neurosci

Showing 73 posts tagged neurosci

Brain Structure Stores Memories By Time

New research shows that the part of the brain called the hippocampus stores memories by their ‘temporal context’ — what happened before and what came after. 
“We need to remember not just what happened, but when,” said Liang-Tien (Frank) Hsieh, a graduate student at the University of California, Davis, Center for Neuroscience and first author on the study.

image via flickr:CC | pahouayang93 High-res

Brain Structure Stores Memories By Time

New research shows that the part of the brain called the hippocampus stores memories by their ‘temporal context’ — what happened before and what came after.

“We need to remember not just what happened, but when,” said Liang-Tien (Frank) Hsieh, a graduate student at the University of California, Davis, Center for Neuroscience and first author on the study.

image via flickr:CC | pahouayang93

Decision-making center of brain identified

Although choosing to do something because the perceived benefit outweighs the financial cost is something people do daily, little is known about what happens in the brain when a person makes these kinds of decisions. Studying how these cost-benefit decisions are made when choosing to consume alcohol, a researcher identified distinct profiles of brain activity that are present when making these decisions.
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Decision-making center of brain identified

Although choosing to do something because the perceived benefit outweighs the financial cost is something people do daily, little is known about what happens in the brain when a person makes these kinds of decisions. Studying how these cost-benefit decisions are made when choosing to consume alcohol, a researcher identified distinct profiles of brain activity that are present when making these decisions.

neuromorphogenesis:

Bionic hand allows patient to ‘feel’

Dennis Aabo was able to feel what was in his hand via sensors connected to nerves in his upper arm

Scientists have created a bionic hand which allows the amputee to feel lifelike sensations from their fingers.

A Danish man received the hand, which was connected to nerves in his upper arm, following surgery in Italy.

Dennis Aabo, who lost his left hand in a firework accident nearly a decade ago, said the hand was “amazing”.

In laboratory tests he was able to tell the shape and stiffness of objects he picked up, even when blindfolded.

The details were published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Implant

An international team carried out the research project, which included robotics experts from Italy, Switzerland and Germany.

"It is the first time that an amputee has had real-time touch sensation from a prosthetic device" said Prof Silvestro Micera from the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne and Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa.

The scientific advance here was not the hand itself, but the electronics and software that enabled it to give sensory feedback to the brain.

Micera and his team added sensors to the artificial hand which could detect and measure information about touch. Using computer algorithms, the scientists transformed the electrical signals they emitted into an impulse that sensory nerves could interpret.

During an operation in Rome, four electrodes were implanted onto nerves in the patient’s upper arm. These were connected to the artificial sensors in the fingers of the prosthetic hand, so allowing touch and pressure feedback to be sent direct to the brain.

Mr Aabo, 36, a property developer, spent a month doing laboratory tests, firstly to check the electrodes were functioning, and then with these fully connected to the bionic hand.

He said: “The biggest difference was when I grabbed something I could feel what I was doing without having to look. I could use the hand in the dark.

"It was intuitive to use, and incredible to be able to feel whether objects were soft or hard, square or round."

Hero

The bionic hand is still a prototype, and due to safety restrictions imposed on clinical trials, Mr Aabo required a second operation to remove the sensors.

"He is a hero," said Professor Paolo Rossini, neurologist, University Hospital Agostino Gemelli, Rome.

"He gave a month of his life and had two operations to test this device.

"We are all very grateful to him."

Prof Rossini said a lot of pre-training was done involving surgery on pigs, and with human cadavers, to ensure they knew exactly how to attach electrodes to the tiny peripheral nerves in the upper arm.

Another member of the team, Dr Stanisa Raspopovic said: “It was a very exciting moment when after endless hours of testing….Dennis turned to us and said with disbelief, ‘This is magic! I can feel the closing of my missing hand!’”

Those working in the field in the UK were also enthusiastic.

