Weekly Round Up

The secret world of dreams could soon be cracked open. Innovative neuroscientists have already begun to figure out the thoughts of awake people– now, a team reckon they can use similar methods to tap into dreams.

We already know that “mirror therapy” – visual feedback from mirrors – has been shown to reduce some kinds of chronic pain, notably the pain felt in  “phantom limbs” of amputees. Preliminary results from a new study, described November 12 at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, suggests mirror therapy may offer a  may offer a powerful and inexpensive way to fight persistent arthritis pain.

Brain scans have revealed the workings of the brain’s GPS that underpin our decisions as we navigate towards a destination.

A team of researchers co-led by the University of Pennsylvania has developed and tested a new high-resolution, ultra-thin device capable of recording brain activity from the cortical surface without having to use penetrating electrodes. The device could make possible a whole new generation of brain-computer interfaces for treating neurological and psychiatric illness and research.

How you think about pain can have a major impact on how it feels. That’s the intriguing conclusion neuroscientists are reaching as scanning technologies let them see how the brain processes pain.

Fourteen-year-olds who were frequent video gamers had more gray matter in the rewards center of the brain than peers who didn’t play video games as much – suggesting that gaming may be correlated to changes in the brain, much as addictions are.