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.
Visual and auditory stimuli that elicit high levels of engagement and emotional response can be linked to reliable patterns of brain activity, a team of researchers reports. Their findings could lead to new ways for producers of films, television programs and commercials to predict what kinds of scenes their audiences will respond to.
Implants that deliver pulses of light into the brain could lead to new treatments for diseases such as epilepsy and Alzheimer’s Disease.
Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a severe type of anxiety disorder that can occur after an individual experiences a traumatic event. However, at present, doctors are unable to predict who will develop these disorders. Now, a new study seeks to identify individuals who are more susceptible to long-standing disorders if exposed to a traumatic event.
Researchers have discovered how a part of the brain helps predict future events from past experiences. The work sheds light on the function of the front-most part of the frontal lobe, known as the frontopolar cortex, an area of the cortex uniquely well developed in humans in comparison with apes and other primates.
Fish cannot display symptoms of autism, schizophrenia or other human brain disorders. However, a team of MIT biologists has shown that zebrafish can be a useful tool for studying the genes that contribute to such disorders.
Johns Hopkins researchers say they have discovered one of the most important cellular mechanisms driving the growth and progression of meningioma, the most common form of brain and spinal cord tumor. A report on the discovery, published in the journal Molecular Cancer Research, could lead the way to the discovery of better drugs to attack these crippling tumors, the scientists say.
Researchers have furthered understanding of the mechanism by which the cells that insulate the nerve cells in the peripheral nervous system, Schwann cells, protect and repair damage caused by trauma and disease.
University of Georgia researchers have developed a map of the human brain that shows great promise as a new guide to the inner workings of the body’s most complex and critical organ.
Brains that maintain healthy nerve connections as we age help keep us sharp in later life, new research funded by the charity Age UK has found.
The brain reward systems of women with anorexia may work differently from those of women who are obese, a new study suggests.
Emotional stress caused by last year’s tsunami caused a part of some survivors’ brains to shrink, according to scientists in Japan who grasped a unique chance to study the neurological effects of trauma. On a quest to better understand post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the researchers compared brain scans they had taken of 42 healthy adolescents in other studies in the two years before the killer wave, with new images taken three to four months thereafter. Among those with PTSD symptoms, they found a shrinking in the orbitofrontal cortex, a part of the brain involved in decision-making and the regulation of emotion, said a study published in the Nature journal Molecular Psychiatry.
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.
All in the mind: Repressing bad memories for long enough can lead to us forgetting them completely, researchers claim
Fear burns memories into our brain, according to new research by University of California, Berkeley and if those memories are causing you distress, a team of researchers from Lund University in Sweden may have the answer. People can train their minds to erase embarrassing moments from their mind, according to their research. Scientists used EEG scans to monitor the parts of the brain that became active when volunteers actively tried to forget something. They were also able to pinpoint the exact moment a memory is ‘forgotten’, and claim that long-term suppression of a memory is a sure-fire way of permanently erasing it. The researchers say that mastering the technique could be useful for people who suffer from depression or post traumatic stress disorder, where constantly dwelling on upsetting or traumatic memories has a devastating effect on mental health.
And on the subject of PTSD, researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich, are looking into the link between post-traumatic stress disorder and shrinkage of the hippocampus structure in the brain. (The hippocampus, which is Greek for “seahorse,” is a paired structure tucked inside each temporal lobe and shaped like a pair of seahorses, thence its name).
When we find something funny, our brains as well as our faces “light up” and the funnier we find a joke, the more activity is seen in “reward centres” – specific neurons which create feelings of pleasure, recent research shows.
Another region of the brain which also ‘lights up’ is in the medial orbito-frontal cortex when we experience beauty in a piece of art or a musical excerpt, according to new research funded by the Wellcome Trust. The study, published July 6 in the open access journal PLoS One, suggests that the one characteristic that all works of art, whatever their nature, have in common is that they lead to activity in that same region of the brain, and goes some way to supporting the belief that beauty does indeed lie in the beholder.
Would you take a pill to erase bad memories?
New Year is traditionally a time for many people to make a resolution to give up smoking. The smoking cessation medications bupropion and varenicline may both be associated with changes in the way the brain reacts to smoking cues, making it easier for patients to resist cravings, according to two reports posted online that will appear in the May print issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
If you are a parent of a teen going through puberty you will know all about the hormonal changes they go through. Now, a Georgia State University scientist has found that those hormones in males may be key to changes in a part of the brain responsible for social behaviors.
It will take some time for those teen brains to develop fully though, as we know now from new research that the brain continues to develop after childhood and puberty, and is not fully developed until people are well into their 30s and 40s. The findings contradict current theories that the brain matures much earlier.
And still on the subject of teenagers, PBS science correspondent, Miles O’Brien looks at what could be happening to teenage brains as they develop in a rapid-fire world of technology and gadgets.
Finally, if you have ever watched the 2004 movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, you will have seen the fictional characters played by Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet use a technique to erase memories of each other when their relationship turns sour. It will have seemed an unreal expectation that we could erase memories so easily, but new research on “erasing” traumatic memories is quickly moving from the realm of science fiction to scientifically backed reality.
Introducing a new feature today – a weekly round-up of the best of the neuroscience news and views and latest research which has caught my attention.