Weekly Neuroscience Update

Getting a grip—literally— by clenching your right fist before remembering information and your left when you want to remember it can boost your recall, according to the latest study. This strange trick may work because clenching your hands activates the side of the brain that handles the function— in right-handed people, for instance, the left side of the brain is primarily responsible for encoding information and the right for recalling memory. (If you are left-handed, the opposite applies).

Mathematicians from Queen Mary, University of London will bring researchers one-step closer to understanding how the structure of the brain relates to its function in two recently published studies.

Greater adherence to a Mediterranean diet (MeD) is associated with a lower likelihood of incident cognitive impairment (ICI), especially among those without diabetes, according to a study published in the April 30 issue of Neurology.

The widespread belief that dopamine regulates pleasure could go down in history with the latest research results on the role of this neurotransmitter. Researchers have proved that it regulates motivation, causing individuals to initiate and persevere to obtain something either positive or negative.

Supposedly ‘primitive’ reflexes may involve more sophisticated brain function than previously thought, according to researchers at Imperial College London.

The production of a certain kind of brain cell that had been considered an impediment to healing may actually be needed to staunch bleeding and promote repair after a stroke or head trauma, researchers at Duke Medicine report.

For any addiction, external  cues and stress can trigger  cravings that are hard to resist, and the latest research points to an area of  the brain that might be responsible  for sabotaging recovery.

Is the internet changing your brain?

Is the internet changing the way we think?

This Saturday, 11 June, I am looking forward to giving a talk at 3D Camp at the University of Limerick on how the internet is changing our brain. I will be exploring the question of whether our brains are being altered due to our increasing reliance on search engines, social networking sites and other digital technologies.

Using a basic understanding of brain structure (neurology) I will explain the concept of ‘brain plasticity’- the ability of the brain to constantly rewire itself – and will show how all learning changes the shape of the brain, allowing specific areas in the brain to grow or change. I will also be demonstrating how the new ‘cybertherapies’ are being used to help patients suffering from addiction and post traumatic stress disorder back to health.  I believe this new resource has the potential to dramatically improve mental health including new opportunities to learn healthy habits to lift our mood and enhance our brains longevity.

There are still places left on this themed Barcamp which looks at The Internet Beyond Web 2.0. Areas. Attendance is FREE! 

Click here to register