A research team at Northwestern University are studying the connection between memory and sleep, and the possibilities of boosting memory storage while you snooze.
For the first time, scientists have used a new combination of neural imaging methods to discover how the human brain adapts to injury. The research, published in Cerebral Cortex, shows that when one brain area loses functionality, a “back-up” team of secondary brain areas immediately activates, replacing not only the unavailable area but also its confederates.
New research suggests that testing a portion of a person’s saliva gland may be a way to diagnose Parkinson’s disease. The study was released today and will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 65th Annual Meeting in San Diego, March 16 to 23, 2013.
In a promising finding for epileptic patients suffering from persistent seizures known as status epilepticus, researchers have reported that new medication could help halt these devastating seizures.
Tübingen neuroscientists have shown how decision-making processes are influenced by neurons.
EPFL scientists find evidence that psychological wounds inflicted when young leave lasting biological traces—and a predisposition toward violence later in life
The production of new neurons, known as neurogenesis, was found to be induced in the adult normal cortex by the antidepressant fluoxetine, as reported in a study published online last week in Neuropsychopharmacology. This finding highlights the potential neuroprotective response induced by this antidepressant drug. It also lends further support to the thesis that induction of adult neurogenesis in cortex is a relevant prevention/treatment option for neurodegenerative diseases and psychiatric disorders.
photo credit: Toni Blay via photopin cc
The human brain can recognize thousands of different objects, but neuroscientists have long grappled with how the brain perceives and identifies different objects. Now researchers have discovered that the brain organizes objects based on their physical size, with a specific region of the brain reserved for recognizing large objects and another reserved for small objects.
New research suggests that it is possible to suppress emotional autobiographical memories. The study published this month by psychologists at the University of St Andrews reveals that individuals can be trained to forget particular details associated with emotional memories. The important findings may offer exciting new potential for therapeutic interventions for individuals suffering from emotional disorders, such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Neuropsychiatric conditions such as autism, schizophrenia and epilepsy involve an imbalance between two types of synapses in the brain: excitatory synapses that release the neurotransmitter glutamate, and inhibitory synapses that release the neurotransmitter GABA. Little is known about the molecular mechanisms underlying development of inhibitory synapses, but a research team from Japan and Canada has reported that a molecular signal between adjacent neurons is required for the development of inhibitory synapses.
A new study by University of Pennsylvania and Thomas Jefferson University scientists is using brain recordings to infer the way people organize associations between words in their memories.
Advertisers and public health officials may be able to access hidden wisdom in the brain to more effectively sell their products and promote health and safety, UCLA neuroscientists report in the first study to use brain data to predict how large populations will respond to advertisements.
A team led by psychology professor Ian Spence at the University of Toronto reveals that playing an action videogame, even for a relatively short time, causes differences in brain activity and improvements in visual attention.
A miniature atom-based magnetic sensor developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has passed an important research milestone by successfully measuring human brain activity. Experiments reported this week inBiomedical Optics Express verify the sensor’s potential for biomedical applications such as studying mental processes and advancing the understanding of neurological diseases.
A key protein, which may be activated to protect nerve cells from damage during heart failure or epileptic seizure, has been found to regulate the transfer of information between nerve cells in the brain. The discovery, made by neuroscientists at the University of Bristol and published in Nature Neuroscience and PNAS, could lead to novel new therapies for stroke and epilepsy.
Practices like physical exercise, certain forms of psychological counseling and meditation can all change brains for the better, and these changes can be measured with the tools of modern neuroscience, according to a review article now online at Nature Neuroscience.
A computer game designed to lift teenagers out of depression is as effective as one-on-one counselling, New Zealand doctors reported on Thursday in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).
Bilingualism is good for the brain
The human brain has room for an uncounted number of languages as well as a sort of executive control system to keep them active but separate. This ability, a form of mental exercise, seems to be beneficial for the brain.
Researchers from the University of Wisconsin, Madison have presented innovative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques that can measure changes in the microstructure of the white matter likely to affect brain function and the ability of different regions of the brain to communicate.
Memory strengthened by stimulating key site in brain.
Researchers have created a living 3-D model of a brain tumor and its surrounding blood vessels. In experiments, the scientists report that iron-oxide nanoparticles carrying the agent tumstatin were taken by blood vessels, meaning they should block blood vessel growth. The living-tissue model could be used to test the effectiveness of nanoparticles in fighting other diseases. Results appear in Theranostics.
New model of neuro-electric activity could help scientists better understand coma states.
Scientists at Emory University School of Medicine have identified a new group of compounds that may protect brain cells from inflammation linked to seizures and neurodegenerative diseases.
Researchers at the University of Warwick and Indiana University have identified parallels between animals looking for food in the wild and humans searching for items within their memory – suggesting that people with the best ‘memory foraging’ strategies are better at recalling items.
Researchers at the Salk Institute have discovered a startling feature of early brain development that helps to explain how complex neuron wiring patterns are programmed using just a handful of critical genes. The findings, published in Cell, may help scientists develop new therapies for neurological disorders, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and provide insight into certain cancers.
Is the internet changing the way we think?
In this week’s round-up of the latest discoveries in the field of neuroscience – the evolutionary nature of the brain, how blind people see with their ears, the neuroscience of humour, and how the internet is changing the way we think.
Interesting post on the evolutionary nature of the brain here
Scientists say they have discovered a “maintenance” protein that helps keep nerve fibres that transmit messages in the brain operating smoothly. The University of Edinburgh team says the finding could improve understanding of disorders such as epilepsy, dementia, MS and stroke.
Neuropsychologist, Dr. Olivier Collignon has proved that some blind people can “see” with their ears. He compared the brain activity of people who can see and people who were born blind, and discovered that the part of the brain that normally works with our eyes to process vision and space perception can actually rewire itself to process sound information instead.
A growing body of scientific evidence indicates that we have much more control over our minds, personalities and personal illnesses than was ever believed to exist before, and it is all occurring at the same time that a flood of other research is exposing the benefits of humor on brain functioning. Nichole Force has written a post in Psych Central on Humor, Neuroplasticity and the Power To Change Your Mind.
And finally, is the internet changing the way we think? American writer Nicholas Carr believes so and his claims that the internet is not only shaping our lives but physically altering our brains has sparked a debate in the Guardian.
TV3 presenter Sinead Desmond, pictured at the launch of a patient drop-in centre by the Dublin Neurological Institute this week
TV3 presenter Sinead Desmond spoke this week of her near-fatal brain haemorrhage nearly three years ago. At the launch of Ireland’s first drop-in centre for people with neurological disorders, she spoke of her gratitude at emerging unscathed with no brain damage from the experience.
“I have been blessed with a 100pc recovery,” she said. “I met people since who had similar brain haemorrhages and suffered from brain injuries. The recovery can be tough.”
The new centre is housed within the Dublin Neurological Institute at the Mater Hospital in Eccles Street. People with neurological conditions, which include epilepsy, stroke, acquired brain injury, multiple sclerosis, dementia and motor neurone disease, can call in without having to be referred by a GP. They will be able to speak to a specialist nurse, and get free medical information and support.
National Brain Awareness Week runs until Sunday.