Weekly Neuroscience Update

 

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A new study presented in the journal Nature could change the view of the role of motor neurons. Motor neurons, which extend from the spinal cord to muscles and other organs, have always been considered passive recipients of signals from interneuronal circuits. Now, however, researchers from Sweden´s Karolinska Institutet have demonstrated a new, direct signalling pathway through which motor neurons influence the locomotor circuits that generate rhythmic movements.

Neuroimaging studies suggest that frontolimbic regions of the brain, structures that regulate emotions, play an important role in the biology of aggressive behaviour.

A team of researchers has discovered that differences in the types of memories we have influence the nature of our future encounters. Their findings show how distinct parts of the brain, underlying different kinds of memories, also influence our attention in new situations.

A gene involved in the regulation of emotions and behaviour could influence the long-term impact of violence experienced in childhood on antisocial behaviour.

Nerve cells have to react extremely quickly, but depending on the task they are supposed to perform they often need to work more slowly. Berlin scientists have now shown that a receptor in the synapse can adapt to follow both regimes. It’s another example of the amazing flexibility of the brain, manifested at the molecular level.

A new treatment aimed at clearing abnormal clumps of protein called tau tangles from the brain in Alzheimer’s disease is entering an early-stage clinical trial in the UK.

Scientists have identified a cerebral marker specific to autism that can be detected by MRI and is present as from the age of two years. The abnormality thus detected consists in a less deep fold in Broca’s area, a region of the brain specialized in language and communication, functions that are impaired in autistic patients. This discovery may assist in the earlier diagnosis and management of these patients.

A research initiative exploring the utility of genetic information in the clinical setting has published a study and identified six noteworthy genes that affect human sleep duration.

Individuals addicted to cocaine may have difficulty in controlling their addiction because of a previously-unknown ‘back door’ into the brain, circumventing their self-control, suggests a new study led by the University of Cambridge.

A simple, computer-training task can change the brain’s wiring to regulate emotional reactions, according to a recent study published in NeuroImage.

The workings of neural circuits associated with creativity are significantly altered when artists are actively attempting to express emotions, according to a new brain-scanning study of jazz pianists.

Finally this week, a new study has found that blocking a receptor in the brain responsible for regulating immune cells could protect against the memory and behaviour changes seen in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

 

 

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