A new study shows that walking can enhance connections within and between three critical brain networks, one of which is linked to Alzheimer’s disease. The research, involving older adults with normal cognitive function and those with mild cognitive impairment, showcased an improvement in memory recollection abilities after a 12-week walking exercise regimen. The brain activity observed was stronger and more synchronized post-exercise, providing hope for combating cognitive impairment and potentially delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s dementia.
Researchers have found a correlation between patients with rheumatoid arthritis and Parkinson’s disease. In their paper published in JAMA Neurology, researchers found a significantly higher risk of Parkinson’s disease (PD) in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Researchers have delved into the brain’s grey and white matter, investigating the impacts of fibromyalgia. Using MRI, the team detected reduced grey matter volume in the pain-processing areas of fibromyalgia patients.
Neuroscientists have discovered how vitamin D deficiency impacts the development of neurons, contributing to disorders such as schizophrenia. These findings underscore the importance of vitamin D in the structural differentiation of dopaminergic neurons and suggest that maternal vitamin D deficiency might alter how early dopaminergic circuits form.
Finally this week, researchers have cracked the mystery behind how the Botulinum neurotoxin type-A, also known as Botox, infiltrates neurons.
Deep sleep, also known as non-REM slow-wave sleep, may help reduce memory loss in older adults facing a heightened burden of Alzheimer’s disease. The research indicates that superior amounts of deep sleep can act as a protective factor against memory decline in those with existing high amounts of Alzheimer’s disease pathology, potentially helping to alleviate some of dementia’s most devastating outcomes.
Researchers have discovered new genetic risk factors for non-Alzheimer’s dementia, specifically Lewy body dementia (LBD) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD).
Scientists have made strides in uncovering the mechanisms underlying memory formation and consolidation in the brain during rest or sleep. A new study focuses on the role of the hippocampus, a brain region important for memory, and its place cells which “replay” neuronal sequences. The researchers built an artificial intelligence model to better understand these processes, discovering that sequences of experiences are prioritized during replay based on familiarity and rewards. The AI agent was found to learn spatial information more effectively when replaying these prioritized sequences, offering valuable insight into the way our brains learn and process information.
New research finds that the brains of otherwise healthy military personnel who are exposed to explosions show an abnormal brain accumulation of amyloid-beta protein—a protein that plays a role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
A new study has found that people with a genetic risk for psychosis have an imbalance of glutamate and GABA neurotransmitters in their brains, specifically in the hippocampus. This imbalance is associated with hippocampal atrophy, which may lead to the development of psychotic symptoms.
Researchers have developed human brain organoids that contain microglia, the immune cells of the brain. These organoids allow researchers to study how microglia develop and function in a more realistic setting than previous models.
Researchers used artificial intelligence to analyze speech in Parkinson’s disease patients, revealing distinct patterns. The AI found Parkinson’s patients used more verbs but fewer nouns and fillers in their speech, even before cognitive decline typically associated with PD was evident.
A research team has found that the risk of long COVID and its symptoms present very differently across diverse populations.
A new study sheds light on the potential role of diet in preventing dementia. The analysis explored the relationship between gut health and Alzheimer’s disease, uncovering a strong link between specific types of gut bacteria and the likelihood of developing dementia. The findings highlight the significance of gut microbiota in brain health and provide insights into the underlying mechanisms of Alzheimer’s disease.
Finally this week, researchers have created a revolutionary device that emulates the human eye’s ability to see colour.
The key to a happy life is the ability to transcend anxiety, find a balance, and recognise that the world has problems. This requires purpose (mental effort) and those of us who strive to better understand ourselves in the world come out the other side as a new person, with some peace of mind and a meaningful way to live.
Fundamental or accidental?
A limit to finding your true purpose is the fact that we do not know that some of the things we perceive to be truly fundamental today may actually be just accidental. For instance, the brain uses systematic patterns of thought to produce philosophy including science, mathematics, literature, ideas and beliefs including a belief in a deity to guide us towards new insights. What we need to understand is that none of these may be fundamental in themselves. They are just tools that our ancestors used to probe the unknown and to see what is possible – knowing that what is common for us is just a tiny sliver of what actually exists.
Finding true purpose
In the West, we have made the truth our highest value. This motivation while important is weak compared to the actual power of belief. We are born into a culture that often insists on a particular religious or ideological philosophy as fact and the only way to understand ourselves in the world, but adhering to this belief may cause anxiety by impeding insights necessary to achieve your true purpose.
Anxiety is the green light to seek true purpose
Especially nowadays, anxiety is often seen as something wrong and negative – a weakness or an illness. But anxiety is a fundamental ingredient of being alive. To feel and to think is to be anxious. How can you not be anxious when it is a natural response to a confusing and uncertain existence that you did not ask to be a part of? The trick is to try living with-and-through your anxiety as you move forward into the unknown, and as you take the leaps of faith into what you truly believe makes it all worth living and dying for.
How to manage anxiety
To manage your anxiety you need to develop a noble quest.Just as a boat must leave harbour, you have to let go of something in order to move forward toward your purpose, for instance from overstimulation to spaciousness. This may be by cancelling your TikTok account, or to stop listening to the news. Be aware of what you are looking at, and what you are listening to. You need to limit the amount overstimulation coming into your senses. Otherwise, it becomes a white noise preventing you from attending to what you need to do.
Set your mind for self-reflection, introspection and exploration
Let go of the need to be liked, and focus instead on just being good. Develop a true individuality, based on principles rather than on what is going on around you. Adopting this ethical code will help you go forth from distraction to concentration on self-reflection, introspection, and exploration to bring your thoughts into the present moment where your anxiety will dissipate.
Your happiness does not depend on getting what you want. Your happiness depends on your state of mind. In this way, meditation is about protecting your own happiness. Actually, it is the key to other people’s happiness too. It is not that you are not important, but you must also focus on what brings happiness to others because you resonate with those around you.
The Chinese believe Nature to be purposeless, but in the West when we say purposeless, it is a put down and there is no future in it. However, when the Chinese say Nature is purposeless they mean it as a compliment. It is like the waves washing against the shore going on and on forever with no meaning. Haven’t you ever gone on a walk with no particular purpose in mind? Well, it is at that moment that you are a perfectly rational human being because you have learned purposelessness. All music is purposeless. If the aim of music were to get to the final bar then the best musician would be the one who got there fastest. It’s the same with dancing. The aim of dancing is to dance and it’s the same with your life.
Let wisdom become your true purpose
The problem is that many of us believe that life has a purpose. Priests insist that we must each follow God’s purpose but when asked what that is they are silent. Here is the choice. Are you going to trust Nature or not? If you decide not to trust the purposelessness of Nature then you will need to fence yourself around with rules and regulations and laws and obligations. To really live you must have faith. You must trust yourself to the totally unknown, to a Nature that doesn’t have a boss because a boss is a system of mistrust. There is a wisdom in experiencing anxiety and insecurity. A wisdom that is hard-earned. Let this wisdom be your true purpose.
Viewing interactive art online can improve our mood and reduce anxiety. People reported significant improvements in mood and anxiety after just a few minutes of viewing an interactive Monet Water Lily art exhibition.
The way our senses adjust while playing virtual reality (VR) games affects the severity of cybersickness experienced. Researchers measured how participants perceived the orientation of vertical lines before and after playing two VR games, one high-intensity, and one low-intensity. They found that those who experienced less sickness were more likely to have the largest change in the subjective visual vertical following exposure to VR. The findings could be useful for VR designers and developers in creating more comfortable and enjoyable experiences.
In a new study, scientists have discovered anatomical changes that occur in the brains of patients after their sight is restored.
Scientists have explored the links between three measures known to independently predict healthy aging: nutrient intake, brain structure and cognitive function. Their analysis adds to the evidence that these factors jointly contribute to brain health in older adults.
A new study challenges conventional thinking on the role of short and long-term memories in relearning motor skills. Researchers found that fleeting short-term memories, rather than long-term ones, are responsible for rapid motor learning, indicating the existence of mechanisms for regulating the learning rates for memories that are distinct from the memories themselves.
Poor verbal memory may increase the risk of psychiatric hospitalization for patients diagnosed with bipolar disorder or depression. The severity of the illness was previously thought to have an impact on poor memory, but new research shows that poor memory may also have an impact on the risk of being hospitalized.
Researchers have uncovered crucial findings regarding Long COVID, discovering significant immune system and nervous system changes that could explain the neurological symptoms experienced by patients.
A new study from Aarhus University indicates that certain types of epilepsy medication taken during pregnancy may increase the risk of severe psychiatric disorders in children.The research found a worrying link between the antiseizure medication valproate and the child’s risk of developing psychiatric disorders such as autism, ADHD and intellectual disability.
Finally this week,scientists have recently identified a unique form of cell messaging occurring in the human brain that’s not been seen before. Excitingly, the discovery hints that our brains might be even more powerful units of computation than we realized.
The brain is a complex organ responsible for regulating various bodily functions, including movement, sensation, cognition, and emotion. It is divided into different regions, each with its own specific functions and structures. Over the years, scientists have named these parts of the brain based on their location, shape, or function. By understanding the names of these parts, scientists can better understand the role each plays in the overall function of the brain. In this post, we will explore some of the most common names of brain regions and how they got their names.
The cerebrum is the largest part of the brain and is responsible for higher cognitive functions such as thinking, learning, and perception. It is divided into two hemispheres, each with four lobes named after their overlying skull bones: the frontal, parietal, temporal, and occipital lobes.
The Frontal Lobe
The frontal lobe is located in the front of the brain, and it plays a crucial role in many functions, including decision-making, problem-solving, and movement. It was named after the Latin word “frontalis,” which means “forehead,” because it is located in the front of the brain, which is directly behind the forehead.
The Parietal Lobe
The parietal lobe is located at the top and back of the brain, and it is responsible for processing sensory information such as touch, temperature, and pain. It was named after the Latin word “parietalis,” which means “wall-like,” because it is located between the frontal and occipital lobes.
The Temporal Lobe
The temporal lobe is located on the sides of the brain, just above the ears, and it is responsible for processing auditory information and memory. It was named after the Latin word “temporalis,” which means “of the temples,” because it is located near the temples.
