In my latest presentation, I explore what neuroscience can teach us about creativity.
Category Archives: Neuroeducation
A new study shows that sleeping after processing new information is most effective. Titled “Memory for Semantically Related and Unrelated Declarative Information: The Benefit of Sleep, the Cost of Wake,” the study was published March 22 in PLOSOne.
Snorting, gasping, or short interruptions in breathing during sleep (sleep apnea) may be linked to depression symptoms, new research shows.
Like the mute button on the TV remote control, our brains filter out unwanted noise so we can focus on what we’re listening to. But when it comes to following our own speech, a new brain study from the University of California, Berkeley, shows that instead of one homogenous mute button, we have a network of volume settings that can selectively silence and amplify the sounds we make and hear.
Just as the familiar sugar in food can be bad for the teeth and waistline, another sugar has been implicated as a health menace and blocking its action may have benefits that include improving long-term memory in older people and treating cancer. Progress toward finding such a blocker for the sugar — with the appropriately malicious-sounding name “oh-glick-nack” — was the topic of a report at the 243rd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world’s largest scientific society.
A hidden and never before recognized layer of information in the genetic code has been uncovered by a team of scientists at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) thanks to a technique developed at UCSF called ribosome profiling, which enables the measurement of gene activity inside living cells — including the speed with which proteins are made.
Several specific regions of our brains are activated in a two-part process when we are exposed to deceptive advertising, according to new research conducted by a North Carolina State University professor. The work opens the door to further research that could help us understand how brain injury and aging may affect our susceptibility to fraud or misleading marketing.
We make our eye movements earlier or later in order to coordinate with movements of our arms, New York University neuroscientists have found. Their study, which appears in the journal Neuron, points to a mechanism in the brain that allows for this coordination and may have implications for rehabilitation and prosthetics.
The brain has a remarkable ability to learn new cognitive tasks while maintaining previously acquired knowledge about various functions necessary for everyday life. But exactly how new information is incorporated into brain systems that control cognitive functions has remained a mystery. A study by researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and the McGovern Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology shows how new information is encoded in neurons of the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain involved in planning, decision making, working memory and learning.
A team of academic researchers has identified the intracellular mechanisms regulated by vitamin D3 that may help the body clear the brain of amyloid beta, the main component of plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
Opening the door to the development of thought-controlled prosthetic devices to help people with spinal cord injuries, amputations and other impairments, neuroscientists at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Champalimaud Center for the Unknown in Portugal have demonstrated that the brain is more flexible and trainable than previously thought.
Emotion-sensing computer software that models and responds to students’ cognitive and emotional states – including frustration and boredom – has been developed by University of Notre Dame Assistant Professor of Psychology Sidney D’Mello and colleagues from the University of Memphis and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
A new study from the Archives of Neurology says playing brain stimulating games can improve your memory and delay or prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
A new study suggests hearing metaphors can activate brain regions involved in sensory experience.
Whether you are an athlete, a musician or a stroke patient learning to walk again, practice can make perfect, but more practice may make you more efficient, according to a surprising new University of Colorado Boulder study.
Researchers have found a way to study how our brains assess the behavior – and likely future actions – of others during competitive social interactions. Their study, described in a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the first to use a computational approach to tease out differing patterns of brain activity during these interactions, the researchers report.
A molecular path from our body’s internal clock to cells controlling rest and activity have been revealed.
A new study looks at how our brain processes visual information to prevent collisions.
Can Brain Scans of Young Children Predict Reading Problems? Brain scientists are studying whether they can predict which young children may struggle with reading, in order to provide early help.
Virtual therapists being developed to treat depression. Scientists at a U.S. university are developing new technologies to treat depression and other disorders — including a mood-detecting smart phone that will call to check up on you.
A new study shows how to boost the power of pain relief without drugs.
