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Neuroscience posts

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  • January 22, 2016
  • 12:13 AM
  • 605 views

Our brain can store information of the entire web (or more)

by Usman Paracha in SayPeople

Main Point:

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.

Published in:

eLife

Study Further:

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  

  • January 21, 2016
  • 06:39 PM
  • 744 views

"Cat-gras Delusion" - The Man Who Saw His Cat As An Impostor

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Capgras syndrome is a strange disorder in which the sufferer becomes convinced that someone close to them has been replaced by an impostor.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 »

  • January 21, 2016
  • 02:27 PM
  • 648 views

Anxious? Chronic stress and anxiety can damage the brain

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

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 »

Mah, L., Szabuniewicz, C., & Fiocco, A. (2016) Can anxiety damage the brain?. Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 29(1), 56-63. DOI: 10.1097/YCO.0000000000000223  

  • January 20, 2016
  • 02:29 PM
  • 756 views

Overwhelmed and depressed? Well, there may be a connection

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

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  

  • January 20, 2016
  • 06:55 AM
  • 968 views

Pump Up Your Brain

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

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 »

  • January 19, 2016
  • 02:14 PM
  • 495 views

Can you trust your gut when public speaking?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

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 »

  • January 18, 2016
  • 04:07 PM
  • 609 views

Thwarting abnormal neural development with a new mutation

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

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  

  • January 17, 2016
  • 09:04 AM
  • 742 views

A Neural Response to "Trigger" Stimuli in PTSD?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

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  

  • January 15, 2016
  • 02:56 PM
  • 609 views

Autism-linked protein lays groundwork for healthy brain

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

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 »

  • January 14, 2016
  • 02:53 PM
  • 684 views

Pay attention! Attention neuron type identified

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

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  

  • January 13, 2016
  • 09:05 AM
  • 1,103 views

Exercise Puts Me To Sleep – You Too

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

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 »

  • January 12, 2016
  • 03:08 PM
  • 618 views

Improving your toddler’s memory skills has long-term benefits

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

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 »

  • January 12, 2016
  • 06:37 AM
  • 591 views

Two Steps to Self-control

by Gunnar De Winter in United Academics

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 »

  • January 11, 2016
  • 03:23 PM
  • 675 views

Stereotype means girls should expect poorer physics grades

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

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 »

  • January 10, 2016
  • 02:37 PM
  • 583 views

Put the cellphone away! Fragmented baby care can affect brain development

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

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 »

  • January 9, 2016
  • 09:51 AM
  • 808 views

The Myth of the Brain's Pain Matrix?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

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  

  • January 8, 2016
  • 07:47 AM
  • 960 views

Opioid Drugs for Mental Anguish: Basic Research and Clinical Trials

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

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 »

  • January 6, 2016
  • 05:04 PM
  • 1,024 views

Reminding people of mortality makes them more religious? Not if you use magnets to mess with their brains!

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

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  

  • January 6, 2016
  • 03:49 PM
  • 676 views

Schizophrenia linked to loss of cells in the brain’s memory center

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

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 »

  • January 6, 2016
  • 10:13 AM
  • 846 views

Does Ageism Cause Alzheimer's?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

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 »

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