The Occipital Lobe
The occipital lobe is located at the back of the brain, and it is responsible for processing visual information. It was named after the Latin word “occiput,” which means “back of the head,” because it is located at the back of the skull.
The cerebellum is located under the cerebrum and is responsible for controlling movement and balance. It was named after the Latin word “cerebellum,” which means “little brain,” because it resembles a smaller version of the cerebrum.
The brainstem is located at the base of the brain and is responsible for regulating many bodily functions, including breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure. It is divided into three parts: the medulla oblongata, the pons, and the midbrain.
The Medulla Oblongata
The medulla oblongata is located at the lowest part of the brainstem and is responsible for controlling many vital functions, including breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure. It was named after the Latin word “medulla,” which means “marrow,” because it resembles the inner part of a bone.
The pons is located above the medulla oblongata and is responsible for relaying information between different parts of the brain. It was named after the Latin word “pons,” which means “bridge,” because it serves as a bridge between the cerebellum and the rest of the brain.
The midbrain is located above the pons and is responsible for regulating many sensory and motor functions. It was named after its position in the brain, which is in the middle of the brainstem.
Researchers have published a study in Science Advances that looks into the genetic mechanisms behind the development of schizophrenia.
Students whose brainwaves are more in sync with their classmates and teacher are likely to learn better than those lacking this “brain-to-brain synchrony,” shows a new study by a team of psychology and education researchers. The findings, which appear in the journal Psychological Science, offer new insights into the learning process.
Scientists are testing a new personalized immunotherapy approach that is designed to work similarly to a vaccine by training the immune system to fight glioblastoma brain cancer.
People experiencing hearing loss who are not using a hearing aid may have a higher risk of dementia than people without hearing loss, suggests a new study published in The Lancet Public Health journal. However, using a hearing aid may reduce this risk to the same level as that of people without hearing loss.
Researchers have shown for the first time that in middle-aged men, Obstructive Sleep Apnea may cause early cognitive decline, even in patients who are otherwise healthy and not obese.
In a new study, teens who added walnuts to their diet for 100 days showed improvements in attention function, and for those with ADHD, frequent walnut consumption was associated with improvements in behavior. Researchers also noted an increase in fluid intelligence in those who frequently consumed walnuts as part of their daily diet.
Listening to or practicing music had positive implications on cognitive decline in older adults by stimulating the production of gray matter in key brain areas, a new study reveals.
Researchers have used machine learning to investigate the molecular and neural mechanisms that could underlie differences among individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Their paper, published in Nature Neuroscience, identifies different subgroups of ASD associated with distinct functional connections in the brain and symptomatology, which could be related to the expression of different ASD-related genes.
A novel imaging technique is capable of showing reactive astrocyte-neuron interactions. The technique sheds new light on Alzheimer’s pathologies and offers a potential breakthrough for the diagnosis and treatment of dementia.
An international team of 79 researchers has collaborated on a study published in Nature Medicine to delve into perivascular spaces (PVS), a poorly understood artifact seen in magnetic resonance imaging of cerebral small vessel disease, a leading cause of stroke and dementia.
Finally this week, new research findings show that probiotic supplementation could be a positive strategy to counteract oxidative stress and inflammation promoted by sleep loss.
Researchers have found a previously unknown mechanism linking gut bacteria, estradiol, and depression in women. The study, “Gut-microbiome-expressed 3b-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase degrades estradiol and is linked to depression in premenopausal females,” is published in the journal Cell Metabolism.
Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Metabolism Research in Cologne, in collaboration with Yale University, have shown that foods with high fat and sugar content change our brain.
Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may benefit from early screening and intervention for cardiometabolic conditions according to a meta-analysis of the association between ASD and cardiometabolic conditions in children. Researchers analyzed data from 10 studies and found that children with ASD have a higher risk of developing cardiometabolic conditions such as obesity, hypertension, and dyslipidemia.
New research published in Human Brain Mappingreveals sex differences and developmental changes in the brain’s white matter in healthy developing infants and 5-year-olds.These findings could help improve our understanding of brain development and potentially inform interventions to support healthy development in children and young adults.
Criteria used by neurologists to assess for multiple sclerosis in adults may fail to identify the illness in children with imaging suspicious for the disease, an oversight that could delay treatment of the disease at its earliest stages.
Elite male soccer players were 1.5 times more likely to develop neurodegenerative disease than population controls, according to an observational study published inThe Lancet Public Health journal. The researchers believe that the repeated heading of the ball during practice and games may be a contributing factor to the increased risk of dementia. The findings raise concerns about the long-term health consequences of playing soccer and highlight the need for further research into ways to reduce the risk of dementia in professional athletes.
A common genetic signature has been linked to an increased risk of substance use disorders from smoking addiction to addiction to narcotics. The findings could pave the way to the development of new therapies for substance use disorder and may help diagnose those at risk of multiple substance use disorders.
Poetry has been captivating readers for centuries, drawing them in with its beautiful language and vivid imagery. But what happens in our brains when we read a poem?
Recent research in the field of neuroscience has shed light on the unique ways in which the brain processes poetic language and the emotional responses it can evoke. Neuroscientists have been exploring how the human brain reacts to poetry using advanced tools such asfunctional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). What they’ve discovered is that our brains seem to be wired to recognize the rhymes and rhythms that poets use and differentiate them from ordinary speech or prose. Moreover, contemplating poetic imagery and the multiple layers of meanings in poems activates specific areas of the brain that help us interpret our everyday reality. This is because poetry often contains metaphors, imagery, and other literary devices that can evoke powerful emotional responses in the reader. For example, a poem that describes a sunset in vivid detail can elicit feelings of awe, beauty, and tranquility.
In addition to activating emotional centers in the brain, reading poetry also engages the regions involved in processing language. While the emotional impact of poetry can be powerful and immediate, the cognitive processing involved in understanding and appreciating poetic language is also important.
Studies have shown that reading poetry activates a network of brain regions involved in processing language, including areas responsible for phonological and syntactic processing, semantic memory, and working memory. Poetic language often employs figurative language, metaphor, and other rhetorical devices, which require the brain to engage in a more abstract and nuanced mode of thinking than everyday language.
Furthermore, research has suggested that the cognitive processing involved in reading poetry can lead to a greater appreciation and understanding of the emotional content of the poem. This is because the effort required to process the poem’s language can lead to a deeper engagement with the meaning and emotional resonance of the words.
Interestingly, the brain regions involved in processing poetry also overlap with those involved in autobiographical memory which includes regions in the prefrontal cortex, medial temporal lobe, and posterior cingulate cortex. This suggests that reading poetry can indeed be a deeply personal experience, as it can evoke memories and emotions that are specific to the individual reader.
When we read a poem, we may relate to the experiences or emotions expressed by the poet, and this can trigger memories or emotions from our own lives. Additionally, the use of vivid and sensory language in poetry can help to create a rich and immersive mental image, which can further enhance the personal and emotional impact of the poem. Furthermore, research has suggested that the personal relevance of a poem can influence how the brain processes language. For example, a study found that when participants read poems that were personally meaningful to them, there was increased activity in brain regions associated with self-referential processing, such as the medial prefrontal cortex.
By understanding the neuroscience of poetry, we can gain insights into why poetry has such a powerful impact on us, and how it can be used to improve our mental and emotional health. This World Poetry Day, let us celebrate not only the beauty of poetry but also the fascinating science behind it.
The most common type of brain cyst (arachnoid) has no known cause. New research investigating patients with these cysts has found something unexpected—a potential genetic link.
As we age, most of us tend to stop paying attention to new music and stick with the songs from our past. Researchers explored why we narrow our horizons for exploring new music as we age and say listening to new tracks can help create new memory bonds and experience new pleasures.
Adding to the growing body of evidence on sleep disturbances and cognitive impairment, new research finds significant links between three measures of sleep disturbance and the risk for developing dementia over a 10-year period.
A new study confirms that brain development in people with autism differs from those with typical neurodevelopment. According to the study published in PNAS, these differences are linked to genes involved in inflammation, immunity response and neural transmissions. They begin in childhood and evolve across the lifespan.
Infants who are born preterm do not habituate to repeated pain the same way in which full-term babies or adults do. Researchers believe this is because preterm infants have not yet developed the mechanism that enables people to adapt to moderate pain, which is thought to develop during the third trimester of pregnancy.
New research has revealed how acute stress can affect the connectivity of different brain regions, leading to increased neural activity and changes in behavior.
New research has found that sleep has a crucial role in preparing the body to fight off infections. During sleep, the immune system produces cytokines, which help in fighting infections, inflammation, and stress. In contrast, sleep deprivation can weaken the immune system and increase the likelihood of getting sick. The study also found that sleeping for longer periods before an infection occurs can improve the chances of fighting it off.
A research team has found that people with chronic pain in multiple parts of the body had a higher risk of dementia and experienced broader and faster cognitive decline, including memory, executive function, learning, and attention.
Researchers have discovered how changes in blood vessels in the eye can be used to predict the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of blindness. The researchers used high-resolution imaging techniques to measure the density of blood vessels in the retina of patients with AMD. They found that decreased blood vessel density in certain areas of the retina was associated with the progression of the disease.
A new study has identified changes in the levels of certain proteins in the blood of women with perinatal depression (depression during pregnancy or after childbirth).
A new brain connection discovered by researchers can explain how early-life stress and adversity trigger disrupted operation of the brain’s reward circuit, offering a new therapeutic target for treating mental illness. Impaired function of this circuit is thought to underlie several major disorders, such as depression, substance abuse and excessive risk-taking.
A study at the University of Tsukuba in Japan has found that routine exercise helps prevent cognitive impairment in older adults, with exercising alone being beneficial, but exercising with others having an even greater positive effect.
Although investigators have made strides in detecting signs of Alzheimer’s disease using high-quality brain imaging tests collected as part of research studies, a research team has developed an accurate method for detection that relies on routinely collected clinical brain images. The advance could lead to more accurate diagnoses.
Finally, this week, seizures can be predicted more than 30 minutes before onset in patients with temporal lobe epilepsy, opening the door to a therapy using electrodes that could be activated to prevent seizures from happening, according to new research.
Any regular leisure-time physical activity at any age is linked to better brain function in later life, but maintaining an exercise routine throughout adulthood seems to be best for preserving mental acuity and memory, suggests a long-term study published in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.