Neuroscience could change the face of warfare. Soldiers could have their minds plugged directly into weapons systems, undergo brain scans during recruitment and take courses of neural stimulation to boost their learning, if the armed forces embrace the latest developments in neuroscience to hone the performance of their troops
Brain activity differs when one plays against others. Researchers have found a way to study how our brains assess the behavior – and likely future actions – of others during competitive social interactions. Their study, described in a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the first to use a computational approach to tease out differing patterns of brain activity during these interactions, the researchers report.
Reporting in PLoS Biology, researchers write that they were able to correlate words a person was hearing to specific electrical activity in the brain. Neuroscientist Robert Knight, a co-author of the study, discusses future applications of this research and concerns that it amounts to mental wiretapping.
Brains may be wired for addiction. Abnormalities in the brain may make some people more likely to become drug addicts, according to scientists at the University of Cambridge.
Patients’ Brains May Adapt to ADHD Medication. New research reveals how the brain appears to adapt to compensate for the effects of long-term ADHD medication, suggesting why ADHD medication is more effective short-term than it is long-term.
A two-year study of high school football players suggests that concussions are likely caused by many hits over time and not from a single blow to the head, as commonly believed.
I was reading over the weekend of the case of the parents of a young boy with cerebral palsy, who have opted to educate their child at home after they were told his assistance dog was not welcome at his primary school. Luke Kelly-Melia who is in sixth class at Knocktemple National School in Virginia, Co Cavan, has been told his golden retriever, Aidan, is not allowed on the school grounds until further notice.
I am not up-to-speed on the full details of this case, but I do know that research in neuroeducation -the brain science of learning - shows that the value of a trained child-friendly dog in the classroom may far outweigh the concerns raised by the School Board of Management.
A 2002 study [“Behavioural effects of the presence of a dog in a classroom,” Anthrozoös 16 (2), 2003], conducted by Kurt Kotrschal and Brita Ortbauer, took place in Vienna.
The research found that having a dog in the classroom actually decreased behavioural extremes, making the diverse group more homogenous. Children were less engaged in loud, conspicuous, or troublesome behaviour. They paid more attention to their teacher, cooperated better, and communicated more intensely with one another. Improvements in social behaviour were more pronounced in boys than in girls, perhaps because girls showed less boisterous, “rough-and-tumble” activity to begin with. The researchers also speculate that the teacher’s authority increased, particularly with respect to certain male students, in the presence of her compliant, obedient dog.
A spokesperson for The Department of Education said it is a ”matter for the board of management of each school to develop a policy on whether guide dogs or assistance dogs were allowed in the school, taking account of the needs of all the children in the school”. I do hope the School Board of Management will revisit their decision in respect of Luke and Aidan, as the newspaper article appears to indicate they may do.
Using a sling or cast after injuring an arm may cause your brain to shift quickly to adjust, according to a study published in the January 17, 2012, print issue of Neurology®. The study found increases in the size of brain areas that were compensating for the injured side, and decreases in areas that were not being used due to the cast or sling.
A new UC Davis study shows how the brain reconfigures its connections to minimize distractions and take best advantage of our knowledge of situations.
Neuroscientists at Kessler Foundation have documented increased cerebral activation in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) following memory retraining using the modified Story Memory Technique (mSMT). This is the first study to demonstrate that behavioral interventions can have a positive effect on brain function in people with cognitive disability caused by MS, an important step in validating the clinical utility of cognitive rehabilitation.
A program designed to boost cognition in older adults also increased their openness to new experiences, researchers report, demonstrating for the first time that a non-drug intervention in older adults can change a personality trait once thought to be fixed throughout the lifespan.
Researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry (IoP) at King’s College London have, for the first time, identified the facial expression of anxiety. The facial expression for the emotion of anxiety comprises an environmental scanning look that appears to aid risk assessment. The research was published this week in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
New research from Uppsala University, Sweden, shows that a specific brain region that contributes to a person’s appetite sensation is more activated in response to food images after one night of sleep loss than after one night of normal sleep. Poor sleep habits can therefore affect people’s risk of becoming overweight in the long run. The findings are published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
Teenagers are more susceptible to developing disorders like addiction and depression, according to a paper published by Pitt researchers Jan. 16 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Harvard scientists have developed the fullest picture yet of how neurons in the brain interact to reinforce behaviors ranging from learning to drug use, a finding that might open the door to possible breakthroughs in the treatment of addiction.