"This is very interesting work, taking research in upper limb prosthetics into the next stage by adding sensory feedback, said Dr Alastair Ritchie, Lecturer in Biomaterials and Bioengineering, University of Nottingham.

"This technology would enable the user to know how firmly they are gripping an object, which is vital for handling fragile objects - imagine picking up an egg without any feeling in your fingers."

The international team is now working on how to miniaturise the technology so that it could be used in the home.

"We must get rid of the external cables and make them fully implantable" said Prof Thomas Stieglitz, University of Frieburg, Germany, whose laboratory created the ultra-thin implantable electrodes.

Recently, scientists in Cleveland, Ohio released a video of a patient using the fingers of a prosthetic hand to pull the stalks from cherries while blindfolded. But the research has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

There is no precise timetable, but scientists think it could be a decade before a sensory feedback bionic hand is commercially available.

And they believe it may pave the way for more realistic prosthetic devices in the future which can detect texture and temperature.

'Bring it on'

But it will undoubtedly be very expensive, well beyond the means of most patients. And artificial hands still lack the precision and dexterity of the real thing.

The super-functioning bionic hand of science fiction films remains the stuff of fiction.

Nonetheless, Dennis Aabo, who now has his old prosthesis back, is ready to swap it for the bionic hand in any future trial.

"If they offer it to me, I will say bring it on, I’m ready."

Your memory is no video camera: It edits the past with present experiences

Your memory is a wily time traveler, plucking fragments of the present and inserting them into the past, reports a new study. In terms of accuracy, it’s no video camera. Rather, memory rewrites the past with current information, updating your recollections with new experiences to aid survival. Love at first sight, for example, is more likely a trick of your memory than a Hollywood-worthy moment.
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Your memory is no video camera: It edits the past with present experiences

Your memory is a wily time traveler, plucking fragments of the present and inserting them into the past, reports a new study. In terms of accuracy, it’s no video camera. Rather, memory rewrites the past with current information, updating your recollections with new experiences to aid survival. Love at first sight, for example, is more likely a trick of your memory than a Hollywood-worthy moment.

Brain structure, function predict future memory performance in children, adolescents

Assessing structural and functional changes in the brain may predict future memory performance in healthy children and adolescents, according to a new study. Working memory capacity — the ability to hold onto information for a short period of time — is one of the strongest predictors of future achievements in math and reading.

image via flickr:CC | {bathe in light}
The more RAM you have the better you perform?
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Brain structure, function predict future memory performance in children, adolescents

Assessing structural and functional changes in the brain may predict future memory performance in healthy children and adolescents, according to a new study. Working memory capacity — the ability to hold onto information for a short period of time — is one of the strongest predictors of future achievements in math and reading.

image via flickr:CC | {bathe in light}

The more RAM you have the better you perform?


Adults still think about numbers like kids

Children understand numbers differently than adults. For kids, one and two seem much further apart then 101 and 102, because two is twice as big as one, and 102 is just a little bigger than 101. It’s only after years of schooling that we’re persuaded to see the numbers in both sets as only one integer apart on a number line.Now Dror Dotan, a doctoral student at Tel Aviv University’s School of Education and Sagol School of Neuroscience and Prof. Stanislas Dehaene of the Collège de France, a leader in the field of numerical cognition, have found new evidence that educated adults retain traces of their childhood, or innate, number sense — and that it’s more powerful than many scientists think.

image via flickr:CC | Pink Sherbet Photography High-res

Adults still think about numbers like kids

Children understand numbers differently than adults. For kids, one and two seem much further apart then 101 and 102, because two is twice as big as one, and 102 is just a little bigger than 101. It’s only after years of schooling that we’re persuaded to see the numbers in both sets as only one integer apart on a number line.

