As researchers integrate neuroscience and neuroleadership into their work and practice, keep in mind that the discipline is continually evolving, making it critical to stay current on brain science trends.
FREMONT, CA: Neurotechnology advancements are accelerating at a breakneck pace and, at times, appear to be more akin to science fiction than science fact. Let us peep into the crystal ball and forecast the most significant trends in neuroscience for 2022.
Implants in the Brain and Telepathy
Brain implants facilitate the connection between the brain and electronic equipment, allowing for the modification, recording, and translation of brain activity to manipulate devices such as a computer cursor or a robotic prosthesis. This has a variety of medical applications, including the disruption of maladaptive brain activity caused by neurological diseases such as epilepsy and Parkinson's disease, the treatment of depression, the detection of the onset of epileptic seizures, and the development of new sensory pathways that aid the blind. One of the more exciting trends is the promise of "telepathy" becoming a reality. Nowadays, humans may interact with, affect, and modify their environments via electrical signals generated by brain activity. Individuals who cannot talk or use their limbs may be able to communicate or use assistive devices for walking and moving objects through the growing field of brain-computer interface (BCI) technology. A few persons with severe disabilities already use BCIs for everyday communication and control. BCIs may become a compelling new communication and control tool for persons with impairments—and maybe for the broader public, with improved signal acquisition hardware, clear clinical validation, feasible dissemination models, and, most importantly, higher reliability.
Interoception is the process by which the nervous system detects and integrates information about the body's internal state. There is mounting evidence that signals transmitted from our internal organs to the brain play a critical role in regulating emotions and warding anxiety and depression. Interoceptive researchers discovered altered activity in the dorsal mid-insula cluster of the cerebral cortex when patients with mental health disorders processed interoceptive signals. Identifying these common brain characteristics is a critical first step toward developing an altogether new field of mental health treatment.
AI Makes Advanced Diagnostics More Accessible
Advanced data and imaging techniques, such as electroencephalography (EEG), computed tomography (CT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), have become integral to clinical neurology practice (MRI). MRI, in particular, with its improved soft-tissue contrast at a millimetric scale and no radiation exposure, is a critical diagnostic tool for brain examinations. However, MRI technology has been hampered by sophisticated and costly device engineering in the construction of facilities and by longer scan acquisition times compared to other modalities. However, the potential of artificial intelligence is rapidly altering the game, enabling smarter, higher resolution, and portable MRIs that will significantly enhance access to advanced MRI imaging. A mobile MRI powered by artificial intelligence would help far more frequent scanning at the point of treatment, allowing for daily monitoring of brain changes in acute conditions such as stroke or tumor.
Additionally, while state of the art for clinical research MR applications is at 7T, research human MR systems have now reached 10.5 T, with 11.7 T on the horizon. As the usage of these ultra-high-field MRI scanners increases, researchers will witness a growth in research using pictures with the sub-millimeter resolution, which will pave the way for future AI-based imaging biomarkers. Add the advent of wearables capable of tracking EEG and other "real-world data," and the explosion of neurology-related data continues to grow by the day.