neurosci

Showing 82 posts tagged neurosci

Study finds rote memorization makes you forget details

A new study by UC Irvine neurobiology professor Michael Yassa indicates that repetition may have negative effects on memorization, at least when it comes to remembering details.
Repeating information improves recall of main themes and factual content, but can actually damage recollection of nuanced details. During the study, subjects were tested on their memories of images — multiple views made it harder for participants to reject “imposter” pictures of similar subjects with changed details.

image via flickr:CC | Photo Extremist High-res

Study finds rote memorization makes you forget details

A new study by UC Irvine neurobiology professor Michael Yassa indicates that repetition may have negative effects on memorization, at least when it comes to remembering details.

Repeating information improves recall of main themes and factual content, but can actually damage recollection of nuanced details. During the study, subjects were tested on their memories of images — multiple views made it harder for participants to reject “imposter” pictures of similar subjects with changed details.

image via flickr:CC | Photo Extremist

 Best Learning Approach Uncovered

New research indicates that practicing the right way is crucial to learning new skills.
“The study suggests that learning can be improved,” said Stafford. “You can learn more efficiently or use the same practice time to learn to a higher level. As we live longer, and more of our lives become based around acquiring complex skills, optimal learning becomes increasingly relevant to everyone.


Axon - game used in the study
image via flickr:CC | giulia.forsythe High-res

Best Learning Approach Uncovered

New research indicates that practicing the right way is crucial to learning new skills.

The study suggests that learning can be improved,” said Stafford. “You can learn more efficiently or use the same practice time to learn to a higher level. As we live longer, and more of our lives become based around acquiring complex skills, optimal learning becomes increasingly relevant to everyone.

Axon - game used in the study

image via flickr:CC | giulia.forsythe

New device allows brain to bypass spinal cord, move paralyzed limbs

For the first time ever, a paralyzed man can move his fingers and hand with his own thoughts thanks to a new device. A 23-year-old quadriplegic is the first patient to use Neurobridge, an electronic neural bypass for spinal cord injuries that reconnects the brain directly to muscles, allowing voluntary and functional control of a paralyzed limb.

New device allows brain to bypass spinal cord, move paralyzed limbs

For the first time ever, a paralyzed man can move his fingers and hand with his own thoughts thanks to a new device. A 23-year-old quadriplegic is the first patient to use Neurobridge, an electronic neural bypass for spinal cord injuries that reconnects the brain directly to muscles, allowing voluntary and functional control of a paralyzed limb.

Predicting Dyslexia — Even Before Children Learn to Read

On average, one or two kids in every U.S. classroom has dyslexia, a brain-based learning disability that often runs in families and makes reading difficult, sometimes painfully so.
Compared to other neurodevelopmental disorders like ADHD or autism, research into dyslexia has advanced further, experts say. That’s partly because dyslexia presents itself around a specific behavior: reading — which, as they say, is fundamental.
Now, new research shows it’s possible to pick up some of the signs of dyslexia in the brain even before kids learn to read. And this earlier identification may start to substantially influence how parents, educators and clinicians tackle the disorder.
High-res

Predicting Dyslexia — Even Before Children Learn to Read

On average, one or two kids in every U.S. classroom has dyslexia, a brain-based learning disability that often runs in families and makes reading difficult, sometimes painfully so.

Compared to other neurodevelopmental disorders like ADHD or autism, research into dyslexia has advanced further, experts say. That’s partly because dyslexia presents itself around a specific behavior: reading — which, as they say, is fundamental.

Now, new research shows it’s possible to pick up some of the signs of dyslexia in the brain even before kids learn to read. And this earlier identification may start to substantially influence how parents, educators and clinicians tackle the disorder.

