Weekly Neuroscience Update

The strength of brain areas mapped on to the cortical surface. Warm colors indicate high strength in the driver network and cool colors indicate low strength. Image credit: UCSB.

The strength of brain areas mapped on to the cortical surface. Warm colors indicate high strength in the driver network and cool colors indicate low strength. Image credit: UCSB.

A team of researchers provides new insight into what occurs in the brain during the learning process.

Neuroscientists have discovered how the powerful brain hormone oxytocin acts on individual brain cells to prompt specific social behaviors – findings that could lead to a better understanding of how oxytocin and other hormones could be used to treat behavioral problems resulting from disease or trauma to the brain.

Infants have innate knowledge about the world and when their expectations are defied, they learn best, researchers at Johns Hopkins University found.

Research on large-scale brain networks by the University of Michigan Medical School reveals that “hubs” in the brain – highly connected regions that like hubs of the airport system – tend to consistently attract information flow.

Over 70% of schizophrenia patients who are “treatment resistant” have apparently developed dopamine supersensitivity psychosis from long-term use of antipsychotic medications, according to a study in Psychiatry Research.

Meaningful activities experienced with others may reverse the normal brain shrinkage associated with the aging process.

Researchers from Royal Holloway, University of London have found that successful long-term learning happens after classroom teaching, after the learners have slept on the new material.

An international team of researchers have revealed in a collaborative study published in Neuron, that neurons in the eye change on the molecular level when they are exposed to prolonged light. The researchers could identify that a feedback signalling mechanism is responsible for these changes. The innate neuronal property might be utilized to protect neurons from degeneration or cell death in the future.

Finally this week, while recent reports question whether fish oil supplements support heart health, UC Irvine scientists have found that the fatty acids they contain are vitally important to the developing brain.

 

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