Weekly Neuroscience Update

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Yusnier Viera

A new study of the brain of a maths supremo supports Darwin’s belief that intellectual excellence is largely due to “zeal and hard work” rather than inherent ability. University of Sussex neuroscientists took fMRI scans of champion ‘mental calculator’ Yusnier Viera during arithmetical tasks that were either familiar or unfamiliar to him and found that his brain did not behave in an extraordinary or unusual ways.

A fear memory was reduced in people by exposing them to the memory over and over again while they slept. It’s the first time that emotional memory has been manipulated in humans during sleep, report Northwestern Medicine scientists.

Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) researchers have identified and validated two rare gene mutations that appear to cause the common form of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) that strikes after the age of 60.

Moderate reductions in body temperature can improve outcomes after a person suffers a traumatic brain injury (TBI).

When individuals with psychopathy imagine others in pain, brain areas necessary for feeling empathy and concern for others fail to become active and be connected to other important regions involved in affective processing and decision-making, reports a study published in the open-access journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

Research from Virginia Tech suggests that with advances in neurofeedback techniques, the signal-to-noise ratio of the brain activity underlying our thoughts can be “remastered.”

In a landmark discovery, the final piece in the puzzle of understanding how the brain circuitry vital to normal fertility in humans and other mammals operates has been put together by researchers at New Zealand’s University of Otago.

Brain regions associated with memory shrink as adults age, and this size decrease is more pronounced in those who go on to develop neurodegenerative disease, reports a new study published Sept. 18 in the Journal of Neuroscience . The volume reduction is linked with an overall decline in cognitive ability and with increased genetic risk for Alzheimer’s disease, the authors say.

Scientists say that people who have a certain abnormality in their brain structure are more likely to develop chronic pain following a lower back injury, according to a study published in the journal Pain.

The development of fine motor control – the ability to use your fingertips to manipulate objects – takes longer than previously believed, and isn’t entirely the result of brain development, according to a pair of complementary studies.

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