Researchers have conducted a world-first pilot study investigating a sleep intervention for autistic adults, showing promising evidence at reducing insomnia and co-occurring anxiety symptoms.
Patients with Parkinson’s disease achieved a significant improvement in their tremors, mobility, and other physical symptoms after having a minimally invasive procedure involving focused ultrasound, according to a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Researchers have identified a mechanism for how signals from the environment are integrated with genetic information to influence the health and survival of brain cells, providing insight into the development of Parkinson’s disease.
A new study suggests a link between irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression. The study found that individuals with IBS were more likely to experience symptoms of anxiety and depression than those without IBS.
In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers developed an electronic implant that collected information about brain activity from a single neuron for over one year.
A new AI-powered tool developed by researchers can predict which patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) are most likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. The tool uses machine learning algorithms to analyze data from brain scans, blood tests, and cognitive assessments to identify specific biomarkers associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
Finally this week, a person’s personality and psychopathology levels may be associated with how strongly they prefer to focus on human faces within images, according to a study published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE.
A study of brain function in cosmonauts reveals how the brain’s organization changes after an extended period in space, demonstrating the adaption required to live in a weightless environment.
Researchers are turning to artificial intelligence to find novel drugs that can block kappa opioid receptors with the hope to alleviate opioid addiction. The kappa opioid receptor is a protein in the brain that plays a role in pain management and addiction. When opioids bind to this receptor, it can produce a range of effects, including pain relief, as well as addiction and dependence.
Adults with high levels of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms are more likely to experience anxiety and depression than adults with high levels of autistic traits, according to new research.
Scientists studying sleep difficulties have now published data in Frontiers in Neuroscience that shows that, even in an urban population experiencing disrupted sleep, humans experience longer REM sleep in winter than in summer and less deep sleep in autumn.
Regardless of the game type or length of time a child plays a video game, there is no correlation with a decline in cognitive ability, a new study reports.
Researchers have identified the in-vivo dynamics of synapses that underlie fear memory formation and extinction in the living brain. Fear memory formation and extinction are complex processes that involve changes in the connections between neurons, or synapses, in the brain. Understanding these processes at the level of individual synapses can provide important insights into the neural mechanisms of fear and anxiety disorders.
New research has found that children with conduct disorders exposed to maltreatment showed far more extensive changes in brain structure compared to children with conduct disorders who were not mistreated.
While kleptomania meets the criteria of addiction and is classified as a “Disruptive, Impulse-Control, and Conduct Disorder” by the American Psychiatry Society, few studies of the condition have been published to date. Now a team of researchers has recently found that patients with kleptomania exhibit distinct patterns of gazing and brain activity when shown images with environmental cues relevant to their symptoms. Such characteristics were not observed in healthy subjects.
Finally this week, researchers who examined the relationship between making music and mental health have found that musically active people have, on average, a slightly higher genetic risk for depression and bipolar disorder.
In a study recently published in Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders, researchers have revealed changes in the cerebral neural network that could function as a biomarker for degenerative neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia with Lewy bodies—abnormal protein deposits in the brain.
Experiencing three or more concussions is linked with worsened brain function in later life, according to new research.
Levodopa, a drug commonly prescribed for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease that increases dopamine in the brain has been found to have the potential to reverse the effects of inflammation on brain reward circuitry, ultimately improving symptoms of depression.
A team of researchers has found evidence linking motor neurons’ large cell size and supporting structure with the genes that underlie their vulnerability to degeneration in ALS.
A new study has examined the pain perception among people with autism and found that they experience pain at a higher intensity than the general population and are less adaptable to the sensation. This finding is contrary to the prevalent belief that people with autism are supposedly ‘indifferent to pain’. The researchers expressed the hope that the findings of their study will lead to more appropriate treatment on the part of medical staff, caregivers, and parents toward people with autism, who do not always express the experience of pain in the usual way.
Researchers have identified two distinct processes that are triggered in the brain when a person is exposed to prolonged or repeated sensory input.
Among people who received more intensive treatment for high blood pressure, evaluations of MRI scans indicated a positive change in brain structures involved in its ability to clear toxins and other byproducts, according to preliminary research to be presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2023.
New research has linked major depression in older adults to mitochondrial deterioration.
People exposed to noise pollution as a result of heavy traffic close to their homes are at greater risk of developing tinnitus, a new study reports. Tinnitus is a condition where an individual hears ringing, buzzing, or whistling sounds in their ears, even when there is no external source of the sound. Prolonged exposure to loud noise can cause damage to the hair cells in the inner ear, which are responsible for transmitting sound to the brain. As a result, the brain can create its own sounds, leading to tinnitus.
Finally this week, cinnamon could do more than just wake up your taste buds. A new study reveals eating products with cinnamon can help improve memory and learning, and may also reduce some symptoms of anxiety.
Researchers have developed a new brain imaging method that uses pulsed laser light to monitor cerebral blood flow more accurately than more traditional methods.
Researchers say specific gut bacteria could play a significant role in the development of Type 2 diabetes. People with higher levels of the gut bacteria Coprococcus tend to have higher insulin sensitivity, while those with higher levels of Flavonifractor have lower levels of insulin sensitivity.
Common levels of pollution from traffic can impair brain function within a matter of hours, a new study reports. Just two hours of exposure to diesel exhaust impairs functional connectivity in the brain.
Even a simple movement like pushing a button sends ripples of activity throughout networks of neurons spanning across the brain, new research shows. The finding highlights just how complex the human brain is, challenging the simplified textbook picture of distinct brain areas dedicated to specific functions.
In many neurodegenerative conditions, brain changes occur before symptoms emerge. But now, researchers from Japan have found a new way to distinguish these conditions in the early stages according to changes in brain activity patterns.
Researchers have developed an AI model capable of accurately capturing cognitive decline by measuring how fast the brain is aging. Findings reveal sex-specific differences in how the brain ages. Certain regions of the brain age faster in males than in females, and vice versa. The model has far-reaching applications that extend into personalized medicine and can be used to design patient-tailored interventions for a wide range of brain health concerns.
Finally this week, a healthy diet is associated with slower memory decline, finds a decade-long study of older adults in China, published in The BMJ.
Music can induce a range of emotions and help us to better understand different cultures. But what is it that makes us tune in to some songs more than others? Researcherssay when we listen to a song, our brains predict what happens next, and that prediction dictates whether we like that song or not.
New research has found significant changes in fathers’ brains between the prenatal and the postpartum period. The main changes occurred in cortical areas associated with visual processing, attention, and empathy toward their baby.
Objective measurement of psychiatric disorders has long proved challenging. Yet, there is ample evidence that analysis of speech patterns can accurately diagnose depression and psychosis, measure their severity, and predict their onset, according to a literature review featured in the January/February issue of the Harvard Review of Psychiatry.
Alzheimer’s disease onset may be accelerated by viruses that inflame and disrupt signals from the olfactory system to the hippocampus, a new study reports.
As many as one in four patients who receive anesthesia may suffer accidental awareness during their procedure. Researchers have identified specific brain structures that may predict whether a person will experience accidental awareness under anesthesia. The findings will help identify patients who require higher-than-average doses of anesthesia.
A new study aims to investigate the interaction between the digestive and nervous systems, or the gut-brain axis, to discover more about the links between digestive health and neurodegenerative diseases.
Neuroscientists have now shown that two distinct cell populations in the striatum are affected differently by Huntington’s disease. They believe that neurodegeneration of one of these populations leads to motor impairments, while damage to the other population, located in structures called striosomes, may account for the mood disorders that are often seen in the early stages of the disease.
Finally this week, older adults with cognitive decline who have higher levels of vitamin D in their brains had better cognitive function than their peers with lower levels of vitamin Daccording to a new study.
Have you made any new year’s resolutions this year?
Despite the high failure rate of these resolutions – research by British psychologist Richard Wiseman in 2007 has shown that 88% of all resolutions end in failure – many continue to make the same resolutions year in and year out.
But just why are our old habits so hard to break?
The Science of Willpower
The brain area primarily responsible for willpower is the prefrontal cortex which is responsible for decision-making and goal-directed behavior, and the basal ganglia, which are involved in the formation of habits. When we make a resolution to change a behavior, our prefrontal cortex becomes active as we consider the pros and cons of the change and make a decision to pursue it. The basal ganglia are also involved in the process, as they help to encode the new behavior as a habit.
Making a resolution to change a behavior activates the brain’s reward system, releasing neurotransmitters such as dopamine that can motivate us to pursue the desired change. However, this initial burst of motivation can often wane over time, making it difficult to maintain the new behavior. This is where the basal ganglia come in, as they help to consolidate the new behavior into a long-term habit that requires less conscious effort to maintain. When we perform a behavior repeatedly, the neural pathways associated with that behavior become stronger, making it easier for us to perform the behavior automatically. This is known as habit formation.
Breaking a habit requires breaking these neural connections and replacing them with new ones. This can be difficult because it requires a lot of conscious effort and often involves stepping outside of our comfort zone. It can also be challenging because habits often serve a purpose in our lives, such as providing a sense of structure or helping us to cope with stress.
One way to break a habit is to identify the triggers that lead to the undesirable behavior and find ways to avoid or modify them. It can also be helpful to replace the undesirable behaviour with a new, more desirable behavior that serves the same purpose. For example, if you want to break the habit of snacking on unhealthy foods when you’re feeling stressed, you might try replacing this behavior with a healthier coping mechanism such as going for a walk or practicing deep breathing.
5 Evidence-Based Tips To Help You Achieve Your New Year’s Resolutions
Use implementation intentions: These are specific plans that outline when, where, and how you will carry out your resolution. For example, you might say, “I will go to the gym every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 6:00 PM.” Research has shown that people who use implementation intentions are more likely to follow through on their goals.
Get accountability from others: Research has shown that people who have someone to hold them accountable for their actions are more likely to stick to their resolutions. You might enlist a friend or coach to check in with you regularly or join a support group where you can share your progress and get feedback.
Make the behavior automatic: As mentioned earlier, habits are formed through repetition. By performing a behavior repeatedly, it becomes easier to do automatically. To make your resolution a habit, try to incorporate it into your daily routine.
