Brain

Linguistics: Tonal languages need humid climates

Linguistics: Tonal languages need humid climates

The weather impacts not only upon our mood but also our voice. An international research team including scientists from the Max Planck Institutes for Psycholinguistics, Evolutionary Anthropology and Mathematics in the Sciences has analyzed the influence of humidity on the evolution of languages. Their study has revealed that languages with a wide range of tone pitches are more prevalent in regions with high humidity levels. In contrast, languages with simpler tone pitches are mainly found in drier regions.

GWAS reveals new genes involved in long-term memory

GWAS reveals new genes involved in long-term memory

A new study has identified genes involved in long-term memory in the worm as part of research aimed at finding ways to retain cognitive abilities during aging.

The study identified more than 750 genes involved in long-term memory, including many that had not been found previously and that could serve as targets for future research, said senior author Coleen Murphy, an associate professor of molecular biology and the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics at Princeton University.

Genetic links to size of brain structures discovered

Five genetic variants that influence the size of structures within the human brain have been discovered by an international team that included a Georgia State University researcher.

Sleep and memory go hand-in-hand: Why all-nighters don't work

Want to ace that test tomorrow? Here's a tip: Put down the coffee and hit the sack.

Scientists have long known that sleep, memory and learning are deeply connected. Most animals, from flies to humans, have trouble remembering when sleep deprived, and studies have shown that sleep is critical in converting short-term into long-term memory, a process known as memory consolidation.

But just how that process works has remained a mystery.

Anti-inflammatory protein may trigger plaque in Alzheimer's disease

Inflammation has long been studied in Alzheimer's, but in a counterintuitive finding reported in a new paper, University of Florida researchers have uncovered the mechanism by which anti-inflammatory processes may trigger the disease. This anti-inflammatory process might actually trigger the build-up of sticky clumps of protein that form plaques in the brain. These plaques block brain cells' ability to communicate and are a well-known characteristic of the illness.

Aromatase+: Estrogen-producing neurons influence aggression in both sexes

A miniscule cluster of estrogen-producing nerve cells in the mouse brain exerts highly specific effects on aggressive behavior in both males and females, according to new research.

The cells in question, known as aromatase-expressing (aromatase+) cells, represent less than five one-hundredths of a percent of the neurons in the mouse brain, but they play crucial roles in sexual differentiation during early development and in regulating sexual and social behavior in adulthood.

How gut bacteria may affect brain health

The hundred trillion bacteria living in an adult human, mostly in the intestines, making up the gut microbiome, may have a significant impact on behavior and brain health, according to a new paper.

The many ways gut bacteria can impact normal brain activity and development, affect sleep and stress responses, play a role in a variety of diseases, and be modified through diet for therapeutic use are described in a review article ("The Gut Microbiome and the Brain") in Journal of Medicinal Food.

Antisocial and normal siblings share difficulty recognizing emotions

Teenagers with brothers and sisters who exhibit severe antisocial behavior share a similar impairment with their siblings in recognizing emotions, according to a new study from the University of Southampton.

The findings suggest that difficulties in recognizing emotions could be a factor that increases a child's risk of developing conduct disorder - a condition characterized by pathological aggression and antisocial behavior.

Fatty acids in fish may shield brain from mercury damage

New findings from research in the Seychelles provide further evidence that the benefits of fish consumption on prenatal development may offset the risks associated with mercury exposure. In fact, the new study, which appears today in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggests that the nutrients found in fish have properties that protect the brain from the potential toxic effects of the chemical.

Regular Exercise May Boost Brain Health in Adults

In the brain, blood flow and cognitive function peak during young adulthood, but a new study of 52 young women found that oxygen availability, which is known to positively relate to brain health and function, is higher in adults who exercise regularly.

Women who exercised on a regular basis had higher oxygen availability in the anterior frontal region of the brain and performed best on difficult cognitive tasks.