Tag Archives: neuroscience

Heartache & Hope: America’s Alzheimer’s Epidemic

As Baby Boomers become senior citizens, Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are on track to reach epidemic proportions, with a new diagnosis every 68 seconds and an annual cost of $1.2 trillion projected by 2050, not to mention the psychological toll on family members caring for their loved ones.

Premiering September 18, UCTV Prime’s original series “Heartache and Hope: America’s Alzheimer’s Epidemic,”  reveals what it’s like for patients and families living with this devastating disease and how UCLA researchers are leading the charge to slow its progress and, eventually, find a cure.

With 50% of primary caregivers for Alzheimer’s patients at risk of severe clinical depression, UCLA is working with local organizations and community leaders to establish caregiver support groups and connect caregivers to community resource centers. “Heartache and Hope” profiles several, including one established by Patti Davis, daughter of President Ronald Reagan, and another by television personality Leeza Gibbons, who lost her mother to the disease. Both women are featured in the series.

Researchers at UCLA and beyond are moving fast to understand Alzheimer’s disease and develop effective treatments. “Heartache and Hope” includes interviews with top UCLA researchers and their patients involved in the latest clinical trials, some of which demonstrate promising results.

You won’t want to miss this powerful, three-part series premiering September 18 on UCTV Prime’s YouTube channel and website, with new episodes every Tuesday through October 2. In the meantime, watch the trailer and spread the word!

 

 

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Can Computers Learn from Children?

When it comes to pretend play, toddlers and young children are experts. But mini-scientists? That seems like a stretch.

Not according to researchers at UC Berkeley who are studying children’s behavior during playtime in an effort to crack the code inside their heads that makes them little “learning machines” capable of hypothesizing, experimenting and thinking outside the box — all valuable skills in a scientist as well as, researchers hope, computers of the future.

The latest episode of “UCTV Prime: Cuts” introduces you to the cutest research subjects you’ll ever meet.

“Prime: Cuts – Can Computers Learn from Children?”

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UCTV to Live Stream Dalai Lama’s San Diego Visit, April 18 & 19

The Dalai Lama is coming to UCTV’s hometown, San Diego, for a whirlwind tour that includes four appearances in just two days, April 18 and 19.

The public events sold out in no time, so we’re thrilled to give our viewers front row seats through our live stream. Then, in May and June, we will broadcast and post online his public appearances at UC San Diego and University of San Diego, as well as an invitation-only event held at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. So basically, you’re in!

Here are the details:

The Dalai Lama in San Diego on UCTV
Live Stream at http://www.uctv.tv/dalai-lama

April 18 (all times Pacific)
9:30am  ”The Global Impact of Climate Change:  Balance Through Responsibility, Compassion and Human Consciousness with His Holiness, The Dalai Lama” (UC San Diego)
His Holiness the Dalai Lama joins esteemed scientists Richard Somerville and Veerabhadran Ramanathan at UC San Diego to discuss the need for humanitarian values and universal responsibility in responding to the impacts of climate change on communities and ecosystems.

1:30pm  “The Dalai Lama: Cultivating Peace and Justice” (USD)
His Holiness the Dalai Lama continues his “Compassion without Borders” tour in San Diego with a public lecture at the University of San Diego addressing escalating violence among nations and alternatives that emphasize shared human values across societies.

April 19
9:30am  ”Upholding Universal Ethics and Compassion in Challenging Times” (SDSU)

The public lecture at San Diego State University’s Viejas Arena provides an opportunity for His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama to share his views on upholding ethics, practicing forgiveness and tolerance, and coping with the challenges found in today’s society. Through the teachings of His Holiness, more than 12,000 attendees will learn how to open their minds and approach their daily struggles with patience and virtue.

Broadcasting and online in May & June
(Additional broadcast dates/times at the links)

May 23 at 8pm
The Dalai Lama: Cultivating Peace and Justice (USD)

May 30 at 8pm
Neuroscience and the Emerging Mind:  A Conversation with the Dalai Lama on Consciousness and Compassion (Scripps Institution of Oceanography)
His Holiness the Dalai Lama engages with Larry Hinman of the University of San Diego, V.S. Ramachandran of UC San Diego and Jennifer Thomas of San Diego State University in a scientific and philosophical discussion of human consciousness.

June 6 at 8pm
The Global Impact of Climate Change:  Balance Through Responsibility, Compassion and Human Consciousness with His Holiness, The Dalai Lama (UC San Diego)

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In UC Berkeley Lab, Mind-Reading is Real

Mind reading video reconstruction from lab of Jack Gallant, UC Berkeley neuroscientist

The latest episode of  “Prime: Cuts” could easily be the premise of a Hollywood science fiction movie. Except this science is real, and it’s happening at UC Berkeley.

Neuroscientist Jack Gallant and his team have done what many thought impossible – literally read someone’s mind.

Using advanced brain imaging, researchers can now track what a subject’s brain sees while watching a movie and translate it from the mind to digital video. Talk about someone getting inside someone’s head!

Watch “Prime: Cuts – Vision Reconstruction” and see how they did it. It’s amazing stuff.

