Weekly Neuroscience Update

buddhist-1807526_960_720.jpgResearchers have discovered differences in the brain’s emotional networks between those who do not meditate, novice meditators and those who have practiced meditation for a long time.

According to researchers, people find it easier to lie in a foreign language than their native tongue.

A new study could revolutionize understanding of how signal flow can be measured in the brain and could have an impact into the development of new artificial neural networks.

Scientists in the US have announced they’ve developed an Artificial Intelligence (AI) system that can tell how smart a person is just by looking at a scan of their brain.

Researchers have developed a new, non-surgical method to manipulate brain circuitry. The technique uses sound waves in combination with small bubble injections into the bloodstream that temporarily opens the blood-brain barrier.

A new study reports disrupted transportation routes in nerve cells are a significant cause of Parkinson’s disease.

According to researchers, vision and brain circuits perform regular background scans, making neurons available for focus based tasks. The process makes it possible for us to pay, and maintain attention.

Researchers report high density of neurons in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex play a significant role in resilient dyslexia.

Finally this week, a new study reports children who exhibit excessive self-control and have tendencies toward perfectionism are twice as likely to develop OCD by their teenage years.

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

Parkin-expressing cells (red) are undergoing programmed cell death. Credit Dr. Emilie Hollville and Professor Seamus Martin, Trinity College Dublin.

Parkin-expressing cells (red) are undergoing programmed cell death. Credit Dr. Emilie Hollville and Professor Seamus Martin, Trinity College Dublin.

Scientists at Trinity College Dublin have made an important breakthrough in our understanding of Parkin – a protein that regulates the repair and replacement of nerve cells within the brain. This breakthrough generates a new perspective on how nerve cells die in Parkinson’s disease.

A new study, which may have implications for approaches to education, finds that brain mechanisms engaged when people allow their minds to rest and reflect on things they’ve learned before may boost later learning.

A study in which more than 43,000 children were evaluated for head trauma offers an unprecedented picture of how children most frequently suffer head injuries. For teens, top causes are assaults, sports, car crashes; for younger children, falls lead the list.The findings also indicate how often such incidents result in significant brain injuries, computerized tomography (CT) scans to assess head injuries, and neurosurgery to treat them.

Neighborhoods that motivate walking can stave off cognitive decline in older adults.

People who are depressed often complain that they find it difficult to make decisions. A new study provides an explanation. Researchers tested 29 patients diagnosed with major depression and 27 healthy controls and they found that the people with depression had an impaired ability to go with their gut instincts, or what we might call intuition.

Learning a new language changes your brain network both structurally and functionally, according to Penn State researchers.

Finally this week, being shown pictures of others being loved and cared for reduces the brain’s response to threat, new research from the University of Exeter has found.

 

Weekly Neuroscience Update

The theory and experimental findings showed that fast Hebbian and slow homeostatic plasticity work together during learning, but only after each has independently assured stability on its own timescale. This image is for illustrative purposes only. Credit Nicolas P. Rougier.

The theory and experimental findings showed that fast Hebbian and slow homeostatic plasticity work together during learning, but only after each has independently assured stability on its own timescale. This image is for illustrative purposes only. Credit Nicolas P. Rougier.

Complex biochemical signals that coordinate fast and slow changes in neuronal networks keep the brain in balance during learning, according to an international team of science researchers.

An imaging study by Stanford University School of Medicine investigators has found distinct differences between the brains of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome and those of healthy people. The findings could lead to more definitive diagnoses of the syndrome and may also point to an underlying mechanism in the disease process.

Breakdown in gut barriers to bacteria may promote inflammation and craving in alcoholics. 

Seizures and migraines have always been considered separate physiological events in the brain, but now a team of engineers and neuroscientists looking at the brain from a physics viewpoint discovered a link between these and related phenomena.

All physical activity benefits the brain. This is the main message of a new study that compared the effects of different kinds of exercise on cognition in older adults.

Finally this week, certain meditation techniques can promote creative thinking, even if you have never meditated before. This is the outcome of a study by cognitive psychologist Lorenza Colzato and Dominique Lippelt at Leiden University, published in Mindfulness.

Like Valium and Oxycontin, without the Side Effects


A Buddhist monk—this one with a doctorate in cell biology—has teamed with two prominent neuroscientists to present the latest findings on what meditation does to the brain and how those changes to neural circuits have some of the trappings of what might be labeled a perfect drug—Prozac-like muting of depression symptoms or prophylaxis against PTSD (just two on the list). In this video Richard Davidson, Ph.D., presents their research at Stanford University in a talk entitled,  The Emergence of Contemplative Neuroscience.

Weekly Neuroscience Update

Earlier research showed that progranulin levels were elevated near plaques in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease, but it was unknown whether this effect counteracted or exacerbated neurodegeneration. This image is for illustrative purposes only. Credit NIH.

Earlier research showed that progranulin levels were elevated near plaques in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease, but it was unknown whether this effect counteracted or exacerbated neurodegeneration. This image is for illustrative purposes only. Credit NIH.

Low levels of the naturally occurring protein progranulin exacerbate cellular and cognitive dysfunction, while raising levels can prevent abnormalities in an Alzheimer model.

Teenagers who said they had a traumatic brain injury in their lifetime, especially girls, also reported significantly higher rates of harmful behavior, according to new research.

A new University of Iowa study further supports an inescapable message: caregivers have a profound influence – good or bad – on the emotional state of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. Patients may not remember a recent visit by a loved one or having been neglected by staff at a nursing home, but those actions can have a lasting impact on how they feel. The findings of this study are published in the September 2014 issue of the journal Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology.

A new study reveals individual neurons in the human brain are triggered by the subject’s conscious perception, rather than by the visual stimulus.

A chemical in the brain plays a vital role in controlling the involuntary movements and vocal tics associated with Tourette Syndrome (TS), a new study has shown.

Researchers discover how the brain works during meditation.

Finally, this week, teenagers who regularly do not get enough sleep are more likely to struggle academically, the results of a new study show. Swedish researchers looked at over 20,000 teenagers aged between 12 and 19 and found that those who regularly slept for less than seven hours per night were more likely to fail in school. Details of these findings are published in the journal, Sleep Medicine.

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Weekly Neuroscience Update

MIT neuroscientists found that brain waves originating from the striatum (red) and from the prefrontal cortex (blue) become synchronized when an animal learns to categorize different patterns of dots.  Illustration: Jose-Luis Olivares/MIT

MIT neuroscientists found that brain waves originating from the striatum (red) and from the prefrontal cortex (blue) become synchronized when an animal learns to categorize different patterns of dots.
Illustration: Jose-Luis Olivares/MIT

The human mind can rapidly absorb and analyze new information as it flits from thought to thought. These quickly changing brain states may be encoded by synchronization of brain waves across different brain regions, according to a new study from MIT neuroscientists.

Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences examines what happens to the brain when it recovers from the effects of anesthetic.

A new study finds that meditation strongly stimulates parts of the brain that help with memory and emotion processing, which in turn lowers stress. A team of researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, the University of Oslo, and the University of Sydney found that “nondirective” meditation, in which someone achieves a relaxed focus of attention by repeating a mantra or sound and lets his or her mind wander, is the most effective kind of meditation.

New research touts the ability of PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scans to identify patients in a minimally conscious state (MCS) far more accurately than other imaging technologies.