"Neuroscientists reconstructed blurry videos from brain scanning machine readings of people watching movie trailers." ~ Discovery News
What if scientists could peer inside your brain and then reconstruct what you were thinking, playing the images back like a video?
Science and technology are not even remotely at that point yet, but a new study from the University of California Berkeley marks a significant, if blurry, step in that direction.
"Using our particular modeling framework, we can actually infer very fast dynamic events that happen in the brain," said Jack Gallant, a neuroscience professor at the University of California Berkeley who worked on the study, which was published today in the journal Current Biology.
To try and read the brain, the scientists had people watch compilations of clips from Hollywood movie trailers while staying still inside a functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging machine, better known as fMRI. The machine took scans as the subjects watched the compilation 10 times, totaling around two hours.
Part of the challenge is that while an individual neuron can fire hundreds of times a second, fMRI machines can only provide snapshots of those neural events. Despite those imperfect snapshots, the scientists were able to translate them into videos using a computer model with a special reconstruction algorithm.
Since they didn't have access to all possible images that could be playing inside subjects' brains, the scientists approximated it be generating a database of 18 million seconds of random video clips -- as they would be seen in the brain.
Then they used their custom algorithm, which Gallant compares to a dictionary, to "read" the brain scans taken during the Hollywood clip viewing. Ultimately they were able to reconstruct videos of what was seen using the closest moving images from the random library
Testing Anthrax Vaccine on our children
Washington Business Journal reports that Emergent derives the bulk of its revenue from federal public health agencies.
“Emergent proudly supports the U.S. government’s efforts and unwavering commitment to meet its stated need of 75 million doses of anthrax vaccines,” said Fuad El-Hibri, chairman and chief executive officer of Emergent BioSolutions. “This contract is an indication that BioThrax remains a critical component of the government’s arsenal of biodefense medical countermeasures. In addition to this contract modification, we are continuing discussions with the U.S. government regarding a follow-on procurement contract, which we anticipate will cover a multi-year period.”
Emergent Biosolutions also secured a $186.6 million contract for a recombinant protein antigen to combat anthrax and a $28.7 million contract for a third-generation vaccine.
So, how did Emergent secure such profitable US government contracts for anthrax vaccine?
The answer is described by Scot Lilly in “Getting Rich on Uncle Sucker: Should the Federal Government Strengthen Efforts to Fight Profiteering?”
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