• Brain-Machine Interface

      Lua, Esmeralda; McGuigan, Daniel; Rahaman, Arafat; Wanders, Siena; Neguch, Natalya; Bullock, Trent (Temple University. Grey Matters, 2021-05)
      Requiring collaboration in the fields of neurobiology, electrophysiology, engineering, computer science, and biomedicine, Brain-Machine Interfaces (BMIs) are an emerging multidisciplinary technology with countless potential benefits. The ability to record and interpret neuronal activity at a higher resolution and specificity is one of the exciting promises of BMIs. The applications of this technology provide hope for a vast number of individuals who suffer from a wide range of neurological diseases and disorders. It can also be applied to artificial prostheses, to provide limb sensation for amputees. Although BMIs hold immense potential, questions within the realm of neuroethics have raised concern. In particular, the possible exploitation that could arise through medical practices with the advancement of technology [1]. Where humans may potentially be given capabilities that surpass the norm, changing the perception of what it means to be human [1]. It is important to take into account that there are BMIs currently in place that have provided relief for various conditions. To name a few, the use of deep brain stimulation in patients with Parkinson’s, spinal cord stimulation for those with intractable pain, and the use of motor prosthesis for patients with epilepsy [1]. However, these methods oftentimes only provide temporary or mild relief and are not inerrant. The trajectory of the BMIs outlined herein aims toward finding an ideal invasive mechanism to solve these drawbacks of mild and temporary relief. There are a vast number of neurological disorders that continue to trouble humanity both emotionally and economically [1], that could substantially change through the use of BMIs.
    • Neuroscience Behind Anxiety: Cognitive Effects Across Anxiety Disorders

      Barron, Molly (Temple University. Grey Matters, 2021-12)
      It’s normal to feel anxious about everyday stressors, like the first day of school, getting a tattoo, or finances. But at a certain point, anxiety can become much more than just a worrisome feeling. Clinical anxiety is an apprehensive expectation or an excessive worry that remains constant and is difficult to control [1]. The distinction between anxiety and clinical anxiety is important to point out. To say you have clinical anxiety, diagnosed as an anxiety disorder, is to say that anxiety causes significant distress or impairment in daily functioning [2]. It is important to note that mental illness carries a stigma in our society. Because of this, there are common misconceptions surrounding mental illnesses, namely anxiety. Clinical anxiety is as real as any physical illness—it should be treated with the same compassion. A major consequence of anxiety is that it can impair cognition, otherwise known as “information processing” in the brain [3]. Specific areas of cognition affected by clinical anxiety may include attention/control, memory, executive functioning, sensory-perceptual processing, etc. [3]. The highlight of this analysis will be the effects of clinical anxiety on attention specifically. By examining the relationship between clinical anxiety and cognition, we are able to address a common symptom of anxiety. With the help of applicable scientific findings, the goal of this article is to unpack the altered cognitive performance brought on by clinical anxiety.