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Recent news from The Johns Hopkins University

This section contains regularly updated highlights of the news from around The Johns Hopkins University. Links to the complete news reports from the nine schools, the Applied Physics Laboratory and other centers and institutes are to the left, as are links to help news media contact the Johns Hopkins communications offices.

 

Johns Hopkins Neuroscientists Find Brain Activity May Mark the Beginning of Memories

By tracking brain activity when an animal stops to look around its environment, neuroscientists at Johns Hopkins University believe they can mark the birth of a memory.

Simulated Blindness Can Help Revive Hearing Loss, Researchers Find

Minimizing a person’s sight for as little as a week may help improve the brain’s ability to process hearing, neuroscientists have found.

JPEG For the Mind: How the Brain Compresses Visual Information

In the today’s online issue of Current Biology, a Johns Hopkins team led by neuroscientists Ed Connor and Kechen Zhang describes what appears to be the next step in understanding how the brain compresses visual information down to the essentials. They found that cells in area “V4”, a midlevel stage in the primate brain’s object vision pathway, are highly selective for image regions containing acute curvature. Experiments by doctoral student Eric Carlson showed that V4 cells are very responsive to sharply curved or angled edges, and much less responsive to flat edges or shallow curves.

Johns Hopkins Neuroscientist’s Goal: a Prosthetic Limb With Feeling

Back in 1980 when The Empire Strikes Back hit the big screen, it seemed like the most fantastic of science fiction scenarios: Luke Skywalker getting a fully functional bionic arm to replace the one he had lost to arch enemy Darth Vader. Thirty years later, such a device is more the stuff of fact and less of fiction, as increasingly sophisticated artificial limbs are being developed that allow users a startlingly life-like range of motion and fine motor control. Johns Hopkins neuroscientist Steven Hsiao, however, isn’t satisfied that a prosthetic limb simply allows its user to move. He wants to provide the user the ability to feel what the artificial limb is touching, such as the texture and shape of a quarter, or the comforting perception of holding hands. Accomplishing these goals requires understanding how the brain processes the multitude of sensations that come in daily through our fingers and hands.

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