Weekly Neuroscience Update

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Different gene variants ensure the diversity of neurons by chance. Image from University of Basel, Biozentrum.

A new mathematical model has shown how different gene variants enable random diversity in neurons.

Common genetic variants may underlie autism spectrum disorder and schizophrenia across human populations, according to a study appearing September 11th in the journal Cell Reports.

Researchers report learning rates are enhanced when conditioned stimuli is presented during resting phase of the cardiac cycle.

Cognitive neuroscientists have found out more about how the bilingual brains works, according to a new research paper published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

A new study reports environmentally induced epigenetic alterations have a greater impact on intelligence that previously believed.

Researchers have identified the variables that lead the brain to apply specific defensive strategies while under the threat of danger, and implicate a specific pair of neurons in this process.

Using AI technology, researchers provide new insight into how the human brain connects individual episodic memories to help solve problems.

A new study reports binge drinking affects gene expression in both males and females differently. In females who binge drink, genes linked to hormone signaling and immune function become altered, whereas in males, alterations occur to genes associated with nerve signaling.

Researchers report the brain controls speech production in a similar manner to how it controls the production of arm and hand movements. 

Is pain treatment more helpful if it is provided by a person from our own social group, or is the help of a stranger more efficient? A study conducted by researchers from the Universities of Wuerzburg, Amsterdam and Zurich investigated this question and found that people experience a stronger pain relief if they are treated by a person that belongs to a different social group.

A new study unites cognitive science and information theory, reporting our brains are structured to make the best possible decisions given their limited resources.

Finally, this week, using EEG, researchers have identified smaller spikes in the P3 brain wave is associated with aggressive behavior in young children. The findings could help to diagnose toddlers with aggressive tendencies before their behaviors become ingrained, researchers say.

 

Weekly Neuroscience Update

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University of Chichester psychologists have studied prospective memory to accurately diagnose diseases of cognitive impairment. Image: University of Chichester.

Researchers say acting out scenarios may help to improve prospective memory. Poor prospective memory, researchers report, may be an early indicator of Alzheimer’s disease.

A new study using machine learning has identified brain-based dimensions of mental health disorders, an advance towards much-needed biomarkers to more accurately diagnose and treat patients.

A new report examines the effect stress can have on our bodies and general health.

Structural differences in the cerebellum may be linked to some aspects of autism spectrum disorder, according to a neuroimaging study from Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC).

A new study reports your body fat could be a predictor of cognitive decline. 

Researchers report blind people need additional timing cues to accurately judge relative locations of sounds, but those without visual impairments who were blindfolded could judge the relative location of sounds independently from timing cues.

 Finally this week, researchers report transcranial alternating current stimulation applied during sleep can help accelerate learning, memory and skill acquisition.

Weekly Neuroscience Update

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This colored “scalp map” (viewed from the top of a baby’s head with the nose forward), shows the average amount of brain activity measured by EEG sensors in response to touch to the baby’s body. The image shows that hand touch evokes activity on one side, foot touch evokes activity at the middle, and lip touch evokes very strong activity on both sides.  Image Source: UW Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences.

At 60 days old, the infant brain shows greater neurological activity associated with the lips than any other part of the body, a new study reveals.

Researchers report people with higher empathy process music with greater involvement in the brain’s reward system and areas of the brain associated with social information processing.

A new study reveals noradrenaline plays a vital role in early stages of perception. Researchers report later processing of visual information occurs in the cerebral cortex and is affected by noradrenaline to determine if an image will enter our stream of consciousness.

A new study reports a link between higher than average late life systolic blood pressure and higher number of tangles in Alzheimer’s disease.

Scientists have revealed the area of the brain that controls our voice box, allowing us to alter the pitch of our speech. The insight could pave the way for advancing neuroprosthetics to allow people who can’t speak, to express themselves in a naturalistic way

Researchers report brain areas involved in the articulation of language are also implicated in the perception of language.

A new neuroimaging study reveals every person has unique brain anatomy. The uniqueness is a result of a combination of genetic factors and life experiences.

A group of Japanese researchers has discovered that neural inflammation caused by our innate immune system plays an unexpectedly important role in stress-induced depression. This insight could potentially lead to the development of new antidepressants targeting innate immune molecules. The findings were published in the online edition of Neuron.

Contrary to popular belief, Adderall and other ADHD drugs do not improve cognition in healthy college students. Instead, they may impair cognitive function.

Finally this week, a new study reports when certain brain areas react more strongly to food rewards than financial rewards, children are more likely to overeat, even if they are not hungry or overweight.

 

 

Weekly Neuroscience Update

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A new study reveals children who are habitually barefoot show significantly different motor skills between the ages of 6-10 than those who are habitually shod. Researchers report those who habitually barefoot have better balance and jumping skills.