Virtual reality-enhanced exercise, or “exergames,” combining physical exercise with computer-simulated environments and interactive videogame features, can yield a greater cognitive benefit for older adults than traditional exercise alone, according to a new study published in the February issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Sleeping after a traumatic event might lock in bad memories and emotions, a new study has found.
A team of researchers at the MedUni Vienna’s Department of Neurophysiology (Centre for Brain Research) has discovered a previously unknown effect of opioids - that opioids not only temporarily relieve pain, but at the right dose can also erase memory traces of pain in the spinal cord and therefore eliminate a key cause of chronic pain.
In addition, learning and practicing particular skills can cause corresponding areas in the brain to grow or change by adding a tiny fraction of the brain’s neural circuitry and eliminating old ones.
Imaging technologies are helping map the circuits and study variability among children with learning difficulties. Moreover, recent research is providing insight into attention systems in the brain and is shedding light on how we plan, initiate, organize, and most importantly, inhibit certain behaviours.
On Friday, 23rd September, I will be giving a workshop at the Institute of Technology Sligo on what neuroscience can teach us about teaching. This workshop contributes to this dialogue by summarising what we already know about the learning process in the brain and suggests how it might inform the teaching/learning process in the classroom using approaches such as problem-based learning.
I will be touching on the following areas:
1. An overview of how problem-based learning is implemented and assessed in University of Limerick on the Graduate Medical School programme.
2. A review of how the brain learns and memorizes new information
3. An examination of the different brain circuits involved in processing science and maths concepts, music and reading or laboratory skills
4. Recommendations on how we can facilitate and support appropriate learning environments.
If you cannot attend in person, you can still take part in this workshop online.
Book online at http://www.eventbrite.com/event/2174273310
This webinar was recorded. Click here to access recording.
A part of the human brain that’s involved in emotion gets particularly excited at the sight of animals, a new study has shown. The brain structure in question is the amygdala: that almond-shaped, sub-cortical bundle of nuclei that used to be considered the brain’s fear centre, but which is now known to be involved in many aspects of emotional learning.
Studies have shown that meditating regularly can help relieve chronic pain, but the neural mechanisms underlying the relief were unclear. Now, researchers from MIT, Harvard, and Massachusetts General Hospital have found a possible explanation.
Men and women differ in the way they anticipate an unpleasant emotional experience, which influences the effectiveness with which that experience is committed to memory according to new research.
New research has contradicted a 40-year-old theory of how the brain controls impulsive behavior
Head trauma may increase the risk of developing schizophrenia, a new study says. The results show people who have suffered from a traumatic brain injury (TBI) are 1.6 times more likely to develop schizophrenia compared with those who have not suffered such an injury.
Researchers from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) and Beaumont Hospital have conducted a study which has found striking brain similarities in bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
The brains of older people are not slower but rather wiser than young brains, which allows older adults to achieve an equivalent level of performance, according to research undertaken at the University Geriatrics Institute of Montreal by Dr. Oury Monchi and Dr. Ruben Martins of the University of Montreal.
A new study testing alcohol’s effects on brain activity finds that alcohol dulls the brain “signal” that warns people when they are making a mistake, ultimately reducing self control.
Researchers in the Netherlands have been able to shed more light on how combat experiences change the brains of soldiers.
And finally, new research from MIT suggests that there are parts of our brain dedicated to language and only language, a finding that marks a major advance in the search for brain regions specialized for sophisticated mental functions. And this week,new research makes the case that language is not a key part of thinking about numbers, but the key part, overriding other influences like cultural ones.