Memory capacity of brain is about 10 times more than previous estimations, which is in the petabyte range, i.e. almost equivalent to the entire Web.
Memories and thoughts in our brain are caused by a distinct pattern of chemical and electrical activity. Our brain has branches of neurons, which are connected to each other through synapses. Signals and information travel through these synapses with the help of neurotransmitters. Each ne........ Read more »
Bartol, T., Bromer, C., Kinney, J., Chirillo, M., Bourne, J., Harris, K., & Sejnowski, T. (2015) Nanoconnectomic upper bound on the variability of synaptic plasticity. eLife. DOI: 10.7554/eLife.10778
Capgras syndrome is a strange disorder in which the sufferer becomes convinced that someone close to them has been replaced by an impostor.
Yet now, a new and even stranger variant of the syndrome has been reported - "Cat-gras". This is the name coined by Harvard neurologists R. Ryan Darby and David Caplan in a new paper in the journal Neurocase. The authors describe the case of a man who believed that his cat was in fact a different cat.
According to Darby and Caplan, the patient ... Read more »
Darby, R., & Caplan, D. (2016) “Cat-gras” delusion: a unique misidentification syndrome and a novel explanation. Neurocase, 1-6. DOI: 10.1080/13554794.2015.1136335
A scientific review paper warns that people need to find ways to reduce chronic stress and anxiety in their lives or they may be at increased risk for developing depression and even dementia. Led by the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Health Sciences, the review examined brain areas impacted by chronic anxiety, fear and stress in animal and human studies that are already published.... Read more »
Ever feel overwhelmed when you are depressed, well the good news is it isn't just you, the bad news is it's probably your brain. Regions of the brain that normally work together to process emotion become decoupled in people who experience multiple episodes of depression, neuroscientists report. The findings may help identify which patients will benefit from long term antidepressant treatment to prevent the recurrence of depressive episodes.
... Read more »
Jacobs, R., Barba, A., Gowins, J., Klumpp, H., Jenkins, L., Mickey, B., Ajilore, O., Peciña, M., Sikora, M., Ryan, K.... (2016) Decoupling of the amygdala to other salience network regions in adolescent-onset recurrent major depressive disorder. Psychological Medicine, 1-13. DOI: 10.1017/S0033291715002615
Exercising makes you smarter! Preadolescents who begin exercising score better on a cognitive assessment not unlike an IQ test. They also perform better on a math test, even though no additional math instruction was given. But to maximize the increase in neural plasticity, you have to exercise several times a week for months. The weirdest part – different types of exercise alter different neurotrophins, so to be your smartest, you need to do aerobic training and resistance training. ... Read more »
Patten AR, Sickmann H, Hryciw BN, Kucharsky T, Parton R, Kernick A, & Christie BR. (2013) Long-term exercise is needed to enhance synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus. Learning , 20(11), 642-7. PMID: 24131795
Cassilhas RC, Lee KS, Fernandes J, Oliveira MG, Tufik S, Meeusen R, & de Mello MT. (2012) Spatial memory is improved by aerobic and resistance exercise through divergent molecular mechanisms. Neuroscience, 309-17. PMID: 22155655
Davis CL, Tomporowski PD, McDowell JE, Austin BP, Miller PH, Yanasak NE, Allison JD, & Naglieri JA. (2011) Exercise improves executive function and achievement and alters brain activation in overweight children: a randomized, controlled trial. Health psychology : official journal of the Division of Health Psychology, American Psychological Association, 30(1), 91-8. PMID: 21299297
Tam ND. (2013) Improvement of Processing Speed in Executive Function Immediately following an Increase in Cardiovascular Activity. Cardiovascular psychiatry and neurology, 212767. PMID: 24187613
There is good news for frequent public speakers. New research shows that individuals have the ability to quickly and accurately identify a crowd's general emotion as focused or distracted, suggesting that we can trust our first impression of a crowd's mood.
... Read more »
Haberman, J., Lee, P., & Whitney, D. (2015) Mixed emotions: Sensitivity to facial variance in a crowd of faces. Journal of Vision, 15(4), 16. DOI: 10.1167/15.4.16
Researchers at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan have discovered how to reverse the abnormal axonal development characteristic of CFEOM3, a congenital disease that affects the muscles that control eye movements. The work shows how creating a specific mutation rescued abnormal axonal growth in the developing mouse brain.
