Weekly Neuroscience Update

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A new study finds those “earworm” songs that get stuck in our heads are usually faster, fairly generic and easier to remember, but with unique intervals that set them apart from ‘average’ pop songs.

Researchers have for the first time recorded how cells of the epidermis behave during the regrowth of adult limbs after amputation.

Proper communication between the left and right sides of the brain is critical for the development of advanced language skills, according to new research.

A team of researchers at TU Dresden has examined the underlying neural processes associated with short term task learning in a current imaging study. The results of the study are published today in Nature Communications.

A new study confirms that scanning a person’s brain with an fMRI is more accurate at picking up lies than a traditional polygraph test.

Contrary to popular belief, language is not limited to speech. A  recent study published in the journal PNAS, reveals that people also apply the rules of their spoken language to sign language.

Scientists at The University of Manchester have shown for the first time that if the brain is ‘tuned-in’ to a particular frequency, pain can be alleviated.

A new study appears to build on the previous research that suggests genetic mutations which affect mitochondria function could be critical to the development and progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Meanwhile, researchers have also discovered a possible new treatment for the disease after noticing the way in which insulin signaling works in the brains and pancreas of diabetic patients; and in another study degeneration of the basal forebrain appears before cognitive and behavioural symptoms of Alzheimer’s occur.

Researchers were able to predict the orientation preference of individual neurons by adding up the responses of their dendritic spines, a new study reports.

Scientists have mapped what happens neurologically when new information influences a person to change his or her mind, a finding that offers more insight into the mechanics of learning.

The brain regulates social behaviour differently in males and females, according to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

A team of  researchers has uncovered new details about the biology of telomeres, “caps” of DNA that protect the tips of chromosomes and play key roles in a number of health conditions, including cancer, inflammation and aging.

A new study uses retinal prosthetics to assess the brain’s ability to process visual information years after blindness occurs.

People suffering medical conditions causing low levels of oxytocin perform worse on empathy tasks, according to new research. And a new measuring method has detected oxytocin at much higher rates in blood serum and plasma than researchers previously thought.

Researchers believe they may have pinpointed an area of the brain that plays a role in maintaining human consciousness.

Scientists have uncovered new details about how a repeating nucleotide sequence in the gene for a mutant protein may trigger Huntington’s disease and other neurological diseases.

Finally this  week, a new study reports context processing problems could help to explain some of the symptoms and neuroimaging findings associated with PTSD.

 

Why is yawning contagious? (video)

*Yaaawwwwwn* Did just reading the word make you feel like yawning yourself? Known as contagious yawning, the reasons behind this phenomenon have been attributed to both the physiological and psychological. It’s been observed in children as young as four and even in dogs! Claudia Aguirre visits the many intriguing theories that might explain contagious yawning.

Brain imaging at multiple size scales


MIT researchers have developed a new technique for imaging brain tissue at multiple scales, allowing them to peer at molecules within cells or take a wider view of the long-range connections between neurons. This technique, known as magnified analysis of proteome (MAP), should help scientists in their ongoing efforts to chart the connectivity and functions of neurons in the human brain.

Learn more at http://news.mit.edu/2016/imaging-brain-multiple-size-scales-0725

Weekly Neuroscience Update

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A new study has identified a novel signaling system controlling neuronal plasticity.

A lack of shrinkage in the area of the brain responsible for memory may be a sign that people with thinking and memory problems may go on to develop dementia with Lewy bodies rather than Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new study published in the November 2, 2016, online issue of Neurology.

A new paper offers an overview as to how neurons ‘communicate’ with one another.

Researchers have confirmed a genetic link between mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), which is passed on from the mother, and some forms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

A new study looks at how the digestive tract communicates with the brain and could help find new treatment options for obesity.

Scientists can now map what happens neurologically when new information influences a person to change his or her mind, a finding that offers more insight into the mechanics of learning.

New studies may help to explain the path from stem cells to dopamine neurons.

Increased muscle strength leads to improved brain function in adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), new results from a recent trial led by the University of Sydney has revealed.

Researchers have identified a previously unknown stage of human brain development.

Finally, this  week  a new study finds that subtle, unconscious increases in arousal – indicated by a faster heartbeat and dilated pupils – shape our confidence for visual experiences.

 

 

Weekly Neuroscience Update

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Heading a football can significantly affect a player’s brain function and memory for 24 hours, a study has found.

Researchers have successfully transplanted embryonic neurons into damaged neural networks, a new study reports.

Scientists have identified for the first time the region in the brain responsible for the “placebo effect” in pain relief.

Results from a new clinical study conducted suggest that curtailing sleep alters the abundance of bacterial gut species that have previously been linked to compromised human metabolic health.

A new imaging technique that creates 3-D video of serotonin transport could aid antidepressant development.

Researchers have identified the cause of chronic, and currently untreatable, pain in those with amputations and severe nerve damage, as well as a potential treatment which relies on engineering instead of drugs.

A new study could explain why the ‘one size fits all’ approach to treating depression has been ineffective.

Using optogenetics to activate dopamine receptors in the ventral tegmental area could help people regain consciousness following general anesthesia, researchers report.

We all know that as we age, our skin loses its firmness and elasticity. However, researchers have now discovered our brains may also lose its elasticity as we age.