Use positive self-talk: Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of your resolution, try to focus on the positive benefits. For example, instead of saying “I can’t eat junk food,” try saying “I choose to eat healthy foods because they make me feel energised and strong.” This positive self-talk can help to motivate you to stick to your resolution.
Expect setbacks and plan for them: It’s normal to encounter setbacks when trying to make a change. To increase your chances of success, plan for these setbacks and have a strategy in place for how to handle them. For example, if you’re trying to quit smoking and you have a craving, you might plan to go for a walk or call a supportive friend instead of lighting up a cigarette.
You might also find it helpful to watch this excellent video from Dr. Mike Evans.
Making a New Year’s resolution can be a powerful way to make positive changes in your life. However, it’s important to approach these resolutions with a plan in place to increase your chances of success. With dedication and perseverance, you can achieve your goals and make the positive changes you desire in the new year.
New research suggests that the brain of a bilingual person who knows two alphabets is different from that of a bilingual person who only knows one alphabet. The differences occur in a region called the visual word form area (VWFA).
A new study reports chronic infections of the upper gastrointestinal tract could be linked to Parkinson’s disease. Researchers say alpha synuclein, a Parkinson’s linked protein, is released during upper GI infections, inducing an immune response. Findings suggest frequent chronic infections could overwhelm the body’s ability to remove the protein, leading to the onset of Parkinson’s.
New research has found significant changes in fathers’ brains between the prenatal and the postpartum period. The main changes occurred in cortical areas associated with visual processing, attention, and empathy toward their baby.
A novel deep learning method that uses graph convolutional neural networks (gCNNs) can predict cognitive function based on the brain’s size and structure. The algorithm may provide insights into the relationship between brain morphology and different cognitive functions, as well as declines in cognitive function.
A study led by researchers at the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute links psychological trauma in childhood with an increased risk of developing some kind of mental disorder years later.
Music can induce a range of emotions and help us to better understand different cultures. But what is it that makes us tune in to some songs more than others? Researchers say when we listen to a song, our brains predict what happens next, and that prediction dictates whether we like that song or not.
Finally this week, a new study published by University of Oxford researchers in JMIR Pediatrics and Parenting, shows that although many school-age adolescents are spending considerable time gaming, it is not having a negative impact on their well-being.
If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.– The Buddha (c. 563 BCE)
Look deeply into nature to understand the secrets of the Universe.
Until recently, the task of applying what we know about the brain to the bigger question of personal human experience has been avoided by scientists. However the emergence of the new discipline of neuroscience – the scientific study of the nervous system – is helping us to bridge this gap by providing new ways to answer such age-old questions as why does kindness exist, and why is it important? To answer these questions we first need to consider an important property of nerve cells (neurons) in the human brain.
What actually is emotion?
Emotion feels so natural and seems so normal, but what if emotion is not there? What if emotion is an emergent phenomenon and only something we experience as macroscopic beings? This might sound strange, but we know that we are sandwiched within the Universe. For example, we do not feel the cosmological expansion that dominates the large scale of the Universe nor do we feel the very small scale where individual atoms inside us collide with our skin. Instead, we have a collective term – temperature – to describe what is happening. Perhaps emotion is the same. This may feel uncomfortable when you ask just where is the ‘you’ and how you feel in all of this.
Perhaps it is best to think of it like this – most of us have come to terms with the fact that we are physically a collection of atoms. We, and our consciousness somehow emerge and we seem to be able to live with this illusion of our being. Maybe all we need to do is the same for how we feel, as we play out our short existence.
The discovery of mirror neurons, a cluster of neurons in the brain that help connect us emotionally to other people, respond sympathetically towards others and allow us to anticipate others’ intentions is now believed to be the basis of human empathy. Mirror neurons were first discovered by neuroscientists in the 1990s while recording the activity of neurons in the brain where it was noticed that certain populations of neurons remain silent (observation) and active (imitation) when we watch others perform the same action, hence the name mirror neurons [1,2]. Scientists have extended this finding in the human brain to show that nerve activity in mirror neurons also behaves in the same way when we see another person expressing an emotion, and this nerve activity is not observed in disorders of empathy .
Our behaviour mirrors our environment
Each person is a mirror of their environment, which is then in turn mirrored by their own behaviour. This underlies the powerful phenomenon of social contagion – that information, ideas, and behaviours including kindness can spread through networks of people the way that infectious diseases do. For this reason, giving and receiving kindness can have a contagious effect. Research also shows that optimal learning takes place in an environment that is creative, inclusive, rewarding and bolstered by firm, healthy boundaries, in an environment that is kind. Even those in deep distress due to imprisonment, addiction, financial worries, and high anxiety also benefit greatly from an environment that is creative, inclusive and boundaried.
What to do when we encounter unkindness? Behaviours including anxiety, anger, and rudeness can also spread through networks of people the way that infectious diseases do. The antidote to becoming infected with these miserable states is to be aware that every action must be consciously chosen, and not an emotional response.
Kindness is the key to our survival
Why is kindness so important? This question can be answered in the context that every single human being is unique because we each poses a uniquely complex brain, so complex that in all of human history no two human brains can be identical. This is because the unique combination of about 100 trillion tiny brain connections (synapses) that grow and change throughout life is an ongoing work in progress from conception to death. In this way we each one of us ‘evolve’ as true individuals as we each make our journey through life. Kindness is the green light to keep going. If you are not open to giving and receiving kindness then you may not be growing. In the same way, humankind will only evolve by making room for each and every individual to express their intellectual and spiritual evolution to the full. In this way, the evolution of the human race has everything to do with being open to giving and receiving kindness.
 Kraskov A, Dancause N, Quallo MM, Shepherd S and Lemon RN. (2009) Corticospinal neurons in macaque ventral premotor cortex with mirror properties: A potential mechanism for action suppression? Neuron 64, 922-930.
 Corradini A, Antonietti A. (2013) Mirror neurons and their function in cognitively understood empathy. Consciousness and Cognition. 22, 1152–1161.
To tie in with today’s Halloween theme, I am sharing a slide deck from a presentation I gave some years ago. In the presentation, I explored how our brains provide different insights, values, and priorities when it comes to shaping our beliefs and how we perceive our world.
A new study published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry offers evidence that a simple walk through nature can lower activity in stress-related brain regions. The experiment revealed that participants who walked for an hour in a forest showed decreased amygdala activity during a stress task, while those who walked for an hour in the city did not.
A team of scientists has developed the first computer model predicting the role of cortical glial cells in cognition.
A number of studies have suggested that eating a healthy diet may reduce a person’s risk of dementia, but a new study has found that two diets, including the Mediterranean diet, are not linked to a reduced risk of dementia.
A new theory proposes there is an underlying relationship between nap transition in young children, brain development, and memory formation.
The dose of nicotine from a single cigarette blocks estrogen production in the brain, causing behavioral changes. These findings may shed new light on why quitting smoking may be more difficult for women than men.
A new study suggests quantum processes are part of cognitive and conscious brain functions.
Proteins associated with motor neuron disease, or ALS are present in the gut many years before disease pathologies can be found in the brain. A stool sample or gut biopsy could help identify the presence of MND-associated proteins years before symptoms appear.
Crossword puzzles have an edge over computerized memory games in improving memory function in older adults with mild cognitive impairment.
A team of neuroscientists has recently uncovered how the brain works to make distinctions between “right” and “wrong” sounds—research that provides a deeper understanding of how we learn complex audio-motor tasks like speaking or playing music.
A new study looks deep inside the brain, where previous learning was reactivated during sleep, resulting in improved memory.
Finally this week, a study of nearly 2,000 children found that those who reported playing video games for three hours per day or more performed better on cognitive skills tests involving impulse control and working memory compared to children who had never played video games.
Researchers have found that human brain organoidsreplicate many important cellular and molecular events of the developing human cortex, the part of the brain responsible for movement, perception, and thought.
Loneliness, restless sleep, and unhappiness have a significant effect on biological aging, a new study reports.
A Brazilian study published in the journal PNAS describes some of the effects infection by SARS-CoV-2 can have on the central nervous system. A preliminary version (not yet peer-reviewed) posted in 2020 was one of the first to show that the virus that causes COVID-19 can infect brain cells, especially astrocytes. It also broke new ground by describing alterations in the structure of the cortex, the most neuron-rich brain region, even in cases of mild COVID-19.
New research reveals how changes in pupil size affect the way we perceive our surroundings.
Human Brain Project (HBP) researchers have identified a new marker for predicting the clinical outcome of patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) through magnetoencephalography. This marker can be measured in the brain during its resting state and highlights the importance of brain flexibility for ALS patients.
A new theory of consciousness suggests decisions are made unconsciously, then about half a second later, they become conscious.
Strenuous cognitive work leads to an accumulation of glutamate in the prefrontal cortex, according to new research published in the journal Current Biology. The new findings suggest that mental fatigue is a neuropsychological mechanism that helps to avert the build-up of potentially toxic byproducts of prolonged cognitive activity.
A research team has identified a specific cell group in the brain responsible for shifts in the sleep-wake rhythm caused by psychostimulants.
Amid much speculation and research about how our genetics affect the way we age,new research shows that individual differences in our DNA matter less as we get older and become prone to diseases of aging, such as diabetes and cancer.
The key to a happy life is the ability to transcend personal suffering, find a balance, and recognise that the world has problems. This requires mental effort and those of us who strive to better understand ourselves in the world come out the other side as a new person, with some peace of mind and a way to live.
Fundamental or accidental?
A limit to understanding ourselves in the world is the fact that we do not know that some of the things we perceive to be truly fundamental today may actually be just accidental. For instance, the brain uses systematic patterns of thought to produce philosophy including science, mathematics, literature, ideas, and beliefs including a belief in a deity to guide us towards new insights. What we need to understand is that none of these may be fundamental in themselves. They are just tools that our ancestors used to probe the unknown and to see what is possible – knowing that what is common for us is just a tiny sliver of what actually exists.
Accidental fundamentalism is often mistaken for truth
In the West, we have made the truth our highest value. This motivation while important is weak compared to the actual power of belief. We are born into a culture that often insists on a particular religious or ideological philosophy as fact and the only way to understand ourselves in the world, but adhering to this belief may cause personal suffering by impeding insights necessary to achieve peace of mind. Resisting enculturation is the highest expression of human psychological development and is a hallmark of what is called in psychology the fully self-actualised person.