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Bishop Spangler (and his brain’s) Legacy

By Sasha Doppelt

On the new program “Health Matters: Your Own Personal Brain Map,” host David Granet interviewed Dr. Jacopo Annese, director of The Brain Observatory at UC San Diego. Dr. Annese is working on a “Digital Brain Library” that uses advanced neuroimaging technologies to create digital models of the human brain at cellular resolution. Sounds like pretty standard scientific research, right? Not quite.

What makes Dr. Annese’s work unique is that he also studies — and ideally gets to know — the person behind the brain. With this information, he offers an unprecedented holistic perspective on this complex organ.

Bishop Spangler, 1932-2011

Dr. Annese’s Digital Brain Library relies on generous brain donations from community members who want to have a role in discovering how disease and aging affect the brain. San Diego resident Bishop Spangler was one of these people.

Bishop passed away on June 12, 2011 after living with GIST (gastrointestinal stromal tumor) for nine years. In the following paragraphs, his wife Bettie Spangler tells us about her husband, why he felt compelled to donate his brain to Dr. Annese, and how the donation experience profoundly affected Bishop and the entire Spangler family during his final days.

Can you tell us a little bit about your husband?
Bishop Spangler was born in 1932 in a rural area of Southwest Virginia into a farming family of seven children. His family had a proud, rich history of helping settle a community named Meadows of Dan. Growing up, he learned about integrity, helping your neighbors, working as a team, doing deals with a “hand shake,” making your own music, barn dancing, and church. He learned about determination if you wanted to accomplish anything, and the importance of the environment for raising crops and live stock. After high school he found a college in Kentucky where he could go and work his way through and, four years later, he graduated from Berea College with his B.A. degree majoring in physics. He went on to the University of Pittsburgh on a teaching assistant program and earned a Masters in Mathematics, and later his PhD also in Mathematics. He married and later moved to San Diego where he worked in the aerospace industry and raised a family. Eventually, Bishop left the aerospace industry and became an entrepreneur. He loved to “wheel and deal” so he became a real estate broker where he could use many of his gifts/talents/passions. His goal was to always try to help people “stretch in order to obtain their dreams.”

How did your family become involved in the brain library project?
Bishop read an article in the newspaper toward the end of May about the Brain Observatory and the work that Dr. Annese was doing. He showed me the article after he had made the phone call to the paper asking for someone to call him, as he would like to be a donor. He told me that he wanted to give his brain to this project after he died and would I make sure it happened? I said that I did not want to do that for myself, but if that is what he wanted to do, then I would do all I could do to make it happen. He told his children about his decision and they supported him, as we all recognized this as a Bishop thing.

Can you tell us about the experience?
On May 25, 2011 I received a call from Dr. Annese giving me some information about the project. I told him he would need to talk to my husband and he offered to come to our home the next day. Bishop insisted on getting dressed and coming downstairs to meet Dr. Annese, along with our daughter and son. He was ready to sign whatever papers necessary as he knew his time was short and he wanted to take care of business. He was now a brain donor! Dr. Annese was always kind and considerate about not adding pressure or pushing Bishop for more. He would always tell him what was happening during the MRI studies and asking if he felt like doing more. When Bishop got tired he would tell him…no more. At one time the whole family came into the bedroom where Bishop was talking about his early history and the grandchildren asked to sit in. It was fine with Dr. Annese as long as we were quiet. He looked around the room with some on the bed and others on the floor spread out and said, “It looks like camping,” and everyone felt at ease. One of our granddaughters said, “Witnessing Gampa relive key moments of his life through Jacopo’s interviews and knowing that it would be used in support of something he deeply cared about was one of the most powerful experiences of my life.”

Why did your husband want to donate his brain?
Bishop wanted to leave something he could be remembered by—a kind of legacy. He also wanted to leave something that might help humanity in the future. One of our granddaughters said it best, “It made perfect sense since he marked his life with a desire to make a difference and an ongoing quest for deeper understanding about the mysteries of earth and spirituality.”

How did his decision to participate impact his end-of-life experience?
A few days before he died, we were all sitting around in the bedroom listening to him and Dr. Annese talk, when our friend and minister and his wife came in. Introductions were made and then Bishop pointed to Dr. Annese and told our minister, “This man saved my life.” Meaning, he had given him hope that he would live on into the future through this project, and he would be able to contribute something that might help humanity and the scientific community. He lived to accomplish whatever he could give to Dr. Annese for his program.

Is there anything else you would like to add?
Dr. Annese kept all of the promises he had made. He told me he would be with Bishop at the end and he would arrange everything needed to accomplish what Bishop indicated he wanted to do with his brain after he died. He was very clear in describing the project to us and to share the goals and objectives that he hoped to accomplish. He never pushed us in making any decisions or to keep appointments if it was not convenient. He also came to the Celebration Of Life service and gave support to all the family. By this time, we all considered him part of our family. We still are in contact. He has a kindness and a bedside manner that many do not have today. Bishop loved Jacopo and trusted him with the end of his life.

To learn more about Dr. Annese’s brain library project and research, watch “Health Matters: Your Own Personal Brain Map.” Thank you to Bettie Spangler for sharing her husband’s inspiring story with out UCTV audience.

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