... Read more »
Minoura, I., Takazaki, H., Ayukawa, R., Saruta, C., Hachikubo, Y., Uchimura, S., Hida, T., Kamiguchi, H., Shimogori, T., & Muto, E. (2016) Reversal of axonal growth defects in an extraocular fibrosis model by engineering the kinesin–microtubule interface. Nature Communications, 10058. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms10058
A new paper in the prestigious Journal of Neuroscience makes some exciting claims about the neurobiology of PTSD - but are the methods solid?
Canadian researchers Mišić et al. used magnetoencephalography (MEG) to measure neural activity in four groups: traumatized Canadian soldiers, non-traumatized soldiers, civilians with mild traumatic brain injury, and healthy civilians. They found that
Soldiers with PTSD display inter-regional hypersynchrony at high frequencies (80–150 Hz), as well a... Read more »
Mišić B, Dunkley BT, Sedge PA, Da Costa L, Fatima Z, Berman MG, Doesburg SM, McIntosh AR, Grodecki R, Jetly R.... (2016) Post-Traumatic Stress Constrains the Dynamic Repertoire of Neural Activity. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 36(2), 419-31. PMID: 26758834
A gene linked to mental disorders helps lays the foundation for a crucial brain structure during prenatal development, according to Salk Institute research. The findings reveal new mechanistic insights into the gene, known as MDGA1, which may bring a better understanding of neurodevelopmental disorders in people.
... Read more »
Perez-Garcia, C., & O’Leary, D. (2016) Formation of the Cortical Subventricular Zone Requires MDGA1-Mediated Aggregation of Basal Progenitors. Cell Reports. DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2015.12.066
Researchers have identified for the first time a cell type in the brain of mice that is integral to attention. Moreover, by manipulating the activity of this cell type, the scientists were able to enhance attention in mice. The results add to the understanding of how the brain's frontal lobes work and control behaviour.
... Read more »
Hoseok Kim, Sofie hedlund-Richter, Xinming Wang, Karl Deisseroth, Marie Carlén. (2016) Prefrontal Parvalbumin Neurons in Control of Attention. Cell . DOI: http://dx.org/10.1016/j.cell.2015.11.038
A New Year’s resolution to exercise could also help you sleep. But how? It wears you out and reduces stress, but there is much more. Exercise manipulates the temperature of the body by messing with your brain and modulates immune cytokine levels. It’s true… your immune system controls sleep cycles!... Read more »
Vivanco P, Studholme KM, & Morin LP. (2013) Drugs that prevent mouse sleep also block light-induced locomotor suppression, circadian rhythm phase shifts and the drop in core temperature. Neuroscience, 98-109. PMID: 24056197
Robey E, Dawson B, Halson S, Gregson W, King S, Goodman C, & Eastwood P. (2013) Effect of evening postexercise cold water immersion on subsequent sleep. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 45(7), 1394-402. PMID: 23377833
Santos RV, Viana VA, Boscolo RA, Marques VG, Santana MG, Lira FS, Tufik S, & de Mello MT. (2012) Moderate exercise training modulates cytokine profile and sleep in elderly people. Cytokine, 60(3), 731-5. PMID: 22917967
España RA, McCormack SL, Mochizuki T, & Scammell TE. (2007) Running promotes wakefulness and increases cataplexy in orexin knockout mice. Sleep, 30(11), 1417-25. PMID: 18041476
If your toddler is a Forgetful Jones, you might want to help boost his or her brainpower sooner rather than later. New research shows that preschoolers who score lower on a memory task are likely to score higher on a dropout risk scale at the age of 12.
... Read more »
Fitzpatrick, C., Archambault, I., Janosz, M., & Pagani, L. (2015) Early childhood working memory forecasts high school dropout risk. Intelligence, 160-165. DOI: 10.1016/j.intell.2015.10.002
When it comes to cognitive control, we know that the basics are already present in young children but that the ability increases throughout adolescence. How does that happen? ... Read more »
Marek, S., Hwang, K., Foran, W., Hallquist, M., & Luna, B. (2015) The Contribution of Network Organization and Integration to the Development of Cognitive Control. PLOS Biology, 13(12). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1002328
Imagine that you are a female student and give the exact same answer to a physics exam question as one of your male classmates, but you receive a significantly poorer grade. This is precisely what happens on a regular basis, as concluded in a study by Sarah Hofer, a researcher in the group led by ETH professor Elsbeth Stern.... Read more »
Hofer, S. (2015) Studying Gender Bias in Physics Grading: The role of teaching experience and country. International Journal of Science Education, 37(17), 2879-2905. DOI: 10.1080/09500693.2015.1114190
Mothers, put down your smartphones when caring for your babies! That's the message from University of California, Irvine researchers, who have found that fragmented and chaotic maternal care can disrupt proper brain development, which can lead to emotional disorders later in life.... Read more »
Molet, J., Heins, K., Zhuo, X., Mei, Y., Regev, L., Baram, T., & Stern, H. (2016) Fragmentation and high entropy of neonatal experience predict adolescent emotional outcome. Translational Psychiatry, 6(1). DOI: 10.1038/tp.2015.200
How does the brain encode physical pain? Which brain areas (if any) respond only to painful stimuli?
