Diattenuation imaging: Promising imaging technique for brain research

A new imaging method provides structural information about brain tissue that was previously difficult to access. Diattenuation Imaging (DI), developed by scientists at Forschungszentrum Jülich and the University of Groningen, allows researchers to differentiate, e.g., regions with many thin nerve fibres from regions with few thick nerve fibres. With current imaging methods, these tissue types cannot easily be distinguished. The […]

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Blunting pain’s emotional component: Blocking a type of opioid receptor restores motivation

Chronic pain involves more than just hurting. People suffering from pain often experience sadness, depression and lethargy. That’s one reason opioids can be so addictive — they not only dampen the pain but also make people feel euphoric. What if it were possible to develop a pain killer that could curb the negative emotions associated with pain without causing euphoria? […]

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Bioengineers create ultrasmall, light-activated electrode for neural stimulation

Neural stimulation is a developing technology that has beneficial therapeutic effects in neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease. While many advancements have been made, the implanted devices deteriorate over time and cause scarring in neural tissue. In a recently published paper, the University of Pittsburgh’s Takashi D. Y. Kozai detailed a less invasive method of stimulation that would use an […]

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Difference in brain connectivity may explain autism spectrum disorder: Researchers work toward finding the biomarkers of autism for earlier diagnosis and treatment

Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham have identified a possible mechanism of human cognition that underlies autism spectrum disorders, or ASD. Diagnosis for ASD is still behaviorally based. Psychologists and medical professionals with clinical expertise use the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule and the Autism Diagnostic Interview to diagnose autism — these two tests are considered the gold standard. […]

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A tradeoff in the neural code: The price we pay for our advanced brains may be a greater tendency to disorders

Prof. Rony Paz of the Weizmann Institute of Science suggests that our brains are like modern washing machines — evolved to have the latest sophisticated programming, but more vulnerable to breakdown and prone to develop costly disorders. He and a group of researchers recently conducted experiments comparing the efficiency of the neural code in non-human and human primates, and found […]

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How musicians communicate non-verbally during performance

A team of researchers from McMaster University has discovered a new technique to examine how musicians intuitively coordinate with one another during a performance, silently predicting how each will express the music. The findings, published today in the journal Scientific Reports, provide new insights into how musicians synchronize their movements so they are playing exactly in time, as one single […]

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Specific cognitive deficits in individuals with spinal cord injury

A multidisciplinary team of researchers has identified specific cognitive deficits in individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI). Their findings support the theory of accelerated aging after SCI, and have important implications for further research. The article, “Patterns of cognitive deficits in persons with spinal cord injury as compared with both age-matched and older individuals without spinal cord injury,” was e-published […]

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A new hope in treating neurodegenerative disease

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most representative degenerative brain disease, accounting for 60 to 80% of all dementia cases. In search for new mechanism for AD, the research team led by Professor Seong-Woon Yu of Brain and Cognitive Sciences paid attention to the autophagy of microglia, brain immune cells, is suppressed by inflammation. ‘Microglia’ are phagocytic immune cells which are […]

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Teen brain volume changes with small amount of cannabis use, study finds

At a time when several states are moving to legalize recreational use of marijuana, new research shows that concerns about the drug’s impact on teens may be warranted. The study, published in The Journal of Neuroscience, shows that even a small amount of cannabis use by teenagers is linked to differences in their brains. Senior author and University of Vermont […]

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Boys with good motor skills excel at problem-solving, too

Boys with good motor skills are better problem-solvers than their less skilful peers, a new study from Finland shows. In contrast to previous studies, the researchers found no association between aerobic fitness or overweight and obesity with cognitive function in boys. The results are based on the Physical Activity and Nutrition in Children (PANIC) Study conducted at the University of […]

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