Weekly Neuroscience Update

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A new research project sheds light on the role played by a specific area of the brain in our moral judgements. The more developed it is, the more understanding we show towards those who have unintentionally caused harm.

A new study could help explain how pain often follows a chemical induced itch.

Researchers at the University of Liverpool have identified the basis for how a single gene mutation can cause a rare neurological movement disorder known as dystonia.

A new sensor could help to reveal the role dopamine plays in learning and emotion.

Researchers have developed a method using MRI to identify when HIV is still present in the brain, despite effective drug treatment.

Pupil dilation is at its largest when people are most uncertain about their situation, a new study reports.

Sleep deprivation increases the number of available A1 adenosine receptors, but restorative sleep helps normalize them again, a new study reports.

Scientists report doxycycline, a common antibiotic, could help to disrupt the formation of negative memories associated with PTSD and in another new study the power of oxytocin in combating PTSD will be tested.

Brain researchers report the anterior cingulate cortex, an area of the brain associated with empathy, activates very weakly in people with autism.

Non-invasive ultrasound improves the delivery to the brain of a therapeutic antibody targeting Alzheimer’s disease, scientists have found.

A new blood test has been developed that could help to identify infants who may be experiencing bleeding in the brain as a result of abusive head trauma.

Researchers at the University of Zurich have identified the brain mechanism that governs decisions between honesty and self-interest. Using non-invasive brain stimulation, they could even increase honest behavior.

Finally this week, a new study reveals acute stress can increase prosocial behavior and empathy.

Weekly Neuroscience Update

Brain cell density remains constant with age among cognitively normal adults. (Courtesy of Dr. Keith Thulborn)

Brain cell density remains constant with age among cognitively normal adults. (Courtesy of Dr. Keith Thulborn)

New, ultra-high-field magnetic resonance images (MRI) of the brain provide the most detailed images to date to show that while the brain shrinks with age, brain cell density remains constant.

In a stunning discovery that overturns decades of textbook teaching, researchers have determined that the brain is directly connected to the immune system by vessels previously thought not to exist. That such vessels could have escaped detection when the lymphatic system has been so thoroughly mapped throughout the body is surprising on its own, but the true significance of the discovery lies in the effects it could have on the study and treatment of neurological diseases ranging from autism to Alzheimer’s disease to multiple sclerosis.

A new MRI study has found distinct injury patterns in the brains of people with concussion-related depression and anxiety, according to a new study published online in the journal Radiology.

Children and adolescents who received deep brain stimulation for generalized dystonia maintained significant symptom relief for up to eight years, according to a study presented at the 12th World Congress of the International Neuromodulation Society.

An international team of researchers is using data mapping methods created to track the spread of information on social networks to trace its dissemination across a surprisingly different system: the human brain.

A previously unknown link between the immune system and the death of motor neurons in Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, has been discovered. The finding paves the way to a whole new approach for finding a drug that can cure or at least slow the progression of such neurodegenerative diseases as ALS, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases.

Spoken sentences can be reconstructed from activity patterns of human brain surface. “Brain to Text” combines knowledge from neuroscience, medicine and informatics.

Finally this week, scientists have figured out how newly learned concepts form in the human brain by visualizing how new information gets filed. They say this is the first time science visually witnessed how and where specific objects are coded in the brain.