New research has found the natural vibrations of cars make people sleepier, affecting concentration and alertness levels just 15 minutes after drivers get behind the wheel.

Scientists have discovered a “Big Bang” of Alzheimer’s disease – the precise point at which a healthy protein becomes toxic but has not yet formed deadly tangles in the brain.

A new study reports people living in areas with more sunlight have lower rates of OCD.

Neuroscientists at the University of California-Berkeley are developing a technique that could give us the ability to fool our brain into thinking that we’d experienced something that never happened by manipulating electrical activity in the brain.

Researchers report boys on the autism spectrum tend to have lower fractal dimension in the right side of the cerebellum than those without autism.

Distinct molecular mechanisms can generate the same features in different neurons, a team of scientists has discovered. Its findings, which appear in the journal Cell, enhance our understanding of brain cell development.

Finally this week, a new study reports a short burst of exercise can dramatically improve long-term retention of new motor skills.

 

 

Weekly Neuroscience Update

guitar-869217_960_720.jpgResearchers say those who can improvise are better musicians than those who have limited improvisational experience.

Melatonin is a hormone known to promote sleep, but its underlying mechanisms are unknown. Now, researchers have discovered how melatonin suppresses neurons in the brain that keeps you awake and alert. These findings could lead to new therapies for those who suffer from insomnia.

A new study shows how specific neurons can process sensory information about temperature and facilitate a change in behavior to adapt to the climate.

Researchers have identified electrical activity in the brain that is specific to the start of migraines. The new study reports spreading depolarization can be seen as a migraine begins, and an electrical current can be used to stop it in its tracks.

Adolescent drinking is associated with changes in the metabolite profile, a new study shows. 

Scientists are using big data and artificial intelligence to map neural networks in the brain. The new technology could help to better understand the progression of neurodegenerative diseases.

Sound and object motion can be used to change perceptions about body size, according to a new study.

Researchers report impairments in the neuroprotective communication between neural blood vessels, astrocytes and neurons may be an early factor in how high blood pressure may impair cognitive function.

A new study confirms a link between a number of autoimmune diseases and an increased risk of developing psychosis.

Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) – the relaxing ‘brain tingles’ experienced by some people in response to specific triggers, such as whispering, tapping and slow hand movements – may have benefits for both mental and physical health, according to new research.

Researchers have developed new neural implants that enable targeted delivery of drugs deep into brain structures.

A new study reports specific alterations in signaling circuits associated with memory can induce an abnormal response in neurons, which is linked to the aging process and cognitive decline.

Researchers say the combination of low muscle mass and strength in the context of high-fat mass, could be a predictor of cognitive function in older adults. 

Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is associated with changes to the structure of the brain that are also seen in the early stages of dementia, according to a study published in the European Respiratory Journal.

Finally, this week, a new study reports a mother’s diet during pregnancy may have an effect on the composition of her child’s gut bacteria. 

 

 

Weekly Neuroscience Update

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Researchers report the brain’s reward network could play an influential role in evaluating the opportunity to gain new information, just as it does to evaluate rewards such as food or financial gain.

Scientists are beginning to understand the neuroscience behind sensory processing disorder and are developing new therapies to help those with it.

A new study shows Alzheimer’s disease does not appear to affect the salience network. Researchers found, when listening to music, the salience network along with other networks, show higher functional connectivity in Alzheimer’s patients.

A new study reveals maternal diet during pregnancy can have implications for fetal brain development and can impact short-term memory in adults.

Scientists have uncovered dozens of genes that increase the risk of depression — a major finding that underscores the complexity of the disease and reveals why antidepressant therapies work well for some people but are utterly ineffective for others.

Researchers report the critical period of language learning may be longer than previously believed. A new study reveals children remain skilled at learning new languages until age 18.

Treatment for the most common mental health problems could be ineffective or even detrimental to about 50 percent of the population, according to a radical new model of emotion in the brain.

Finally this week, researchers report high sugar and fat based diets that lead to obesity, coupled with the normal aging process, may increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

 

Weekly Neuroscience Update

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In a new study, scientists have discovered why the brain’s olfactory system is so remarkably consistent between individuals, even though the wiring of brain cells in this region differs greatly from person to person.

Scientists have proposed a new communication model to explain how brain networks can be navigated to achieve efficient information transfer.

Researchers have discovered another purpose for the gut-brain axis; relaying information to the hippocampus to store information about our environment and location.

A new study reports speech comprehension can improve as much as 10% when sound is delayed relative to vision.

Parkinson’s disease progresses differently in women than in men. A current study has now furnished the first neurophysiological evidence supporting this finding. “Numerous demographic studies have provided evidence that men contract Parkinson’s disease nearly twice as often as women.

