Weekly Neuroscience Update

UCL Medical staff discussing an image of a human brain

Researchers at University College London have made a breakthrough in the way that drugs could be delivered to the brain, tackling the difficult problem of constructing drugs which are able to pass through the blood-brain barrier – a mechanism which prevents many chemicals in the bloodstream from passing into the brain, including synthetic compounds administered as medication as well as harmful environmental toxins.

For older adults looking to sharpen their mental abilities, it might be time to log on to Facebook. Preliminary research findings from the University of Arizona suggest that men and women older than 65 who learn to use Facebook could see a boost in cognitive function.

A single concussion may cause lasting structural damage to the brain, according to a new study published online in the journal Radiology.

In an effort to better evaluate and prevent concussions and head traumas, researchers at Johns Hopkins University have developed a computer model to identify what types of jarring movements to the body can cause injury to the brain

A team of sleep researchers has confirmed the mechanism that enables the brain to consolidate memory and found that a commonly prescribed sleep aid enhances the process. Those discoveries could lead to new sleep therapies that will improve memory for aging adults and those with dementia, Alzheimer’s and schizophrenia.

How do neurons store information about past events? In the Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, a previously unknown mechanism of memory trace formation has been discovered. It appears that at least some events are remembered thanks to geometry.

It is possible to tell who a person is thinking about by analyzing images of his or her brain. Our mental models of people produce unique patterns of brain activation, which can be detected using advanced imaging techniques according to a study by Cornell University neuroscientist Nathan Spreng and his colleagues.

Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) researchers have found the first evidence that selective activation of the dentate gyrus, a portion of the hippocampus, can reduce anxiety without affecting learning.