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Top 5 Trends in Neuroscience You Need to Know in 2022
The neuro tech has speed up in the recent years and staying on top of trends is becoming a must in the neuro research. Choosing the right tech when you are setting up your study, can be a game changer when you are trying to achieve major breakthroughs. So, let’s peer into the crystal ball and look ahead at the likely major neuroscience trends for 2022.
Advances in neuro-technology are accelerating at an astounding pace, and at times seem closer to science fiction than science fact. Let’s peer into the crystal ball and look ahead at the major neuroscience trends for 2022!
1. Brain Implants and Telepathy
Brain implants enable communication between the brain and electronic devices, permitting brain activity to be modified, recorded, or translated for the manipulation of devices such as a computer cursor or a robotic prosthesis. This has many medical applications, including the disruption of maladaptive brain activity that arises from neurological diseases such as epilepsy and Parkinson's disease, the treatment of depression, detection of the onset of an epileptic seizures, or the creation of new sensory pathways to assist the blind. One of the more exciting trends is the promise of bringing “telepathy” from science fiction to fact. Today, humans can use the electrical signals from brain activity to interact with, influence, or change their environments. The emerging field of brain-computer interface (BCI) technology may allow individuals unable to speak and/or use their limbs to once again communicate or operate assistive devices for walking and manipulating objects. A few people with severe disabilities are already using a BCI for basic communication and control in their daily lives. With better signal-acquisition hardware, clear clinical validation, viable dissemination models, and, probably most important, increased reliability, BCIs may become a major new communication and control technology for people with disabilities… and possibly for the general population also.
Interoception is the process by which the nervous system senses and integrates information about the inner state of the body, and there’s growing evidence that signals sent from our internal organs to the brain play a major role in regulating emotions and fending off anxiety and depression. Researchers studying interoception have found disrupted activity in the cerebral cortex’s dorsal mid-insula cluster as people with mental health conditions were processing interoceptive signals. Identifying these common brain differences is a key step to an entirely new field of treatment for mental health challenges.
3. AI Making Advanced Diagnostics Accessible
Advanced data and imaging methods have become central to neurology clinical practice, including Electroencephalogram (EEG), Computerized Tomography (CT), and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). MRI in particular, with its superior soft-tissue contrast at millimetric scale at no radiation dose is a particularly important diagnostic tool when examining the brain. However MRI technology has been hindered by complex and expensive device engineering in building facilities, as well as longer scan acquisition times compared to other modalities. The power of AI is changing the game fast though, enabling smarter, higher resolution and portable MRIs that will radically improve access to advanced MRI imaging. AI-powered portable MRI will enable much more frequent scanning at the point of care, enabling monitoring of daily progress of brain changes in acute situations such as stroke or tumor. Additionally, state of the art hight resolution scanning is currently at 7T for clinical research MR applications, but research human MR systems have now reached 10.5 T, with 11.7 T on the horizon. As adoption of these ultra high-field MRI scanners increases, we will see more studies with images at sub-millimeter resolution with the subsequent development of future AI-based imaging biomarkers. Add to this the introduction of wearables monitoring EEG and other “real world data”, and the explosion of neurology related data just gets bigger and bigger by the day.
4. AI Ecosystems Forming
The continued growth of the fragmented AI applications landscape can only go on so long, and 2022 will start to see consolidation into ecosystems. An ecosystem can be defined “as a set of capabilities and services that integrate value chain participants through a common commercial model and virtual data backbone to create improved and efficient consumer and stakeholder experiences, and to solve significant pain points or inefficiencies.” All this clearly needs to be enabled by seamless data capture, management and exchange, with technology giants in battle to win share, “mindshare” and engagement. As a result, billions of R&D dollars are being invested into platforms to create and make services more easily accessible and usable by a greater range of customers. AI incumbents have a huge opportunity to tap into this innovation.
5. Stem Cell Therapy
Stem cells are the raw material of the body with stem cell therapy emerging as a new kind of regenerative medicine. Treatments are under investigation for multiple diseases including inflammatory and neurological conditions, as well as traumatic injuries, with some novel studies focusing on Parkinson’s Disease and MS. Stem Cells are not expected to cure previous conditions, but potentially substantially increase the quality of life of patients and delay their disease progression. We expect 2022 to be a breakthrough year for neuro stem cell therapy developments.