Now Dror Dotan, a doctoral student at Tel Aviv University’s School of Education and Sagol School of Neuroscience and Prof. Stanislas Dehaene of the Collège de France, a leader in the field of numerical cognition, have found new evidence that educated adults retain traces of their childhood, or innate, number sense — and that it’s more powerful than many scientists think.

image via flickr:CC | Pink Sherbet Photography

Online Brain Training Works — But Just For Practiced Task

Brain Connectivity Study Reveals Striking Differences Between Men and Women

A new brain connectivity study from Penn Medicine published today in the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences found striking differences in the neural wiring of men and women that’s lending credence to some commonly-held beliefs about their behavior. 
In one of the largest studies looking at the “connectomes” of the sexes, Ragini Verma, PhD, an associate professor in the department of Radiology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and colleagues found greater neural connectivity from front to back and within one hemisphere in males, suggesting their brains are structured to facilitate connectivity between perception and coordinated action. In contrast, in females, the wiring goes between the left and right hemispheres, suggesting that they facilitate communication between the analytical and intuition.

For instance, on average, men are more likely better at learning and performing a single task at hand, like cycling or navigating directions, whereas women have superior memory and social cognition skills, making them more equipped for multitasking and creating solutions that work for a group. They have a mentalistic approach, so to speak.
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Brain Connectivity Study Reveals Striking Differences Between Men and Women

A new brain connectivity study from Penn Medicine published today in the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences found striking differences in the neural wiring of men and women that’s lending credence to some commonly-held beliefs about their behavior.

In one of the largest studies looking at the “connectomes” of the sexes, Ragini Verma, PhD, an associate professor in the department of Radiology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and colleagues found greater neural connectivity from front to back and within one hemisphere in males, suggesting their brains are structured to facilitate connectivity between perception and coordinated action. In contrast, in females, the wiring goes between the left and right hemispheres, suggesting that they facilitate communication between the analytical and intuition.

For instance, on average, men are more likely better at learning and performing a single task at hand, like cycling or navigating directions, whereas women have superior memory and social cognition skills, making them more equipped for multitasking and creating solutions that work for a group. They have a mentalistic approach, so to speak.

Music Training Sharpens Brain Pathways, Studies Say

New research suggests that the complexity involved in practicing and performing music may help students’ cognitive development. Studies released last month at the Society for Neuroscience meeting here find that music training may increase the neural connections in regions of the brain associated with creativity, decisionmaking, and complex memory, and they may improve a student’s ability to process conflicting information from many senses at once. Research also found that starting music education early can be even more helpful.

image via flickr:CC | Brother O’Mara High-res

Music Training Sharpens Brain Pathways, Studies Say

New research suggests that the complexity involved in practicing and performing music may help students’ cognitive development. Studies released last month at the Society for Neuroscience meeting here find that music training may increase the neural connections in regions of the brain associated with creativity, decisionmaking, and complex memory, and they may improve a student’s ability to process conflicting information from many senses at once. Research also found that starting music education early can be even more helpful.

image via flickr:CC | Brother O’Mara

Early Musical Training Alters Brain Anatomy

A new study finds that musical training at a young age may strengthen the brain, especially regions that influence language skills and executive function, needed for activities such as planning, organization, and managing time and space. 
The volume of brain regions related to hearing and self-awareness appeared to be larger in those who began taking music lessons before age 7, according to Yunxin Wang of the State Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning at Beijing Normal University.
“Early musical training does more good for kids than just making it easier for them to enjoy music — it changes their brain and these brain changes could lead to cognitive advances as well,” Wang said.

image via flickr:CC | Renee May High-res

Early Musical Training Alters Brain Anatomy

A new study finds that musical training at a young age may strengthen the brain, especially regions that influence language skills and executive function, needed for activities such as planning, organization, and managing time and space.

The volume of brain regions related to hearing and self-awareness appeared to be larger in those who began taking music lessons before age 7, according to Yunxin Wang of the State Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning at Beijing Normal University.

