Brain

Flipping a protein switch to illuminate brain functions

Flipping a protein switch to illuminate brain functions

Japan -- What goes on inside the brain when we learn new things? Much still remains wrapped in mystery, but scientists have found a way to examine this at the molecular level.

Researchers in Japan have engineered an artificial switch that could let scientists turn individual neurotransmitter receptors on and off. Shedding light on these receptors' role in memory formation could contribute to the development of new drugs for neurological diseases, including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and ALS.

Text messaging with smartphones triggers a new type of brain rhythm

Text messaging with smartphones triggers a new type of brain rhythm

Oxford, June 27, 2016 - Sending text messages on a smartphone can change the rhythm of brain waves, according to a new study published in Epilepsy & Behavior.

People communicate increasingly via text messaging, though little is known on the neurological effects of smartphone use. To find out more about how our brains work during textual communication using smartphones, a team led by Mayo Clinic researcher William Tatum analyzed data from 129 patients. Their brain waves were monitored over a period of 16 months through electroencephalograms (EEGs) combined with video footage.

Researchers look into the brains of music fans

Researchers look into the brains of music fans

As soon as social considerations also play a part in economic decisions, our brain seems to switch to a different processing mode. At least this is indicated by the results of a current study that was conducted at the University of Bonn. In it the participants were able to purchase pieces of music but could themselves set the price to be paid. During the process, the researchers recorded the brain activity of the participants. The work will soon appear in the prestigious journal Frontiers in Psychology but can already be called up online.

Disrupted immunity in the fetal brain is linked to neurodevelopmental disorders

Disrupted immunity in the fetal brain is linked to neurodevelopmental disorders

Disrupted fetal immune system development, such as that caused by viral infection in the mother, may be a key factor in the later appearance of certain neurodevelopmental disorders. This finding emerges from a Weizmann Institute study published in Science on June 23, 2016.

Machine Learning techniques and the future of Ecology and Earth Science Research

Machine Learning techniques and the future of Ecology and Earth Science Research

Increasingly becoming a necessity in Ecology and Earth Science research, handling complex data can be a tough nut when traditional statistical methods are applied. As one of its first publications, the new technologically-advanced Open Access journal One Ecosystem features a review paper describing the benefits of using machine learning technologies when working with highly-dimensional and non-linear data.

Want to learn a new language? Get a partner and play this video game

Want to learn a new language? Get a partner and play this video game

ITHACA, N.Y. - Games are usually more fun when you play with other people, but if you're playing an educational game, interacting with other players may help you learn more, according to Cornell University research.

Using a language-learning game called "Crystallize," created by Erik Andersen, assistant professor of computer science, and his students, researchers found that when players are required to work together they learn more words -- and enjoy the game more.

Stress contagion possible amongst students and teachers: UBC study

Teacher burnout and student stress may be linked, according to a University of British Columbia study.

The study is the first of its kind to examine the connection between teacher burnout and students' cortisol levels, which are a biological indicator of stress.

Living, non-living, transformed ... simply food

It is quite surprising that, while food is so central to our lives, neuroscience has devoted limited energy to understanding how it is represented in our brain. Aware of this shortcoming, Raffaella Rumiati, professor at SISSA where she leads the INSuLa laboratory, and Francesco Foroni, SISSA research scientist, reviewed the research published to date on the topic. One of the novelties of their review is that it also considered papers dealing with brain-damaged patients.

Softwares for fMRI yield erroneous results

Common statistical methods used to analyse brain activity through images taken with MRI scanners cannot be trusted, as shown by Anders Eklund and Hans Knutsson of Linköping University, and Thomas Nichols of the University of Warwick, in the highly-ranked journal PNAS.

Researchers devise tool to improve imaging of neuronal activity in the brain

In a partnership melding neuroscience and electrical engineering, researchers from UNC-Chapel Hill and NC State University have developed a new technology that will allow neuroscientists to capture images of the brain almost 10 times larger than previously possible - helping them better understand the behavior of neurons in the brain.