Weekly Neuroscience Update

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A new study reports babies’ brains are sensitive to different emotional tones they hear in voices. Researchers suggest maternal interactions may help to shape the same brain region adults use for emotional processing.

Researchers report brain alterations associated with heightened feelings of negative emotion and alienation in people who have a dependence on cannabis.

Further evidence that the brain undergoes a continuous phase transition when we awaken from sleep has been discovered.

A new deep learning algorithm can predict those at risk of psychosis with 93% accuracy by examining the latent semantic content of an individual’s speech.

Scientists in Sweden have found that some viruses can increase the buildup of protein ‘plaques’ linked to Alzheimer’s disease, a discovery that could lead to new vaccines treating the condition.

Individual differences in the striatum of habitual cannabis users distinguish between who is at increased risk of addiction and cannabis use disorder.

A new study reports areas of the brain housing alertness and determination may be on the right side for left dominant people. The new theory suggests the location of a person’s neural system for emotion depends on their handedness.

Finally this week, new research shows that 2 hours a week is a key dose of nature for health and wellbeing.

 

Important role of mother’s voice in activating newborn’s brain

brain activity in baby

Exciting  new research has proved for the first time that a newborn baby’s brain responds strongly to its mother’s voice.*

A research team from the University of Montreal and the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Centre conducted experiments  on newborn infants by performing electrical recordings within the 24 hours following their birth. Brain exploration has never before been undertaken on such young participants. 

When the baby’s mother spoke, the scans very clearly show reactions in the left-hemisphere of the brain, and in particular the language processing and motor skills circuit.

It was already well known that babies have some innate language capacities, but researchers are only just beginning to understand what these capacities are and how they work.

“This research confirms that the mother is the primary initiator of language and suggests that there is a neurobiological link between prenatal language acquisition and motor skills involved in speech,” said lead researcher Dr. Maryse Lassonde.

*Université de Montréal (2010, December 17). Mom’s voice plays special role in activating newborn’s brain. ScienceDaily.