Self-actualisers reject accepted cultural ‘truths’ and see beyond the confines of an era to achieve a clearer perception of reality. A further subtle difference sets these people apart. Most of us see life as striving to get this or that – whether it be material things or having a family or doing well career-wise. Self-actualizers in contrast do not strive as much as develop. They are only ambitious to the extent of being able to express themselves more fully and perfectly, delighting in what they are able to do. Another general point is their profound freedom of mind. In contrast to the conforming pressures around them, self-actualizers are a walking example of free will.
Mental health requires courage
In this way, happiness can be described as personal autonomy. The independence of mind to explore and choose the best skills and tools needed to achieve personal insight. Where you are no longer beholden to culture, creed, or religion and without any attendant guilt or fear in abandoning old ways in order to try new ones as you evolve to become the master of your own fate.
What to believe?
Mental health is two things:(i) being in touch with reality and (ii) being open to new experiences.But here’s the thing – there is no reality only perception. Understand that the world is not necessarily as you perceive it. Everyone has filters and only by acknowledging them can you begin to get a clearer picture. Even in a close relationship, the same simple act can be viewed differently. A man will see paying all the bills as his duty while his wife will see it as an act of love. Appreciate that your views might be prejudices. Most importantly make sure that the perceptions you do retain or adopt are grounded in verifiable facts and can be tested. Otherwise, any actions you take based on your beliefs will be on shaky ground.
Exercise can improve your cognitive and mental health — but not all forms and intensities of exercise affect the brain equally. The effects of exercise are much more nuanced, as specific intensities of exercise over a long period of time are associated with different aspects of memory and mental health, according to a new study.
A mutation in a newly discovered small protein is connected to a significant increase in the risk for Alzheimer’s disease, expanding the known gene targets for the disease and presenting a new potential avenue for treatment, according to a new study.
A new report highlights the advances and challenges in prevention, clinical care, and research in traumatic brain injury, a leading cause of injury-related death and disability worldwide.
Neurons in an area of the brain responsible for memory (known as the entorhinal cortex) are significantly larger in SuperAgers compared to cognitively average peers, individuals with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease, and even individuals 20 to 30 years younger than SuperAgers — who are aged 80 years and older, reports a new study.
Children who were infected with COVID-19 show a substantially higher risk of developing type 1 diabetes (T1D), according to new research.
Researchers have discovered a biological mechanism that increases the strength with which fear memories are stored in the brain. The study provides new knowledge on the mechanisms behind anxiety-related disorders, and identifies shared mechanisms behind anxiety and alcohol dependence.
Finally this week, a new study demonstrates how an AI algorithm can estimate biological age with high accuracy based on brain scan images.
Addiction is now understood to be a brain disease. Whether it’s alcohol, prescription pain pills, nicotine, gambling, or something else, overcoming an addiction isn’t as simple as just stopping or exercising greater control over impulses.
That’s because addiction develops when the pleasure circuits in the brain get overwhelmed, in a way that can become chronic and sometimes even permanent. This is what’s at play when you hear about reward “systems” or “pathways” and the role of dopamine when it comes to addiction.
But what does any of that really mean?
This video explainer from Yale Medicine shows how addiction takes hold of the brain.
Researchers have presented new findings which found after one session of aerobic exercise people showed reduced cravings for alcohol, lower levels of stress, and improvements in mood.
When our eyes move during REM sleep, we’re gazing at things in the dream world our brains have created, according to a new study. The findings shed light not only into how we dream, but also into how our imaginations work.
Measuring how the eyes’ pupils change in response to light—known as the pupillary light reflex—could potentially be used to screen for autism in young children, according to a new study.
Researchers have made an important discovery about the way our brains process the sensations of sound and touch. They found that sensory systems in the brain are closely interconnected, with regions that respond to touch also involved when we listen to specific sounds connected to touching certain objects.
A study into the effect of surprise on our memory has inadvertently discovered a method that might help us to perform better in exams.
New research finds the brains of people playing online video games synchronize, even when there is a physical distance between the players.
By estimating people’s brain age from MRI scans using machine learning, a team of researchers has identified multiple risk factors for a prematurely aging brain. They found that worse cardiovascular health at age 36 predicted a higher brain age later in life, while men also tended to have older brains than women of the same age, as they report in The Lancet Healthy Longevity.
Young people with 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome have distinct and marked EEG differences in brain activity during sleep, which could influence psychiatric symptoms.
Tight control of blood sugar in teens with Type 1 diabetes may help reduce the disease’s damaging effects on the brain, effects which have been shown even in younger children, according to a study published in Nature Communications.
Tests of the brain’s electrical activity have revealed fentanyl’s effects over time and indicated that the drug stops people’s breathing before other noticeable changes and before they lose consciousness.
A newly developed artificial intelligence model can detect Parkinson’s disease by reading a person’s breathing patterns. The algorithm can also discern the severity of Parkinson’s disease and track progression over time.
A new study reveals how a molecule produced by astrocytes interferes with normal neuron development in a range of neurodevelopmental disorders.
People with an obsessive urge to constantly check the news are more likely to suffer from stress, anxiety, as well as physical ill health, finds a new study published in the peer-reviewed journal Health Communication.
Finally this week, the impact of breathing diesel exhaust fumes may be more severe for females than males, according to new research.
For the first time, a team of international scientists has studied the development of the main immune cell population residing in the human brain, called microglia, on human tissue.
Scientists have uncovered a molecular pathway that distills threatening sights, sounds and smells into a single message: Be afraid. A molecule called CGRP enables neurons in two separate areas of the brain to bundle threatening sensory cues into a unified signal, tag it as negative and convey it to the amygdala, which translates the signal into fear. The research, published in Cell Reports on August 16, 2022, may lead to new therapies for fear-related disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or hypersensitivity disorders such as autism, migraines and fibromyalgia.
Children who sleep less than 9 hours per night have significant differences in brain regions associated with memory, intelligence, and well-being compared to their peers who sleep 9 or more hours per night. Less sleep in children was also associated with increased risks of depression, anxiety, and impulsive behaviors.
A new study finds that Alzheimer’s disease disrupts at least one form of visual memory by degrading a newly identified circuit that connects the vision processing centers of each brain hemisphere.
Leisure activities, such as reading a book, doing yoga and spending time with family and friends may help lower the risk of dementia, according to a new meta-analysis published in the August 10, 2022, online issue of Neurology.
Finally this week,a novel study reports the dynamics of consciousness may be understood by a newly developed conceptual and mathematical framework.
New research shows that moderate physical activity was linked to increased volume in brain areas associated with memory, especially in older adults.
The biological changes that occur as a result of aging could be a mechanism behind why older adults with depression do not have a full resolution of symptoms following taking antidepressants. The persistence of depressive symptoms becomes a source of depleted psychological well-being, increased disability, accelerated cognitive decline, and premature aging in older adults.
Researchers have identified a pathway that begins in the gut and ends with a pro-inflammatory protein in the brain that appears to contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
A new study looks at the brains of black women who reported having experiences with racial discrimination. The goal of the study was to determine whether racial discrimination could affect the brain. After doing MRI scans on the women’s brains, the researchers found changes in their white matter.
The smell of fresh cut grass or blooming flowers appears to have a positive effect on a person’s overall well-being, a new study reveals.
A new study proposes a new learning method for people with autism that may accelerate the learning process and even significantly improve capabilities in terms of visual perception. According to the researchers, improving the perceptual capacity of people with autism is often a challenge, which usually requires long and tedious training alongside additional learning challenges that characterizes autism, such as the ability to generalize learning to new situations.
The effects of COVID-19 infection on neurological health are becoming more apparent. A new study reveals COVID-19 can predispose people to irreversible neurological conditions, accelerate brain aging, and increase the risk of stroke and brain bleeds.
A new study explores the use of music-listening to relieve acute pain, finding that people who were given the impression that they had control over the music they heard experienced more pain relief than people who were not given such control.
Research continues to demonstrate the many ways the gut microbiome can influence human health, and an active area within this field centres on its role in Alzheimer’s disease. A new study has furthered our knowledge of this relationship by demonstrating what’s described as a clear genetic link between the two, while also pointing to the potential for new treatments.
Neuroscientists have confirmed that the exact same network is activated in speakers of 45 different languages representing 12 distinct language families.
Pollution is widely known to be a risk to individual’s physical health, but can it have adverse effects on mental health as well? A study published in Developmental Psychology suggests that exposure to ozone can be a risk factor for depression in adolescents.
Researchers have developed a comprehensive “toolbox” to establish that the mobility of receptors exists in intact brain tissue, and this mobility is critical for certain types of memory.
People challenged with chronic back pain have been given hope with a new treatment that focuses on retraining how the back and the brain communicate, a randomised controlled trial run by researchers at UNSW Sydney and Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) and several other Australian and European universities has shown.
A group of hippocampal neurons show rhythmic activity at different frequencies in the desynchronized state, but can align their rhythmic frequency to produce a synchronized brain rhythm upon activation.
A new hypothesis suggests when people are awake during the biological circadian night there are neurophysiological changes in the brain that alters the way in which we interact with the world, especially when it comes to impulse control, information processing, and reward processing.
Finally this week, you’re fast asleep. But some regions of your brain tasked with hearing sound aren’t taking the night off, according to new research.
Understand (verb): to stand in the midst of, among, between.
Intelligence (noun): from the Latin words, inter (between), and legere (choose).
First things first – mushrooms
It was Charles Darwin who wrote that intelligence is based on how efficient a species becomes at doing the things it needs to survive. If that is the case, then the 2.5 billion-year-old fungi are undoubtedly the most intelligent organisms on Earth. Most think that fungi just make mushrooms, but the unrelenting growth of fungal stems (hyphae) which are five times thinner than human hair, and the enzyme cocktail they excrete, is enough to shatter the hardest rock repeatedly, creating the first soils in a bare landscape. In addition, fungi hold that soil in place with their dense root-like net (mycelium).
Fungi shaped and guided the force of life on Earth
It is fungi who helped pave the way for modern plants and animals to colonise virgin ground and it was likely fungi who help plants to make the leap from our lakes and seas onto land 470 Million years ago. Fungi have enabled, shaped and guided the force of life on Earth.
Have transcendental fungi influenced human intelligence?