“Early musical training does more good for kids than just making it easier for them to enjoy music — it changes their brain and these brain changes could lead to cognitive advances as well,” Wang said.

image via flickr:CC | Renee May

kqedscience:

A Neuroscientist’s Radical Theory of How Networks Become Conscious
“It’s a question that’s perplexed philosophers for centuries and scientists for decades: Where does consciousness come from? We know it exists, at least in ourselves. But how it arises from chemistry and electricity in our brains is an unsolved mystery.
Neuroscientist Christof Koch, chief scientific officer at the Allen Institute for Brain Science, thinks he might know the answer. According to Koch, consciousness arises within any sufficiently complex, information-processing system. All animals, from humans on down to earthworms, are conscious; even the internet could be. That’s just the way the universe works.”
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kqedscience:

A Neuroscientist’s Radical Theory of How Networks Become Conscious

It’s a question that’s perplexed philosophers for centuries and scientists for decades: Where does consciousness come from? We know it exists, at least in ourselves. But how it arises from chemistry and electricity in our brains is an unsolved mystery.

Neuroscientist Christof Koch, chief scientific officer at the Allen Institute for Brain Science, thinks he might know the answer. According to Koch, consciousness arises within any sufficiently complex, information-processing system. All animals, from humans on down to earthworms, are conscious; even the internet could be. That’s just the way the universe works.”

Sleep Helps Brain Learn Visual Tasks

Falling asleep during a class may not necessarily be a bad deal, a student may argue, as new research details the method by which the brain uses sleep to learn. 
Investigators believe that during sleep the brain uses neural oscillations — brain waves — of particular frequencies to consolidate learning in specific brain regions.
As reported in the Journal of Neuroscience, Brown University scientists discovered that two specific frequencies of brain waves — fast-sigma and delta — are directly associated with learning a finger-tapping task similar to typing or playing the piano.

photo via flickr:CC | marsmet543

Sleep Helps Brain Learn Visual Tasks

Falling asleep during a class may not necessarily be a bad deal, a student may argue, as new research details the method by which the brain uses sleep to learn.

Investigators believe that during sleep the brain uses neural oscillations — brain waves — of particular frequencies to consolidate learning in specific brain regions.

As reported in the Journal of Neuroscience, Brown University scientists discovered that two specific frequencies of brain waves — fast-sigma and delta — are directly associated with learning a finger-tapping task similar to typing or playing the piano.

photo via flickr:CC | marsmet543

Playing Video Games Enlarges Some Brain Regions

Playing video games causes volume increases in regions of the brain responsible for spatial orientation, memory formation and strategic planning, as well as fine motor skills, according to a new study. 
Researchers said they believe the positive effects of video gaming could also play a part in therapeutic interventions for psychiatric disorders.

image via flickr:CC | toughkidcst High-res

Playing Video Games Enlarges Some Brain Regions

Playing video games causes volume increases in regions of the brain responsible for spatial orientation, memory formation and strategic planning, as well as fine motor skills, according to a new study.

Researchers said they believe the positive effects of video gaming could also play a part in therapeutic interventions for psychiatric disorders.

image via flickr:CC | toughkidcst

Brain Adjusts to Emotional Mistakes

As investigators learn more about the way we perceive emotions, it becomes clear that we often have a biased view of the way others feel. 
That is, when we are sad, we perceive the world to be sad with us. But when we are happy, everything is rosy.
The projection of one’s emotions onto others is well known to scientists. In fact, experts believe this trait is at the core of the ability to interpret and relate to others.

image via flickr:CC | KaitlynKalon High-res

Brain Adjusts to Emotional Mistakes

As investigators learn more about the way we perceive emotions, it becomes clear that we often have a biased view of the way others feel.

That is, when we are sad, we perceive the world to be sad with us. But when we are happy, everything is rosy.

The projection of one’s emotions onto others is well known to scientists. In fact, experts believe this trait is at the core of the ability to interpret and relate to others.

image via flickr:CC | KaitlynKalon