Author Archives: Editor

Weekly Neuroscience News

virtual-partner-emotion-NeuroscienceNews

Researchers have created a ‘virtual partner’ that is able to elicit emotional response from humans in real time.

New research, presented this week at the European Society of Human Genetics conference in Barcelona, Spain, demonstrates that men whose red blood cells lack Y chromosomes are more susceptible to Alzheimer’s disease. The team hopes that, in the future, these findings might help develop an early warning system for Alzheimer’s.

A new study explores the role microtubles play in neurodevelopment.

According to researchers, people with major depressive disorder could have altered purine metabolism.

Researchers report we recognize patterns in music automatically, even with no musical training.

According to a new study, during sensory stimulation, increases of blood flow are not precisely tuned to local neural activity, and this can have implications for fMRI neuroimaging.

New evidence reveals the powerful role of experience in linking language and cognition in infants.

Researchers report microglia may actually protect the brain against Alzheimer’s disease by containing the spread of amyloid plaques.

A new study reports microglia can diminish the adverse changes to neural circuitry bought on by chronic cocaine use.

Researchers report they have solved the puzzle as to how antibodies enter the nervous system to control viral infections.

A new study from the University of Rochester suggests that human intelligence might have evolved in response to the demands of caring for infants.

Researchers have investigated how the human brain implements hierarchical structures in order to design more clever algorithms for machine learning.

new study reports having high blood pressure can raise the risk of developing vascular dementia.

A new study from MIT neuroscientists reveals that a gene mutation associated with autism plays a critical role in the formation and maturation of synapses—the connections that allow neurons to communicate with each other.

Finally this week, a new study reports a number of different areas of childrens’ brains become activated when they hear their mother’s voice. This response predicts a child’s social communication ability.


Mapping the Brain

Trailblazers in neuroscience Dr. Christof Koch and Dr. John Donoghue reveal mind-blowing insights on how the brain turns thought into voluntary behaviors and how that knowledge is empowering victims of neurological trauma with regained physical abilities.


Weekly Neuroscience Update

barefoot_running_480_18ec9t1-18ec9t4

Running barefoot is better than running with shoes for your working memory, according to a new study.

A new study from King’s College London offers clues as to why chronic pain can persist, even when the injury that caused it has gone. Although still in its infancy, this research could explain how small and seemingly innocuous injuries leave molecular ‘footprints’ which add up to more lasting damage, and ultimately chronic pain.

New findings demonstrate that a five-minute measurement of resting-state brain activity predicted how quickly adults learned a second language.

Danish research is behind a new epoch-making discovery, which may prove decisive to future brain research. The level of salts in the brain plays a critical role in whether we are asleep or awake. This discovery may be of great importance to research on psychiatric diseases such as schizophrenia and convulsive fits from lack of sleep as well as post-anaesthetization confusion.

Research sheds light the neural structure that controls our sleep, eating habits, hormones and more.

A new study has found that Foreign Accent Syndrome, a condition which results in patients to be perceived as non-native speakers of their mother tongue, may be caused by the impaired connections between the language centres in the front part of the brain and the cerebellum.

Symptoms of depression that steadily increase over time in older age could indicate early signs of dementia, according to new research. 

A newly discovered pathway leading to neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) may unlock the door to new approaches for treating the disease.

Some adults learn a second language better than others, and their secret may involve the rhythms of activity in their brains.

Finally this week, researchers report they have discovered a backup for memory storage that comes into play when the molecular mechanism for primary long term memory storage fails.


Inside The Brain’s Dictionary

Where exactly are the words in your head? Scientists have created an interactive map showing which brain areas respond to hearing different words. The map reveals how language is spread throughout the cortex and across both hemispheres, showing groups of words clustered together by meaning. The beautiful interactive model allows us to explore the complex organisation of the enormous dictionaries in our heads.


Weekly Neuroscience Update

autism-boys-brain-scan

Researchers analyzed a series of 164 images from each of 114 individuals and discovered the brain scans of the social perception circuits indicated ASD only in boys. Credit: The researchers/George Washington University.

Researchers have developed a new method to map and track the function of brain circuits affected by autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in boys using brain imaging, a technique that will provide doctors with a tool that measures the progress of treatments in individual patients.

Scientists have derived a structural model of a transporter at the blood-brain barrier called Mfsd2a. This is the first molecular model of this critical transporter, and could prove important for the development of therapeutic agents that need to be delivered to the brain, across the blood-brain barrier. In future, this could help treat neurological disorders such as glioblastoma.

Research co-led by the University of Glasgow has made a potential breakthrough in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

Frontotemporal dementia (FTD), the second most common cause of dementia in people under 65, may be triggered by a defect in immune cells called microglia that causes them to consume the brain’s synaptic connections, according to new research.

A new study shows that a series of play sessions with music improved 9-month-old babies’ brain processing of both music and new speech sounds.