Some psychoactive fungi otherwise known as magic mushrooms contain a chemical compound called psilocybin (pronounced silo-sigh-bin) that can produce hallucinations like that of LSD and ergot, which are produced by mushrooms, and there are many such mushrooms capable of producing similar experiences. Ancient cave art indicates a reverence for these ‘spiritual’ mushrooms. In fact, some scholars suggest that the hallucinogenic effects of these mushrooms can explain the puzzling speed by which human culture, social structure; commerce, art and religion emerged about 70,000 years ago – by allowing our ancestors to expand their minds in the first place. Mushrooms may indeed be the architects of modern human intelligence.
Can we ever know truth?
In the West, we have made the truth our highest value. This motivation while important is weak compared to the actual power of belief. We are born into a culture, which often insists on a particular religious or ideological philosophy as fact and the only way to understand ourselves in the world.
Why we cannot impose our beliefs on the universe
We humans are only as intelligent as the knowledge we have to work with. For centuries deep thinkers thought of earth, air, fire and water as the fundamental elements. It was a reductionist idea and nothing was more fundamental that those four elements and you could build everything up from them. Then, in the mid-1800’s we discovered the periodic table of the elements so while we continued to study Earth (geology), air (meteorology), fire (combustion) and water (hydrology) we became aware that for instance since the Earth is made from many elements, Earth itself was no longer fundamental.
The atomic age
After the periodic table came the modern atomic age including the discovery of the smallest particles namely quarks, leptons and gluons – the basis of today’s standard model of physics. So today, we know that while the periodic table is good for chemistry it is no longer fundamental, and for the deep fundamentals, we have to go to quarks leptons and gluons, and so on – irreducible representations of matter in space-time.
Space, time and beyond
Today, most scientists assume that space-time is as fundamental as the tiny particles, which are embedded within it. In fact, the whole framework of human understanding of the natural world (reality) is based on this idea of space-time. While no one can state the future with any certainty, who is to say that patterns outside of space and time may be our next revelation, and our current framework will be proven no longer fundamental?
Modes of human understanding
Science (natural philosophy) is the study of reality and is grounded on findings based on tests and experiments. The mantra of science is that we should never take anything on faith. Faith is the enemy of science. With science, you do not lose anything by losing faith; in fact, what you gain is reality. By its very nature, science is uncertain and it is this uncertainty that drives us forward to understand ourselves in the world including the things we need to survive.
There be dragons
A second mode of human understanding is supernatural philosophy, which is grounded in faith in the existence of unobservable entities including Gods, messiahs, spirits, souls, angels, devils, and so on. Humans crave familiarity and find certainty intrinsically pleasing and these supernatural beliefs are for the most part benign, and they may be psychologically useful if they do not involve making sacrifices that are ultimately irrational or being manipulated by others.
Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the smartest of them all?
Aristotle (384-322 BC) argued that intelligence is an exclusive gift from God to mankind, and human intelligence has been defined in many ways: the capacity for logic, understanding, self-awareness, learning, emotional knowledge, reasoning, planning, creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving. However, as fungi have shown us, evolution’s blind design has struck on intelligent solutions across the whole of nature.
A universal theory of intelligence?
Science reveals that intelligence may also exist in non-living systems, and it is very possible that artificial intelligence (AI) models don’t need to mimic the human brain at all. Airplanes fly despite bearing little resemblance to birds. Still, it is crucial to remember, as we catalogue the details of how intelligence is implemented in the brain, that all we may be doing is describing the emperor’s clothes in the absence of the emperor. What is emerging is a bigger framework of types of intelligences, and the key for humanity will be to recognise them in all their guises.
A rapid leap in human understanding is now necessary
As we face the new challenges of climate change and mass extinction, we need to expand our awareness to quickly adapt, as our ancestors did 70,000 years ago. Just as an ant cannot appreciate the level of living that a human can enjoy, so most of us do not know what is possible if we never look beyond our little worlds. The key to our survival can be summarized in one sentence, and here it is. We should be able to live in the world and improve it, and not just be another product of it.
A creative and conscious response to the world
Modern transcendentalism argues that insight and experience are more important than logic; that spirituality (one’s relationship with the self, others, nature, and whatever else one considers the ultimate connection) should come from the self, not from organized religion; that humanity can be corrupted by society and institutions, and that nature is beautiful and should be respected. This speaks to the very heart of our human condition, and to the ideas of fortune by which we live. Indeed, this idea may be the creative and conscious response to the world that we need today in order to survive.
Our mission should we decide to accept it
Our rapidly changing planet has created an urgent need for us to detach from old ways of thinking and doing – to protect our planet and the other animals that we share it with. A rapid leap in human understanding is now necessary for humanity to create a strong and healthy ecosystem – to coexist with all life on Earth in a way that was not possible before. A world where there are no excuses only opportunities. Like our ancestors, we are quite capable of detachment or transcendence, and this may be why we will not just endure, but shape and guide the force of life across our galaxy and beyond.
New evidence that suggests the SARS-CoV-2 virus is able to enter the brain by using nose cells to make nanotube tunnels is published in the journal Science Advances.
Exploring the predictive properties of neuronal metabolism can contribute to our understanding of how humans learn and remember. This key finding from a consideration of molecular mechanisms of learning and memory conducted by scientists from Russia and the U.S. has been published in Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews.
Older adults who suffer from hypothyroidism are at increased risk of developing dementia. The risk is even higher in those who require thyroid hormone replacement therapy to treat their condition.
Researchers have shown that the computational imaging technique, known as “ghost imaging”, can be combined with human vision to reconstruct the image of objects hidden from view by analyzing how the brain processes barely visible reflections on a wall.
Researchers have discovered the molecule in the brain responsible for associating good or bad feelings with a memory. Their discovery, published inNaturepaves the way for a better understanding of why some people are more likely to retain negative emotions than positive ones—as can occur with anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
New research has revealed some of the first detailed molecular clues associated with one of the leading causes of death and disability, a condition known as traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Pollution is widely known to be a risk to individual’s physical health, but can it have adverse effects on mental health as well? A study published in Developmental Psychology suggests that exposure to ozone can be a risk factor for depression in adolescents.
Finally this week, you’re fast asleep. But some regions of your brain tasked with hearing sound aren’t taking the night off, according to new research.
While depression is a common problem for people who have had a stroke, some people may have symptoms of depression years before their stroke, according to a study published in Neurology.
New research shows visual scanpaths during memory retrieval tasks were associated with the quality of the memory. Researchers say the replay of a sequence of eye movements helps boost memory reconstruction.
A new neuroimaging study reveals every person has unique brain anatomy. The uniqueness is a result of a combination of genetic factors and life experiences, researchers report.
Adolescents are over three times more vulnerable to developing a cannabis addiction than adults, but may not be at increased risk of other mental health problems related to the drug, finds a new study led by UCL and King’s College London researchers.
Researchers have developed a chop stick-like device that uses a weak electrical current to stimulate the tongue and enhance the taste of salt. The device could help to reduce dietary sodium intake by up to 30%.
Socially anxious women exhibit heightened oxytocin reactivity to psychosocial stress, according to new research published in Psychoneuroendocrinology. The study provides evidence that the hormone plays a role in physiological reactions to socially stressful situations.
Delayed circadian rhythms and sleep disruptions may be a cause of teen depression, rather than a symptom that develops as a result of the mental health disorder.
Health researchers have contributed to an international study published in Nature Neuroscience that sheds light on the mechanism by which anti-anxiety drugs act on the brain which could lead to cognitive impairment in vulnerable individuals.
Protein buildups like those seen around neurons in Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other brain diseases occur in all aging cells, a new study suggests. Learning their significance may reveal new strategies for treating age-related diseases.
I’m delighted to share the recent publication of new international aquatic therapy guidelines for Parkinson’s disease – a world-first in achieving international consensus on the evidence-based application of aquatic therapy in the treatment of the illness.
Aquatic therapy involves water immersion as an exercise and rehabilitation medium to improve the physical capacity and psychosocial wellbeing of those living with Parkinson’s disease. Positive effects include reduced disability with improved mobility and balance in those with mild to moderate illness.
The guidelines are based on robust research evidence, the opinions of people living with the illness, and on practice-based expertise stemming from international expert consensus. The inclusion of a panel of patient stakeholders in the research process gave added strength and depth to the aquatic therapy practice guidelines by ensuring that the new guidelines could be tailored to individual patient abilities and needs.
Another key strength of this research was the development of guidelines based on evidence-based practice, which is often missing from clinical practice settings. This is because healthcare professionals often have limited time to review all the available literature and work within the ideals of evidence-based practice.
In another innovation, the guidelines were published in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease as a two-page guideline infographic specifically designed for easy dissemination via social media platforms.
This infographic provides internationally agreed practical, systematic guide to clinicians in implementing an effective therapy programme tailored to individual patient needs.
Notes & References
 Carroll, L.M., Morris, M.E., O’Connor, W.T., Volpe, D., Salsberg, J., and Clifford, A.M. (2021) ‘Evidence-based aquatic therapy guidelines for Parkinson’s disease: an international consensus study,’ Journal of Parkinson’s disease, 12, 621-637, available: doi.org/10.3233/JPD-212881
 Carroll, L.M., Morris, M.E., O’Connor, W.T. and Clifford, A.M. (2021) ‘Community Aquatic Therapy for Parkinson’s Disease: An International Qualitative Study’, Disability and Rehabilitation, available: doi.org/10.1080/09638288.2021.1906959.
 Carroll, L.M., Morris, M.E., O’Connor, W.T. and Clifford, A.M. (2020) ‘Is aquatic therapy optimally prescribed for Parkinson’s disease? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis’, Journal of Parkinson’s disease, 10(2), 59-76, available: doi.org/10.3233/JPD-191784
Intriguing new research has pinpointed a special population of T cells—tissue-resident memory T cells—as key players in the development of chronic autoimmune disorders that affect the central nervous system, opening a new window of understanding into conditions such as multiple sclerosis and many others.
New research shows emotional regulation was linked to theta wave activity in the frontal cortex of the brain.
Researchers have recently carried out a study investigating the relationship between age and the functional coupling between specific neural networks in the brain. Their paper, published in Psychology and Aging, shows that the connectivity between certain brain regions can predict people’s chronological age with a high level of accuracy.
