Brain

Genetic tug of war in the brain influences behavior

Genetic tug of war in the brain influences behavior

Not every mom and dad agree on how their offspring should behave. But in genetics as in life, parenting is about knowing when your voice needs to be heard, and the best ways of doing so. Typically, compromise reigns, and one copy of each gene is inherited from each parent so that the two contribute equally to the traits who make us who we are. Occasionally, a mechanism called genomic imprinting, first described 30 years ago, allows just one parent to be heard by completely silencing the other.

Research grasps how the brain plans gripping motion

Research grasps how the brain plans gripping motion

With the results of a new study, neuroscientists have a firmer grasp on the way the brain formulates commands for the hand to grip an object. The advance could lead to improvements in future brain-computer interfaces that provide people with severe paralysis a means to control robotic arms and hands using their thoughts.

It don't mean a thing if the brain ain't got that swing

It don't mean a thing if the brain ain't got that swing

Like Duke Ellington's 1931 jazz standard, the human brain improvises while its rhythm section keeps up a steady beat. But when it comes to taking on intellectually challenging tasks, groups of neurons tune in to one another for a fraction of a second and harmonize, then go back to improvising, according to new research led by UC Berkeley.

These findings, reported today in the journal Nature Neuroscience, could pave the way for more targeted treatments for people with brain disorders marked by fast, slow or chaotic brain waves, also known as neural oscillations.

Wind farms: Can you actually hear 'inaudible' sound?

Wind farms: Can you actually hear 'inaudible' sound?

Are wind farms harmful to humans? Some believe so, others refute this; this controversial topic makes emotions run high. To give the debate more objectivity, an international team of experts dealt with the fundamentals of hearing in the lower limit range of the audible frequency range (i.e. infrasound), but also in the upper limit range (i.e. ultrasound). The project, which is part of the European Metrology Research Programme (EMRP), was coordinated by the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB).

Coffee consumption habits impact the risk of mild cognitive impairment

A new study by researchers at the University of Bari Aldo Moro, Bari, Italy, Geriatric Unit & Laboratory of Gerontology and Geriatrics, IRCCS "Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza", San Giovanni Rotondo, Foggia, Italy, and Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS), Roma, Italy, estimates the association between change or constant habits in coffee consumption and the incidence of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), evaluating 1,445 individuals recruited from 5,632 subjects, aged 65-84 year old, from the Italian Longitudinal Study on Aging (ILSA), a population-based sample from eight Italian municipalities wit

Schizophrenia's 'Rosetta Stone' gene identified

Scientists have identified a critical function of what they believe to be schizophrenia's "Rosetta Stone" gene that could hold the key to decoding the function of all genes involved in the disease.

The breakthrough has revealed a vulnerable period in the early stages of the brain's development that researchers hope can be targeted for future efforts in reversing schizophrenia.

In a paper published today in the journal Science, neuroscientists from Cardiff University describe having uncovered the previously unknown influence of a gene in ensuring healthy brain development.

Concussion may impact men and women differently

New research suggests concussion may not significantly impair symptoms or cognitive skills for one gender over another, however, women may still experience greater symptoms and poorer cognitive performance at preseason testing. The study released today will be presented at the Sports Concussion Conference in Denver, July 24 to 26, hosted by the American Academy of Neurology, the world's leading authority on diagnosing and managing sports concussion. The conference will feature the latest scientific advances in diagnosing and treating sports concussion from leading experts in the field.

How music alters the teenage brain

Music training, begun as late as high school, may help improve the teenage brain's responses to sound and sharpen hearing and language skills, suggests a new Northwestern University study.

The research, to be published the week of July 20 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), indicates that music instruction helps enhance skills that are critical for academic success.

The gains were seen during group music classes included in the schools' curriculum, suggesting in-school training accelerates neurodevelopment.

Intellectual pursuits may buffer the brain against addiction

Challenging the idea that addiction is hardwired in the brain, a new UC Berkeley study of mice suggests that even a short time spent in a stimulating learning environment can rewire the brain’s reward system and buffer it against drug dependence.

Scientists tracked cocaine cravings in more than 70 adult male mice and found that those rodents whose daily drill included exploration, learning and finding hidden tasty morsels were less likely than their enrichment-deprived counterparts to seek solace in a chamber where they had been given cocaine.

Substance abuse is associated with lower brain volume in women but not in men

A new study by a team of researchers at the University of Colorado School of Medicine on the Anschutz Medical Campus found that long-term stimulant abuse had more significant effects on brain volume in women compared with men.

For the study, Jody Tanabe, MD, professor of radiology, and her colleagues sought to determine how the brains of people previously dependent on stimulants were different from the brains of healthy people. The results were published online in the journal Radiology.