Brain

Tackling neurotransmission precision

Tackling neurotransmission precision

Behind all motor, sensory and memory functions, calcium ions are in the brain, making those functions possible. Yet neuroscientists do not entirely understand how fast calcium ions reach their targets inside neurons, and how that timing changes neural signaling. Researchers at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University have determined how the distance from calcium channels to calcium sensors on vesicles affects a neuron's signaling precision and efficacy.

Crows are smarter than you think

Crows are smarter than you think

Here is how it worked: the birds were placed into a wire mesh cage into which a plastic tray containing three small cups was occasionally inserted. The sample cup in the middle was covered with a small card on which was pictured a color, shape or number of items. The other two cups were also covered with cards - one that matched the sample and one that did not.

Trigger mechanism for recovery after spinal cord injury revealed

Trigger mechanism for recovery after spinal cord injury revealed

The Greenland Ice Sheet: Now in HD

The Greenland Ice Sheet: Now in HD

SAN FRANCISCO--The Greenland Ice Sheet is ready for its close-up.

The highest-resolution satellite images ever taken of that region are making their debut. And while each individual pixel represents only one moment in time, taken together they show the ice sheet as a kind of living body--flowing, crumbling and melting out to sea.

Weigh-in once a week or you'll gain weight

Weigh-in once a week or you'll gain weight

Stepping on the scale is common among dieters but how does the frequency of weigh-ins impact weight? A new study in PLOS ONE showed that the more frequently dieters weighed themselves the more weight they lost, and if participants went more than a week without weighing themselves, they gained weight.

What makes kids generous? Neuroscience has some answers

It's no secret that people are judgmental, and young children are no exception. When children witness "good" or "bad" behavior, their brains show an immediate emotional response. But, according to a study appearing in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on December 18, it takes more than that kind of automatic moral evaluation for kids to act with generosity and share their stickers.

Scientists locate homing signal in brain, explaining why some people are better navigators

The part of the brain that tells us the direction to travel when we navigate has been identified by UCL scientists, and the strength of its signal predicts how well people can navigate.

It has long been known that some people are better at navigating than others, but until now it has been unclear why. The latest study, funded by the Wellcome Trust and published in Current Biology, shows that the strength and reliability of 'homing signals' in the human brain vary among people and can predict navigational ability.

Subtle but important memory function affected by preterm birth

A new study has found that children born prematurely show differences in a subtle but important aspect of memory: the ability to form and retrieve memories about context, such as what, when, and where something happened. This type of memory is important, but can be missed on the usual set of direct assessments. The new research suggests that it may be valuable to find targeted ways to help strengthen this aspect of memory in children born preterm.

Despite risks, benzodiazepine use highest in older people

Prescription use of benzodiazepines--a widely used class of sedative and anti-anxiety medications--increases steadily with age, despite the known risks for older people, according to a comprehensive analysis of benzodiazepine prescribing in the United States. Given existing guidelines cautioning health providers about benzodiazepine use among older adults, findings from the National Institutes of Health-funded study raise questions about why so many prescriptions--many for long-term use--are being written for this age group.

Health coaching paired with gym membership works best for obese people with mental illness

LEBANON, NH - A health promotion program, called In SHAPE, specifically designed for people with serious mental illness, produced more fit participants and significant weight loss than a control group where participants only received a gym membership.