Brain structure varies with trust level

Brain structure varies with trust level

A recent study shows differences in brain structure according to how trusting people are of others.

The psychologists used two measures to determine the trust levels of 82 study participants. Participants filled out a self-reported questionnaire about their tendency to trust others. They also were shown pictures of faces with neutral facial expressions and asked to evaluate how trustworthy they found each person in the picture. This gave researchers a metric, on a spectrum, of how trusting each participant was of others.

Psychedelic drug use could reduce psychological distress, suicidal thinking

A history of psychedelic drug use is associated with less psychological distress and fewer suicidal thoughts, planning and attempts, according to new research from Johns Hopkins and the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

'Switches' that shaped the evolution of the human brain mapped

Thousands of genetic "dimmer" switches, regions of DNA known as regulatory elements, were turned up high during human evolution in the developing cerebral cortex, according to new research from the Yale School of Medicine.

Unlike in rhesus monkeys and mice, these switches show increased activity in humans, where they may drive the expression of genes in the cerebral cortex, the region of the brain that is involved in conscious thought and language. This difference may explain why the structure and function of that part of the brain is so unique in humans compared to other mammals.

People with anorexia, body dysmorphic disorder share brain anomalies

People with anorexia nervosa and with body dysmorphic disorder have similar abnormalities in their brains that affect their ability to process visual information, according to a new study.

People with anorexia have an intense fear of gaining weight and can starve themselves even when they are dangerously thin. Body dysmorphic disorder is a psychiatric condition characterized by an obsessive preoccupation with a perceived flaw in physical appearance.

Multitasking hunger neurons also control compulsive behaviors

In the absence of food, neurons that normally control appetite initiate complex, repetitive behaviors seen in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and anorexia nervosa, according to a new study by Yale School of Medicine researchers.

The findings are published in the March 5 online issue of the journal Cell.

Oxytocin nasal spray causes men to eat fewer calories

A synthetic nasal formulation of the hormone oxytocin reduced caloric intake in healthy men, particularly consumption of fatty foods, after a single treatment, a new study finds. The results, to be presented Sunday at The Endocrine Society's 97th annual meeting in San Diego, confirm those of animal studies showing oxytocin reduces food intake.

Exposure to endocrine disruptors while pregnant affects brain two generations later

Prenatal exposure to low doses of the environmental contaminants polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, change the developing brain in an area involved in metabolism, and some effects are apparent even two generations later, a new study finds. Performed in rats, the research will be presented Friday at the Endocrine Society's 97th annual meeting in San Diego.

Hereditary effects included increased body weight, but only in descendants of females--and not males--exposed to PCBs in the womb, said study co-author Andrea Gore, PhD, professor at the University of Texas at Austin.

Human brains age less than previously thought

Older brains may be more similar to younger brains than previously thought.

In a new paper published in Human Brain Mapping, BBSRC-funded researchers at the University of Cambridge and Medical Research Council's Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit demonstrate that previously reported changes in the ageing brain using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) may be due to vascular (or blood vessels) changes, rather than changes in neuronal activity itself.

Reliance on smartphones linked to lazy thinking

Our smartphones help us find a phone number quickly, provide us with instant directions and recommend restaurants, but new research indicates that this convenience at our fingertips is making it easy for us to avoid thinking for ourselves.

Antibodies to brain proteins may trigger psychosis

Antibodies defend the body against bacterial, viral, and other invaders. But sometimes the body makes antibodies that attack healthy cells. In these cases, autoimmune disorders develop.

Immune abnormalities in patients with psychosis have been recognized for over a century, but it has been only relatively recently that scientists have identified specific immune mechanisms that seem to directly produce symptoms of psychosis, including hallucinations and delusions.