Men who experience behavior changes including apathy or having false beliefs and perceptions in later life are at risk of faster cognitive decline than women, according to new research.
A new study shows that children younger than their classmates within a school year are more likely to be treated for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), suggesting immaturity may influence diagnosis.
Finally this week, researchers have identified a novel gene called MGMT that appears to increase Alzheimer’s disease risk in women.
Researchers have discovered how two neocortical areas in the brain communicate with one another and found that their influence on each other changes over much faster timescales than previously thought.
Neuroscientists using MRI scans discovered that psychopathic people have a 10% larger striatum, a cluster of neurons in the subcortical basal ganglia of the forebrain, than regular people. This represents a clear biological distinction between psychopaths and non-psychopathic people.
Glycan, a special sugar protein, appears to play a significant role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
Genetic studies have offered clues, identifying genes associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder, but despite finding many pieces to the puzzle, scientists have not yet figured out how they all fit together, and why there is such wide variation in ASD symptoms. Now an international team of scientists report significant progress in understanding how the combined effects of rare mutations and common genetic variation determine whether a child will develop ASD.
Researchers identify the exertion level where aerosol particle emission increases exponentially, offering an explanation as to why exercise intensity may be linked to the transmission of infections.
The dopaminergic system appears to play an important but overlooked role in LSD’s effects on consciousness, according to new research published in the journal Psychopharmacology. The findings provide new insight into the neurophysiological mechanisms responsible for the unique effects of psychedelic drugs.
Finally this week, a new study has identified potential targets to develop a therapy that could prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
Research has made it possible to visualize for the first time and in great detail brain inflammation using diffusion-weighted Magnetic Resonance Imaging. This detailed “X-ray” of inflammation cannot be obtained with conventional MRI, but requires data acquisition sequences and special mathematical models. Once the method was developed, the researchers were able to quantify the alterations in the morphology of the different cell populations involved in the inflammatory process in the brain.
A new study conducted at 38 schools in Barcelona suggests that traffic noise at schools has a detrimental effect on the development of working memory and attention in primary-school students.
People who can frequently recall their dreams tend to be more creative and exhibit increased functional connectivity in a key brain network, according to new research published in the journal Nature and Science of Sleep. The findings provide new insights into the neurophysiological correlates of dreaming.
Researchers have identified elevated levels of a biomarker in the blood that persists for months in long COVID patients who experience neuropsychiatric symptoms.
Plenty of people claim they can’t function without their morning coffee, but is there a neurological basis to it? A study published in Scientific Reportssuggests that coffee does have beneficial effects on cognitive function, and it may do this by reorganizing brain functional connectivity.
Low exposure to gonadal hormones during early gestation and infancy predicts higher recalled childhood gender nonconformity in men, according to new research.
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have explored the regions of the brain where concrete and abstract concepts materialize. A new study now explores if people who grow up in different cultures and speak different languages form these concepts in the same regions of the brain.
Finally this week, new research will explore how psilocybin affects specific brain pathways in autistic adults and is the first-ever mechanistic study of psilocybin in autistic adults.
The return of consciousness after traumatic brain injury (TBI) remains something of a mystery for scientists and is not easy to predict. A series of recently published studies have found that by using technologies to monitor brain functions after TBI, scientists may be able to better predict who will “wake up” after TBI and what brain circuits to target to potentially treat disorders of consciousness.
According to a new report, both genetics and environmental factors contribute to socioeconomic status’ impact in an interplay with effects that spans several areas of the brain.
Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have studied how the screen habits of U.S. children correlate with how their cognitive abilities develop over time. They found that the children who spent an above-average time playing video games increased their intelligence more than the average, while TV watching or social media had neither a positive nor a negative effect.
Finally this week, a new study reveals the mechanisms behind repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation’s effect on the brain in the treatment of depression.
Can people who understand the emotions of others better interpret emotions conveyed through music? Anew study by an international team of researchers suggests the abilities are linked. People who are more accurate at reading another person’s emotions are better able to understand what a musician is trying to convey through their compositions. Additionally, those with higher empathetic accuracy are better able to feel the emotions conveyed through music.
A team of researchers affiliated with several institutions in the U.S. has identified a subtype of brain cells that die in Parkinson’s patients.
Elevated levels of PHGDH in the blood could signal the earliest stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers caution older adults against using “brain-boosting” supplements that contain serine due to its link to PHGDH. As PHGDH is a key enzyme in serine production, elevated PHGDH levels result in increased serine levels in the brain.
A new study examines the role of a brain area called the anterior superior temporal sulcus (aSTS) in forgiving those who make unintentional mistakes.
Using artificial intelligence technology, researchers have identified both risk and protective factors for depression in middle-aged to older adults. Social isolation, the study found, was the biggest risk factor for depression, followed by mobility difficulties and health issues.
Could there be a link between cognitive decline and excessive daytime napping? New research published in Alzheimer’s and Dementia suggests a potential connection.
Stimulating the vagus nerve, which provides a direct link between the gut and brain, makes people pay less attention to sad facial expressions according to new research published in the journal Neuroscience.
A new study reveals a mechanism that appears to reverse the build-up of protein aggregates by refolding them, rather than removing them.
Researchers found idiopathic autism occurs as the result of epigenetic abnormalities in hematopoietic cells during fetal development, leading to immune dysregulation in the brain and gut.
A specific Parkinson’s related gene could be a driver behind vocal production problems associated with the disease. The findings could lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment of Parkinson’s disease.
Finally this week by scanning the brains of 24 people actively suppressing a particular memory, researchers found a neural circuit that detects, inhibits, and eventually erodes intrusive memories.
Scientists want to increase their understanding of circadian rhythms, those internal 24-hour biological clock cycles of sleeping and waking that occur in organisms, ranging from humans to plants to fungi to bacteria. Now a research team has examined the complex workings of cyanobacteria and can better comprehend what drives its circadian clock.
A new study published is the first to look at multiple levels of biology within women with postpartum depression (PPD) to see how women with the condition differ from those without it.
There are five different diseases that attack the language areas in the left hemisphere of the brain and slowly cause progressive impairments of language known as primary progressive aphasia, reports a new study.
A team of scientists has discovered how working memory is “formatted”—a finding that enhances our understanding of how visual memories are stored.
People whose brains release more of the neurochemical oxytocin are kinder to others and are more satisfied with their lives. This is the finding of new research, published in Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, that also discovered that oxytocin release increases with age, showing why, on average, people are more caring as they get older.
A genetic study involving thousands of people with bipolar disorder has revealed new insight into the condition’s molecular underpinnings.
One of the most important molecules in the brain doesn’t work quite the way scientists thought it did, according to new work by researchers. The results, published April 20 in Nature, may aid the development of a new generation of more effective neurological and psychiatric therapies with fewer side effects.
Alzheimer’s Disease could be caused by damage to a protective barrier in the body that allows fatty substances to build up in the brain, newly published research argues.
Researchers have established for the first time a link between depressive disorders and mechanical changes in blood cells.
Nearly half of all older adults now die with a diagnosis of dementia listed on their medical record, up 36% from two decades ago, a new study shows.
Finally this week, epigenetic markers of cognitive aging can predict performance on cognitive tests later in life, according to a study published in the journal Aging.
A new study reveals axon density is lower than previously believed between distant regions of the brain.
In a study published in the journal Cell Reports, an international team of investigators used biomarkers, statistical modeling, and other techniques to develop tools for measuring the biological ages of various organ systems. Based on their findings, the researchers report that there are multiple “clocks” within the body that vary widely based on factors including genetics and lifestyle in each individual.
Researchers have now demonstrated that the brain waves during periods of deep sleep in a specific area of the brain can be used to determine the extent of an individual’s propensity for risk during their everyday life.
A study at Boston Children’s Hospital explains for the first time why COVID-19 causes severe inflammation in some people, leading to acute respiratory distress and multi-organ damage.
A team of researchers has found a link between the use of antibiotics by middle-aged women and cognitive decline later in life. The group has published a paper describing their work on the open-access site PLOS ONE.
Women who experienced childhood trauma had an increased risk of developing multiple sclerosis later in life. The evidence suggests childhood abuse and trauma can alter the immune system and increase the risk of developing autoimmune diseases.
A study has found no increased risk of developing brain tumors regardless of whether a person was a frequent cell phone user or if they had never used a cell phone before.
The consolidation of learning that occurs during sleep is a result of the learning process and not merely because certain brain regions get used a lot during learning. This finding is published in The Journal of Neuroscience and resolves a long-standing debate among sleep researchers.
People who grew up in rural or suburban areas have better spatial navigation skills than those raised in cities, particularly cities with grid-pattern streets, finds a new study.
The return of consciousness after traumatic brain injury (TBI) remains something of a mystery for scientists and is not easy to predict. A series of recently published studies have found that by using technologies to monitor brain functions after TBI, scientists may be able to better predict who will “wake up” after TBI and what brain circuits to target to potentially treat disorders of consciousness.
Finally this week, researchers have established for the first time a link between depressive disorders and mechanical changes in blood cells.
The first major study to compare brain scans of people before and after they catch Covid has revealed shrinkage and tissue damage in regions linked to smell and mental capacities months after subjects tested positive.
Researchers have discovered two types of brain cells that play a key role in dividing continuous human experience into distinct segments that can be recalled later. The discovery provides new promise as a path toward development of novel treatments for memory disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Stanford Medicine researchers have linked a specific gene known to be associated with ALS with a characteristic of the disease, opening avenues for a targeted therapy.
A research group from the University of Bologna discovered the first causal evidence of the double dissociation between what we see and what we believe we see: these two different mechanisms derive from the frequency and amplitude of alpha oscillations.
A new, first-of-its-kind clinical trial will examine how the brain adapts to advanced, bionic arms in children born without a limb, with the ultimate goal of improving children’s control of their prosthetic.
People who suffer from a neurological or mental health condition are at increased risk of developing another disorder later in life. Parkinson’s disease patients are four times more likely to develop dementia, and those with mental health disorders were also at greater risk of developing dementia later in life.
Finally this week, new research shows if the circadian clock is disrupted, we might be at greater risk of retinal degeneration as we age.
