Neurotransmitter Switching Affects Social Bond Formation

November 15, 2017

An elegant series of experiments in tadpoles traces the roots of “imprinting” social preference for family members, and finds a method to switch that preference to other families.

Outside-In Brain Stimulation Shows Promise in the Lab

October 24, 2017

While deep brain stimulation involves surgery, techniques like transcranial magnetic stimulation and transcranial direct current stimulation are applied from the scalp. Evidence is growing that this outside-in approach also could help improve mental states in people with  schizophrenia who have not found help in other ways.

Tackling Schizophrenia’s Symptoms with TMS

October 12, 2017

Doctors using the neuro-modulation technique to help ease depression found an interesting side-effect: It seemed to reduce hallucinations in some subjects, as well. A follow-up study confirms this effect.

Understanding Psychopathy

September 26, 2017

Research on college students and convicts suggests that the traits that make up the disorder exist in a spectrum across the population. Details on how people with psychopathy weigh the costs and benefits of lying as compared with others will help us better understand the disorder and could help find ways to stem its severity.

Structural Connectivity Sets the Stage for Later Reasoning Ability

September 12, 2017

New study suggests that the tighter two specific brain regions are woven together by white-matter tracts in childhood, the better one’s performance will be on a reasoning task in adulthood.

Moving Past the Blood-Brain Barrier

August 28, 2017

Improvements in altering viruses hold promise of crossing the fierce boundary between brain and bloodstream to deliver therapies.

Targeting Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Neurodegenerative Disease

August 15, 2017

Some brain disorders are linked to problems with mitochondria, which power cells among other critical functions. Researchers find that Improving their function and increasing their numbers might stem some diseases and reduce symptoms of others. A recent mouse study found one compound that increases counts—and also a possible method of measuring mitochondrial success.

Tracing the ‘Love’ Signal

August 8, 2017

How do we choose our partners? In voles, researchers find the stronger a certain brain circuit’s connections are, the stronger the bond—and timing is important.

Primary Visual Cortex Changes Throughout Life

July 24, 2017

The idea of critical periods in brain development was born from classic research on the visual cortex. Now scientists have found that proteins governing synapses in the visual system change at various stages of our lives, not just in our earliest years.

Defending the Aging Brain

July 11, 2017

“The brain doesn’t want to be demented,” researcher David Bennett says, “and it has means to protect itself.” He and other scientists are starting to find clues to genetic factors in the biology of resilience.

Smart Drugs in Health and Disease

July 3, 2017

Drugs that enhance cognition might benefit people who have cognitive troubles due to depression or schizophrenia, said researcher Barbara Sahakian in a recent lecture at University College London. While there are suggestions that modafinil could improve cognitive performance in high-risk sleep-deprived people, it is less clear whether any benefit would outweigh risks and side effects for people in the normal course of life.

Different Types of Music May Aid Stroke Recovery

June 27, 2017

Building on work showing that listening to music helps speed peoples’ recovery from stroke, researchers find that that peppy song you love triggers different brain areas than unfamiliar music.

Genes, Environment—and Epigenetics

June 19, 2017

Can what happened to your parents before you were born affect how your body and mind work at birth—and even now? Researchers in one area of the field of epigenetics—the study of influences on how genes are expressed—think probably so, but their challenge is to prove causality.

How to Stay Sharp in Later Life

June 12, 2017

To prevent or slow cognitive decline in later life, one should adopt as many healthy lifestyle choices as possible, researcher Ian Deary told an audience at the Royal Society. His talk was organized by the European Dana Alliance for the Brain (EDAB) and the University of the Third Age (U3A).

A Rose by Any Other Name: How our Sense of Smell Influences Cognition

June 6, 2017

Research into olfaction has lagged behind vision and hearing. New studies suggest how smell predictions and reactions can affect memory and thought processing.

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