In recent years, scientists have been developing new and creative ways to put electronics in the brain. These devices are useful for paralyzed patients to control prosthetic limbs with their minds, to help locked-in patients communicate with the outside world, or to help researchers better predict seizures in epileptic patients. But implanting them requires opening the skull, an intrusive procedure. Now researchers from the University of Melbourne have created a device that can be inserted into the brain through the blood vessels, no invasive surgery required. The study was published this week in Nature Biotechnology.
Two and a half months after the announcement of the Zika virus outbreak in Brazil, concern over the effects of infection seem to be spreading faster than the virus. This incredibly rapid rise of worry is justified as the virus continues to demonstrate potential links to a variety of serious conditions. In the last few weeks, in addition to the original reports of microcephaly, the virus appears to be implicated in the potentially fatal Guillain-Barré Syndrome. Now there is evidence of the virus in saliva and urine, suggesting human to human transmission may also occur.