Brain

A new pilot study has found that opioid dependence – which includes dependence on drugs such as heroin – affects how ‘cute’ we perceive images of children to be. As cuteness can trigger caregiving motivation, this result indicates that the opioid system may have significant effects on our ability to care for others. The implications of this may need to be considered in any consideration of medical or recreational opioid use.

The notion that low levels of electrical stimulation applied to the scalp, barely enough to create a mild tingling sensation, could activate the brain is a relatively new and somewhat controversial idea. The technique, called transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) has been reported to modify mood, emotion, and cognition, yet researchers lack any evidence for how - or even if - it directly modulates brain activity. Still, some researchers see its potential for a new strategy to treat psychiatric disorders.

The following factors facilitate the formation of putatively toxic structures in the neuronal nuclei of Alzheimer’s patients.

Spherical structures in the nucleus of nerve cells, so-called nuclear spheres, are suspected to trigger Alzheimer’s disease. A team headed by Dr Thorsten Müller from the research group Cell Signaling in Neurodegeneration has for the very first time demonstrated the presence of the presumably toxic protein aggregates in the human brain. The researchers from Ruhr-Universität Bochum have published their article in the journal Neurobiology of Aging.

The sense of touch may play a more crucial role in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) than previously assumed. The main findings of the doctoral research of Eliane Deschrijver, which are now published, show that individuals with ASD may have difficulties to determine which tactile sensations belong to the action of someone else.

ASD: social problems and sensory sensitivities

Many individuals with ASD are over- or undersensitive to sensory information. Some feel overwhelmed by busy environments such as supermarkets, others are less sensitive to pain, or dislike being touched.

Some loss of memory is often considered an inevitable part of aging, but new research reveals how some people appear to escape that fate. A study by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators examines a remarkable group of older adults whose memory performance is equivalent to that of younger individuals and finds that certain key areas of their brains resemble those of young people.

WASHINGTON - The demand for family caregivers for adults who are 65 or older is increasing significantly, and family caregivers need more recognition, information, and support to fulfill their responsibilities and maintain their own health, financial security, and well-being, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Although caregivers' individual circumstances vary, family caregiving can negatively affect caregivers' mental and physical health as well cause economic harm, including loss of income and career opportunities.

HOUSTON - (Sept. 13, 2016) - Scientists at Baylor College of Medicine, the National Institutes of Health and Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute have discovered a new mechanism in the mouse brain that regulates obesity. The study, which appears in Cell Reports today, shows that this new mechanism can potentially be targeted to treat obesity.

EAST LANSING, Mich. --- Intelligence -- and not just relentless practice -- plays a significant role in determining chess skill, indicates a comprehensive new study led by Michigan State University researchers.

The research provides some of the most conclusive evidence to date that cognitive ability is linked to skilled performance -- a hotly debated issue in psychology for decades -- and refutes theories that expertise is based solely on intensive training.

Does your toddler use a touchscreen tablet? A recent study published in Frontiers in Psychology has shown that early touchscreen use, and in particular actively scrolling the screen, correlates with increased fine motor control in toddlers.

WASHINGTON (September 13, 2016) - Discrimination and bullying experienced by sixth graders who are overweight leads to increased emotional problems by the end of eighth grade, according to new research published in the Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, a journal of the Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology. The results suggest that to reduce the emotional problems, efforts must not only focus on children and adolescents' weight-loss, but must address the alarmingly disrespectful and exclusionary behavior by their peer group.