Study finds most Australian teens not doing enough physical activity

Nearly 90 percent of Australian children aged 11 to 17 are not meeting current recommendations on daily physical activity, according to an international study by researchers at the World Health Organization. The study, published today in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, and co-authored by The University of Western Australia’s Professor Fiona Bull, says that recommendations of one hour per […]

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A model for brain activity during brain stimulation therapy

Brain stimulation, where targeted electrical impulses are directly applied to a patient’s brain, is already an effective therapy for depression, epilepsy, Parkinson’s and other neurological disorders, but many more applications are on the horizon. Clinicians and researchers believe the technique could be used to restore or improve memory and motor function after an injury, for example, but progress is hampered […]

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Adolescents with high levels of physical activity perform better in school over two years

Adolescents with higher levels of physical activity performed better in school during transition from primary school to lower secondary school than their physically inactive peers, a new study from Finland shows. However, the researchers, from the University of Jyväskylä, found that increased physical activity did not necessarily result in improved academic performance. Previous cross-sectional studies have reported that physically more […]

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Neuroscientists find brain activity patterns that encode our beliefs

For decades, research has shown that our perception of the world is influenced by our expectations. These expectations, also called “prior beliefs,” help us make sense of what we are perceiving in the present, based on similar past experiences. Consider, for instance, how a shadow on a patient’s X-ray image, easily missed by a less experienced intern, jumps out at […]

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Study shows that artificial neural networks can be used to drive brain activity

MIT neuroscientists have performed the most rigorous testing yet of computational models that mimic the brain’s visual cortex. Using their current best model of the brain’s visual neural network, the researchers designed a new way to precisely control individual neurons and populations of neurons in the middle of that network. In an animal study, the team then showed that the […]

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Research shows impact of poverty on children’s brain activity

Children born into poverty show key differences in early brain function, according to new research from the University of East Anglia. Researchers studied the brain function of children aged between four months and four years in rural India. They found that children from lower-income backgrounds, where mothers also had a low level of education, had weaker brain activity and were […]

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Open-source software tracks neural activity in real time

Tracking the firings of individual neurons is like trying to discern who is saying what in a football stadium full of screaming fans. Until recently, neuroscientists have had to tediously track each neuron by hand. “People spent more time analyzing their data to extract activity traces than actually collecting it,” says Dmitri Chklovskii, who leads the neuroscience group at the […]

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Physical activity in the evening does not cause sleep problems

Contrary to popular belief, there is no reason to avoid exercising in the evening, an analysis of the scientific literature has revealed. Even among sleep researchers, it is a widely held belief that sleep quality can be improved by avoiding exercise in the evening. However, as researchers from the Institute of Human Movement Sciences and Sport at ETH Zurich have […]

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Brain activity shows development of visual sensitivity in autism

Research investigating how the brain responds to visual patterns in people with autism has shown that sensory responses change between childhood and adulthood. The differences observed between adult and young people mimicked those seen in a strain of fruit flies that had a genetic change associated with autism and other developmental conditions. This demonstrates that sensory issues in autism can […]

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Scientists figure out how to measure electrical activity in a fetal heart

Hearts ‘run’ on electrical pulses—and when doctors measure the electrical activity in a person’s heart in order to determine his or hers heart condition, they generally rely on electrocardiography (ECG): Electrodes are placed on the patient’s chest area to record cardiac electrical activity – e.g. to determine whether the heart rhythm is so irregular that treatment is required; a type […]

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