Weekly Neuroscience Update

We already known that bright light therapy can be an effective cure for seasonal depression, but a new study from Finnish University students has revealed that it also benefits those not struggling from seasonal depression at all. When the therapy is administered through the ear canal directly to the photosensitive brain tissue, it not only improves the cognitive performance and mood of those with the depression, but those without it as well.

Recent studies using brain scans have found that the areas of the brain associated with mood, conscious thought and concentration are hyperconnected in people with depression.

Researchers have pinpointed the area of the brain responsible for gullibility and have theorized why it makes children, teens and seniors less likely to doubt.

The human brain is wired to remember emotionally charged events while discarding mundane information like where you left your car keys, Canadian scientists say. Emotional or traumatic events, like special occasions or accidents, are interpreted more keenly by our brains and stored with greater coherence.

Researchers at the University of Southern California have devised a method for detecting certain neurological disorders through the study of eye movements.

A new study by researchers has found that the strength of communication between the left and right hemispheres of the brain predicts performance on basic arithmetic problems. The findings shed light on the neural basis of human math abilities and suggest a possible route to aiding those who suffer from dyscalculia an inability to understand and manipulate numbers.

Bringing the real world into the brain scanner, researchers can now determine the action a person was planning, mere moments before that action is actually executed. The findings were published this week in the Journal of Neuroscience, in the paper, “Decoding Action Intentions from Preparatory Brain Activity in Human Parieto-Frontal Networks.”


Weekly Round Up




Laughter with friends releases endorphins, the brain's "feel-good" chemicals

Laughing with friends releases feel-good brain chemicals, which also relieve pain, new research indicates.

The Wellcome Trust has published a report providing reflections on the field of human functional brain imaging (fMRI).

UCLA life scientists have identified for the first time a particular gene’s link to optimism, self-esteem and “mastery,” the belief that one has control over one’s own life — three critical psychological resources for coping well with stress and depression.

Managing other people at work triggers structural changes in the brain, protecting its memory and learning centre well into old age, according to research from the University of New South Wales.

How the brain controls impulsive behavior may be significantly different from psychologists have thought for the last 40 years. That is the unexpected conclusion of a study by an international team of neuroscientists published in the Aug. 31 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

And finally this week, research conducted by Boston College neuroscientist Sean MacEvoy and colleague Russell Epstein of the University of Pennsylvania finds evidence of a new way of considering how the brain processes and recognizes a person’s surroundings, according to a paper published in the latest issue of Nature Neuroscience.



Weekly Round Up

Meditation can "thicken" the brain and make people less sensitive to pain.

As humans face increasing distractions in their personal and professional lives, University of British Columbia researchers have discovered that people can gain greater control over their thoughts with real-time brain feedback.

In Fame, Marketing, and your Brain, Dr Susan Krauss Whitbourne takes a look at neuromarketing and celebrity endorsements.

Scientists have shed new light on how older people may lose their memory. The development could aid research into treatments for age-related memory disorders and scientists at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) have pinpointed a reason older adults have a harder time multitasking than younger adults. Read about their discovery here.

Meditation produces powerful pain-relieving effects in the brain, according to new research published in the April 6 edition of the Journal of Neuroscience.

And finally, five children in India have helped to answer a question posed in 1688 by Irish philosopher William Molyneux: can a blind person who then gains their vision recognise by sight an object they previously knew only by touch?