Researchers have identified a common culprit that may cause damage in stoke, brain injury and neurodegenerative disease.

Finally this week, A new study provides the first empirical evidence that self-serving lies gradually escalate and reveals how this happens in our brains.

 

 

Weekly Neuroscience Update

 

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A new study reports researchers were able to predict with 80 percent accuracy whether antidepressants would help patients by analyzing their brain function and personal history.

A neuroscientist studying how the brain uses perception of the environment to guide action has a new understanding of the neural circuits responsible for transforming sensation into movement.

Exercise may be associated with a small benefit for elderly people who already have memory and thinking problems, according to new research published in Neurology.

Researchers have developed a new machine learning tool capable of detecting certain speech-related diagnostic criteria in patients being evaluated for depression. Known as SimSensei, the tool listens to patient’s voices during diagnostic interviews for reductions in vowel expression characteristic of psychological and neurological disorders that may not be sufficiently clear to human interviewers.

Most people remember where they were when the twin towers collapsed in New York – now  new research reveals why that may be the case.

Communication between different areas of our brain increases when we are faced with a difficult task. Understanding these fluctuating patterns could reveal why some people learn new tasks more quickly.

Researchers have discovered a neural circuit that processes evaluations and have identified its sources.

Stimulating the brain via electricity or other means may help to ease the symptoms of various neurological and psychiatric disorders, with the method already being used to treat conditions from epilepsy to depression.

A new paper looks at why some of us are extreme thrill seekers, and others don’t even enjoy a gentle roller coaster ride.

Engineers are leading a research team that is developing a new type of nanodevice for computer microprocessors that can mimic the functioning of a biological synapse—the place where a signal passes from one nerve cell to another in the body. The work is featured in the advance online publication of Nature Materials.

Researchers report proteins produced by gut bacteria may cause protein misfolding in the brain and cerebral inflammation.

Taking a pill that prevents the accumulation of toxic molecules in the brain might someday help prevent or delay Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new study.

A new tool is allowing researchers to interactively explore the hierarchical processes that happen in the brain when it is resting or performing tasks.

Finally this week, researchers have identified genetics mutations involved in a rare and unnamed neurological disorder.

 

 

Weekly Neuroscience Update

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Researchers explore how memory consolidation occurs during sleep.

Fetal brains use a special amplifier in order to transmit signals, according to research published in the journal eLife.

Scanning ultrasound appears to slow down ageing in healthy brains, a new study reports.

Two interconnected brain areas – the hippocampus and the entorhinal cortex – help us to know where we are and to remember it later. By studying these brain areas, researchers have uncovered new information about how dysfunction of this circuit may contribute to memory loss in Alzheimer’s disease. Their results appear in Cell Reports.

A new tool is allowing researchers to interactively explore the hierarchical processes that happen in the brain when it is resting or performing tasks.

Researchers have identified a set of heat sensing neurons that prompt both nervous system and behavioral changes that help cool the body.

As estrogen levels rise in women, the volume of the hippocampus increases, a new study reports.

A new study reports on how the perceptual mechanisms in a person’s brain adapt in response to images of one’s own or other people’s bodies that have been manipulated to look thinner or fatter than they really are

Researchers have found evidence that challenges the intuitive division between a ‘deciding’ and a ‘responding’ stage in decision making.

Finally this week, a new method for inducing, modelling and measuring visual hallucinations in healthy individuals suggests these complex experiences share a common underlying mechanism with normal visual perception.

 

World Mental Health Day: How to Vaccinate Yourself Against Depression

Today is designated World Mental Health Day and to mark the day, I am reposting a blog from last year.

How To Vaccinate Yourself Against Depression

Depression is very common – it is estimated that at least one in five people in Ireland will develop depression during their lifetime.

Depression is not to be confused with the normal ups and downs of everyday life. Everyone can feel a bit ‘down’ from time to time as a reaction to an upsetting event, but will start to feel better after a few days or weeks. It is a natural, short-lived response to stressful times in life.

However, some people are unable to escape this low mood, and find it difficult to carry on with life as usual. They may experience low/sad, irritable or indifferent mood, loss of interest and enjoyment in daily life and a general lack of energy. This may be…

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Weekly Neuroscience Update

 

bubbly-cold-drink-thirst-sensation-public-neurosciencenews.jpgA new study reports the oral perception of coldness and carbonation can help to reduce thirst.

Metabolic syndrome, a cluster of cardio metabolic conditions, may be a biological mechanism linking post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to structural brain abnormalities, according to a new study in Biological Psychiatry.

How do we decide if something is worth the effort? A team of researchers has been finding out.

According to a new study, our ability to track and understand speech in both noisy and quite environments deteriorates due to speech processing declines in the midbrain of older adults.

Researchers have discovered a neural circuit that processes processes evaluations, with implications for understanding depression.

A new mathematical model that describes the molecular events associated with the beginning stage of learning and memory formation in the human brain has been developed.

Understanding fluctuations in brain networks may reveal how some people are able to learn new tasks more quickly.

Finally this week, researchers have developed an ‘epigenetic clock’ that calculates the biological age of a person from a blood sample and can estimate the person’s life span.