Weekly Neuroscience Update

brain-waves-memory-neurosciencenews.jpgAlpha and theta oscillations move rhythmically across the brain, reflecting neural activity propagating across the cortex to help form working memory, a new study reports.

Researchers have developed a new computational model of major depressive disorder. The model reveals older memories, as well as short term memories, are affected by major depressive disorder. Researchers say how long the memory deficits go back depends on how long the depressive episode lasts.

A new brain cancer atlas maps out comprehensive, visually rich information about the anatomical and genetic bases of glioblastoma, researchers report.

A new study reports people who have a family history of alcohol use disorder release more dopamine in the ventral striatum as a response to the expectation of receiving an alcoholic drink than those without a family history of alcoholism.

A drug that blocks the alpha7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor may provide a new method for combating drug addiction relapse, researchers report.

A groundbreaking study reveals human immune cells in the blood can be transformed into functional neurons within 3 weeks by adding four proteins. The discovery could be used to generate neurons to study specific psychological and neurological disorders, researchers say.

Researchers report transcranial magnetic stimulation predisposes neural connections in the visual cortex for reorganization.

Researchers have created a new model that may help explain how the brain stores memories of tangible events. The new model explains how neural activity in the hippocampus can help map space, time and context in episodic memories.

A new study reveals people respond to stimuli in another person’s peripersonal space as they could their own.

Research has shown that a developing child’s brain structure and function can be adversely affected when the child is raised in an environment lacking adequate education, nutrition and access to health care.

Finally this week, researchers report intuition is the result of information processing in the brain that results in prediction based on previous experience.

 

 

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.

Weekly Neuroscience Update

Nerve cells communicate with each other via intricate projections. In brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s these extensions atrophy, thereby causing connectivity problems. Credit DZNE/Detlef Friedrichs.

Nerve cells communicate with each other via intricate projections. In brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s these extensions atrophy, thereby causing connectivity problems. Credit DZNE/Detlef Friedrichs.

A new study shows the interdependency between the structure and function of neurons.

Neuroscientists have discovered an unexpected benefit of getting older – a more nuanced understanding of social signals, such as the age of others.

Children with autism show different patterns of brain activity during everyday gestures and movements than controls do, suggest unpublished results presented at the 2014 Society for Neuroscience annual meeting.

Researchers have gained fresh insights into how ‘local’ body clocks control waking and sleeping.

People with bipolar disorder who are being treated with the drug lithium are at risk of acute kidney damage and need careful monitoring, according to new research.

Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the major cause of blindness in the western world, affecting around 50 million people. Now scientists at The University of Manchester have identified an important new factor behind its causes, which they hope could lead to new treatments.

A team of researchers has identified an enzyme key to the survival and spread of glioblastoma cancer cells that is not present in healthy brain cells, making the enzyme a promising therapeutic target.

It is claimed one in five students have taken the ‘smart’ drug Modafinil to boost their ability to study and improve their chances of exam success. But new research into the effects of Modafinil has shown that healthy students could find their performance impaired by the drug.

Researchers have developed new insight into a rare but deadly brain infection, called progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). This disease – which is caused by the JC virus – is most frequently found in people with suppressed immune systems and, until now, scientists have had no effective way to study it or test new treatments.

New research offers insight into short-term effects of maternal caregiving on a developing brain.

A team of researchers  has now been able to demonstrate in a study that the bonding hormone oxytocin inhibits the fear center in the brain and allows fear stimuli to subside more easily. This basic research could also usher in a new era in the treatment of anxiety disorders.

Blocking a key receptor in brain cells that is used by oxygen free radicals could play a major role in neutralizing the biological consequences of Alzheimer’s disease, according to new research.

Finally this week, brain scientists have long believed that older people have less of the neural flexibility (plasticity) required to learn new things. A new study shows that older people learned a visual task just as well as younger ones, but the seniors who showed a strong degree of learning exhibited plasticity in a different part of the brain than younger learners did.