Weekly Neuroscience Update

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How do neural networks in different brain areas communicate with each other? The Bernstein Center Freiburg proposes a new model.

Researchers propose a new model to help explain how the level of activity in neural networks influences the flow of information.

A neurofeedback system enables Parkinson’s disease patients to voluntarily control brainwaves associated with symptoms of the disorder, according to new research published in eNeuro.

One night of sleep loss can increase the desirability of junk foods, finds a study of healthy weight young men published in Journal of Neuroscience.

When two events occur within a brief window of time they become linked in memory, such that calling forth the memory of one helps retrieve memory for the other event, according to research published in Psychological Science. This happens even when temporal proximity is the only feature that the two events share.

Researchers have identified specific diffusible molecules that are essential for boundary formation in the brain.

Scientists report that neuron loss in Alzheimer’s disease may not be such a bad thing. The study reveals the loss of neurons may be the result of a cell quality control mechanism attempting to protect the brain from the accumulation of malfunctioning neurons.

A new study reveals passive exposure to foreign speech sounds over the course of several consecutive days helps enhance language learning.

People with Huntington’s disease who participated in intellectually stimulating activities had less brain atrophy than those with the disease who did not take up such activities.

Finally this week, boys with good motor skills are better problem-solvers than their less skillful peers, a new study from Finland shows. 

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

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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.