Weekly Neuroscience Update

mini-brain-vessicles-neurosciencneews.jpg

Under the microscope, staining highlights a network of vasculature amid the ball of neurons that make up a minibrain. NeuroscienceNews.com image is credited to Hoffman-Kim lab/Brown University

Scientists have recently made a variety of mini-brains — 3-D cultures of neural cells that model basic properties of living brains — but a new finding could add to the field’s growing excitement in an entirely new “vein”: Brown University’s mini-brains now grow blood vessels, too.

A new study reports astrocytes may be a driving force behind a number of neurodegenerative diseases.

While many of us find the sound of a person chewing or breathing heavily annoying, for those with misophonia, such noises are unbearable. Researchers have identified the neural networks and brain changes associated with the disorder.

New research reveals the shape of our brain can provide surprising clues about how we behave and our risk of developing mental health disorders.

A team of investigators have found that exposure to phobic images without conscious awareness is more effective than longer, conscious exposure for reducing fear. The investigators used fMRI to determine that areas of the brain involved in fear processing were much more strongly activated by unconscious exposure. Results of the study will be published in the journal, Human Brain Mapping, on February 6, 2017.

Depression poses a risk for cardiovascular diseases in men that is just as great as that posed by high cholesterol levels and obesity.

In the latest issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), New York University neuroscientist David Heeger offers a new framework to explain how the brain makes predictions

Researchers have developed new technology that utilises infrared light in order to treat memory loss conditions.

Scientists have discovered a cell in the retina that may cause myopia when it dysfunctions. The dysfunction may be linked to the amount of time a child spends indoors and away from natural light.

A new study pinpoints the brain area responsible for forming direct links between environmental stimuli and enhanced focus.

New sensors that can monitor dopamine secretion in a single neuron could help researchers better understand how dopamine influences brain activity.

Scientists have developed sensor technology for a robotic prosthetic arm that detects signals from nerves in the spinal cord.

People who use sign language have better reaction times in their peripheral vision, a new study from the University of Sheffield has found.

Finally this week, researchers report concussion can accelerate Alzheimer’s symptoms in people with a genetic risk for the disease.

 

Weekly Neuroscience Update

adult-1868015_960_720

A new study sheds light on how the brain helps us to learn and make decisions in the real world.

Scientists have shown for the first time that non-invasive brain stimulation can be used like a scalpel, rather than like a hammer, to cause a specific improvement in precise memory.

Neurons in the subiculum appear to encode the current axis of travel, a new study reports.

A new study has shown for the first time that cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) strengthens specific connections in the brains of people with psychosis, and that these stronger connections are associated with long-term reduction in symptoms and recovery eight years later.

Researchers have discovered a mechanism the brain uses to help compensate when noise obscures speech sounds.

An international team of researchers has found evidence that the specific type of protein clumps in a person’s brain might help identify different ‘types’ of Alzheimer’s disease.

A new technology that allows researchers to examine circulation in the brain could help to identify early signs of neurological problems.

A group of neurons in the forebrain release dopamine when activated by visual or tactile stimuli, a new study reports.

Finally this week, researchers report using neuroimaging to map the brains of preterm babies soon after their born could hold clues as to possible disabilities they may develop.

Weekly Neuroscience Update

 

pills.jpg

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

man-798989_960_720.jpg

A new study sheds light on how some older people retain youthful thinking abilities and the brain circuits that support those abilities.

Relying on clinical symptoms of memory loss to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease may miss other forms of dementia caused by Alzheimer’s that don’t initially affect memory, reports a new Northwestern Medicine study.

Bilingual people may have a cognitive advantage when it comes to maintaining attention and focus, a new study reports.

An EU-funded project is getting close to building combined brain and neuromuscular computer models to predict the progression of Parkinson’s and ensure the prescription of the correct medication.

A new study investigates what happens when we multitask and why it’s not such a good idea to drive and use a phone at the same time.

Researchers have found a switch that redirects helper cells in the peripheral nervous system into “repair” mode, a form that restores damaged axons.

A new study offers insight into the neurological processes involved in fear and anxiety.

According to researchers, a simple MRI brain scan could help diagnose people with a common cognitive disorder.

A new mathematical model could improve understanding of memory consolidation during deep sleep.

High stress between the ages of  5 and 8 is biologically embedded, posing mental health risks decades later into adult life, suggests US brain scans study.

Finally this week, a new paper reports on how understanding brain function has become more than a brain science.