Stress hormone linked to short-term memory loss as we age, animal study suggests

A new study reports a potential link between stress hormones and short-term memory loss in older adults. The study reveals that having high levels of cortisol—a natural hormone in our body whose levels surge when we are stressed—can lead to memory lapses as we age.

image via flickr:CC | Alan Cleaver High-res

Stress hormone linked to short-term memory loss as we age, animal study suggests

A new study reports a potential link between stress hormones and short-term memory loss in older adults. The study reveals that having high levels of cortisol—a natural hormone in our body whose levels surge when we are stressed—can lead to memory lapses as we age.

image via flickr:CC | Alan Cleaver

Brain imaging shows enhanced executive brain function in people with musical training

A controlled study using functional MRI brain imaging reveals a possible biological link between early musical training and improved executive functioning in both children and adults, report researchers. The study uses functional MRI of brain areas associated with executive function, adjusting for socioeconomic factors.

image via flickr:CC | ChimpLearnGood High-res

Brain imaging shows enhanced executive brain function in people with musical training

A controlled study using functional MRI brain imaging reveals a possible biological link between early musical training and improved executive functioning in both children and adults, report researchers. The study uses functional MRI of brain areas associated with executive function, adjusting for socioeconomic factors.

image via flickr:CC | ChimpLearnGood


Unplugged Elementary Kids and Online Tests Don’t Mix 

By grade 5 or 6, children have had an actual childhood and are starting to bump up against puberty. The pre-adolescent brain gains significantly increased capacity for abstraction and needs complex challenges. Computer skills, including internet research and coding, can draw students back into the world of learning, just as young adolescents are asserting themselves and detaching from childhood ways. There’s no downside to putting off computers, except the inconvenience to adults.
But elementary public schools have no choice but to plug kids in. Third-graders must be ready to be successful on online standardized tests. So little ones, kindergartners, prepare for computer-based tests from the moment the schools can get them started. If schools don’t, the kids’ poor results will feed the naming-and-shaming frenzy that characterizes the education-industry’s punitive use of otherwise interesting data.


image via flickr:CC | Foomandoonian High-res

Unplugged Elementary Kids and Online Tests Don’t Mix

By grade 5 or 6, children have had an actual childhood and are starting to bump up against puberty. The pre-adolescent brain gains significantly increased capacity for abstraction and needs complex challenges. Computer skills, including internet research and coding, can draw students back into the world of learning, just as young adolescents are asserting themselves and detaching from childhood ways. There’s no downside to putting off computers, except the inconvenience to adults.

But elementary public schools have no choice but to plug kids in. Third-graders must be ready to be successful on online standardized tests. So little ones, kindergartners, prepare for computer-based tests from the moment the schools can get them started. If schools don’t, the kids’ poor results will feed the naming-and-shaming frenzy that characterizes the education-industry’s punitive use of otherwise interesting data.

image via flickr:CC | Foomandoonian

Scientists create circuit board modeled on the human brain

Stanford scientists have developed faster, more energy-efficient microchips based on the human brain — 9,000 times faster and using significantly less power than a typical PC. This offers greater possibilities for advances in robotics and a new way of understanding the brain. For instance, a chip as fast and efficient as the human brain could drive prosthetic limbs with the speed and complexity of our own actions.

image via flickr:CC | A Health Blog High-res

Scientists create circuit board modeled on the human brain

Stanford scientists have developed faster, more energy-efficient microchips based on the human brain — 9,000 times faster and using significantly less power than a typical PC. This offers greater possibilities for advances in robotics and a new way of understanding the brain. For instance, a chip as fast and efficient as the human brain could drive prosthetic limbs with the speed and complexity of our own actions.

image via flickr:CC | A Health Blog

Education May Help Insulate The Brain Against Traumatic Injury

A little education goes a long way toward ensuring you’ll recover from a serious traumatic brain injury. In fact, people with lots of education are seven times more likely than high school dropouts to have no measurable disability a year later.
"It’s a very dramatic difference," says , an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins and the lead author of a new study. The finding suggests that people with more education have brains that are better able to “find ways around the damage” caused by an injury, he says.

image via flickr:CC | jetheriot High-res

Education May Help Insulate The Brain Against Traumatic Injury

A little education goes a long way toward ensuring you’ll recover from a serious traumatic brain injury. In fact, people with lots of education are seven times more likely than high school dropouts to have no measurable disability a year later.

"It’s a very dramatic difference," says , an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins and the lead author of a new study. The finding suggests that people with more education have brains that are better able to “find ways around the damage” caused by an injury, he says.

image via flickr:CC | jetheriot

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.
High-res

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?
High-res

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