According to the Boston Globe, scientists are trying a new approach to study and observe autistic brain by using special paddles against patients' head and creating a magnetic field that triggers brain cell activity. Known as transcranial magnetic stimulation, this approach allows for scientists to spark activity in specific areas of the brain and watch what happens to the patients' behavior. The technology may illuminate some of the biology behind the disease, and some specialists speculate it may one day offer a treatment for many neurological disorders.
"There's a lot of mystery about autism - it's not as if there's a well-understood story of what's going on at all, and there's a huge variety of autism, too," said John Gabrieli, a neuroscientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Transcranial magnetic stimulation "is fantastic for identifying brain regions that are essential for specific mental functions. . . . I think if we can start to use it more systematically with autism, one could hope we'd understand a lot more about what's going on."
Learn more about the studies here.
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According to a recent release from NASA, a team of University of Alberta researchers has discovered a new way to track and predict space storms before they impact Earth's atmosphere.
The team's study reveals that magnetic blast waves can be used to pinpoint and predict the location where space storms dissipate their massive amounts of energy. These storms can dump the equivalent of 50 gigawatts of power, or the output of 10 of the world's largest power stations, into Earth's atmosphere.
To track these storms, the team uses ground-based observatories spread across northern Canada and the five satellites of the THEMIS space mission to detect magnetic disturbances as storms crash into the atmosphere. Using a technique the researchers call "space seismology," they look for the eye of the storm hundreds of thousands of miles above Earth. To find the strongest point in the storm, the team uses magnetic sensors at various points both on the ground and in space to learn more about space storms and how they interact with Earth's magnetic field.
To read more about this discovery and what it could mean for the future of tracking space storms, read the press release here.
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