Weekly Neuroscience Update

A new study published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry offers evidence that a simple walk through nature can lower activity in stress-related brain regions. The experiment revealed that participants who walked for an hour in a forest showed decreased amygdala activity during a stress task, while those who walked for an hour in the city did not.

A team of scientists has developed the first computer model predicting the role of cortical glial cells in cognition.

A number of studies have suggested that eating a healthy diet may reduce a person’s risk of dementia, but a new study has found that two diets, including the Mediterranean diet, are not linked to a reduced risk of dementia.

A new theory proposes there is an underlying relationship between nap transition in young children, brain development, and memory formation.

The dose of nicotine from a single cigarette blocks estrogen production in the brain, causing behavioral changes. These findings may shed new light on why quitting smoking may be more difficult for women than men.

A new study suggests quantum processes are part of cognitive and conscious brain functions.

Proteins associated with motor neuron disease, or ALS are present in the gut many years before disease pathologies can be found in the brain. A stool sample or gut biopsy could help identify the presence of MND-associated proteins years before symptoms appear.

Crossword puzzles have an edge over computerized memory games in improving memory function in older adults with mild cognitive impairment.

A team of neuroscientists has recently uncovered how the brain works to make distinctions between “right” and “wrong” sounds—research that provides a deeper understanding of how we learn complex audio-motor tasks like speaking or playing music.

A new study looks deep inside the brain, where previous learning was reactivated during sleep, resulting in improved memory.

Finally this week, a study of nearly 2,000 children found that those who reported playing video games for three hours per day or more performed better on cognitive skills tests involving impulse control and working memory compared to children who had never played video games.

Weekly Round Up

The secret world of dreams could soon be cracked open. Innovative neuroscientists have already begun to figure out the thoughts of awake people– now, a team reckon they can use similar methods to tap into dreams.

We already know that “mirror therapy” – visual feedback from mirrors – has been shown to reduce some kinds of chronic pain, notably the pain felt in  “phantom limbs” of amputees. Preliminary results from a new study, described November 12 at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, suggests mirror therapy may offer a  may offer a powerful and inexpensive way to fight persistent arthritis pain.

Brain scans have revealed the workings of the brain’s GPS that underpin our decisions as we navigate towards a destination.

A team of researchers co-led by the University of Pennsylvania has developed and tested a new high-resolution, ultra-thin device capable of recording brain activity from the cortical surface without having to use penetrating electrodes. The device could make possible a whole new generation of brain-computer interfaces for treating neurological and psychiatric illness and research.

How you think about pain can have a major impact on how it feels. That’s the intriguing conclusion neuroscientists are reaching as scanning technologies let them see how the brain processes pain.

Fourteen-year-olds who were frequent video gamers had more gray matter in the rewards center of the brain than peers who didn’t play video games as much – suggesting that gaming may be correlated to changes in the brain, much as addictions are.