New research is providing hope to immunocompromised people who are vulnerable to COVID-19. Scientists have discovered promising evidence that T cell immunotherapy could help them to fight against multiple strains of the virus.
Treatments integrating music and auditory beat stimulation are effective in reducing state anxiety in some patients, according to a new study published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE.
The underlying molecular mechanisms that promote autoimmune diseases are multilayered and complex. Now, scientists have succeeded in deciphering new details of these processes. Their work supports the notion that excessive consumption of glucose directly promotes the pathogenic functions of certain cells of the immune system and that, conversely, a calorie-reduced diet can have a beneficial effect on immune diseases.
Teens who had an insecure attachment to their mothers as toddlers are more likely to overestimate the trustworthiness of strangers, a new study reports.
A new study reveals that oleic acid produced in the brain is an essential regulator of the process that enables learning and memory and supports proper mood regulation. The finding has paved the path to discovering potential new therapeutic strategies to counteract cognitive and mood decline in patients with neurological disorders.
Scientists have found that people with Parkinson’s disease have a clear “genetic signature” of the disease in their memory T cells. The scientists hope that targeting these genes may open the door to new Parkinson’s treatments and diagnostics.
If you are forgetful or make mistakes when in a hurry, a new study found that meditation could help you to become less error-prone.
Older adults who take statin drugs have a lower risk of developing Parkinson’s disease or parkinsonism symptoms later in life compared to those who do not take statins. Researchers speculate this may be because statins have a neuroprotective effect on arteries in the brain.
Ever wonder how ballet dancers can spin and spin and spin, but never seem to get dizzy? Neuroplasticity, that’s how. This short video explains how it works, and how you can use your brain in the same way.
Researchers recently carried out a large-scale analysis of the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Their findings, published in Nature Neuroscience, unveiled a series of disease-related changes in protein co-expression modules, which were not identified when examining RNA networks in the same brain regions.
A new study, published in the journal PNAS, proposes how the brain stays stable despite changes in the neural code.
Cognitive decline is the biggest factor in determining how long patients with Alzheimer’s disease will live after being diagnosed, according toa new research study. The findings, published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, are a first step that could help health care providers provide reliable prediction and planning assistance for patients with Alzheimer’s disease and their families.
Seven in ten long COVID patients experience concentration and memory problems several months after the initial onset of their disease, with many performing worse than their peers on cognitive tests, according to new research from the University of Cambridge.
Finally this week, researchers have developed a new method for training people to be creative, one that shows promise of succeeding far better than current ways of sparking innovation.
The precision with which we perceive the real world is not stable in time, rather it rhythmically fluctuates between high precision and low precision states several times per second. These fluctuationsfollow rhythmic electrical activities in the brain. Electrical rhythms of the brain range across different frequencies, from 1 to 250 hertz.
Brain circuitry responsible for motivation and pleasure is activated when a person experiences pain. Thefindings reveal a link as to why some people may overeat when they experience chronic pain.
For the first time, neuroscientists have identified a population of neurons in the human brain that lights up when we hear singing, but not other types of music. These neurons, found in the auditory cortex, appear to respond to the specific combination of voice and music, but not to either regular speech or instrumental music. Exactly what they are doing is unknown and will require more work to uncover, the researchers say.
People exposed to more green space during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic reported significantly less depression and anxiety, according to new research published in the journal PLOS One.
A new study links cardiorespiratory fitness in older adults to a decreased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Older adults with higher levels of cardiorespiratory fitness have a 33% reduced risk for developing Alzheimer’s.
Finally this week,Nostalgia decreases activity in pain-related brain areas and decreases subjective ratings of thermal pain, according to research recently published in Journal of Neuroscience.
Researchers at Oxford University have implanted a novelclosed-loop research platform for investigating the role of the pedunculopontine nucleus (PPN)—a brainstem nucleus—in Parkinson’s-like Multiple Systems Atrophy (MSA).
Your brain remains as nimble as ever until you hit your 60s, according to a report published in the journal Nature Human Behaviour.
A team of researchers has developed a way to create a molecular map of the human blood-brain barrier. In their paper published in the journal Nature, the group describes how they created their map and what it revealed about disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Brain organization differs between boys and girls with autism, according to a new study from the Stanford University School of Medicine.
Children with insomnia symptoms are likely to persist with them as young adults and are significantly more likely to develop an insomnia disorder in early adulthood compared to children who do not have difficulty sleeping, according to new research.
A specific group of fungi residing in the intestines can protect against intestinal injury and influence social behavior, according to new preclinical research.
The University of Oulu Functional Neuroimaging research group has for the first time succeeded in describing how the various types of pulsations in the human brain change when a person sleeps. Brain pulsation changes during sleep and their role in brain clearance have not been previously studied in humans. The results of the study may also help understand the mechanisms behind many brain diseases.
Finally this week, selenium, a natural mineral found in grains, meats, and nuts can reverse cognitive impairment following a stroke and improve learning and memory in the aging brain.
While the word “mutation” may conjure up alarming notions, a mutation in brain immune cells serves a positive role in protecting people against Alzheimer’s disease. Now University of California, Irvine biologists have discovered the mechanisms behind this crucial process.
People cannot distinguish between a face generated by Artificial Intelligence – using StyleGAN2- and a real face say researchers, who are calling for safeguards to prevent “deep fakes”.
Minor everyday rises in blood pressure due to short-term stressors can be linked to a brain area that controls conscious and learned motor skills. This discovery, presented by researchers, paves the way for a chance to influence the rises in blood pressure and, in the long run, prevent hypertension.
MRI scans of children aged 9 to 10 years with ADHD showed few differences in structural brain measurements compared to their unaffected peers, according to a new study.
A recent study has shown that the brain has neurons that fire specifically during certain mathematical operations. The findings indicate that some of the neurons detected are active exclusively during additions, while others are active during subtractions. They do not care whether the calculation instruction is written down as a word or a symbol.
New research has shown that a bacterium commonly present in the nose can sneak into the brain and set off a cascade of events that may lead to Alzheimer’s disease.
A research team has discovered that communication between two key memory regions in the brain determines how what we experience becomes part of what we remember, and as these regions mature, the precise ways by which they interact make us better at forming lasting memories.
Finally this week, digital twins are already used in manufacturing, industry, and aerospace. Now a European project called Neurotwin wants to make virtual copies of brains.
It has long been known that there is an association between food and pain, as people with chronic pain often struggle with their weight. Researchers at the Del Monte Institute for Neuroscience may have found an explanation in a new study that suggests that circuitry in the brain responsible for motivation and pleasure is impacted when someone experiences pain.
When a person tries to access a memory, their brain quickly sifts through everything stored in it to find the relevant information. But as we age, many of us have difficulty retrieving memories. In a review published in the journal Trends in Cognitive Sciencesresearchers propose an explanation for why this might be happening: the brains of older adults allocate more space to accumulated knowledge and have more material to navigate when attempting to access memories.
Researchers have discovered a critical role the dorsal precentral gyrus plays in how people use the sound of their voices to control how they want the words they speak to sound.
Finally this week, a new study has uncovered new evidence linking higher levels of neuroticism and anxiety with the ability to experience a deeply relaxing sensation known as the Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR).
Researchers propose forgetting memories or things we have learned may be a functional feature in the brain and actually an additional form of learning.
Scientists have developed a device for recording brain activity that is more compact and affordable than the solutions currently on the market. With its high signal quality and customizable configuration, the device could help people with restricted mobility regain control of their limbs or provide advance warnings of an impending seizure to patients with epilepsy. The article presenting the device and testing results came out in Experimental Brain Research.
A new, large-scale study led by scientists at the Yale School of Public Health has established a robust link between long-term ozone exposure and an increased risk of cognitive impairment in older adults.
A new study found that frailty was a strong risk factor for dementia, even among people who are at a high genetic risk for dementia, and that it might be modified through a healthy lifestyle.
A systematic review published in the scientific journalAddictionhas found that cannabis use leads to acute cognitive impairments that may continue beyond the period of intoxication.
Neuroscientists have identified a specific signal that young children and even babies use to determine whether two people have a strong relationship and a mutual obligation to help each other.
Finally this week a new study reveals how the body produces different health-promoting signaling molecules in an organ-specific manner following exercise at different points during the day.
Running may be a useful activity to undertake for better mental health. Researchers have found that only ten minutes of moderate-intensity running increases local blood flow to the various loci in the bilateral prefrontal cortex—the part of the brain that plays an important role in controlling mood and executive functions.
New research reveals how our immune cells use the body’s fat stores to fight infection. The research could help develop new approaches to treating people with bacterial infections.
Recent cannabis use is linked to extremes of nightly sleep duration—less than 6 hours or more than 9 hours—reveals a study of a large representative sample of US adults, published online in the journal Regional Anesthesia & Pain Medicine.
Living alone for several years and/or experiencing serial relationship break-ups are strongly linked to raised levels of inflammatory markers in the blood–but only in men–finds a large population study published online in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.
Long before the onset of dementia, there is evidence for increased activity of the brain’s immune system. Researchers came to this conclusion based on a study of more than 1,000 older adults.
A new study investigates how viewing visual art affects our emotions. The findings reveal how the aesthetic experience can impact the body’s emotional response.
New research has shown centenarians have distinct immune cell type composition and activity and possess highly functional immune systems that have successfully adapted to a history of sickness allowing for exceptional longevity. These immune cells may help identify important mechanisms to recover from disease and promote longevity.
Adding more magnesium-rich foods, such as spinach and nuts, to your daily diet can help reduce age-related brain shrinkage and stave off symptoms of dementia, a new study reports.
Scientists have found that the amino acid glycine can deliver a “slow-down” signal to the brain, likely contributing to major depression, anxiety and other mood disorders in some people. The discovery improves understanding of the biological causes of major depression and could accelerate efforts to develop new, faster-acting medications for such hard-to-treat mood disorders
A new method determines, with 91% accuracy whether a person is suffering from anxious or non-anxious depression from brain signals while the eyes are closed.
Researchers have found a way to assess consciousness without external stimulation, using a little-used approach where volunteers squeeze a force sensor with their hand when they breathe in and release it when they breathe out, resulting in more precise and sensitive measurements that may help improve treatment for insomnia and coma reversal.
Finally this week,new evidence suggests astrocytes can sense and react to change. These processes are key to memory formation and behavioral shifts.