Weekly Neuroscience Update

MIT neuroscientists found that brain waves originating from the striatum (red) and from the prefrontal cortex (blue) become synchronized when an animal learns to categorize different patterns of dots.  Illustration: Jose-Luis Olivares/MIT

MIT neuroscientists found that brain waves originating from the striatum (red) and from the prefrontal cortex (blue) become synchronized when an animal learns to categorize different patterns of dots.
Illustration: Jose-Luis Olivares/MIT

The human mind can rapidly absorb and analyze new information as it flits from thought to thought. These quickly changing brain states may be encoded by synchronization of brain waves across different brain regions, according to a new study from MIT neuroscientists.

Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences examines what happens to the brain when it recovers from the effects of anesthetic.

A new study finds that meditation strongly stimulates parts of the brain that help with memory and emotion processing, which in turn lowers stress. A team of researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, the University of Oslo, and the University of Sydney found that “nondirective” meditation, in which someone achieves a relaxed focus of attention by repeating a mantra or sound and lets his or her mind wander, is the most effective kind of meditation.

New research touts the ability of PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scans to identify patients in a minimally conscious state (MCS) far more accurately than other imaging technologies.

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