene shown to safely interact with neurons in the brain

Call for Wisdom Post Feb 22:16
Credit: http://www.beautifulpetals.com

February 22, 2016, by Fresh Air and Free

We tend to think of Wisdom as a thing. Pieces of information put together like a puzzle that we store in our heads to get about living, as it were. Our recent generations now visualize information as bits of code put together as a program to be initiated by an unseen prompt. Need some water? Ok, run <water> to turn on the tap.

But Wisdom is a living thing. It is an entity in its own right. Wisdom is a conglomeration of many thoughts, ideas nurtured from bits of knowledge, combined to make a whole organism.

Life follows predictable patterns of growth. Like the veins on a leaf repeat the pattern of a tree, so Wisdom follows the pattern of our own organism, the body (or vice versa?). Our body is trillions upon trillions of delineated atomic particles combined to create a breathing and sentient whole.

Likewise, trillions to the exponent n, of unimaginably tiny bits and particles combine in as yet unknown methods to form information, short term thoughts and long term ideas. Ideas to love, ideas to be applied, ideas of service or of greed, of beauty, ideas about ourselves.

Wisdom does not breathe, but Wisdom expands and can never contract. Wisdom does not posses senses, but is sentient in the manner that Light is able to express itself. Wisdom is information encoded in Light, acted upon by at least quantum (and as yet undiscovered) rules and saturates our Universe.

And yet, in the midst of this awesome phenomenon, we are so woefully ignorant.

A spectrum of human suffering still appears to dominate our global experience.

When we learn about extraordinary people who have had ideas which changed the world, it seems the most tremendous loss when the brains of these people die with them. How did they do what they did? Will we really learn the magic when Einstein’s brain tissue is examined under a microscope? Of course not.

So how does one acquire Wisdom?

Today, we have access to knowledge as never before, thanks to the internet and technology. And yet, we still need time to let our brains grow and mature and be guided by mentors and by self to absorb all relevant hard information about a subject, and then somehow combine it with intuition, self-directedness and determination to discover new solutions and therefore, new problems. And before any of these processes can be undertaken, an environment of stability, or close to it, must be realized. Whew!

And now, the future is here. Graphene is shown to interface with neuron cells (below). It is staggering to think of the leaps that humanity will make if this technology succeeds. Years spent learning facts hard-gained over lifetimes will be simply accessed by code. Need the formula for a quantum answer now? Run <answer> to choose from infinite solutions.

Wisdom will be called to play a part as never before. Discernment and a love borne of experience must be overlaid on the application of knowledge to benefit the greatest good for the greatest number, for the sake of humanity.

© 2016 Fresh Air and Free. All rights reserved.

Graphene shown to safely interact with neurons in the brain

Date: January 29, 2016

Source: Graphene Flagship

Summary:  In exciting new research, a team of researchers has demonstrated how it is possible to interface graphene with neuron cells whilst maintaining the integrity of these vital cells. This work was an interdisciplinary collaboration between nanotechnologists, chemists, biophysicists and neurobiologists all playing an important role.

Graphene Interface Neurons Post Feb 22:16In exciting new research, a team from the Graphene Flagship has recently published work showing how it is possible to interface graphene with neuron cells whilst maintaining the integrity of these vital cells. This work, published in the journal ACS Nano was an interdisciplinary collaboration between the University of Trieste in Italy, the University Castilla-La Mancha in Spain and the Cambridge Graphene Centre, with nanotechnologists, chemists, biophysicists and neurobiologists all playing an important role.

The Graphene Flagship is a European initiative which promotes a collaborative approach to research with an aim of helping to translate graphene out of the academic laboratory, through local industry and into society.

Scientists have always found the human brain endlessly fascinating and our understanding of the brain has increased to such a degree that by interfacing directly between the brain and the outside world we can now harness and control some of its functions. For instance, by measuring the brain’s electrical impulses sensory functions can be recovered. This can be used to control robotic arms for amputee patients or any number of basic processes for paralysed patients — from speech to movement of objects in the world around them. Whereas by interfering with these electrical impulses motor disorders (such as epilepsy or Parkinson’s) can start to be controlled.

Scientists have made this possible by developing electrodes that can be placed deep within the brain. These electrodes connect directly to neurons and transmit their electrical signals away from the body, allowing their meaning to be decoded. The interface between neurons and electrodes has often been problematic, not only do the electrodes need to be highly sensitive to electrical impulses but they need to be stable in the body without altering the tissue they measure. Too often the modern electrodes used for this interface (based on tungsten or silicon) suffer from partial or complete loss of signal over time. This is often caused by scar tissue formation from the electrode insertion and by its rigid nature preventing the electrode from moving with the natural movements of the brain.

Graphene has been shown to be a promising material to solve these problems. Its excellent conductivity, flexibility, biocompatibility and stability within the body sparked the interest of researchers.

The work published by Prato and colleagues is unique both in the results they found but also in the way they used graphene in their study. Previously, other groups had shown that it is possible to use treated graphene to interact with neurons. However the signal to noise ratio from this interface was very low. By developing methods of working with untreated graphene the researchers retained the electrical conductivity of the graphene making it a significantly better electrode.

Prof. Laura Ballerini, the lead Neuro-Scientist in this research explains, “For the first time we interfaced graphene to neurons directly, without any peptide coating used in the past to favour neuronal adhesion. We then tested the ability of neurons to generate electrical signals known to represent brain activities and found that the neurons retained, unaltered, their neuronal signalling properties… This is the first functional study of neuronal synaptic activity using uncoated graphene based materials.”

They found that the untreated graphene electrodes interfaced well with the neurons. By studying the neurons with electron microscopy and immunofluorescence they found that they remained healthy, transmitted normal electric impulses and, importantly, no adverse glial reaction which leads to damaging scar tissue.

This is, therefore, the first step towards using pristine graphene based material as an electron for a neuro-interface. Taking the study further Prof. Ballerini plans on “investigating how different forms of graphene, from multiple layers to monolayers, are able to affect neurons… whether tuning the graphene material properties might alter the synapses and neuronal excitability in new and unique ways.” This may pave the way for improved deep brain implants to both harness and control the brain, having higher sensitivity and fewer unwanted side effects.

Prof. Prato, from the University of Trieste in Italy who is also a member of the Graphene Flagship Executive Board commented that, “We are currently involved in frontline research in graphene technology towards biomedical applications. In this scenario, the development and translation in neurology of graphene-based high performance biodevices requires the exploration of the interactions between graphene nano- and micro-sheets with the sophisticated signalling machinery of nerve cells. Our work is only a first step in that direction.”

Prof. Ferrari, Director of the Cambridge Graphene Centre and Chair of the Graphene Flagship Executive Board, stated that, “The Flagship will support biomedical research and development based on graphene technology with a new work package and a significant cash investment from 2016. These initial results show how we are just scratching the tip of an iceberg when it comes to the potential of graphene and related materials in bio-applications.”

Story Source:

The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Graphene Flagship. The original item was written by Siân Fogden. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:

Alessandra Fabbro, Denis Scaini, Verónica León, Ester Vázquez, Giada Cellot, Giulia Privitera, Lucia Lombardi, Felice Torrisi, Flavia Tomarchio, Francesco Bonaccorso, Susanna Bosi, Andrea C. Ferrari, Laura Ballerini, Maurizio Prato. Graphene-Based Interfaces Do Not Alter Target Nerve Cells. ACS Nano, 2016; 10 (1): 615 DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.5b05647

Source Link: http://graphene-flagship.eu/graphene-based-interfaces-do-not-alter-target-nerve-cells