Weekly Neuroscience Update

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Children were monitored with EEGs while watching animated characters perform prosocial and antisocial behaviors, and later participated in a task measuring generosity. Credit Jean Decety/University of Chicago.

University of Chicago developmental neuroscientists have found specific brain markers that predict generosity in children. Those neural markers appear to be linked to both social and moral evaluation processes.

Researchers at The University of Western Australia have found that brain stimulation may help retrain unhelpful cognitive habits associated with anxiety and depression. The paper was published this week in the international journal Biological Psychiatry.

Methamphetamine users are three times more at risk for getting Parkinson’s disease than non-illicit drug users, new research shows.

Researchers have developed new technology that can assess the location and impact of a brain injury merely by tracking the eye movements of patients as they watch music videos for less than four minutes, according to a study published in the Journal of Neurosurgery.

Spending less time in slow-wave or deep sleep is linked to the loss of brain cells that can lead to dementia, a new study finds.

Scientists have discovered a new signal pathway in the brain that plays an important role in learning and the processing of sensory input.

New UCLA research indicates that lost memories can be restored. The findings offer some hope for patients in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

Weekly Neuroscience Update

Neuronal activity during exposure to various images reveals distinct spatial groupings. The red region, for example, responds well to face stimuli. Credit by Takayuki Sato/RIKEN Brain Science Institute.

Neuronal activity during exposure to various images reveals distinct spatial groupings. The red region, for example, responds well to face stimuli. Credit by Takayuki Sato/RIKEN Brain Science Institute.

A brain region that responds to a particular category of objects is found to consist of small clusters of neurons encoding visual features of these objects.

Scientists have discovered that by deactivating a major switch in the brain that is linked to learning and memory, memories become jumbled, like “hitting random notes on a keyboard,” and lose their sense of association.

Newcastle University scientists have discovered that as the brain re-organizes connections throughout our life, the process begins earlier in girls which may explain why they mature faster during the teenage years.

Learning requires constant reconfiguration of the connections between nerve cells. Two new studies now yield new insights into the molecular mechanisms that underlie the learning process.

In the first study of its kind, two researchers have used popular music to help severely brain-injured patients recall personal memories. Amee Baird and Séverine Samson outline the results and conclusions of their pioneering research in the recent issue of the journal Neuropsychological Rehabilitation.

Neuroscientists have successfully demonstrated a technique to enhance a form of self-control through a novel form of brain stimulation.

Finally this week, scientists have discovered that as the brain re-organizes connections throughout our life, the process begins earlier in girls which may explain why they mature faster during the teenage years.

Weekly Neuroscience Update

A novel screening method makes it easier to diagnose and treat children with autism

A child with autism discovers how to evoke the onscreen video he likes best. Credit: Rutgers Sensory-Motor Integration Lab

Researchers have developed a new screening method to diagnose autism, which unlike current methods does not rely on subjective criteria. These results are published in a series of studies in the open-access journal Frontiers in Neuroscience.

Going to bed at different times every night throughout early childhood seems to curb children’s brain power, according to a large, long term study.

A computational vision scientist at the University of South Australia has just published new research describing a key advance in our understanding of how the brain perceives the physical world.

Oxytocin has long been known as the warm, fuzzy hormone that promotes feelings of love, social bonding and well-being. It’s even being tested as an anti-anxiety drug. But new research shows oxytocin also can cause emotional pain, an entirely new, darker identity for the hormone.

Ultrasound waves sent to specific brain regions can alter a person’s mood, according to a new study published in the journal Brain Stimulation.

A gene related to neural tube defects in dogs has for the first time been identified by researchers.

UCLA chemists and molecular biologists have for the first time used a “structure-based” approach to drug design to identify compounds with the potential to delay or treat Alzheimer’s disease, and possibly Parkinson’s, Lou Gehrig’s disease and other degenerative disorders.