Researchers at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute (BSI) in Japan have demonstrated that astrocytes help control the strength of connections between neurons. Published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the study used cultured cells and brain slices to show that astrocytes in the hippocampus regulate changes in the brain brought on by neural activity.

Finally this week, people with more friends have higher pain tolerance, Oxford University researchers have found.


Is our perception of the world just an illusion?

reality-quote

Until recently, the task of applying what we know about the brain to the bigger question of personal human experience has been avoided by scientists. However the emergence of the new discipline of neuroscience – the scientific study of the nervous system – is helping us to bridge this gap by providing new ways to answer such old questions as – do we experience the world as it really is … or as we need it to be?

In this provocative and game changing talk, cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman goes to the very heart of what we understand to be real by showing examples that our perception of reality is faulty and that that modern science is merely a one-dimensional take on what is really going on around us.

This idea shifts our current way of thinking about what is actually real

Conclusion: we need to reach a new understanding of how the brain constructs reality the way it appears to us. Why? Because our very perception is a precursor of that self-same reality.


How The Brain Learns (Infographic)

inf


Weekly Neuroscience Update

 

facial-expression-emotion

Test subjects in an Ohio State University study were shown a series of photographs of different facial expressions. Researchers pinpointed an area of the brain that is specifically attuned to picking up key muscle movements (here, labeled AU for ‘action units’) that combine to express emotion. Credit: Ohio State University.

New machine learning algorithm can identify the facial expression a person is looking at based on neural activity.

After a stroke, there is inflammation in the damaged part of the brain. Until now, the inflammation has been seen as a negative consequence that needs to be abolished as soon as possible. But, as it turns out, there are also some positive sides to the inflammation, and it can actually help the brain to self-repair.

A new study reports hungry fish sense objects differently and take more risks when hunting than well fed fish.

In a study exploring the relationship between memory for specific past experiences and recovery from strong negative emotions, research psychologists report that episodic memory may be more important in helping midlife and older adults recover from a negative event than it is for younger adults.

New research reports one brain hemisphere remains more awake than the other when sleeping somewhere new. 

Long before Alzheimer’s disease can be diagnosed clinically, increasing difficulties building cognitive maps of new surroundings may herald the eventual clinical onset of the disorder, according to new research.

New research suggests actin filaments that control the shape of neuron cells may also be the key to the molecular machinery that forms and stores long-term memories.

Scientists have elucidated for the first time how a notoriously elusive serotonin receptor functions with atom-level detail. The receptor transmits electrical signals in neurons and is involved in various disorders, meaning that the discovery opens the way for new treatments.

Researchers have mapped out a circuit of neurons that is responsible for motor impairment–such as difficulty walking–in patients with Parkinson’s disease.

Brain waves that spread through the hippocampus are initiated by a method not seen before–a possible step toward understanding and treating epilepsy, according to researchers at Case Western Reserve University.

Researchers have conducted a study examining the effect ecstasy has on different parts of the brain.

Finally this week researchers have found that drawing pictures of information that needs to be remembered is a strong and reliable strategy to enhance memory.


You Can Grow New Brain Cells. Here’s How

Can we, as adults, grow new neurons? Neuroscientist Sandrine Thuret says that we can, and she offers research and practical advice on how we can help our brains better perform neurogenesis—improving mood, increasing memory formation and preventing the decline associated with ageing along the way.


Weekly Neuroscience Update

consciousness-time-slices

Consciousness seems to work as continuous stream: one image or sound or smell or touch smoothly follows the other, providing us with a continuous image of the world around us. Image adapted from the EPFL press release.

 

Scientists propose a new way of understanding of how the brain processes unconscious information into our consciousness. According to the model, consciousness arises only in time intervals of up to 400 milliseconds, with gaps of unconsciousness in between.

A new study finds bursts of neural activity as the brain holds information in mind, overturns a long-held model.

Why do we sometimes decide to take risks and other times choose to play it safe? In a new study, researchers explored the neural mechanisms of one possible explanation: a contagion effect.

Using imagery is an effective way to improve memory and decrease certain types of false memories.

Scientists have developed an imaging process that for the first time, they say, can identify and track the progression of Alzheimer’s disease in people’s brains, even when there are no symptoms — a development that could lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment.

People prone to seeking stimulation and acting impulsively may have differences in the structure of their brains according to a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience. What’s more, those differences may predispose them to substance abuse.

In a recent study, researchers found evidence of a compromised dopamine system in heavy users of marijuana. Lower dopamine release was found in the striatum – a region of the brain that is involved in working memory, impulsive behavior, and attention. Previous studies have shown that addiction to other drugs of abuse, such as cocaine and heroin, have similar effects on dopamine release, but such evidence for cannabis was missing until now.

Finally this week an innovative collaboration between neuroscientists and developmental psychologists that investigated how infants’ brains process other people’s action provides the first evidence that directly links neural responses from the motor system to overt social behaviour in infants.

 


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,077 other followers