Monday, August 30, 2010

644)Biochip Weds Brain Cells And Electronics; Marvel Of Science; Quotes From Blogpost Four Hundred.

"An institution dedicated to proceeding beyond known limits must be committed to independent thinking. In a university scholars engage both orthodox and unorthodox ideas, seeking truth and understanding wherever they may be found. That process is often facilitated by an independent governance structure, which serves to ensure that the university adheres to its fundamental mission and is not pressured to compromise its work for short-term advantage. For a Muslim university it is appropriate to see learning and knowledge as a continuing acknowledgement of Allah's magnificence"(Aga Khan IV, Speech, 1993, Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan)

"The Holy Qu'ran's encouragement to study nature and the physical world around us gave the original impetus to scientific enquiry among Muslims. Exchanges of knowledge between institutions and nations and the widening of man's intellectual horizons are essentially Islamic concepts. The Faith urges freedom of intellectual enquiry and this freedom does not mean that knowledge will lose its spiritual dimension. That dimension is indeed itself a field for intellectual enquiry. I can not illustrate this interdependence of spiritual inspiration and learning better than by recounting a dialogue between Ibn Sina, the philosopher, and Abu Said Abu -Khyar, the Sufi mystic. Ibn Sina remarked, "Whatever I know, he sees". To which Abu Said replied," Whatever I see, he knows"."(Aga Khan IV, Aga Khan University Inauguration Speech, Karachi, Pakistan, November 11th 1985)

"In Islamic belief, knowledge is two-fold. There is that revealed through the Holy Prophet (s.a.s.) and that which man discovers by virtue of his own intellect. Nor do these two involve any contradiction, provided man remembers that his own mind is itself the creation of God. Without this humility, no balance is possible. With it, there are no barriers. Indeed, one strength of Islam has always lain in its belief that creation is not static but continuous, that through scientific and other endeavours, God has opened and continues to open new windows for us to see the marvels of His creation"(Aga Khan IV, Aga Khan University, 16 March 1983, Karachi, Pakistan)

"In Shia Islam, intellect is a key component of faith. Intellect allows us to understand the creation of God"(Aga Khan IV, July 23rd 2008, Lisbon, Portugal)

Biochip weds brain cells and electronics

The Canadian Press

Updated: Wed. Aug. 11 2010 9:14 AM ET

TORONTO — It seems like the stuff of science fiction, but Canadian researchers have created a microchip embedded with brain cells that allows them to "listen in" as the neurons communicate with each other.

This brain-on-a-chip will make it possible to test drugs for a number of neurological conditions in a much quicker, efficient and accurate way, said principal researcher Naweed Syed, head of cell biology and anatomy at the University of Calgary.

The so-called neurochip -- a millimetre-square marriage of the electronic and organic -- is a big step forward on a previous chip produced by Syed's group that used brain cells from snails, which are four to 10 times larger than human neurons.

"This particular idea originates from our earlier finding a few years ago whereby we were the first team in the world to develop the first bionic hybrid," he said Tuesday from Calgary. "And what it meant was that you could now have brain cells that could talk to an electronic device and then the electronic device could talk back to the brain cells."

While this prototype biochip allowed the researchers to pick up the "talking bit," it wasn't refined enough to let them tune in to the underlying "chatter" that went on among brain cells.

"So now we can detect it," said Syed, explaining that "talk" and "chatter" are metaphors for the electrical signals that pass between neurons.

Brain cells communicate with each other through electrical and chemical messages that cause them to either be excited or to relax. Electrical messages, for instance, take a pathway on the neuron's surface known as an ion channel -- a component of the brain cell that is critical when it comes to drug testing.

In the next few months, the team plans to begin drug testing using their tiny device embedded with a network of brain cells surgically removed from patients with epilepsy.

"Now when we can get this cell, we can put it on our chip and then we can record ion-channel activity, but also find the best drug that will block seizures in that particular individual's cells," he said.

The research, conducted with the National Research Council and published online in the journal Biomedical Devices, could also speed up the search for drugs to treat such neurological diseases as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

The brain-on-a-chip could also help drug companies more easily isolate compounds that would provide the next generation of pain killers or medications that could control addictions, Syed suggested.

"So I think it opens up the possibility of exploring brain cell function at a much higher resolution than has ever been done before."

Easy Nash

In Shia Islam, intellect is a key component of faith. Intellect allows us to understand the creation of God: Aga Khan IV(2008)
The Qur'an itself repeatedly recommends Muslims to become better educated in order better to understand God's creation: Aga Khan IV(2007)
The Quran tells us that signs of Allah's Sovereignty are found in the contemplation of His Creation: Aga Khan IV(2007)
This notion of the capacity of the human intellect to understand and to admire the creation of Allah will bring you happiness in your everyday lives: Aga Khan IV(2007)
Islam, eminently logical, placing the greatest emphasis on knowledge, purports to understand God's creation: Aga Khan IV(2006)
The Holy Qu'ran's encouragement to study nature and the physical world around us gave the original impetus to scientific enquiry among Muslims: Aga Khan IV(1985)
The first and only thing created by God was the Intellect(Aql): Prophet Muhammad(circa 632CE)