When attention is a deficit

When attention is a deficit

Sometimes being too focused on a task is not a good thing.

During tasks that require our attention, we might become so engrossed in what we are doing that we fail to notice there is a better way to get the job done.

For example, let's say you are coming out of a New York City subway one late afternoon and you want to find out which way is west. You might begin to scan street signs and then suddenly realize that you could just look for the setting sun.

Clues into cognitive dysfunction in chronic fatigue syndrome

Epidemiologists believe they have identified a unique pattern of immune molecules in the cerebrospinal fluid of people with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) that provides insights into the basis for cognitive dysfunction--frequently described by patients as "brain fog"--as well as new hope for improvements in diagnosis and treatment.

'Lightning bolts' in the brain show learning in action

Researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center have captured images of the underlying biological activity within brain cells and their tree-like extensions, or dendrites, in mice that show how their brains sort, store and make sense out of information during learning.

Discovering age-specific brain changes in autism

There is no central theory underlying brain changes associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) because the criteria for inclusion are symptomatic rather than biological. But a new study shows that some individuals with the disorder exhibit different patterns of brain connectivity when compared to typically developing individuals, and that these patterns adjust as the individual ages.

Rats, reasoning, and rehabilitation: Wrangling how we reason

Rats have imaginations and they can link cause and effect to expect, or imagine, something happening even if it isn't happening. Reasoning separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom but in older adults aging sometimes degrades the ability to maintain information about unobserved events.

Playing music by musicians activates genes responsible for brain function and singing of songbirds

Although music perception and practice are well preserved in human evolution, the biological determinants of music practice are largely unknown. According to a latest study, music performance by professional musicians enhanced the activity of genes involved in dopaminergic neurotransmission, motor behavior, learning and memory. Interestingly, several of those up-regulated genes were also known to be responsible for song production in songbirds, which suggests a potential evolutionary conservation in sound perception and production across species.

This is your brain in the supermarket

Say you're out shopping for basic household goods -- perhaps orange juice and soup. Or light bulbs. Or diapers for your young child. How do you choose the products you buy? Is it a complicated decision, or a simple one?

It could be complex: Factors like price, quality, and brand loyalty may run through your mind. Indeed, some scholars have developed complicated models of consumer decision-making, in which people accumulate substantial product knowledge, then weigh that knowledge against the opportunity to explore less-known products.

MP-MUS: Mitochondrial 'smart bomb' nukes brain cancer cells

An experimental drug that attacks brain tumor tissue by crippling the cells' energy source - the mitochondria - has passed early tests in animal models and human tissue cultures, as reported in ChemMedChem.

After learning new words, brain sees them as pictures

When we look at a known word, our brain sees it like a picture, not a group of letters needing to be processed. That's the finding from a Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, which shows the brain learns words quickly by tuning neurons to respond to a complete word, not parts of it.

Study shows association between migraine and carpal tunnel syndrome

Patients with carpal tunnel syndrome are more than twice as likely to have migraine headaches, reports a study in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery--Global Open. The association also runs in the other direction, with migraine patients having higher odds of carpal tunnel syndrome, according to research by Dr. Huay-Zong Law and colleagues of University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. The findings add a new piece of evidence in the ongoing debate over the use of nerve decompression surgery as a treatment for migraine headaches.