Weekly Neuroscience Update

synapses-hippocampus-memory

Salk scientists computationally reconstructed brain tissue in the hippocampus to study the sizes of connections (synapses). The larger the synapse, the more likely the neuron will send a signal to a neighboring neuron. The team found that there are actually 26 discrete sizes that can change over a span of a few minutes, meaning that the brain has a far great capacity at storing information than previously thought. Pictured here is a synapse between an axon (green) and dendrite (yellow). Credit: Salk Institute.

Scientists have achieved critical insight into the size of neural connections, putting the memory capacity of the brain far higher than common estimates. The new work also answers a longstanding question as to how the brain is so energy efficient and could help engineers build computers that are incredibly powerful but also conserve energy.

A new brain imaging study may lead to a screen that could identify children at high risk of developing depression later in life.

Children born into poverty had an increased risk for neurological impairment before they were aged 7 years, according to recent research in The International Journal of Epidemiology.

Individuals who participated in high challenge activities like quilting and photography showed enhanced brain activity, according to a new Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience report.

People with early-stage dementia benefit when they are empowered to manage their own condition, a study has found.

Learning a second language is easier for some adults than others, and innate differences in how the various parts of the brain “talk” to one another may help explain why, according to a study published January 20 in the Journal of Neuroscience.

Nerve damage from neurodegenerative disease and spinal cord injury has largely been considered irreversible, but researchers now report progress in the effort to synthesize rare natural products that promote regeneration and growth of injured nerve cells.

Columbia neuroscientists have developed new tools to safely trace brain circuits.

Finally this week, a new study finds that a sugar habit leaves a lasting imprint on certain brain circuits, making it incredibly difficult to stop eating sweet food. These marks, in turn, prime us to give into our cravings.

 

 

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