A new study reveals the role the anterior cingulate cortex and basolateral amygdala play in observational learning.

Researchers say schizophrenia should not be considered to be just a disorder of the mind, as schizophrenia can also impact other organs. A new study reveals people with schizophrenia often have an over active immune system and other physical disorders.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation allows researchers to better understand how brain networks interact to make word choice decisions.

A new study reveals, in combination with genetics and environmental factors, placenta health during fetal development may play a role in schizophrenia. Researchers report genes associated with schizophrenia may turn on in the placenta during complicated pregnancies.

Researchers report a simple saliva test that measures cortisol levels at specific times of the day, can identify those at risk of stress and depression.

A new study reveals older adults with greater symptoms of depression have a smaller brain volume and a 55% greater chance of vascular lesions in the brain than those who do not have depression.

New research reveals the prefrontal cortex may play a role in coordinating the level of consciousness through the cholinergic system.

Finally this week, researchers report meditation and yoga are more effective at reducing stress than Chi in soldiers. Additionally, those who meditate showed stronger executive control.

Weekly Neuroscience Update

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Researchers report running can help mitigate the impact chronic stress has on the hippocampus.

A small study recently published in Translational Psychiatry showed that people living with schizophrenia could use a video game paired with an MRI scanner to curb verbal hallucinations.

A Neuron study reports brain-machine interface technology may shed light on how mentally running through a routine improves performance.

Neuroscientists have demonstrated the astounding flexibility of the brain by training neurons that normally process input from the eyes to develop new skills, in this case, to control a computer-generated tone.

Researchers report our inner thoughts and interpretations of our experiences have consequences for both physical and mental health.

A new study finds listening to music may help people extend the time they are capable of enduring a cardiac stress test. The study also reports the findings could help healthy people to exercise for longer periods of time.

Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries may increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease earlier in life, according to a study.

Researchers report elevated dopamine levels may make those with schizophrenia rely more on expectations, which results in them experiencing auditory hallucinations.

A new study will examine how the brain learns to make predictions over our lifespan.

Contrary to previous findings, new research has found no evidence Omega-3 fish oil supplements help aid or improve the reading ability or memory function of underperforming school-children.

Finally this week, neuroscientists have produced a collection of computer-generated models that accurately replicate cortical neuron activity.

 

 

Weekly Neuroscience Update

Oligodendrocytes are formed by a type of stem cell in the brain called oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs), and are responsible for re-wrapping, or remyelinating, the bare axons with myelin in response to injuries or diseases. This image is for illustrative purposes only and shows and artist’s representation of an oligodendrocyte. Credit Holly Fischer.

Oligodendrocytes are formed by a type of stem cell in the brain called oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs), and are responsible for re-wrapping, or remyelinating, the bare axons with myelin in response to injuries or diseases. This image is for illustrative purposes only and shows and artist’s representation of an oligodendrocyte. Credit Holly Fischer.

Like conducting an errant orchestra to play together, researchers are guiding processes that go awry in multiple sclerosis to repair themselves.

For the first time, scientists have discovered the exact mechanism rabies uses to efficiently enter the central nervous system, where it erupts in a toxic explosion of symptoms.

Neurons in human skin perform advanced calculations, previously believed that only the brain could perform.

Brain scans of college students have shed light on why people learn more effectively when their curiosity is piqued than when they are bored stiff. Researchers in the US found evidence that curiosity ramped up the activity of a brain chemical called dopamine, which in turn seemed to strengthen people’s memories.Students who took part in the study were better at remembering answers to trivia questions when they were curious, but their memories also improved for unrelated information they were shown at the same time.The findings suggest that while grades may have their place in motivating students, stimulating their natural curiosity could help them even more.

Researchers have discovered that T-cells – a type of white blood cell that learns to recognize and attack microbial pathogens – are activated by a pain receptor.

Quantitative tools dissect how two genes mutated in early-onset Parkinson’s disease collaborate in flagging damaged mitochondria.

A new study suggests a neural link between curiosity, motivation, and memory.

In a recent study published in the journal PLOS One, scientists uncovered a new pathway by which the brain uses an unusual steroid to control blood pressure. The study also suggests new approaches for treating high blood pressure and heart failure

Research using state-of-the-art eye-tracking technology has found that people suffering from chronic pain pay more frequent and longer attention to pain-related words than individuals who are pain-free.

The traditional view is that learning is based on the strengthening or weakening of the contacts between the nerve cells in the brain. However, this has been challenged by new research findings from Lund University in Sweden. These indicate that there is also a third mechanism – a kind of clock function that gives individual nerve cells the ability to time their reactions.

And finally this week, how your brain decides who to make friends with when you start university.