A new paper reports that one supposedly "pain-selective" brain region, the posterior insula, doesn't actually specifically encode pain - it activates in response to diverse non-painful stimuli as well. The study appears in PLoS Biology and it comes from Giulia Liberati and colleagues of the Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium.
Liberati et al. found that the insula responds to non-... Read more »
Liberati G, Klöcker A, Safronova MM, Ferrão Santos S, Ribeiro Vaz JG, Raftopoulos C, & Mouraux A. (2016) Nociceptive Local Field Potentials Recorded from the Human Insula Are Not Specific for Nociception. PLoS Biology, 14(1). PMID: 26734726
The prescription opioid crisis of overdosing and overprescribing has reached epic proportions, according to the North American media. Just last week, we learned that 91% of patients who survive opioid overdose are prescribed more opioids! The CDC calls it an epidemic, and notes there's been “a 200% increase in the rate of overdose deaths involving opioid pain relievers and heroin.” A recent paper in the Annual Review of Public Health labels it a “public health crisis” and proposes “int........ Read more »
Panksepp, J., & Yovell, Y. (2014) Preclinical Modeling of Primal Emotional Affects (SEEKING, PANIC and PLAY): Gateways to the Development of New Treatments for Depression. Psychopathology, 47(6), 383-393. DOI: 10.1159/000366208
Tenore, P. (2008) Psychotherapeutic Benefits of Opioid Agonist Therapy. Journal of Addictive Diseases, 27(3), 49-65. DOI: 10.1080/10550880802122646
Watt, D., & Panksepp, J. (2009) Depression: An Evolutionarily Conserved Mechanism to Terminate Separation Distress? A Review of Aminergic, Peptidergic, and Neural Network Perspectives. Neuropsychoanalysis, 11(1), 7-51. DOI: 10.1080/15294145.2009.10773593
Yovell, Y., Bar, G., Mashiah, M., Baruch, Y., Briskman, I., Asherov, J., Lotan, A., Rigbi, A., & Panksepp, J. (2015) Ultra-Low-Dose Buprenorphine as a Time-Limited Treatment for Severe Suicidal Ideation: A Randomized Controlled Trial. American Journal of Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2015.15040535
By using a carefully calibrated magnetic field, you can change the patterns of brain activity. It should come as no surprise, then, that you can actually change the intensity of religious beliefs in this way, at least temporarily. For example, a recent study found that activating the brain’s parietal lobe (the bit near the top [Read More...]... Read more »
Holbrook, C., Izuma, K., Deblieck, C., Fessler, D., & Iacoboni, M. (2015) Neuromodulation of Group Prejudice and Religious Belief. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. DOI: 10.1093/scan/nsv107
Scientists at Columbia University’s Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute, Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC), and the Université Paris Descartes have found that deficits in social memory–a crucial yet poorly understood feature of psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia–may be due to a decrease in the number of a particular class of brain cells, called inhibitory neurons, in a little-explored region within the brain’s memory center.... Read more »
Piskorowski, R., Nasrallah, K., Diamantopoulou, A., Mukai, J., Hassan, S., Siegelbaum, S., Gogos, J., & Chevaleyre, V. (2016) Age-Dependent Specific Changes in Area CA2 of the Hippocampus and Social Memory Deficit in a Mouse Model of the 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome. Neuron, 89(1), 163-176. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2015.11.036
Last month, a neuroscience paper got a lot of attention for reporting that Negative Age Stereotypes Predict Alzheimer's Disease Biomarkers.
It was greeted by headlines such as:
If you think elderly people are icky, you're more likely to get Alzheimer’s (Healthline)
Lack of respect for elderly may be fuelling Alzheimer's epidemic (The Telegraph)
Your attitude about aging may impact how you age (TIME)
The research, published in the journal Psychology and Aging, wasn't about Alzheimer's ... Read more »
Levy BR, Ferrucci L, Zonderman AB, Slade MD, Troncoso J, & Resnick SM. (2015) A Culture-Brain Link: Negative Age Stereotypes Predict Alzheimer's Disease Biomarkers. Psychology and Aging. PMID: 26641877
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