Brain

Study gives new meaning to the term 'bird brain'

Study gives new meaning to the term 'bird brain'

The macaw has a brain the size of an unshelled walnut, while the macaque monkey has a brain about the size of a lemon. Nevertheless, the macaw has more neurons in its forebrain - the portion of the brain associated with intelligent behavior - than the macaque.

PET points to tau protein as leading culprit in Alzheimer's

PET points to tau protein as leading culprit in Alzheimer's

San Diego, Calif. - Alzheimer's is a devastating and incurable disease marked by beta-amyloid and tau protein aggregations in the brain, yet the direct relationship between these proteins and neurodegeneration has remained a mystery. New molecular imaging research is revealing how tau, rather than amyloid-deposition, may be more directly instigating neuronal dysfunction, say presenters at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI).

New equation reveals how other people's fortunes affect our happiness

New equation reveals how other people's fortunes affect our happiness

A new equation, showing how our happiness depends not only on what happens to us but also how this compares to other people, has been developed by UCL researchers funded by Wellcome.

The team developed an equation to predict happiness in 2014, highlighting the importance of expectations*, and the new updated equation also takes into account other people's fortunes.

Study: Training helps those with mild cognitive impairment

Study: Training helps those with mild cognitive impairment

New research from the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas shows that strategy-based reasoning training can improve the cognitive performance for those with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a preclinical stage of those at risk for Alzheimer's disease.

The study, in collaboration with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, was recently published online in the open-access journal International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

Stop cells in the brain

In the case of vertebrates - including humans - the neurons in the midbrain control body activity, especially those required for locomotion. Command neurons are produced in this region of the brain and transferred directly to the brainstem. From there, they go through the medulla to the local networks that control the activity of the body's musculature.

Adolescent alcohol and marijuana use leads to poor academic performance & health problems

Adolescents who use both marijuana and alcohol during middle school and high school are more likely to have poor academic performance and mental health during high school, according to a new study by the nonprofit RAND Corporation that followed a group of students over a seven-year period.

Shorter time in bed may protect against chronic insomnia

DENVER - Twenty to 50 percent of Americans suffer from acute insomnia each year, defined as difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, three or more nights per week, for between two weeks and three months. Roughly 10 percent of Americans experience chronic insomnia lasting longer than three months. The effects of chronic insomnia (and/or sleep loss) include impaired physical and mental performance, increased risk for mental health disorders (such as, depression and substance abuse), and increased risk for medical diseases, including hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

PET/CT reveals adaptations of the alcoholic brain

San Diego, Calif. - Alcoholism is a devastating disorder that too often leads to a perpetual cycle of abuse. An emerging molecular imaging technique may provide a way to break that cycle. It could signal patients' heightened risk and lead to targeted drug treatments that reduce the compulsion to drink, say researchers presenting at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI).

Proper maternal folate level may reduce child obesity risk

Proper maternal folate levels during pregnancy may protect children from a future risk of obesity, especially those born to obese mothers, according to a study led by researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health.

New insights into neural computations in cerebral cortex

  • Dendrites are the tree-like extensions from neurons that serve as the main location for synapses--the junctions that neurons use to communicate with each other. In the cerebral cortex, dendrites are covered with thousands of small protrusions called spines and each dendritic spine is the site of a different synaptic input.

  • The classical view of dendritic function is that information arriving via the dendritic spines is passively conveyed to the cell body through the dendrites, much like a cable, without changing the information content.