 

Weekly Neuroscience Update

hearing-loss-frontal-cortex-neurosciencenews

Regions with significant phoneme classification at the NoNoise condition for each group. NeuroscienceNews.com image is credited to the researchers/Nature Communications.

Researchers have pinpointed the specific part of the brain that older adults rely on to differentiate speech sounds in background noise, which could revolutionise the treatment of hearing loss.

New research has identified how cells protect themselves against ‘protein clumps’ known to be the cause of neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease.

Transcranial alternating current stimulation may help to improve memory when targeted to a specific kind of brain activity achieved during sleep.

Researchers in the US and Australia have made a breakthrough discovery in the international quest to discover a new and potentially effective vaccine targeting the pathological proteins associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

A new study identifies different brain regions that become active when a strategy of categorisation is applied.

Researchers have developed a new machine learning system that analyses the entire human genome to predict which genes may cause autism spectrum disorder, raising the number of genes that could be linked to the disorder from 65 to 2,500.

Results from a study published in the online publication Nature Genetics finds 15 genomic regions that are significantly associated with a diagnosis of depression.

According to researchers, age related changes in the organization of neural networks when performing short term memory tasks may help to compensate for other aspects of brain aging.

Researchers report smoking related deficits in dopamine return to normal three months after quitting.

Genetic changes associated with Parkinson’s disease have been found in liver, fat, immune and developmental cells, a new study reports.

Brain imaging, twin studies and transcriptome data reveal genetic relationships between lobes.

Finally this week, a new study suggests regular physical activity may lead to greater hippocampal volume and could stave off dementia, especially in older people.

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Neuroscience Update

sleep

Sleep disturbances and long sleep duration are both associated with an increased risk for inflammation, a new study reports.

Abnormalities in brain regions involved in forming insight may help explain why some people with anorexia nervosa have trouble recognising their dangerous, dysfunctional eating habits.

A new study identifies different brain regions that become active when a strategy of categorisation is applied.

Researchers have identified – and shown that it may be possible to control – the mechanism that leads to the rapid build-up of the disease-causing ‘plaques’ that are characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease.

Using data from the largest ever genetic study of schizophrenia, researchers have shed light on the role of the immune system.

Using data from the Human Connectome Project, researchers have created a multimodal map of the human cortex that combines data from cortical architecture, function, connectivity, and topography. The map, detailed today (July 20) in Nature, identifies 180 brain areas, 97 of which are new to neuroscience.

A new study reports on how sensory neurons work together to transmit itch signals from the skin, via the spinal cord and to the brain.

A combination of transcranial magnetic stimulation and peripheral nerve stimulation may help in the rehabilitation of people with spinal cord injury, according to a new patient study conducted at the BioMag laboratory at the Helsinki University Hospital.

Researchers have discovered an interaction in neurons that contributes to Parkinson’s disease.

In a new study published in JAMA Neurology, researchers find stronger reason to be concerned about the long term effects of head injuries, particularly when it comes to Parkinson’s disease, which recently contributed to the death of Muhammad Ali.

Finally this week, researchers have identified how different parts of the brain interact with each other at different times in order to discover how intellect works.

 

 

Weekly Neursocience Update

vegetative-1024x576

Brain glucose metabolism shows a dramatic drop from full consciousness to the minimal conscious and persistent vegetative states.

Brain scans strongly predict return of consciousness in vegetative patients.

Researchers report a surgically implanted neuroprosthetic devices that coordinates the activity hip, knee and ankle muscles led to improved walking speed and distance for a patient with limited mobility following a stroke.

According to new research, dopamine signalling within the cerebral cortex can predict changes between neural networks during working memory tasks.

A region of the brain that responds to bad experiences has the opposite reaction to expectations of aversive events in people with depression compared to healthy adults. The study, published in Molecular Psychiatry, found that the habenula, a pea-sized region of the brain, functions abnormally in depression. The same team previously showed that the habenula was activated in healthy volunteers when they expected to receive an electric shock.

Researchers have identified a mechanism that keeps the brain clean during neurodegenerative diseases.

Older people are less willing to take risks for potential rewards and this may be due to declining levels of dopamine in the brain, finds a new UCL study of over 25,000 people funded by Wellcome.

Neuroscience researchers have identified a gene critical for human brain development.

According to a new study, the brains of people with schizophrenia may be able to reorganize and fight the illness.

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

Finally this week, a new study has identified a neural pathway involved in switching between habitual behavior and deliberate decision making.

 

 

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.